Alternative rock? Art Rock? Nu-Metal? Call it what you want but the California based band the Deftones have been churning out album after album and stirring up millions of fans throughout the world for the past 18+ years.
The Deftones have kept up with the changing times in music as they refine their sound and get more inventive over time but keeping to their metal roots. Diamond Eyes is a perfect example of how the band has matured musically.
Tuesday night at the steamy and humid Aragon Ballroom in Chicago was the scene for frontman Chino Moreno and his cohorts as they rocked for almost 2 hours. The masses jam packed the floor thrashing to Moreno's shrieking lyrics during the heavier cuts such as "7 Words" & "You've Seen the Butcher" and sang along with his timely melodies like "Change (In the House of Flies)" throughout the night. Not many frontmen possess as much on stage energy as Moreno has during his illustrious career. As Moreno always does he was all over the stage, jumping off of stage set ups, running from side to side and playing up to the swarm of sweaty bodies.
The boys took a moment out to dedicate a song to Chi Cheng, the long time bassist who is still in recovery from a debilitating car accident almost 5 years ago. At times you can hear the crowd wail "Chi" when there was a quiet moment or two. Chi is never far from the hearts of the band or those who have followed the Deftones over the years.
Most alt-metal, rap-rock bands from the late 90's and early 2000's have lost their luster and aren't as relevant as they once were. The Deftones are upping the bar for themselves and their music and are looking to keep their momentum going for years to come.
Remember those days when you found out your favorite band hit it big, and you said you wished you could have seen them back in the day, in a small venue without paying and arm and a leg? Friday night was that chance to catch the soulful and 70’s-inspired-throwback rock sounds of Connecticut’s own Saint Bernadette. Nestled in the back corner of the quaint Martyrs’ live music club, I was able to disengage myself with the everyday grind, and cherish the opportunity to take in the powerful, sexy and velvety voice of Meredith DiMenna and her au fait band mates. An illuminating light that permeated the stage was the perfect setting to admire DiMenna as she dominated the show with her sultry looks, while her dirty blond hair whipped around her face as she pranced around. I’m not going to throw out comparisons of other femme fatale vocalists since that would be doing a disservice to DiMenna and her compelling presence. She has her own broad spectrum of erotically charged melodies, and she puts her own staple on her music. Her vocals are a masterful mixture of the who’s who of past and present female rockers. She also incorporates her talents on the acoustic guitar and tambourine. Talent like this is the makeup for success.
The 40+ minute set was tight throughout and had a cozy psychedelic and jazzy feel to the evening. The other members of the band included guitarist Scott Metzger, bass player Dan Carlisle, astral slide guitarist Joe Novelli and drummer Kenny Owens. At times the four guys took over the performance and jammed together as they pumped out tunes such as “Play to Win” and “Suicide”. Their style was that of a quartet practicing in a basement as DiMenna strutted her stuff during the instrumental solos.
Being from the relatively unknown indie music scene that is Connecticut, Saint Bernadette isn’t that well known in Chicago as of yet, but this recent tour brought the clan through the Second City. Local band 7th Kind was the perfect opener as they jump started the show with eclectic renditions of their best work to date. The Congregation and The Mood followed on the warm summer evening.
If you missed this show you will have another chance in the coming weeks to catch the multi talented band as they perform on July 18th at The Elbo Room in Chicago.
So sit back in a dimly lit room, and while listening to their albums, light up some incense and take in the aura that is Saint Bernadette.
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You couldn’t have asked for a better day under the sun at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Jackson, Michigan, Saturday, for the 4th annual Rockapalooza festival. High temperatures in the low 80’s, sunny most of the day, a variety of local eateries providing food and beverages, some very interesting people watching, and a plethora of rock and metal music was on hand for all to enjoy.
The gates opened at 11am as thousands of concert goers of all ages flocked the grounds and strolled back and forth between the four stages.
Last year’s show drew hundreds of complaints by nearby residents due to the noise and the profane language used by the bands. This year the organizers vowed to clean up the foul language. “We want this to be a family friendly show for all ages” organizer Tim Corser stated in a local Michigan paper. “All bands are now under contract to be clean, and they will be heavily fined if they violate it”. There were even notes strategically placed about the floors of the stages stating “No F*cking Cussing”.
The festival’s guest host was comedian and 90’s MTV personality Pauly Shore. Shore must have thought he was immune from the profanity ban as he dropped the F-Bomb on several occasions and even started a “F- Osama Bin Laden” chant that riled everyone up before the band Jackson came on stage.
With the moniker Rockapalooza the bill was filled with rock bands who growled, screamed, thrashed, and body surfed the crowd. A few of the acts weren’t so “family friendly” to the eyes with heavily painted up and mask wearing rockers like Motograter and Mushroomhead. Regardless of that, everyone seemed to enjoy the festivities and music.
One of the acts that had some major buzz was Thee Unknown, a local band whose members’ ages ranged from 11 to 13 years, and have only been playing together for a few months. They finished their short set rocking out to a Metallica favorite.
Pop Evil and Crossfade were a few of the other headliners to close out the 12 hour plus show. Due to technical difficulties on the main stage that backed times up all day long Crossfade didn’t start their set till almost an hour after their allotted 10:15pm time slot and didn’t finish till around midnight. By then, most of the sun drenched and over-served crowd were heading out the gates.
While attending a summer outdoor Rock Music Fest there are a few things you are bound to experience; men and women who are grossly under dressed, the overly exposed stumbling drunk, and lead singers spewing out more than a few cuss words. So, Jackson County Fairground neighbors, get fucking over it!
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Anticipation grew as the clock ticked closer to set time. You could feel the excitement leading up to his unveiling on stage as the crowd became louder. The dark red curtains rose up slowly into the rafters, and perched upon a stool in the middle of a dimly lit stage, sat the singer alone. Two soft glowing spotlights shone down on him at the timeless and classic Chicago Theater in downtown Chicago. The 1990’s grunge era icon Eddie Vedder himself took in what would be a love fest for him and his music.
Stationed around his stool was a variety of guitars, an old reel-to-reel tape player set up for background sounds, a foot drum and some other strategically placed items for a homely feel. It was an intimate setting that made you feel like you were sitting around a crackling campfire, taking in the acoustic sounds of a one-man jam session.
Dressed in a vintage t-shirt and his jeans looking well worn, Vedder began fingering his ukulele. His adoring fans hung on every note, and hooted and hollered as hit the high ones. Seeing this rock legend perform is what these people paid for. He performed his hits with a variety of instruments from his ukulele, a mandolin, and his plethora of guitars and he even rocked out on the harmonica. His spectacular baritone voice had everyone mesmerized.
As Vedder stated, he has matured over the years, and his sound has also softened. This tour is more about the music than the bright lights and big arenas he is used to playing with his original band, Pearl Jam. Several times during the performance he bantered with the crowd telling stories about past experiences and the vintage “shit hole” Chicago Theater he used to frequent as a “young shit head” before it was remodeled, and now looking priceless. A few times throughout the two plus hour set he brought out show opener Glen Hansard to lend his voice to a handful of songs. There was also a string section accompanying him on various tunes as they sat stage left.
Vedder worked through his own material as well as some Pearl Jam classics like “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” which received a standing ovation. He also gave homage to his hometown baseball team, the Chicago Cubs with a heartfelt rendition of “All The Way”. During his finale with “Hard Sun”, he broke the mold of the evening, stood up and rocked out with his vintage Vedder stroll.
You couldn’t have asked for a better setting to see this legendary performer work his craft on this “perfect Chicago summer evening”.
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It is refreshing when a rock band has the balls to simply let it rip in the studio. This second offering from the multi talented super group Black Country Communion is appropriately named 2, which at times sounds like a jam session and then some. 2 is a masterful album that combines rock and blues influences from past and present and blends it into this eleven track instant classic. It is tight from top to bottom, with no real “filler” tracks. BCC is a legendary quartet featuring frontman and bass guitarist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa (Bloodline), drummer Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin, Foreigner) and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Planet X).
Hughes’ vocal range is off-the-charts magnificent throughout; selected tracks where you can sample the many flavors of the singer’s capabilities are “The Outsider”, “Save Me”, and “Little Secret”.
Bonamassa displays his array of talents up and down the album with a broad arrangement of high-energy rifts, bluesy guitar chords and powerful killer solos usually found only in live shows. Fans of this, and arena rock will jam right along. You can hear shards of a Zeppelin style among various numbers, and that influence is heavily pronounced in “Smokestack Woman”, “The Battle For Hadrian’s Wall”, and “An Ordinary Son”. Bonamassa is featured on vocals as well on the latter two tracks.
Sherinian’s keyboard presence permeates the album with hypnotic sounds that flow brilliantly with the rest of the band, and Bonham’s thrashing skill set behind the skins and percussions is outstanding.
Lenny Kravitz once sang “Rock And Roll is Dead”, but little did he know that rock and roll would live on through Black Country Communion and be revolutionized on 2.
Final Words: Grab this album, CD, or MP3, especially since it’s a dying breed.
Evan J. Thomas
Evan is a contributor for IAMNotJerry.com Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and InstGram.