Live Review: Orange Goblin & The Skull in Manhattan, 08.27.19

Posted in Reviews on August 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Orange Goblin (Photo by JJ Koczan)

A Twofer Tuesday special with  Buy Economics Essay Write Essays For Cash - Title Ebooks : Write Essays For Cash - Category : Kindle and eBooks PDF - Author : ~ unidentified - ISBN785458 Orange Goblin headlining and  master thesis empirical part Writing Services Blog academia essay writers scam google webmaster tools thesis theme The Skull opening was enough to pull a good crowd to  Newly Qualified Nurse Personal Statement - experience the merits of professional custom writing assistance available here Proposals, essays & academic papers of top quality. Gramercy Theatre on 23rd St. in Manhattan, and I saw fans new and old rejoicing as the long-running London and Chicago outfits took that stage, one for the first time in months, the other for the first time in years and both with different lineups. A triumph over adversity, or a “victory over horseshit,” as http://maidstone-magazine.co.uk/how-to-write-a-self-evaluation-paper/. If you have found yourself in the position where your college applications are being rejects because your admission essay Orange Goblin‘s one-time tourmates in  Fast http://ireon.ru/?assignments Website You've Been Looking for. Desperately looking for academic services with the question: Who can type my essay as urgent as Scissorfight so indelicately put it? You might ask absent essay writing my favourite story book Can You Homework Help Missouri thesis and dissertation manual cheap essay online Orange Goblin drummer  http://home.advanced-online.com/do-my-essay-me-uk/ - begin working on your report right away with qualified assistance guaranteed by the service All sorts of academic writings & custom Chris Turner, whose visa got held up in all kinds of security red tape and couldn’t get into the country in time, forcing the band to bring in one  College Admissions Essay Consultant - get a 100% authentic, non-plagiarized thesis you could only dream about in our paper writing assistance Craft a timed Chad Walls ( Gender Essays - forget about your fears, place your assignment here and get your quality essay in a few days Get started with essay writing The Living Fields, ex- Our custom essay papers writing service is one of the cheap essay writing service online which provide custom essay help and Organic Chemistry Help Sites in essay The Skull live, etc.) as a last-minute replacement. As frontman  pay essay writing are difficult to write if you make it by your own. Our experienced professors can help your to earn final degree without stress! Ben Ward said from the stage: he, guitarist  dissertation in media Thesis On Correlational Study Phd maya angelou essays format for thesis paper Joe Hoare and bassist  help with writing irish essays Best dissertation research proposal economics are there any legit essay writing services need help my grammar homework Martyn Millard had gotten hooked up with  PhD Thesis Editors in UK offer unmatched PhD cheap dissertation writing. Our editing service in UK includes Grammar check, Structure and Sentence Flow and Walls less than a week prior and they rehearsed together for the first time just the day before the show.  Looking for a trustworthy service to pearl harbor reasearch paper? Your request will processed really fast with our 24/7 online service! Gramercy was the first of just six dates they’ll do in America, but basically, they’d sunk all the money for everyone’s travel, backline, documents, etc., that they had to make the run happen anyway they could. Nobody’s first choice of situation, surely, but putting Walls in Turner‘s seat for the week was how it could happen.

Perhaps in less dramatic fashion, The Skull also have had a bit of turnover in just the four months since they played the inaugural Desertfest New York (review here) in April, losing guitarist Rob Wrong (also Witch Mountain) and seeing Henry Vasquez — also of Saint Vitus and Blood of the Sun — come in as their own fresh face behind the drum kit along with his Blood of the Sun bandmate Alex Johnson, who took the spot formerly occupied by Wrong on guitar. Tumult, then, might have been the running theme for the evening. Well, that and the line at the merch table, where Brian Mercer‘s poster for the brief tour awaited the lucky few who’d get one before it was gone, as well as a smattering of shirts from both bands. But the thing about it was that even through both groups have had some adversity of late, one could still look at The Skull frontman Eric Wagner or at Ward and see them smiling. Both groups still tore it up. I don’t think either of them would claim it was the tightest set they ever played, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t both pull it off, one kicking ass into the next as the room packed out and the night wore on.

Time and a rotating cast of characters across their two-to-date albums has proven guitarist Lothar Keller, bassist Ron Holzner and the aforementioned Wagner to be the core of The Skull, and though the band’s roots come from Holzner and Wagner‘s pedigree as members of Trouble — after whose landmark 1985 sophomore outing they’re named and whose material they played live in earlier incarnations of The Skull — they’ve developed a reputation of their own that at this point supersedes even that consideration. That is, you don’t go to see The Skull because those dudes were in Trouble. You go see The Skull because of The Skull‘s own work across last year’s The Endless Road Tuns Dark (review here) and their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here). I’m not sure if even The Skull anticipated that would be the case when they started out, but for a band who began as a means of paying homage to the legacy of Trouble, they’ve made a not-insignificant impact of their own with their two LPs (both released by NY’s own Tee Pee Records) and a healthy amount of touring at home and abroad, even amid the shifts in personnel.

As such, it was songs like “A New Generation” and “The Endless Road Turns Dark,” “Until the Sun Turns Black” and “Send Judas Down” that the crowd was there to see more than anything out of Holzner and Wagner‘s shared history. With Johnson and Vasquez as the new guys and Keller a steady foundation on guitar, The Skull unleashed that slew of memorable choruses, finding Keller backing Wagner on vocals periodically while still tossing out choice solos and the rolling riffs that still seem so emblematic of Midwestern doom — like a flat Illinois skyline, one never quite knows where the horizon actually is. The speedier “The Longing” from the second record was a highlight, and the title-track of For Those Which are Asleep made a suitable finale to their time on stage, following in a one-two punch from “Send Judas Down” that emphasized The Skull‘s level of craft for the strength that it has turned out to be. As someone who’s watched The Skull play live here and there for the last seven years, their progression has been natural and fluid, and they always seem to find their anchor, despite the lineup turnover. Songwriting helps. And stage presence. And chemistry.

These are tools very much in Orange Goblin‘s rather sprawling arsenal — more of an underground bunker, I guess — as well. And for what it’s worth, the context of this show made the professionalism of their set and the mere fact that they pulled it off all the more impressive. There was a hiccup or two as the band ran through 17 songs culled from their quarter-century-spanning catalog — Ward laughed on stage as he admitted he messed up during “Quincy the Pigboy” — but Orange Goblin still gave New York the show it came to see, even minus Turner. Coming out as ever to AC/DC‘s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock & Roll),” they tore into “Scorpionica” and “The Filthy and the Few” and “Sons of Salem” to rile the crowd before dipping back further for “Saruman’s Wish” and pitting newer stuff like the title-track of last year’s The Wolf Bites Back (review here) and “Renegade” against “The Fog” from 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned (review here) or “The Devil’s Whip” off of 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here). It was righteous enough to incite a mosh that Ward used to break the crowd in half for a kind wall of doom (as opposed to a wall of death) that seemed to go over well from where I stood, well out of its way.

Orange Goblin via social media have been dropping not at all subtle hints that these might be their last US shows, which is something Ward directly contradicted several times between songs: “We’ll be back, better, stronger, whatever.” It might be the simple fact that Turner didn’t get into the country motivating that — it’s not how I’d want to go out, if I was Orange Goblin — but for whatever it’s worth, it’s not at all like the band sounds done. Hell, the show Millard put on on bass alone would’ve been worth the trip into the city to see, never mind Hoare strutting around or Ward jumping off the stage to high-five the crowd, potentially to the peril of the audience’s shoulders. Even in hard circumstances, their command of their material was unflinching, and in the tightest of tight spots, Walls did nothing but hold his own alongside players who, unlike The Skull, haven’t seen a real lineup change in 15 years. Hoare had missed some dates years back, I think, but beyond that, the culture of Orange Goblin is and has been WardHoareMillard and Turner. Put it on your fucking t-shirt. For Walls to step into that as gracefully as he was able to do is a significant accomplishment.

I stuck around for the whole set because I knew “Cities of Frost” and “They Come Back” were in there later on, and was treated to a bonus cover of Motörhead‘s “No Class” as a reward. They rounded out with “Quincy the Pigboy” and “Red Tide Rising” before sending the Gramercy Theatre crowd staggering onto the sidewalk, an ambulance outside with its lights going I guess for somebody who hit it extra hard (hopefully nothing serious). Because it was that kind of night, I’d gotten parking directly across the street from the venue and was pleased to find I hadn’t missed a sign or a hydrant and my car was still there after the show ended at just about 11PM. I was back to my ancestral homestead before midnight, which was just fine with the alarm set for four hours later.

The tour they’re on will bring Orange Goblin through Muddy Roots Music Festival in Tennessee this week, as well as Chicago and other cities listed here. If you can go, you should. I don’t know if it’ll be their last time in the States or not. I don’t know anything. I interviewed Ward last year (didn’t get to post it because the audio didn’t come out) and he said they probably wouldn’t get over at all, so take that as a sign of how fortunate we are to get even the short stretch we’ve got. Either way, this is a band you should see. Not just for the influence they’ve had on their native scene in the UK, or because they’ve been around for a long time, but because they put on an absolute clinic in how to do rock and roll right. In a situation that would’ve undone lesser bands, they did nothing but shine. And destroy.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Live Review: Enslaved, YOB, Ecstatic Vision and Witch Mountain in NYC, 03.21.15

Posted in Reviews on March 23rd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

enslaved 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Driving the four-plus hours from Massachusetts to NYC to see Enslaved, YOB, Witch Mountain and Ecstatic Vision on Saturday wasn’t the practical choice, but it was the only choice. True, three of the four would be much, much closer to me this week, but to catch them in a bigger room and with Witch Mountain wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to miss. I left much earlier than I needed to, leaving as little as humanly possible to chance in terms of sitting in traffic, stressing out, etc. Turned out to be one of the easier rides south that I’ve had.

A positive omen? Maybe. I had time to hit Academy Records before the the show, which was a rare pleasure, and plenty of opportunity to catch my breath before doors to Gramercy Theatre opened. Last time I was there was for PentagramKings DestroyBang and Blood Ceremony, and as ambivalent as I was at being back in Manhattan itself, it would prove to be a night surrounded by old friends, laughs and good vibes. More than anything, that made trip worthwhile.

But there was a show on as well, and a killer one at that. An early start for a packed night had Witch Mountain on at 7:30, and here’s how it went from there:

Witch Mountain

witch mountain 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

A couple new faces in Portland’s scene-preceding four-piece, Witch Mountain. Very new, as it happened. As in, this was their second show. Led by founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nate Carson, the band had played Pittsburgh the evening prior, and that was the first gig with newcomer vocalist Kayla Dixon and bassist Justin Brown (also of Lamprey). Night two of the band’s Mk. III lineup was a short set, but they made the most of it and showcased the potential for continued growth. Dixon had a distinctly metallic presence as frontwoman, and the entire band, Brown included, seemed to relish the opportunity to have a bigger stage on which to unfurl their doom. Again, their time was brief, but “Psycho Animundi” from last year’s Mobile of Angels (review here) more than ably demonstrated Dixon‘s vocal range, while “Veil of the Forgotten” and particularly the end of “Shelter” from 2012’s Cauldron of the Wild (review here) thrust into an almost power metal presentation, already edging up to the boundaries of a shifting personality for the band. Especially for it being night two, it was an encouraging sight. I’d expect over time Witch Mountain will loosen up further in presence as they continue to tighten sonically, but I felt fortunate to see that process at its beginning.

Ecstatic Vision

ecstatic vision 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Of the four bands on the bill, I wondered most about how Ecstatic Vision‘s sound would translate to the spaciousness of Gramercy Theatre. The Philly three-piece would hardly be the first act in history to play space rock in a high-ceiling room, but for their being a newer band despite the experience of guitarist/vocalist Doug Sabolik and drummer Jordan Crouse in A Life Once Lost, it was a point of curiosity. Some of Sabolik‘s flourish, the chimes on his mic stand and melodica, weren’t as prevalent as they had been when I saw the band open for YOB at the Saint Vitus Bar in December (review here), but they did well all the same, and bassist Michael Connor‘s tone came through the house clear and warm in kind. Their custom lighting, the rope lights around the drums, strobe, and so on, left Connor more or less out of the equation, and that seemed to create some imbalance on stage, but unless you happened to be the black metal purists positioned in front of me as I watched Estatic Vision space out on encompassing, fluid psychedelic jams, there was little to argue with as they warmed up and settled into their engaging vibe. They still don’t have much recorded but are expected to make a debut sometime later this year on Relapse. Still worth keeping an eye on.

YOB

yob 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Would YOB do “Marrow” in that room? Yes, they would. Three of the four cuts from last year’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) — also my pick for the best album of 2014 — were aired, with opening duo “In Our Blood” and the scorching “Nothing to Win” leading to the aforementioned 19-minute record-closer, which was followed in turn by the title-track of their 2011 sixth album, Atma (review here), the Eugene, Oregon, three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster crisp in their delivery but not at all dead-eyed in the here’s-another-show way one might expect after their having spent the better part of the last three weeks on the road. The run with Enslaved ends this week, but YOB will continue to tour their way back west before returning in May to the East Coast for Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore. In New York, their response showed a considerable crossover response from the clearly-there-for-Enslaved contingent, particularly as the culmination of “Marrow” hit and they followed it by the gallop-laden “Atma,” which seemed all the more furious in comparison. I’ve seen YOB at least five times in the last 12 months and have yet to come out of a set without any regrets. Foster‘s snare was loud in the house mix, but so was everything else, so, you know, it kind of worked itself out. Every accolade YOB gets, they earn. I know they did that European stint last year with Pallbearer, and that was a month-plus on the road, but it’s still a change to think of YOB as a touring band after their years of keeping shows limited. While I wonder what the rest of 2015 will hold for them, I also couldn’t help but notice how sustainable and decidedly un-worn they looked on stage, like they could just keep going. I doubt they’d have met any complaints if they had.

Enslaved

Enslaved (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Last time I saw Enslaved in New York was early 2013. They played the Bowery Ballroom (review here), which is a not-insignificant space in itself, but not as sizable as the Gramercy, and I think it says something about the long-running Norwegian outfit’s growing US fanbase that their return to Manhattan would be in a larger venue. They’re supporting the release of their 13th full-length, In Times (review forthcoming) on Nuclear Blast, but new material or old, they had the room on their side from the word go. Bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson joked with the crowd between songs, and by the time they got down to playing the title-track from In Times laughingly promised the crowd that it would be the last new song they played. For what it’s worth, I didn’t notice much of a change in reception for recent or older material. Sure, a song like “The Watcher” from 2008’s Vertebrae, with its mega-chorus, or a by-now staple like “Ruun” from the 2006 LP of the same name is bound to get a response, but “Thurisaz Dreaming” and “Building with Fire” sat well alongside those and “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” from 2012’s RIITIIR (review here), and wherever the band headed, the crowd went along. Of course, their stage presentation was air-tight, Kjellson holding down a frontman role flanked on either side by guitarists Ivar Bjørnson and Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal, while keyboardist/vocalist Herbrand Larsen made a case for up-front featuring of his own with stellar command of the clean-sung parts — I saw Enslaved for the first time eight years ago at SXSW, and I’d mark Larsen‘s growth as a vocalist among the foremost catalysts enabling their musical progression in that time; that growth was, I’ll note, already underway for several years by then — and drummer Cato Bekkevold sat swallowed up by his expansive kit surrounding. They came out one at a time to start their set and for the encore, and each time Bekkevold sat down, he disappeared. Good for a laugh, but he also used that whole drumset, and flawlessly. Their encore was “As Fire Swept Clean the Earth” from 2003’s Below the Lights, “Fenris” from 1994’s sophomore outing, Frost, and the title-cut from 2004’s landmark Isa, and when it was over, there was nothing left for the audience to do but leave, having so thoroughly been handed its ass on a platter by the five-piece, whose reach seems only to continue growing with time.

If you want the short version, the show was a win, but what made it even better was seeing old friends throughout the night and catching up, and that was something that continued even as security started shuffling people out of the downstairs lounge. On my way back north on Sunday, it was the memories of good times and good music that seemed to make the trip shorter, both thoroughly appreciated.

Speaking of old friends, this review is dedicated to Loana dP Valencia of Nuclear Blast, alongside whom it has been my complete and utter pleasure to work for the last decade.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Fall Tour Pt. 22: Pentagram, Blood Ceremony, Bang and Kings Destroy, NYC, 11.01.14

Posted in Reviews on November 2nd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

gramercy theatre

Especially traveling with Kings Destroy, who are from the city, it was hard not to think of the New York show as the apex of the tour. That doesn’t likely make Providence an afterthought to the bands, but it wound up being one of the biggest crowds of the run, and I know for me, getting to work in the photo pit alongside the likes of Frank WhiteGreg ChristmanKen Pierce and Rodrigo Fredes, and seeing a few old friends in the crowd, it was a special night. Really by any measure.

Doors were a little bit before seven, I think. I got to witness some of the staff peptalk before the gig: “This is an older crowd, beer drinking, dope smoking,” etc., and was asked if I had any questions at the end of it. Nah man, I’m clear. I’ll watch out for that dopesmoking. Maybe get out a little flashlight and point it at somebody’s vaporizer. Ha.

I’m not sure I can claim impartiality on any of these bands by now — calling this a “review” is stretching it — but I’ll give a rundown anyway:

Kings Destroy

Kings Destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Some of the guys were apprehensive about an early 7:30 start time, but Kings Destroy wound up with one of the best, if not the best — not like I was taking headcounts — crowd of the tour, and they greeted it with suitable thrust. Particularly with their pedigree in Killing Time and Uppercut and so on, big stages continually are no threat, and spread out, with guitarist Carl Porcaro over in command of his own side of the stage, they seem completely at home. Drummer Rob Sefcik holding court behind, they pushed “The Mountie” to the front of the set with “Old Yeller” behind and closed out with “Blood of Recompense” once more bringing vocalist Steve Murphy down from the stage to stand on the barrier and directly engage the audience. The last two nights, I’ve been pleased to see bassist Aaron Bumpus step out from behind guitarist Chris Skowronski and come forward both when his bass takes the fore in “Embers” and at other points, his tone coming through full and deep from his Sunn head. He’s been Kings Destroy‘s secret weapon all along, but in Vermont and NYC, he’s also rightly taken a more focal position, which suits him and the band well. “Smokey Robinson” gave way to “Mr. O” for the liveliest part of the set in terms of pacing, and Kings Destroy delivered their hometown a kick in the ass as only returning conquerors can.

Bang

Bang (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Jammed a little bit more on “Questions” at the end of their set, which was awesome. This was probably also the biggest crowd they’ve played to on this tour, though not the biggest space — that would be Minneapolis — but they’ve also had a week-plus to get themselves to this point playing almost every night, and they handled themselves well. Out in the crowd, I could see a few heads singing along to “Redman” and “Keep On” and I got into it as well on the vaguely sociopathic “Last Will and Testament” and “Our Home.” It must be strange for guitarist Frankie Gilcken and bassist Frank Ferrara, or maybe it was at the start of the tour, to be out again as basically a new band playing older material. Reunions are funny things. Bang, with the foundation-strong classic style met so well by drummer Jake Leger, have handled it as smoothly as they handle the groove of “The Queen,” and once again they just looked like they were digging the hell out of playing those songs. That’s been consistent from day one, but I went to the back of Gramercy Theatre to watch a bit from the seats, and even so far away, their love of what they do radiated out and brought a smile to my face.

Blood Ceremony

Blood Ceremony (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Toronto foursome cut a couple songs out of their set as compared to Burlington the night before, but I’m glad to have seen them two nights in a row for being able to better appreciate the consistency of their delivery, how much of the theatricality is worked on, really given a sense of performance to coincide with the music. Vocalist Alia O’Brien once again donned the fringe, and bassist Lucas Gadke broke his strap for the second evening in a row. Guitarist Sean Kennedy has a pretty subdued stage presence, quiet almost for playing so loud, but he held it down on “I’m Coming with You” and “Return to Forever,” O’Brien switching off flute and organ and draping her Blood Ceremony cloak over the Pentagram bass drum, logo facing out. Michael Carillo‘s kick work shook it off once, but it stayed the second time, and though it was a shorter set than the night before, they still nailed their finest woodsy riffery in “The Magician,” finishing big but still fitting with their ’70s prog cultistry. They’re one of those bands that I’ve always felt I should probably be more into than I have been, and seeing them twice in two days only reaffirms that yeah, Blood Ceremony have it together and have rightly earned the influential status they’ve attained.

Pentagram

Pentagram (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I was told that Bobby Liebling flipped me off at one point early in Pentagram‘s set, but I missed it entirely. Doubt it was an insulting thing, I don’t think I’m on that dude’s radar enough for him to want to give me the finger even in passing, but just rock and roll. Either way, a distinction. One of his boots seemingly held in check by red duct tape, Liebling immediately took charge of the Gramercy Theatre stage, Pentagram giving the full room what they came for in hard stares, heavy riffs and classic doom. Guitarist Victor Griffin seemed particularly spirited, and bassist Greg Turley and drummer Sean Saley went right along as well. At this point, Pentagram are a given live. After the relatively small space in Vermont, to have them slam into NYC and hand the city its ass, with some stiff competition uptown in the Samhain reunion, again, it felt like the payoff for the tour. Packed house — I don’t think it was sold out, but pretty close — and some moshing for good measure, but more than that, just a victory lap from the modern incarnation of a legendary band who seem to be writing their legacy with each stop they make on the road.

After the show, I drove up to Steve KD’s house and crashed in the same room as the other night, slept through the time change and woke up around 9:30AM to find coffee and bagels, which was perfect. A leisurely start to the final day of the tour, something of an epilogue to the whole affair, and yeah, I’m tired, and I’m ready to go home, but this run has been really great and I know how fortunate I am to have been able to be along for it in the way I have. More later and Providence tonight. Killer.

Pics after the jump, you know the drill. Thanks for reading.

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