Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Hey, Springfield, Remember when Dorothy opened for Halestorm and Lita Ford back in April and everyone fell deeply in love with the beautiful brunette who can sing her ass off?

Well, now Dorothy has released a full length album, ROCKISDEAD.

I already lost my shit about Dorothy a few months ago...so I've reviewed half this album already.

And my buddy over at The Cheap Seats Report wrote a fantastic description of ROCKISDEAD.

So I don't really need to spend a ton of time on this write up. But I'm probably going to anyway.

ROCKISDEAD starts with "Kiss It." The guitars are dirty and fun and the lyrics are rebellious. This album is full of girl power, but not the fluffy, pink kind. Real girl power. Metal girl power. "Dark Nights" continues that theme--Dorothy won't settle for anything less than the bad ass dude she deserves, and you shouldn't either dammit.

The album is full of gritty, electronic sounds that give it a unique edge. There's something for everyone on ROCKISDEAD. Indie, pop, rock...even country. Imagine "Whiskey Fever" sung in the style of Miranda Lambert. You may not want to, but if you try, you have to admit it will work. The album closer, "Shelter," even has a gospel feel.

"Raise Hell" and "Wicked Ones" bring a one-two punch of sexy party music. Ladies, this is what you should listen to when you're putting on red lipstick and black stockings. Guys, this is also what should be playing when you take them off later. (Or vice versa...whatever)

The haunting "Medicine Man" is a must hear...a bit Stevie Nicks. The bluesy, sultry "Woman" sounds like it's coming from fuzzy amps in a smoky bar.

These days, I always wonder if a singer is actually as talented as they sound on an album. Because, studio magic. Dorothy is the real deal. The whole band is talented. I love the rock vibe they bring live:

More songs that should be your soundtrack for your first tattoo, staying out until 4:00 a.m. and/or smoking cigarettes follow in "After Midnight" and "Missile." The latter is one of my favorites on ROCKISDEAD. It's effortless but ballsy. I love how Dorothy plays with melody and mood-- spitting out the verse, slowing down before the chorus, then totally letting loose.

This album will make you feel things. All kinds of things. You should buy it and play it really loud while you get into some kind of delicious trouble.

This night ain't for the faint of heart,

-Mrs W.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Red Sun Rising/T.R.O.Y. Outland Ballroom 6/10/16

The Outland Ballroom is a hot and sweaty place in the summer. Steamy. Just embrace it, because you're all a hot mess and everyone is just getting lost in the music.

Red Sun Rising cut through that thick, humid Springfield air with "Push" Friday night. We were in the palm of their hands immediately. Singer Mike Protich makes it difficult to look away from the stage, even for a second. Even when you need a drink of your sweet, icy vodka cranberry. Did I mention it was hot?

By the end of that first song, the band was just as sweaty as the rest of us.

"The Otherside" hit early in the set. Singing along with my Friday night family gave me chills.

This is my church, guys:

"Amnesia" is going to be Red Sun Rising's next single. They said it's a perfect song for summer, and I agree. It's a super catchy tune about seizing the moment: "Life should be touched not choked to death."

The stage setup and lighting really worked for this show. As Protich sang the beginning of the second verse of "My Muse," he stepped up onto one of the risers. The lights behind him and the fog and the music just came together in this perfect little moment. "Your masquerade it never changed/you wear your mask in the dark..." Magic. One of those moments I'd like to bottle up and keep forever.

RSR covering Alanis Morrisette's "Uninvited" is apparently a huge fan favorite. This acoustic version is fantastic, but does not hold a candle to the electric version we saw at the Outland Ballroom. Guitarist Dave McGarry's harmonizing with Protich is beautiful. This song live was haunting. Stunning. Dreamlike.

"Blister" gives Protich a major chance to shine...there are front men who can sing...then there are front men who can SING. True vocalists. This guy has a "holy shit" kind of voice.

Before "Blister," Protich talked about writing the song years ago, and gave a shout out to the local bands who opened the show. This would be a good time to mention I noticed both guitar players, Dave and Ryan, came out and watched T.R.O.Y.'s set. That's pretty damn cool.

"Bliss" is another "wow" vocal song:

Obviously, that video is not from Friday, but it's good quality.

It's been awhile since I've been this excited about a band. Red Sun Rising really doesn't sound like anyone else. That's why they're so refreshing. The song "Imitation" not only rocked the Ballroom Friday, I'm guessing it's a mantra for RSR. ("Imitation is suicide...") They are definitely making their own way and I can't wait to see where they go. Hopefully somewhere with air conditioning.

These guys next to me were head banging like this the entire show:

A video posted by Carrie Winchel (@mrswrocks) on

At the height of our "hot yoga" sultry rock 'n roll bonding session, the band's current single "Emotionless" closed out the show as everyone in the room sang along. Also, we are a bunch of dicks and didn't catch Protich when he jumped from the stage. I wasn't standing in that particular spot, so don't blame me. I would have caught him. Because I may or may not think he's adorable.

Don't worry, Myles Kennedy...my fangirl heart is big enough for both of you.

Red Sun Rising's music is catchy and cool enough to enjoy on a nice drive or just to rock out to...but in Polyester Zeal they've also given us something you can listen to over and over-- really dig in and find something new to appreciate with each spin. Most artists today don't achieve both.

It's T.R.O.Y.'s fault we were already hot and sweaty when Red Sun Rising hit the stage. The local favorites definitely deserve the attention and success they are receiving. Thrashy riffs, peppered with just enough solos and little guitar licks to keep things interesting. Plenty of people in the crowd wore T.R.O.Y. T-shirts, and I could feel the love in the room as they performed their original tune "The Reckoning." T.R.O.Y. also turned in a pretty killer "War Pigs" cover. If you aren't from Springfield, or you haven't drank the T.R.O.Y. Kool Aid yet, I encourage you to check these guys out.


A photo posted by Carrie Winchel (@mrswrocks) on

Also--shout out to the other local bands who played Friday night: Subject to Loss, The Final Piece, and Seirenes.

Q102 hosted a Rock Room Session with Red Sun Rising earlier Friday afternoon. If you didn't catch it on the radio, RSR sang "The Otherside" and "Emotionless," and shared the stories behind the songs.

Cue my inner struggle of how much eye contact to make with the band. Goal: #InterestedButNotCreepy

I'm really thankful I was able to be a part of this intimate performance. It was a rad experience.

Keep on rocking, Springfield! Hope to see you at the next show!

Mrs. W. Rocks on Facebook
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--Mrs. W.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Springfield Show Amp Up: Red Sun Rising

Red Sun Rising hits the Outland Ballroom on June 10, so in order to prepare for obnoxiously singing along, and indulging my obsession with throwing the horns at the perfect moments in a song, I am checking out their album, Polyester Zeal this week.

Your girl is pleasantly surprised by this album. There's a ton of variety on Polyester Zeal, and there's also a truckload of emotion here. The singing, lyrics, riffage, and melodies touch that nerve music is supposed to touch. It will keep you guessing and will give you chills.

"Push" is a high-energy rock track that kicks off the album and definitely made me want to keep listening. "Amnesia" would have been right at home in the '90's rock scene, especially the pre-chorus.

"Otherside," which you've probably heard on Q102, starts with a verse that is very Alice In Chains, then leads into a chorus that will offer the perfect chance for me to employ my aforementioned sing along skills at the show:

"Emotionless" is also getting a lot of love on Q. I love the lyrics in this one:

Lead singer, Mike Protich, has a really interesting, captivating voice. "Blister" shows this off perfectly. "Worlds Away" is another standout.

You have to hear the opening 30 seconds to "Awake." It rocks. "Bliss" is another example of variety on this album. It starts off  as an acoustic number, then turns into a full-on lighters-in-the-air rock anthem. "Imitation" closes us out on a stellar note--great message, and a more aggressive performance.

I really see big things for these guys, and I'm looking forward to following their career. It's obvious they're intensely dedicated to the art of songwriting, and they've got that rock mixed with melody thing down.

I'm having a hard time categorizing RSR or comparing them to other artists, so trust me on this one-- if you've liked what you've heard from Red Sun Rising so far, Polyester Zeal won't disappoint. Check it out and let me know what you think...and I'd love to rock out with you on Friday!

--Mrs. W.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Shinedown/P.O.D./Wayland Shrine Mosque

Dammit Shinedown. My story is just beginning...

Why am I crying? Damn you, Brent Smith, and your perfect voice.

Full disclosure: Your girl usually writes about bands she's obsessed with. Shinedown, I am not obsessed with...I mean, I might be now after seeing them live and realizing how many of the band's songs are a huge part of my brain and my heart and my life. How the hell do they do that?

Shinedown took the stage with "Asking For It," from the band's most recent album. For the next hour and a half, the mega-melodic, just-enough-rock, magic continued. "Fly From the Inside" kept the crowd going, followed by "Diamond Eyes," marking the first time I cried like a freaking girl. But not the last.

How do I know all of these songs? "I've got a candle/and I've got a spoon..." Someone save me.

I've never tried to memorize the words to "Second Chance," but I know all of them. This song took me hostage and gave me a major case of Stockholm syndrome.

Shinedown is nostalgia and now. They are everywhere. They are the tugging, longing feelings I used to be afraid of, but I now miss. Shinedown is teenage angst and early-30's disillusionment. They're high school. They're, "Aw, shit, I better not have another beer...I have to work in the morning. And every morning. For the rest of my life." Shinedown is everything I want to be. Shinedown is so perfect it hurts.

"I Dare You" was a definite highlight of the night. Smith was on point--he even came down into the audience to hang out with us. "If You Only Knew" was another teary moment that I can't explain. YOU listen to this fantastic band and a couple thousand people sing, "It's 4:03/and I can't sleep/without you next to me/I toss and turn like the sea," and try not to cry. The last ten years of my life came rushing back to me in that chorus.

I honestly am not sure I've heard an audience sing as passionately as the Shrine Mosque crowd sang along with "45." It was beautiful. Smith dedicated "Simple Man" to Prince, after speaking about media portrayal of his potential problems with pain killers, and pointing out that anyone who deals with that is so much more than their addiction. Preach, brother.

The Shrine lit up with cell phone flashlights and lighters for "State of My Head" for another "wow" moment.

A video posted by Carrie Winchel (@mrswrocks) on

I have two definite standouts of the night, "Cut the Cord," with a killer bass line, stole the show near the end of Shinedown's set. I am obsessed with the moment that chorus starts. "Make it RAIN/so ring the bell" Hell yes. The set closed with "Sound of Madness," which is so much fun to sing and dance along to. I want to live in that song.

Shinedown, you have baptized me in your music. I am now a believer. Can I get a witness?

P.O.D.'s set made me feel like I had taken a trip back in time...it was basically high school, only the band was wearing skinnier jeans. Youth group me (aka Miss S.) was definitely more into Steven Curtis Chapman than P.O.D., so I can't say I'm an expert on the band.

"Boom" started off P.O.D.'s nu-metal-tastic set. The band's time on stage was full of DJ sample noises, rock-rap, and big choruses. The audience? Lots of crowd surfing and vaping. Of course, "Youth of the Nation" (during which they brought an adorable little girl onstage) and "Alive" closed out P.O.D.'s time with us.

Wayland opened the night. As usual, the most high-energy band of the night was the openers. These guys went nuts. Vocalist Mitch Arnold had that "possessed by the music" thing down. I dig it. The Michigan four-piece rocked through "Welcome to My Head," "Bloody Sunrise," and "Reno."

I listened to these guys on Spotify, and thought they had a country flavor, but after seeing them live, I don't get that at all. They are so 80's--and I mean that in a good way. Very, very Skid Row, kinda Bon Jovi. This was super evident with "Come Back To Me." The band also went crazy and Arnold got all red-faced with a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Arnold asked if we'd come back and see them when they play Springfield again. Of course! The whole band is talented, and it was really the only time in the evening we got to hear a guitar solo.

Now I see the world through diamond eyes.

Goddammit, Shinedown.

--Mrs. W.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Review: Tremonti/Dust

For the past two weeks, I've been driving to and from work, air-drumming and air-guitaring along with Tremonti's new album, Dust.

I'm sure my lack of rhythm would make anyone who knows anything about music want to punch me right in the boob.

Dust was recorded during the same sessions as last summer's Cauterize. But singer/lead guitarist Mark Tremonti has made sure to say this isn't the "b-sides" of Cauterize. Dust seems more aggressive, apocalyptic, angrier, and thrashy.

This album is heavy. No joke. Giving this one a spin is just asking for a Beavis and Butthead moment-- you know, like when a Pantera video would come on and they would just go nuts?

Yeeeaaah! Rock! Yes! That's what "My Last Mistake" and "The Cage" will do for you. "Once Dead" is a good mix of fast and doomy metal, and the title track has definitely grown on me since it was released:

Big choruses and fantastic riffs follow on "Betray Me" and "Tore My Heart Out.' I love Tremonti's music so much because of that combo of strong melodies and fast, heavy guitars. That variety keeps you guessing-- I think I've discovered a new little nugget of guitar goodness or a cool melody every time I've listened to Dust.

The standout on the second half of the album is "Catching Fire." It brings back the brutal punch the first two songs had, and turns it up a notch. I love the way the bass pounds behind the lyrics of the second verse. That bridge is perfect and complicated and terrifying. It's a masterpiece, really. A Tremasterpiece.

But, don't turn off Dust after track 7. "Never Wrong," with a chorus melody that perfectly compliments the struggle in the lyrics, and "Rising Storm," are also super solid. The final song, "Unable to See," is definitely in the running for my favorite non-speedy-metal Tremonti song.

Ready for a "duh" moment? The guitars on this bitch are amazeballs. Mark Tremonti is the man. Riffs and solos--they're both awesome and unmistakably his. Drummer Garret Whitlock is also a beast. The drums are mixed excellently on this album-- they sound perfect. The way they compliment the songs is genius.

Just listen to the album, and marvel at its many wonders.


Mrs. W.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Halestorm/Lita Ford/Dorothy 4/11/16

Take me home tonight I'd do anything for you
Buy a bottle of whiskey
We'll get matching tattoos
Tell me that you love me, oh let me drive your car
We can sit 'till morning light just counting every star
'Cause if there's a hell I'll meet you there
And if there's a heaven they're serving beer
And if you're an angel, boy I must be high
If there's a church, it's rock 'n roll
And if there's a devil, I sold my soul
It's alright whatever we do tonight
'Cause if there's a God, dammit she won't mind
If there's a God, baby she won't mind. 

Lzzy Hale kicked off her band's set by strolling through the audience, crooning those lyrics. Of course I was on an aisle, but she does this on the other side of the theatre. Lame. When Hale made it to the Gillioz Theatre stage and the band launched into "Sick Individual," I was finally able to see her fabulous red leather jacket with fanastic long fringe in all its glory. I die.

The first half of Halestorm's set was heavy on songs from the band's latest album, Into the Wild Life. "Mayhem," "Apocalyptic," and my favorite, "I Like it Heavy" were head banging standouts.

If you're a creepy Lzzy Hale superfan like I am, you know she's struggled with her voice recently. This was the first time I've seen Halestorm since this tumblr post, and holy shit-- whatever Lzzy did to overcome her vocal issues worked. She sounds absolutely amazing. Like, maybe better than ever.

Arejay Hale got his turn in the spotlight and rocked through a huge drum solo that gave my face major smiling fatigue. This guy is so much fun to watch. Bobby Rock, who backed Lita Ford during her set, joined in. I had never heard of Bobby Rock before this show, but he was in a bunch of '80's bands, and is a bad ass drumming machine. (And writer and advocate for veganism. You do you, Bobby Rock.) Apparently Arejay learned to play drums from one of Bobby Rock's instructional videos. Cute.

Older Halestorm songs in the set included "Rock Show," "Mz. Hyde," "Love Bites," And I Get Off."

Halestorm is the second band I've seen this year that has given a big middle finger to the fake encore and just said, "you guys want us to keep playing?" Thank God! Other bands-- please do this! The night closed with "Freak Like Me," "Here's to Us," and "Miss the Misery," followed by a long jam sesh featuring a fiery guitar solo from Joe.

Before Halestorm hit the stage, Lita Ford took us on a leather-clad joyride. Here are the things I knew about Lita Ford before this night: "Kiss Me Deadly," The Runaways, and she was/is apparently a wild and crazy gal.

Now I also know that girl can freaking rock. She's 57! I'll have what she's having. Ford's set was pretty killer- full of upbeat rockers like "The Bitch is Back," "Cherry Bomb," and the aforementioned "Kiss me Deadly," which was so fun to sing along with. The reaction Ford got from the audience rivaled Halestorm's--seriously. I was actually surprised at how completely crazy the audience went for her.

It must be pretty mind-blowing for Lzzy Hale and Dorothy to be on tour with Ford. She, along with The Runaways, really changed things for chicks in rock. Lita Ford is a legend.

I freaked out about Dorothy a few months ago, when this show was announced. The band did not disappoint.

Dorothy's set featured a few songs I've never heard-- and pretty much everything from their EP. "Bang Bang Bang," "After Midnight," and "Wicked Ones" were especially kick ass live. Dorothy has a less aggressive stage presence than Lzzy, but it's still effective. Oh, and she's gorgeous. Like, it hurts how freaking beautiful she is.

There was plenty of side boob under that torn Iron Maiden shirt she was wearing. I'm in love. The band was great as well-- the guys were fun to watch.

It was Dorothy's birthday, and even though we sang to her during the band's set, Halestorm brought her out on stage to give her a cake and let us sing "Happy Birthday" again. I started to feel like a TGI Friday's server. If you listen close in the video below, you can hear yours truly saying, "I want some cake." I always want some damn cake.

Then, Dorothy joined Halestorm in a cover of Foghat's "I Just Want to Make Love to You." Which was awesome and super sexy. I don't smoke, but I needed a cigarette after that performance.

Lzzy Hale is so freaking cool. She's a rock goddess, but is honest and accessible. I love the way she talks to her fans. She said several times that a rock show is a religious experience, and, for me, that could not be more true. "Can I get an amen?"

If there's a church, it's rock and roll,
--Mrs. W.

Monday, April 11, 2016

In which I try to understand Babymetal

America was formally introduced to Babymetal last week, when they performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

I love it when metal of any kind gets all up in mainstream America's face. The Hollywood Vampires' performance on the Grammy Awards gave me a similar warm and fuzzy feeling.

Check out Babymetal performing "Gimme Chocolate!!" You're off to a good start with me, Babymetal. That's a sentiment I can get behind.

Then I had so many questions. Is Babymetal an entity, like Menudo, or are the girls themselves Babymetal? How did this happen? Who actually listens to this? Does anyone? Like, not for the novelty factor?

The group's Wikipedia page answers some of these quandaries. Babymetal's style is a fusion of metal and the Japanese "idol" genre. I really like and appreciate the definition of idol. It's essentially pop, but is more honest about the fact that it's creating a manufactured music star out of someone who has the right look. Anyhoo, Babymetal formed as an offshoot of a Menudo-like idol group. The three teenage girls who make up the band (ages 16-18 now) didn't know what metal was until the band formed. Adorable. They're backed by a live band called Kami Band during concerts.

Another question--can I listen to a whole Babymetal album without going insane? I gave the band's newest release, Metal Resistance, a Spotify spin to find out.

I can't say the combo of super catchy, poppy J-pop and metal doesn't work. However, while some songs on Metal Resistance sound cohesive and purposeful, others sound like a mash-up of two different songs. 

The music on Metal Resistance is actually really good. The song "KARATE" has a really great, groovy riff. and the bridge of "Awadama Fever" is pretty bad ass. Some songs toward the middle of the album feature synths pretty heavily. I'm not a huge fan of synths. "GJ!" is another standout, as is "Tales of the Destinies," which brings in some growling screams under the Metal Babies cooing.. "No Rain, No Rainbow" is a slow, power ballad sort of thing. Metal Resistance closes with a song sung in English, which sounds kind of bizarre, however it's one of the songs where the music and vocals work together really well.

The singing and melodies-- pure bubblegum. Bubblegum dipped in sugar. With cotton candy on top. 

Listening to an entire Babymetal album got pretty grating because of the vocals. I'm not anti-pop music at all, but this is just not my thing. All the songs started to sound the same to me. While the music is good, there aren't a ton of memorable riffs.

So...who actually listens to Babymetal? Somebody is. My guess would be teenage girls or dirty old men. Teen gals can get into the melodies, and are probably fascinated by that goth/punk/Lolita style.

Noisey has a cool feature called, "Who Actually Listens To..." The Black Veil Brides episode is especially entertaining:

I'd love to see one on Babymetal. And I want it to include a big, old, hairy metal head who genuinely likes the band. There's got to be one out there somewhere.

In conclusion, I just spent roughly 50 minutes blasting J-pop metal into my ear holes to write a blog post. That was my Monday. My parents are probably really proud.

Oh, and Gimme Chocolate!!

Mrs. W.