Thursday, February 25, 2016

Monster Truck/Sittin Heavy

If you're hungry for a big, juicy, meaty slab of rock 'n roll, I have two words for you: Monster Truck.

The band's new album Sittin Heavy is the perfect follow up to Furiosity. The guitar riffs hit harder, and the songs and lyrics are killer.

That's evident from the first moment of the first track, the aptly titled, "Why Are You Not Rocking?" The guitar rolls through riffs and grinds out a chorus while Jon Harvey's voice begs for a live audience to chant along. Harvey lets loose with some screaming toward the end of this track--love it.

"Don't Tell Me How To Live" continues the defiant, rock 'n roll attitude, with a dirty verse and a soaring chorus over some cool guitar work. I could talk about the kick ass riffage, but lets just assume that comes standard from here on out. Guitarist Jeremy Widerman is a riff machine. A machine.

"She's A Witch" should be the soundtrack to every bearded man's heartbreak. "For the People" is a southern rock-style anthem about unity and peace, featuring a guitar lick that makes you feel like you're riding on a hilly road on a perfect, sunny day.

"Black Forest" offers a bluesy, but still rocking break from the high energy. Widerman's guitar grinds while Harvey gives an emotional performance. "Another Man's Shoes" is a slow burner...the verses just let the bass and drums take the spotlight before a riff that just punches you in the face. But, you know, a punch you actually like. "Things Get Better" is another southern-style rocker. "The Enforcer" and "To The Flame" have a bit of a darker vibe. These two remind me more of the stuff on Monster Truck's first album.

"New Soul" is a fun, ZZ-Top-esque declaration of love. What girl would say no to a bro singing, "Diamond woman/give me your love?"

"Enjoy the Time" is a reminder that life sucks, but we should "enjoy the times we have/before they're gone away." Harvey does an amazing job singing this one. It's got a melody that just brings up that little lump in your throat. 

Something that doesn't get mentioned enough these days is an album's packaging. I am kind of obsessed with the way Monster Truck approached this for Sittin Heavy. The front is a denim jacket. (see above) But each song has it's own logo--you can see that in the lyric sheet, and on the back is the back of the jacket, with the patches representing each song. Maybe it's because I'm a nerd, but I think this is really clever and cool. The liner notes credit Monster Truck with the layout and design, so they are evidently even more awesome than I thought.

Sittin Heavy is a must if you're a fan of rock, southern rock, or really, just good music. These songs were made for two things: driving around town like a mother effing bad ass... and singing along at a concert while those riffs make you realize that you've never felt feelings until that amp fired up. I am monumentally bummed that Monster Truck's only date near me (St. Louis) is on a weeknight during a month I can't ask off work.

"Rock and roll might save your life, might save your life tonight,"

--Mrs W.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Epic night of metal part 2: Lamb of God

Already pumped from Anthrax, the Tuesday night crowd waited while Lamb of God's crew checked drums and guitars. Fans cheered every time a riff rang out on the PA. A stage worker checked Randy's mic with a, "1, 2, 3, 4," and the crowd continued counting. Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills" played as house music, and everyone sang along with the chorus.

Lamb of God walked on stage at Kansas City's Midland after buildings falling, bridges exploding, and other chaotic scenes played on video screens on either side of the drum riser.

"Desolation" opened the set. Followed by "512" from the band's most recent album.

From my third row balcony seat, the pit looked pretty terrifying...but part of me wanted to be down there.

This music is powerful and I get wanting to let go and just descend into madness for awhile.

My favorite little moment: early in the night singer Randy Blythe asked, "Can I get a Rick Flair?! Woooo!" Adorable. Metal and old-school wrestling. A combo for the ages.

The production for Lamb of God's show is everything. Since I was not familiar with all the songs the band played, the lighting and video complimenting the music kept my mind from wandering. This elevated the experience for me, especially on "Ruin," which featured religious and cult imagery, and "Now You've Got Something to Die For," dedicated to men and women in the military. Other times video of candles, the band's logo, or other creepy scenes played. The person serving as the brains behind Lamb of God's stage show is brilliant.

"Still Echoes" "Erase This," and "Overlord" from the band's latest album, VII: Sturm Und Drang, show off Blythe's vocal skills--which used to not make sense to me.

After seeing Lamb of God live, I totally get it. Blythe slides between growling, screaming, screeching, and singing. Sometimes all in the same word. It's art. It is music. It's beautiful.

"Walk With Me in Hell" was another killer performance. By both Blythe, and guitar player Mark Morton.

In addition to grasping beauty in not "clean" vocals...I've also learned to find the groove in Lamb of God's music. It's definitely there in the guitars and bass. Yes, they're playing fast and loud, but there are riffs, time changes--it's so interesting and just touches this emotional part of me no other music does. Chris Adler, Lamb of God's drummer...damn. I'm in awe of drummers anyway. I don't understand how they do something different with each limb. And make it sound good. Adler's playing is fast, but not just for the sake of being speedy. It totally drives the songs. I especially noticed this during "Set to Fail."

"Redneck" overwhelmed the theater with one last insane burst of energy. Sweat and sound and voices filled the room, all the way up to the ornate chandeliers and the Midland, and even the beautifully painted ceilings they hang from. Fists in the air everywhere as Randy growled the first line of the chorus.

This show rocked. I still feel kind of like an outsider in the metal fan scene--especially this kind of metal. I would not be into it at all if my husband hadn't taught me to appreciate it. But I'm starting to see that not everyone gets it, and I really, really do now. Especially after this concert. Maybe that's enough to make me belong.

Read my review of the Anthrax portion of the evening.

Rock on..and if you can handle it...rock a little harder. You might like it,
--Mrs. W.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Epic night of metal part 1: Anthrax

The minute I learned Lamb of God and Anthrax were touring together, I freaked out, called my husband so we could freak out together, and made plans to hit Kansas City's Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, which is a breathtakingly beautiful place to see a metal show. Definitely one of my favorite venues.

I am just far too excited about this experience, so I'm posting two (hopefully) easily digestible reviews. Starting with Anthrax.

The thrash metal legends burst onto the stage in a huge fireball of energy with "Fight 'Em Till You Can't." Gorgeous metal man hair flew everywhere. These guys have perfected the headbang hair twirl.

Singer Joey Belladonna darted around the stage with his half-mic-stand. Scott Ian's legendary goatee flowed majestically as he grinded out riffs.

Tuesday night's set at The Midland featured classics like "Caught in a Mosh," "Antisocial," and "Got the Time," complete with some insane bass playing from Frank Bello.

Anthrax will release a new studio album on February 26. Ian warned For All Kings will "rip your head off" AND "make you shit your pants." Yikes. We heard two songs from the upcoming album: The politically charged "Evil Twin" and "Breathing Lightning." The former is fast as hell thrash, while the latter is a bit more dynamic.

"In the End" has become a staple in the band's set. Pictures of the late Ronnie James Dio and Dimebag Darrell framed the stage as Belladonna belted out lyrics like, "our diamond shined so bright" and, "on and on his memory screams."

Anthrax plays with energy, spirit, and pure joy most bands half their age don't bring to the stage. These guys are so fun to watch. Joey constantly interacted the audience. When he wasn't reaching over security guards to give fans high fives, he was pointing, smiling, and having fun with anyone taking pictures. Including Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe:

Worth noting: Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante did not play the KC show. He's dealing with carpel tunnel and John Dette is filling in when Benante needs a break. It didn't look like Dette missed a beat. Pun intended.

The killer anthem "Indians" and a good old war dance closed out the set.

Joey led us in one more chorus and Scott thanked us again before tossing a buttload of guitar pics into the crowd and taking a bow with his bandmates. They didn't seem to want to leave the stage.

These guys have been together, in some form or another, for 35 years... and it still seems they are thankful and genuinely pumped to be able to play music every night. They're still having fun. And it's contagious.

Look for my review of Lamb of God's epic portion of the 2/2/16 show tomorrow.

And in the meantime--shameless plug: like Mrs. W Rocks on Facebook.

--Mrs. W.

Monday, February 1, 2016


If you're a Halestorm fan, you may have been pretty pumped to check out the tour dates the band released today. (Spoiler alert: Springfield is a stop!)

Queen badass and former Runaway Lita Ford is on the tour, (you've surely heard Kiss Me Deadly somewhere) as well as Dorothy...a band I was unaware of until today.

Dorothy only has an self titled EP out, so I bought it...hey, it's $3.99 on iTunes. That's cheaper than most Starbucks drinks. And this is art and shit.

You can learn more about Dorothy on the band's Wikipedia page. Yes, apparently their drummer's name is Zac Morris.

What does Dorothy sound like? Imagine Elle King after an all night bender on the Sunset Strip with Jack White, Marilyn Manson, and Ozzy Osbourne. Crunchy, catchy, dirty guitars take the vocal melodies on a crazy ride, as Dorothy belts apocalyptic, dark, party-ready, ass-kicking rock lyrics.

After Midnight kicks off the DOROTHY EP:

"Nothing good comes after midnight/when you play the devil's game." Preach.

Wild Fire follows. I wanna hang with the chick she's singing about in this song.

This is Wicked Ones:

If I had to play one Dorothy song to give someone an idea of the band's sound, this is the one I'd go with.

Gun in My Hand is an insane mix of black country (is black country a thing? It should be a thing) and rock. It's swampy and stompy, fun and dark. 

Bang Bang Bang perfectly follows Gun in My Hand. These two songs flow into each other seamlessly. The storyteller has made the transition from victim ("Why did love put a gun in my hand?") to the one in control. ("My love's gonna drag you down...One shot and you're six feet down...")

But there's more! (Whaaaaat?) Dorothy has released a few more songs since the DOROTHY EP. You've probably heard Raise Hell on a commercial or two:

Missile doesn't stray from the sound in the band's other songs--which is 100% okay with me. Can Missile just somehow play every time I walk into a room? Sweet.

I will definitely be showing up early to Halestorm's show to check out Dorothy. I have high hopes for the band's live swagger. You will too after hearing the band rework Kanye West and Jay-Z's No Church in the Wild into a bluesy jam:

Show some love:
DOROTHY on Facebook
DOROTHY on Twitter

--Mrs. W.