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.