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.