Archive | August, 2011

I’m with them

31 Aug

Red Hot Chili Peppers @ E-Werk Cologne, filming I'm with youSome time ago, I got an e-mail. It stated quite blankly that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were filming a live DVD for their new album “I’m with you”. Now, the album hadn’t been released and I can’t deny having been in two minds about it. Honestly: what were the chances of another “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” coming along? Anyway, the DVD was to be filmed in Cologne and the audience would be extremely limited.

I’ve seen the Chili Peppers three times. The smallest venue was probably the Brixton Academy. And that already sums up the trouble with going to see a band of that magnitude. Any show will always take place in a stadium or similar. No club atmosphere, no close-up experience. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still always try to squeeze through to the front, even in a stadium-size venue. But it’s just not the same. So when this e-mail came and offered me tickets to the filming of this DVD, I had to take the chance. Whether I’d listened to the new music or not.

Red Hot Chili Peppers @ E-Werk Cologne, filming I'm with youSo my two favorite allies and I made our way to Cologne to the E-Werk. The Chili Peppers came on stage and “funked” each and every song off the new record plus “Me and my friends” and “Give it away”. And two of my wishes came true. First of all, Anthony Kiedis sounded good. Sometimes, I think the arena sound doesn’t do him any favors. Second of all, Josh Klinghoffer – the new guitarist replacing legendary John Frusciante – did an awesome job. Flea and Chad, as always, did not disappoint.


Seeing them in a smaller space, probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and hearing the new music live really rekindled the comatose relationship I’ve had with the Chili Peppers lately. “I’m with you” isn’t a first-listen winner. But it does grow on you unbelievably over time. It’s funky, soulful, complete. So I guess I have to admit – all doubts aside – I’m with them. Once again.

 

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers @ E-Werk Cologne, filming I'm with you

Red Hot Chili Peppers @ E-Werk Cologne, filming I'm with you

Spack! Festival

20 Aug

Itchy Poopzkid at Spack! FestivalThere’s nothing like a summer festival experience. Especially if the sun is shining and there’s some of your favorite bands on the bill. Sure, a festival is something you have to WANT to go to. I mean, it can be a whole lot of waiting, muddy campgrounds and such. But especially when they are small and “cozy”, they become one of the most honest music experiences.

Itchy Poopzkid at Spack! FestivalMost recently, I attended a festival called Spack! which takes place in Wirges about an hour outside of Frankfurt, Germany. After a number of smaller, local/German bands the first of two days came to a close with three headliners. First up: Itchy Poopzkid, one of my favorite German punk-rock bands. As expected, the three-piece delivered a vibrant set incorporating some of the finest tunes from their ten-year-career. Now, I never get tired watching this band do a live show. Witty remarks, instrument switcharoo, guitar case stunts – these guys have all that and more. On a side note, I have more reasons to go and support this band. While I try not to include “work” in this blog, I did include Itchy Poopzkid in my work. Check out the new Suzuki campaign I got to work on here.

 

Boysetsfire at Spack! Festival

Back to the festival, though. And the bill. Second up were none other than my favorite post-hardcore band of all time, Boysetsfire. And yes, it was my third BSF show this summer. But honestly, I had to make up for lost time, right? In short: It totally blissed me out once again. From “My Empire” to “Rookie”, it was all there. Outstandingly delivered.Boysetsfire at Spack! Festival

Oh, and then Good Charlotte played.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on Itchy Poopzkid here: www.itchypoopzkid.de
More on Boysetsfire here: www.boysetsfire.org
More on Spack! Festival here: www.spack-festival.de

 

 

 

 

Wild Horses

19 Aug

One thing is inherent. If you listen to rock music long enough, bands you love will disperse, remix and come together to form new bands for you to listen to. Of course, it’s always a sad day when some of your favorite combos split. But usually, it’s also a promise. Phoenix from the ashes and all that. So you sit back and wait and see what happens.

A Pale Horse Named Death at Cologne's UndergroundYou could say this is why I knew about A Pale Horse Named Death. Featuring members from Life of Agony, Type O Negative, Seventh Void and Biohazard for the live line-up, it’s actually turned out to be quite the underground version of a rock supergroup. but here’s the low-down on that:

After Life of Agony spent the better part of 20 years making music and then finally touring these albums at great lengths (which I never got tired of), it seemed that the members were – one by one – taking on new challenges. Keith Caputo aka KeithMina is just about to tour Europe solo once again. Alan Robert has published the comic series Wire Hangers and Crawl to me (read, if you get the chance, they are awesome). Joey Z is busy with his studio as far as I have heard. And so drummer Sal Abruscato – once of Type O Negative – took the chance to come out from behind the drums and front this new project.

The album was recorded with help from sound engineer and guitarist Matt Brown (Seventh Void and Type O Negative) and guitarist Bobby Hambel (Biohazard). These three were then joined by drummer Johnny Kelly (Seventh Void and Type O Negative) and Eric Morgan on the bass for the live performances.

A Pale Horse Named Death at Cologne's UndergroundIf you agree that this line-up says it all, you won’t call me crazy when I tell you this: I bought the tickets for this show in February. As in: when there was no album yet. I decided to put all my faith in the few snippets available online and the fact that this just had to be good.

So APHND and Seventh Void double-billed the Underground in Cologne on August 17. Although we arrived half-way through APHND’s first song, it only took a nanosecond to “get into the groove”. In their bio, APHDN state that their music “sounds like Alice in Chains mysteriously sneaking up behind Type O Negative with a butcher knife while being filmed for a future episode of Law & Order”. And there’s just no better way to describe it. While I am usually not keen on drummers fronting bands (sorry, Dave Grohl), this is the exception every rule should have. Sal Abruscato (who clearly is not merely a “drummer”) delivers an absolutely spell-binding performance, enhancing the alluringly dark APHND melodies with the type of husky rock vocal quality we’d generally all love to hear more of. And all that backed by a group of musicians you know to be just outstandingly outstanding. Seriously, this just couldn’t have gone wrong.

A Pale Horse Named Death at Cologne's UndergroundAnd for the proverbial sprinkles on top, APHDN are down to earth enough to spend time with their fans after a vibrant, rocking, relentless set. If that doesn’t win you over, I don’t know what will.

Sal, Matt, Bobby, Johnny, Eric: thank you so much for a great show. In my mind, you’re A Pale Horse Named Awesome already.

More on APHND: apalehorsenameddeath.com
Info on Underground shows: underground-cologne.de

 

 

 

Awesome Austin

12 Aug

Chris Cornell at Belmont StageIf you live in Europe, Austin TX is not exactly the first destination that jumps to mind when you’re planning a trip abroad. I mean, there’s no palm trees, no skiing and no big city glitz to speak of, is there. Saying that, Austin has its very own highlight that should not be missed by any self-respecting music lover: south-by. Namely, the South by Southwest Festival. Every year in March, the city (which is a unique mix of Southern dreaminess and urban skyline) comes to life with thousands of interactive, music and movie buffs. Seminars, showcases and screenings rule Austin’s venues and promise nothing but a good time. This is where new trends are born and new bands are made.

Chris Cornell at Belmont StageI had the chance to attend south-by last year. Although I was actually there to broaden my knowledge of the interactive world, I did attempt to soak up as much of the music part as possible. As luck would have it, I entered a competition from the people over at Nokia Worldwide and won. The grand prize was a ticket to the Nokia Powered Down event featuring an acoustic set by none other than Chris Cornell (plus an awesome roof-top after-show party, btw). So anyway, I got to watch the set open-air with about 90 others on Austin’s Belmont Stage. Needless to say, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that put me in an awesome mood for about 3 months.

Chris Cornell at Belmont StageBefore we get to the proof (as in: the video), I just wanted to mention that the tickets for next year’s south-by have just gone on sale. If there is any chance you can be there, don’t miss it.

more info on: www.sxsw.com

 

 

 

…and a live snippet of the night:
Live Snippet