Sunday, December 14, 2014

Life Is A Delicious Bitch, and She's In Heat!!

Most Metal Heads will scoff at the notion of  Marilyn Manson, much less a tribute band fresh form Chicago. My grudge against Brian H. Warner has been smoking on a personal back burner for many years- since the early 1990's with his Bullshit music such as Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals. It drove me insane then, and it still does to this very day. Despite countless lawsuits, his rip-off version of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and the fact that this clown once lived in Ohio, has made me a salty journalist that will seriously question the integrity of his music.  However, putting all personal feeling aside, it was off to Nightcaps to show some local support to Delicious Bitch. 

The Saturday night was still young and I had arrived way too early for the show. Greeting me at the door was Vince S. a super-cool bouncer with no ego or Power trip issues. He shook and stamped my left hand and said, "Enjoy the show and thanks for coming out tonight." I gave a slight nod, ordered a beer and saw the bassist from Pipe, John Streba. He was there free-lancing his musical skills and to help out our good friend Van Halen Dave at his Birthday bash. "I gotta jet for a moment," I said to Streba and left for a few hours.

Father Christmas & Rudy Guzman
Once I returned, Vicious Circle was on stage performing the classic hit Wrathchild written by Iron Maiden. Sure, I could go on and on about the powerful vocals of Rudy Guzman and the band's outstanding showmanship that evening. However, I would like to give Dave Carlson (Nightcaps Manager) a special thanks for providing live weekend entertainment at his establishment and allowing local talent to shine in the dim spotlight at his dive bar on the Northside of Chicago. Carlson has always been a gracious club owner to his guests, which brings me back to the ominous fate of Delicious Bitch.  

John Streba
The room darken, the intor starts and bassist, John Streba was not on stage yet, but in fact was in the bathroom playing with his Pipe. As fans may or may not know, Streba has a thing for bathrooms and heavy Pipes. But let's not get into all that right now, shall we? It was time to restart the shows introduction as Delicious Bitch open with Irresponsible Hate Anthem.  The stage set-up, the theatrical make-up and live performance was indeed a night to remember. Other members included, lead guitarist, Neo and drummer Godeater that offered a solid foundation for all the Marilyn Manson classics.  Beautiful People, Long Hard Road Outta Hell and Crucifixion in Space  were just a few songs played at the VH Dave birthday bash and it was time go home.

Photo by: Ken Kope  Delicious Bitch-  John Streba VH Dave Neo & Godeater

I have learned. in my life and my work as a Rock-n-Roll journalist that not all bands are created equal and that you might be surprised to find some good talent in your backyard. So again, I urge you to get off your electronic devices and witness history and enjoy life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Judas Beast Show Review

Keep Calm & Scream for The Beast!

It was Saturday night when I received a phone call from my photographer to cover an Iron Maiden tribute band in Libertyville, Illinois. "Gee, another Maiden tribute band," I thought to myself.  My true loyalty will always  be to my girlfriend Miss Gina Pfeiffer,  Maiden Chicago and of course, Blackened. I love all of them almost equally. And they key word in that last sentience is almost. Too me, seeing another band would be like me eyeballing another woman, and that is not cool by any standards. Perhaps, I could repent my evil ways, go to the show and scream for the filthy beast!

As we all know, Saturday  is the only day of the week were the Devil gives out free passes and you're allowed to become weird or wicked. It would be strange to see another cover band and that waft of god would punish me for doing so. On Sunday, I'll get my ass into church, because that's the Lord's day and there are no free passes for bad Karma. "Sure Ken," I said. Let's go and see how good Judas Beast can stack up against Maiden Chicago."  I hung up the phone, and waited for my ride.

Getting to Austin's in Libertyville was bit stressful, due to the fact that the transmission was slipping. But So Fucking What, right? And that explains our tardiness. We arrived just as Heaven & Hell was breaking down their equipment, missing the opening act, VVX completely. The place was already a madhouse with people dressed in zany Halloween costumes. Folks were decked out as Slash, Mafia trigger-chicks and Rock-n-Roll Space Pirates.It was good vibe until until the lack of hospitality came form the crude doorman that made my prevailing mood bit salty. He was dressed as an Asshole and, I pulled out the $10.00 cover charge, going inside. It was good, however, to see some old friends at this killer Halloween bash as well and seeing some Judas Beast. 

Mike Feldman & Dane McCartney
Next, the lights dimmed and the place was pitch black. The stage lights come on and Judas Beast exploded with there opening song by Slayer titled: "Seasons In The Abyss." Front-man, Dane McCarteny, offered his high range vocals and vibrant stage presents dressed as the Amazing Spider-man, that evening singing other Iron Maiden classics such as, Wrath ChildTwo Minutes to Midnight and Number of the Beast. Other members include, Matt Berger (Lead Guitarist) Mike Feldman (Bass) and Jess Naputano (Drums).  However, the only queer thing about this show, was the extra two lead guitarist Matt Verden and Jeremy Lyzik. Other than that, this show was Bad-Ass!

Photo By: Ken Kope
Meanwhile, the sound was incredibly fantastic as Lyzik spun the guitar around his neck.  The show was full of  great energy as each member gave a spectacular performance that night. Feldman match each note created by Steve Harris and drummer, Jess Naputano kept the six piece foundation tight and solid. The highlight of the evening was the 10-foot tall filthy beast, himself, Eddie as he dangerously lurked the stage. His Flashing glowing eyes and large torsal, towered over McCarteny and the rest of the band members as they kept playing all the Maiden classics. Some more Judas Priest played on, and the crowed stated to thin out after Run to the Hills during all this madness. It was getting late and it was time to head back home.

My conclusion, Judas Beast has what it takes to join the ranks and can go toe-to-toe in the ring. Chicago heavy hitters such as. Maiden Chicago, Blackened and High Alert will give Judas Beast a good fight. However, the only folks that will get a knock-out performance, will be the audience. And Chicago Local Metal will send anyone home with ringing ears from the amplifiers. If you're looking for good karma, and do not wanted to fight the high prices of major labels, than these are the bands to support.

I know a lot about seedy record labels and they reek of bad karma. So stay far away and do not feed them your hard earned greenbacks. Instead, I invite all of you to get a ticket and check
out Judas Beast at their next show. As for myself. If I can not stay true to Maiden Chicago and to the men in Blackened, then release the Kraken!

Photo By: Ken Kope

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blue Angles: Rock Stars of the Sky.

                                                 U.S. Navy Blue Angels are Back in Chicago

Photo by: Joseph Baumann
The only thing louder then a thousand Marshall full stack amplifiers at an Iron Maiden concert, would be the sound of the afterburners of  an F/A-18 Hornet screaming overhead at 700 mph. However, that was not the case at last years Chicago Air & Water Show.  This year the Blue Angels have  returned to the friendly skies of Chicago, after military cuts were affected by last years event.

F-18 Hornet Blueprint
In 1959 the first show was held under the direction of Al Benedict, a Chicago Park District Supervisor at Lake Shore Park and was part of a “Family Day” celebration for inner city children enrolled in day camp programs.  The budget was $88.00, and featured water skiers, diving competitions and Air Sea Rescues. Over 2 million people witnessed The Firebird's Delta Team, Lima Lima Flight Team and this year's first all Veteran Parachute Team. No U.S. Thunderbirds, No Golden Knights and no Blackhawk Helicopters. Just some Bozo from California flying a Red Bull helicopter and zipping back to Gary, Indiana. Ah. but that was last years event in 2013 and now Chicago makes history once again. The Blue Angels have returned to Chicago,Illinois and has performed before 470 million spectators  at air and waters shows across the United States. They have been astounding audiences since 1946 with their gravity defying flying, commanding presence and supersonic diamond-shaped maneuvers in their Royal  Blue & Gold      F/A -18 Hornets. Furthermore, these deadly Hornets are 56 feet in length and have wingspan of 40.4 feet, and these bluebirds of freedom can reach speeds up to Mach 1.7.

Photo by: Ken Kope
Announcer: Captain Herb Hunter.  Nice guy, always friendly with a firm handshake and warm smile. Good old Herb. He is smooth, quintessential yet had not not log any flight time this year. However, Capt. Hunter has logged 27,000 hours of flight time during his career as a Boeing pilot. And remember folks, if it’s not going… It’s not a Boeing. Captain Hunter has become a household name in Chicago since 1988, when he became the city's announcer for The Chicago Air &Water Show. Indeed, I spoke with Hunter regarding the laws of gravity and a G-force. "At super-sonic speeds, the human body is exposed to a centrifugal force, explains Capt. Hunter. One G is the amount of gravity for our body weight on the ground. A combat pilot can experience up to nine G's, that's nine times the normal body weight. And when the blood becomes heavy, it reaches the brain with difficulty and could cause tunnel vision." What Captain Hunter is saying, that if a person weighs 200 lbs, they would experience 1800 lbs of gravity pulling them down inside the cockpit.

This is article is not just about one's need for speed, but that some wishes do come true. It would be hard to find anyone more passionate about aviation than 78-year-old Ida Settle, except maybe her half-sister Isabelle.  Ida loved airplanes after her mother passed away, when she was only four years old.Their father would take her every Sunday to the local airfield, have lunch and watch the plains take-off in the sky.  In high school Ida dreamed  to become a pilot, but local flying schools did not accept women at the time.  So this year Members of The US Navy Blue Angels meet with the two sisters and received pictures and autographs with the flight crew and the pilots of the Blue Angels at Gary Indiana's Airport.

Buzzing around the Chicago skyline was yet another thrill seeker that’s been affected by this airborne virus. Heli-skiing, cave SCUBA diving and flying more then a 1000 air shows, Sean D. Tucker is a rock star of the sky. Tucker’s airplane, the Oracle Challenger bi-plane is a fire breathing beast with over 400 horsepower that can travel up to 300 mph.  He is a leader in the airshow business and has received all of the industry’s highest honors for low-level aerobatics. Awards include, the Crystal Eagle Award, World Airshow Federation Champion (2000) Living Legend in Aviation (2007) and in 2008 Mr. Tucker was inductee in the National Hall of Fame.  Sean D. Tucker is the only civilian performer to ever be allowed to fly close formation with both, Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds.

Photo by: The Evil Genius
My prevailing mood took a slight change for the worse, once the weather canceled Sunday's event.  The winds of Thor blew cold off from the lake, as the grey and lifeless clouds  covered the muscular John Handcock building with a dismal mist of fear. Too dangerous to fly, the FAA tried its best to keep hope alive, but not even the Blue Angels were no match for Mother Nature. Just 24 hours ago,  I could recalled smoke trails and several people jumping out of some type of aircraft. It was too high up in altitude to make out this U.F.O and all I could see was a smoke trail looping round and round toward the ground.  It was the All Veteran Parachute Team taking their big leap at 12,500 feet with a brisk temperature of only 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  This can be a highly contagious Virus known as The Disease for Speed. This illness is like no other. In fact, it will kill you faster than Goat flu. The nasty weather was making everone sick of waiting, and waiting for three hours until the FAA pulled the plug due to poor visibility and a low sky ceiling.
Photo by: Joseph Baumann

When summer stops, the fun stops as well. People will be back to work, the children will be back in school and it will be business as usual once again.  The Chicago Air & Water Show is a reminder to everyone that the fun stops here. Not all Chicagoans will agree with this. Some will shoot their pistols, others will get drunk and then try to hack Facebook for some strange reason. And then we have those who believe in two seasons, Summer and Football. Until then,  let the games begin.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pipe: Instrument of Pure Chaos & Mass Destruction.

Photo by: Ruthless Photography
Okay Metal Heads, time to pull up a seat and fasten your safety belt for a band of musical assassins. First, let's examine the word "Pipe" for a moment, shall we? According to the Oxford Dictionary, its definition: (n). A channel supplying goods or information over long distances. Not once did Oxford suggest that this could be used as a dangerous weapon nor applicable smoking apparatus for tobacco or other illegal substances for that matter. Having your teeth smashed with a lead pipe by a mob of vicious skinheads could ensue your worst fears, as you try to escape the clutches of a deadly beating. Next, an exploding pipe bomb in one's mail box could be in fact, a bad day for everyone that lives in your neighborhood. When you think of the word Pipe, think of terror. Pipe dreams can be just as deadly as the vortex of stupidity, consuming your soul with false hope and empty promises. However, a local Chicago metal band, Pipe is on their way of living the American nightmare as they rape your mind with Adrenalin pumping energy.

Unlike your pretty-boy poser bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Vampire Weekend and Testament, Pipe is not all about cheerful love songs, being buried alive or glittery demons.  It is not clear, however, why these bands are still around. And the time has come to rid this world of a traveling hoax of poorly performed music since the days of Poison and Stryper. Ah, but never mind all that. Let's get back on track for some in-your-face craziness, and loud screaming amplifiers that will ring your head full of booze and powerful music. "I met on Frank [Damiano] on Craigslist , explains lead singer, Steve Favarato. We got a few songs together and the band started playing on stage at an acoustic jam the first day we met." Stranger tails of bathroom stalls, stuck toilet paper on the bottom of a Doc Martin combat boot, and a few Bitch Slaps, Steve welcomed lead guitarist, Frank Damiano into the band. Greg Francis was their former bassist that offered some pretty wicked heart-thumping grooves, but was replaced by John, Sterba. "Greg is a great bass player, says Sterba. He adds, I didn't wanna come in and piss on his bass lines and mark my new territory, so I kept the original riffs and true sound of the music." Last but not leased, is Paul Brodlo (drummer) that make up the rest of this Chicago Alternative Power Metal Rock Band.

Songs such as "Fuck The What"  and "Shovel Mouth"  exploit a thrashy raw sound using simple, yet effective power chords from their first studio release titled: Shovel Mouth.  Only two days of laying down tracks,  Pipe massacres the melodies with speed and high precision in every note. "Rip Tide"begins with heavy guitar distortion, and transitions into a smooth and distinguished vocal range. Heavy bass thumping grooves add to this slow jazzy beat as you drift away into the sea of fear.  "I mostly play a five string bass, explaines, John Sterba. I wasn't on the first album with Pipe, but when I play live I use a four string '82 Hamer with a Mesa Boogie amp."  What John is trying to say,  a more traditional style is what it takes to get the job done for their malevolent range of insanity.  

Photo By: Ruthless Photography
In an interview with Sterba, I asked what it would take to get the job done to legalize marijuana if he were a liaison for the Pentagon or a White House official.  "I would use a pen and phone to legalize marijuana, says John Sterba. Then I would tax the fuck out of it," he adds. Yes sir, this could be a pretty good scam, and I think Sterba's plan just might work for those whore-beasts back in Washington D.C. The sadistic world of Heavy Metal Thunder will always be plagued by sparkly vampires, and should you see one joyfully dancing around in a mosh pit, grab some Pipe, and crush a skull or two. You'll be glad you did.