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Showing posts from July, 2019

Godsmack, Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT July 26, 2019

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"When ashes fall, the legends rise". The chorus of the title track of the current Godsmack release and the opening number on their current tour pretty much sums up the live Godsmack experience.  There was a lot of talk in the last few years about rock being dead. While mainstream media may be buying into that thought the truth is there are more new, young rock bands on the scene now than we've seen in many years.  Even with all of the great young bands, the genre still needs bigger, established bands that can fill arenas and sell records.  Godsmack has proven that they can to both and on this night they staked their claim as the veteran leadership missing in hard rock.  The night began with a 45 minute set from Anaheim's New Years Day led by the charismatic Ash Costello and a somewhat revolving cast of musicians.  It was typical, down-tuned hard rock that didn't really stand out from others in the genre.   Following a short break, Godsmack took  the

House of Lords, Bleachers, Bristol, CT July 25, 2019

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House of Lords has remained relatively quiet since releasing it's 11th studio record,  Saint of the Lost Souls , in 2017 but that silence was broken in a big way at a small club in Bristol, CT on July 25.  The band, led by original vocalist James Christian, played what is essentially a home-town gig as  a warm up for  its headlining spot at the Rock and Food Trucks Festival in Topeka, KS. Christian and company took the stage to the title track of their 2008 release  Come To My Kingdom  which really set the tone for the night ahead.  This may be a band that made it's name in the late 80's but they are very much of the moment.  Ten of the fifteen songs came from records released after 2006.  I had the opportunity to sit with James Christian after the show and he is very proud that House of Lords isn't a band that just rests on its hits from 30 years ago but instead still puts out contemporary new music that resonates with the fans. The band, as always, was in f

Hollis Brown, Infinity Hall, Norfolk, CT July 18, 2019

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There's the old show business saying "Leave them wanting more". On July 18 at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT Hollis Brown did just that. The band is about to begin a full summer tour in support of its fantastic new record Ozone Park  (read my review of the record here ) and is doing a handful of shows before the longer run begins.  This night saw a fairly short (7 songs, around 35 minutes) set that leaned heavily on the new record and created a theater full of new fans.  I was lucky enough to sit in on soundcheck and spend some time with the band prior to the show (including an interview with keyboardist Adam Bock that you can hear below). Their excitement over the new record and love of playing live clearly comes across.  Hollis Brown is a band that excels on the stage.  You cannot help but get caught up in their enjoyment while watching them play.  The entire band, Mike Montali (vocals/guitar), Jonathan Bonilla (guitar), Adam Bock (keys), Andrew Zehnal (drums), an

A Conversation with Alliance/Boston Guitarist Gary Pihl

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Gary Pihl is truly one of the unsung heroes of rock.  Coming out of the same San Francisco scene that gave us Sammy Hagar,  Night Ranger and Greg Kihn , Pihl has gone on to play on some of rocks biggest records.  You can hear Pihl's playing all over Hagar classics like "There's Only One Way To Rock", "Heavy Metal", "I Can't Drive 55" and so much more.  He's been on every Boston record and tour since Third Stage in 1986 and now he's back with his band Alliance, featuring Hagar drummer David Lauser and bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Robert Berry , and their incredible new record Fire & Grace . Please press Play below to listen to the MisplacedStraws.com Conversation with Gary Pihl: On how Alliance was formed: (After Boston's Third Stage tour)I wanted to do a side project and so I called up Dave Lauser for drums and Alan Fitzgerald, our on again, off again keyboard player with us in Sammy's band, who would go on to

A Conversation with Rocker & Author Greg Kihn

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There are some artists who are lucky enough to record a song that helps define a decade.  With "Jeopardy" and "The Breakup Song" Greg Kihn had two of them.  But his 40+ year career is far more than just those two songs.  I was lucky enough to talk with Greg on his 70th birthday as he looked back on his music, his books, his favorite Springsteen stories and so much more. Please press Play below to hear the MisplacedStraws.com Conversation with Greg Kihn: On his legacy and playing with original drummer Larry Lynch again - I feel like I want to hang on to my heritage because, you know, we were rehearsing with Larry today and he's got a certain touch when he plays songs like "Remember" or "Break Up Song". He's got a  certain touch and it just it really drives the band it's a completely different energy...  this is been a great career and I really, I've been blessed and I've had a great run but looking back on it right now

A Conversation with the Rock Doc, Neil Ratner

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Some people were just meant to write a book about their lives.  That's certainly the case with the Rock Doc Neil Ratner.  Neil's journey encompasses people like Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela add in a medical career, organized crime, legal trouble and charity work in Africa and you have one hell of a tale to tell.Neil was kind enough to spend some time telling that tale and you don't want to miss listening to this interview! Please press Play below to listen to the MisplacedStraws.com Conversation with Neil Ratner: On hooking up with Rick Derringer - You know I was in between my sophomore and junior year of college at UVM and I took an apartment in the city and I was in a training program to be an operating room technician.  It was the summer of '69 and I heard music coming from upstairs and lo and behold I go in and here's this guy with a guitar I didn't  really recognize an