Music

Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch at the Big Top

I wrote this post on Wednesday morning, however I didn’t post it as I was in a rush to get to work and then once work was over I had to rush over to the Richie Sambora show. Then I spent Thursday morning writing up the Richie Sambora post and after posting that, I was off to work and then after work I was off to see Mrs Browns Boys at WIN Entertainment Centre. So here I am, three days after the event, back to this post.

I attended the Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold Sidewave on Tuesday, 25 February at the Big Top in Luna Park. It was my first time seeing them both live so I didn’t know what to expect.

Did I mention that Asking Alexandria opened up?

Yep, they opened up and regardless of how much Revolver Mag creams their pants over them and cross promotes them in corporate sponsorship deals, the bottom line is this; They still need a lot of work. I caught the last three songs of their set and it didn’t make me want to go out and buy them. The best releases the band has done are the cover songs.

I caught up with an old school friend at the show who came one out to watch Avenged Sevenfold. I asked him if he had heard any music from Five Finger Death Punch and he told me that he hasn’t. Half way through the set, he yelled in my ear that he will be downloading their collection when he gets home tonight.

So on to the mighty Five Finger Death Punch. They started with “Under and Over It”. A great selection for an opener and a surprise one. “Burn It Down” came next and to me, the song just didn’t really work in a live setting. “Hard to See” and the show was back on the road.

“Lift Me Up” actually lifted the Big Top. It was anthemic all the way and what a great live song it is. “The Ultimate Sin” vocal melody was sung word for word and the crowd chanted chorus drowned out the band.

“Burn MF” didn’t really do much for me on the recording, however as a live song and the way Ivan Moody gets the crowd involved in the chant, it works brilliantly. This song was the biggest surprise on the night.

Another big surprise was Chris Kael. He looks like a cross between Kerry King and Zakk Wylde and what a performer he is, backing up on clean tone vocals and deep guttural vocals. Definitely a great choice for the FFDP band.

“Coming Down” actually kept the energy levels up for a mid tempo song and the band finished off with “Never Enough” and “The Bleeding”. As a live band, Five Finger Death Punch nail it. It’s no wonder that when they hit a city, sales of their albums increase the next day.

One thing about Five Finger Death Punch that a lot of people don’t understand is that they are sort of like a supergroup of independent bands. Each musician in the band has paid their dues in other bands. Some of those bands had small record deals, some of them played on large tours and some of them just played the club scene. So when you see Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, Jeremy Spencer, Jason Hook and Chris Kael on stage, you are seeing a group of talented musicians who have over 50 years combined in the music business.

On a side note, it looks like Ivan Moody got into some trouble on his Qantas flight from Brisbane to Sydney due to being an intoxicated unruly passenger and assaulting a stewardess. With his past alcohol struggles well documented in his lyrics and interviews, the latest occurrence is just another chapter in this saga. As a fan of the band, let’s hope that the other band members don’t over-react to this, because Ivan Moody is the key ingredient as to why the band resonates and connects with the audience. Changing him will be the death of Five Finger Death Punch.

Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch along with Machine Head, Protest The Hero and Shinedown are currently providing the music for the soundtrack of my life. It is the familiarity of the songs and the energy that familiarity brings that provides the connection. I have this drive home playlist that is littered with A7X and FFDP songs.

So up next was Avenged Sevenfold, with their Machine Head inspired curtain logo opening up to the “Shepherd Of Fire” stage set. Some people in the audience wore Machine Head tops and they were getting heckled for it. It was all in good taste and everyone was having a laugh about it.

It is safe to say that “Shepherd Of Fire” and “Hail To The King” are great live songs. The best of the night along with “Lift Me Up” from Five Finger Death Punch. So regardless of what people call those songs or from what bands A7X and Five Finger Death Punch borrowed from in creating them. They are undeniable in a live setting. And didn’t we resonate and connect with them.

As is the norm, “Shepherd of Fire” opened up the sing along. It’s all about roots. A great song to kick off a concert with a sing along chorus.

“Critical Acclaim” from the 2007 self-titled album followed. It’s a hard song to pull off in the live setting, especially when you are playing a song that has “The Rev” on vocals via a backing tape.

“Beast and the Harlot” from the “City of Evil” album came next. The “City of Evil” album was the one that resonated with me and it was the album that got me into Avenged Sevenfold. I loved that whole Dream Theater meets “A Night At The Opera” approach.

Then it was back to the sing along with “Hail To The King”. I was actually singing “Sign Of The Cross” from Maiden throughout it as a test. “Eternal Rest” from the “Waking The Fallen” album came next and it hasn’t been played live since 2009. Personally, I would have loved to hear “Second Heartbeat” instead.

Then it came to the Nightmare vs City Of Evil part of the set. “Buried Alive” from the “Nightmare” album kicked it off, followed by “Seize the Day” from the “City of Evil” album.

Then the song “Nightmare” was played, followed by “Burn It Down” from the “City of Evil” album. It was also the first time they have played “Burn It Down” live since 2008.

The songs from the “Nightmare” album worked really good in the live setting. It gave me a new appreciation for those songs, as I saw that album as a very confused album and missing some direction.

A little Guitar Solo by Synester Gates introduced “Afterlife” from the 2007 self-titled album , that has that unbelievable shred solo that Synester made it to look completely effortless.

The main set finished off with “Almost Easy” from the 2007 self-titled album.

The Encore kicked off with “Unholy Confessions” from the “Waking the Fallen” album and finished with The Rev masterpiece “A Little Piece of Heaven” from the 2007 self-titled album.

In the same way that all the great bands had a definitive guitar player, Synester Gates is up there from the current trend. He worked that fretboard all night, sweeping up and down it, tapping it, pulling off and hammering on fast legato style leads on it and then doing some machine gun picking on it. This was a TRUE guitar hero.

And memories came back of practicing in my room, honing and refining my skills, hoping that one day, I will get a band together and have people appreciate what I do. It was never about riches. It was about the art of creating and connecting. I look at my kids and if I mention the words “Guitar Hero”, they think of the game. They fail to realise the hard work that goes into the practice.

It was entertaining and I got my money’s worth.

Compared to the Richie Sambora concert, Richie wins hands down. Sambora didn’t play it safe, taking us into improvised jams and sing alongs. Metal bands are not renowned for doing that. They are too scared in case they lose the audience.

What are the chances of metal bands playing it safe? Metal music is known for its rebellion and you have two of the big metal bands today, playing it safe in a live setting.

On a bad note, the $32 parking was a dead set rip off, especially when other venue parking stations charge between $12 and $16 dollars.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

What does Vito Bratta, Chris DeGarmo, Richie Sambora, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater have in common?

The top four searched items that bring people to the Destroyer Of Harmony site are as follows;
1. Vito Bratta or Vito Bratta 2013
2. Chris DeGarmo or Chris DeGarmo 2013
3. Live At Luna Park DVD (during the period of no information on the status of the release)
4. Richie Sambora

When someone types in Vito Bratta or Vito Bratta 2013 in Google, there is a very good chance they will end up at Destroyer of Harmony.

The posts on Vito Bratta are like are like a slow hit burner for the site. People are really interested to find out what he is doing. Since he doesn’t have a social media presence himself, it’s up to hard-core fans to keep his talent going. All I am doing is trying to connect the past with the present for Vito.

Isn’t it a coincidence that all the searched topics have a lot of question marks?

The Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora split was very vague and even though Richie Sambora said recently he just wanted to spend time with his daughter, Jon Bon Jovi still wants an explanation as stated in a recent interview he did with the Herald Sun.

“… he was never fired, we certainly have no animosity and when the tour is over he can come and see me and Tico and Dave and explain what happened.”

Fans want to know what the hell is going on. They want to know what their heroes are doing. We live in an information society, now more so than ever.

Vito Bratta is leaving money on the table here. The glory days of 1988 are long gone. The glory days of someone putting a sizeable offer on the table are also long gone. The “guarantee concept” is fading. Promoters are waking up. They are starting to look at different models.

There is no point in giving an artist $200,000 a show based on what they did twenty years ago. What are they worth today?

Vito Bratta touched on this “up front guarantee” when he did the Eddie Truck interview back in 2007. He was open to the idea of White Lion reforming; however he needed to know that if he left his house, there would be something there to keep the lights running and the bills paid. In other words he was looking for a guarantee and that was something a lot of the promoters did not want to do.

Mike Tramp does his normal thing, playing small venues and clubs, sharing in the takings with the owners. There is no guarantee in what he does however it is a source of income and it gets him out there, connecting with people.

No one is guaranteed of making it in the music business. That is the nature of art. It is subjective. People will either connect on a large-scale or a small-scale.

The bottom line is this; Vito Bratta has a hard-core fan base. It is a niche audience that is made up of Eighties Hard Rock fans and Guitar Enthusiasts. It is a market that has been waiting for a long time for something new and that is why his name is searched out every day.

Chris De Garmo is missed. There is no guarantee that if he remained in Queensryche everything would be rosy and of high quality. However with the current debacle with the two Queensryche bands and a looming court case over the name, the Queensryche fans are looking for a shining light in all of this. And that light is Chris DeGarmo. He got out before it all went south.

People want to know what his thoughts are on the two Queensryche bands that are doing the rounds. They want him to create new music. They want him to step back in and save the band name.

As with everything there is no guarantee that if he does step back in, it will all work. And that is the issue. Is Chris DeGarmo prepared to leave his family for something that is not guaranteed. If he had some data that could advise him, then maybe he could commit.

In my opinion, data is actually the biggest currency in the music business however it still remains relatively untapped.

Has anyone seen the data that Musicmetric puts out?

Iron Maiden is the most heavily BitTorrent’ed band in Brazil. Brazil is also one of the biggest file sharing countries. What does this data tell Iron Maiden? It tells them that they have fans in Brazil that love music. It tells Iron Maiden that they need to get Flight 666 to South America and turn these free file sharing fans into concert ticket paying fans.

Having the data available to track where a bands fan base is more vital and more important than how many units an artist sold from a recorded product.

Iron Maiden has not sold great numbers in South and Central America since Peer to Peer Sharing started. However, they have toured the continent on a yearly basis, selling out large stadiums in the process and heaps of merchandise as well.

In relation to Dream Theater, the whole Live at Luna Park DVD/CD/Blu-ray release was a debacle. The fans wanted answers. Their Facebook page had thousands of comments from fans, all asking what is happening with the DVD release. The responses went unanswered for about eight weeks before Dream Theater made any comment on the delays.

Up until 2005, Dream Theater more or less avoided South America due to the “what they wanted to be paid so that they can bring the full show vs. what the promoters wanted to pay”.

This is what Mike Portnoy had to say on South America, on the Ytse Jam Bootleg DVD live release of their Santiago, Chile performance that took place on June 12, 2005.

“..the promoters in South America were apprehensive to give us what we would normally get to put on a show not knowing what the turnouts would be like. So in order to finally do a proper tour of South America, we agreed to bite the bullet and strip down; do the tour completely barebones so the promoters could feel out what to expect on future tours.

Well, surely they must have been shocked (as were we) when 20,000 people showed up for our very first show in Santiago, Chile.”

There you go; both the promoters and the band had no idea about the size of the fan base. Dream Theater avoided South America due to a hunch. That hunch is “hey the guys are not moving a lot of sales in Brazil so that must mean that they have no fan base.” Even for 2005, this line of thinking was outdated.

There is change coming to the live business. It’s slow but it is happening. What is a ticket worth these days for a concert? Normally, a number is pulled from somewhere and the promoters go to market to see if the fans are willing to pay for it. If the tickets don’t sell, then discounting begins and that more or less alienates the true hard-core that paid top dollar up front.

This even happened to Dream Theater when they played Sydney on the Black Clouds tour. A fortnight before the show, the tickets went to half price, just so they could fill the venue (that more or less sold out two years prior).

In the end the fans are an artists best asset. Treat them with the respect they deserve and not like the rock star that is portrayed in the Protest The Hero song, Underbite.

Iron Maiden article http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/29/iron-maiden-llp-stock-exchange

Jon Bon Jovi Herald Sun article http://m.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/music/jon-bon-jovi-reflects-on-his-latest-and-most-challenging-world-tour/story-fni0bvjn-1226771962259

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