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my top 10 albums for 2014   
11:06am 11/02/2015
1.midnight - “no mercy for mayhem”
2.at the gates - “at war with reality”
3.mayhem - “esoteric warfare”
4.vader - “tibi et igni”
5.entombed - “back to the front”
6.blut as nord "Memoria Vetusta III"
7.triptykon -“melena charisma”
8.impaled nazarene "Vigorous and Liberating Death"
9.judas priest -“redeemer of souls”
10.exodus - “blood in, blood out”

1.muffs - “whoop dee doo”
2.white murder “s/t”
3.adolescents - “la vandetta”
4.the dwarves “created rock and roll”
5.against me - “transgender dysphoria blues”
6.murder city devils “white ghost has blood on it’s hands”
7.off - “wasted years”
8.mad caddies - “dirty rice”
9.rancid - “honor is all we know”
10.stiff little fingers - “no going back”

1.interpol "El Pintor "
2.black keys "turn blue"
3.lana del rey "ultraviolence"
4.u2 "songs of innocence"
5.st vincent s/t

[everything else in non order]

echo and the bunny men "Meteorites"
bob mould "beauty and ruin"
morrissey "world peace is none of your business"
weezer "Everything Will Be Alright in the End"
echosmith "talking dreams" (even though it was released in 2013)
BAD RELIGION: Regency Ballroom, San Francisco 04.17.13   
03:03am 18/04/2013

The Bronx
Polar Bear Club

Regency Ballroom
San Francisco
April 17, 2013

set list
Past Is Dead
We're Only Gonna Die
New Dark Ages
True North
I Want to Conquer the World
21st Century (Digital Boy)
Sinister Rouge
Fuck You
Dharma and the Bomb
Recipe for Hate
Nothing to Dismay
Do What You Want
No Direction
Beyond Electric Dreams
Come Join Us
Against the Grain
No Control
American Jesus

Fuck Armageddon... This Is Hell
Dept. of False Hope

ANTHRAX, EXODUS: Metal Alliance Tour, Las Vegas 03.23.13   
02:35am 24/03/2013

High On Fire
Municipal Waste
Holy Grail

House Of Blues
Las Vegas, NV
March 23, 2013

March was a birthday month for me, so I plotted a little mini vacation trip up to Vegas.  Lucky for me the Metal Alliance tour was in town the same time I was there and even better timing since I was going to miss this gig back home in San Francisco.  The tour was at the House Blues inside Mandalay Bay.  I had been to Mandalay Bay previous visits up to Vegas before and I've always wanted to book a couple days there and again, the opportunity was perfect.  Kinda funny prior to the show walking around the swanky casino, it was unique to see dudes standing around the front of the House Of Blues two hours early with denim vests and the metal band shirt of their choice (S.O.D.  SLAYER, PANTERA, etc.)  The gig was an early 5:30 p.m. start and we begin the evening like this,

HOLY GRAIL - This would be my first time catching HOLY GRAIL.  I've been familiar already with their previous band WHITE WIZZARD which contained Luna, LaRue and Meahl, who split with WW because the three of 'em and bassist/founder Jon Leon weren't on the same page.  Where as WHITE WIZZARD is more of MAIDEN/power metal worship, HOLY GRAIL has some of those traits and more of a speed metal/thrash sound.  Caught half of their set.  They had good stage presence and the band was pretty tight musically.  Finally seeing 'em was worth the wait after huge doses of their e.p. and new album on heavy rotation on the iPod.  Definitely I'll catch 'em again.

MUNICIPAL WASTE - I've seen MUNICIPAL WASTE many times.  First time was in a warehouse opening up for the ACCUSED and other times as the support act for AT THE GATES, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and CELTIC FROST.  I knew what I was going to expect.  They took off where HOLY GRAIL left off and blew the doors off the House Of Blues!   The band was a thrash riff monster that night.  Easy contender for band of the night amongst the 5 tour acts, but we still had three more bands to go through.

HIGH ON FIRE - Since HOF are a local, Bay Area act, I already had history with 'em (then again, with the exception of HOLY GRAIL, I've pretty much seen all the acts multiple times.)  HOF seemed out of place compared to the other 4 up tempo acts.  Mike Pike looked like he gained A LOT of weight since the last time I saw HOF.  Regardless, the trio played a good set, but seemed to lack the crunch the other 4 bands provided.

EXODUS - Speaking of local Bay Area acts, EXODUS was next and was making their debut on the tour since Disney banned them from playing the opening night at House Of Blues in Disneyland.  Sorry, this is going to be a biased review since I grew up listening and seeing EXOUDS in San Francisco.  However, this was going to be a different experience seeing the band outside of the Bay Area and wondering how Vegas was going to react  to them.  Well, it wasn't much of a stretch since a lot of kids drove in from LA and Northern California to catch the show and it felt like home. The pit went crazy any song from "Bonded By Blood" was performed.  Gary Holt and Lee Altus were a solid duo on guitar, as always it's always Tom Hunting that's the back bone on drums.  Just amazing to see the crowd below from the VIP section, just go ape shit during the last song "Strike Of The Beast."

ANTHRAX - ANTHRAX closed out the tour package and ran through the entire "Among The Living" album with some covers and other older material in the middle of that sandwich.  Was fortunate that Charlie Benante was behind the kit because later on tour he bailed after 2 more shows to be in Chicago for possibly more court dates (check blabbermouth for that story.)  The last time I caught ANTHRAX was during the first reunion with Joey Belladonna around 2005-2007.  It was outdoors during a cold January at the Pound in San Francisco.  Couldn't blame the band if they weren't into the gig that night.  It was great to see that reunion, but that night they lacked the excitement of their previous performances.  Tonight was a different story.  This was the ANTHRAX I remembered and loved before Jon Bush took over.  Fill in guitarist Jon Donais of SHADOWS FALL did good job and he even added some youth to the NYC metal vets.  While I dug seeing "Among the Living" performed in it's entirety, I kinda wished they dropped the AC/DC & S.O.D covers since they have other great material they could have pulled out from other albums, but that's a small gripe.  I couldn't complain too much because it's a blessing to have Joey Belladonna back in ANTHRAX where he belongs.


set list
Dark Passenger
Bleeding Stone
Ride the Void
My Last Attack
Fight to Kill


set list
Unleash the Bastards
The Thrashin' of the Christ
Sadistic Magician
You're Cut Off
Authority Complex
Beer Pressure
Thrashing's My Business... And Business Is Good
Idiot Check
Headbanger Face Rip
Mind Eraser
The Art of Partying



set list
The Ballad of Leonard and Charles
War Is My Shepherd
Bonded by Blood
The Toxic Waltz
Strike of the Beast

into: Worship
Among the Living
Caught in a Mosh
I Am the Law
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
A Skeleton in the Closet
Hymn 1
In the End
March of the S.O.D.
I'm Alive
One World
A.D.I. / Horror of It All
Imitation of Life

I'm the Man
outro:Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
The Adolescents: Thee Parkside, SF 10.20.12   
12:13pm 21/10/2012

Harrington Saints
The Atom Age
Thee Parkside
San Francisco
October 20, 2012

The ADOLESCENTS made a second trip in one year to Thee Parkside (earlier in Jan with YOUTH BRIGADE,) just coming off a month long tour of Europe which saw the band visit some places like Germany, Poland and France.  For the weekend, it was a Northern California two night stand with stops in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.  With the current line up of the ADOLESCENTS, you just never know who yer gonna get in the band, but two things is for certain, Tony Cadena will be on vocals and Steve Soto on bass.  

Didn't make the earlier gig that happened in January, which was sold out, so I was concerned if this was going to be a packed house (as most shows are at the very small Parkside) and if buying admission at the door would be a bad idea.  Neither factors materialized as I bought an on-line ticket, but there were still a lot of tickets at the door and while the place was packed, it didn't go to sardine can level.  Caught the second support act HARRINGTON SAINTS from across the bridge in Alameda and they were fun in a Oi / European influenced vibe.

One thing that should be a no-no is playing the performing band's song on the PA before they go on stage as "Kids Of The Blackhole" came on the PA after a mixture of BLACK FLAG, STOOGES and CIRCLE JERKS tunes preceded it. On cue, the ADOLESCENTS opened up with "No Way" from the band's classic debut album (the "Blue Album.")  Which has served as their opener for a while.  There was a good mixture of the Blue Album, "OC Confidential" and "The Fastest Kid Alive" on the set list (pictured above.)  As you'd expect, any songs off the Blue Album got a rabid response from the crowd and it was pit galore!  The songs off the Blue Album no matter who's in the line up now, sounded timeless.  The newer material off the last two albums gave the band variety, whacks a punch and showcased that the band wasn't stuck in one gear in the past.  Speaking of the past, what was an interesting concept was the band encoring with the entire "Welcome To Reality" ep in it's entirety which ended a solid night of OC Punk and nostalgia.

garbage - Warfield Theater, San Francisco 10.01.12   
01:00am 02/10/2012

Screaming Females
Warfield Theater
San Francisco, Ca
October 1, 2012

set list

intro: Time Will Destroy Everything 
Super Vixen
I Think I'm Paranoid
Shut Your Mouth
Why Do You Love Me
Stupid Girl
Hammering in My Head
#1 Crush
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)
Blood For Poppies
Battle In Me
Push It
Only Happy When It Rains

Bad Boyfriend
The One
You Look So Fine

7 SECONDS: 924 Gilman St. 09.22.12   
10:04am 23/09/2012

Heartbreak Sounds
Bastards Of Young
City Of Vain
924 Gilman St. Project
Berkeley, Ca
September 22, 2012

set list
I Still Believe
Not Just Boy's Fun
This Is The Angry Pt. 2
Here We Go Again Kids
You Lose

In Your Face
Red And Black
Die Hard
We're Gonna Fight

The Crew
Remains To Be Seen
Regress No Way
If The Kids Are United
Sooner Or Later
Skin Brains And Guts
Not Your Parents Hardcore
New Wind
Here's Your Warning
Young Until I Die
99 Red Balloons

VEKTOR - Thee Parkside, San Francisco 09.02.12   
12:19pm 04/09/2012
Cosmic Cortex
Black Future
Dying World
Echoless Chamber
Tetrastrucular Minds
Dark Nebula
Hunger For Violence
Outer Isolation

METALLICA: Outside Lands, San Francisco   
09:59am 12/08/2012

Outside Lands Festival
San Francisco, CA
August 11, 2012
photos from Metallica.com

set list

intro:The Ecstasy of Gold 
Hit the Lights
Master of Puppets
Ride the Lightning
Fade to Black
The Memory Remains
Hell and Back
Sad But True
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Creeping Death
Seek & Destroy

METALLICA was back on home turf, but oddly added to a line up that included Norah Jones and Sugar Rios at the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco.  This wasn't yer typical metal or even hard rock show as they were the only metal band on the bill.  The three, sold out days of the festival was headlined by the likes of Neil Young, Stevie Wonder and the FOO FIGHTERS.  Saturday night seemed primed for a homecoming special with a sold out crowd and 'TALLICA headlining.  When we last saw the band in the City, it was for their 30th anniversary gigs just up the road on Geary St at the Fillmore last year.  The last time METALLICA headlined an outdoor festival in the city was at Candlestick Park for the "St. Anger" tour (followed by a show at the Cow Palace months later.)

As dusk began to take place under overcast skies and AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top" made way for the customary "The Ecstasy of Gold" by Ennio Morricone on the PA, the MET 4 began the night as if it was 1982 all over again (with the exception of 2 members) with "Hit The Lights," when the then LA based band debuted at the Stone opening up for BITCH.  The band's setlist was similar to the prior dates in Mexico, but they went for the throat right away with "Master," "Fuel" and  "Ride The Lightning." This reviewer feared it was going to be "the hits" sprinkled around a Black Album theme set, but instead it was more "hits" with only one "Beyond Magnetic" tune and none from "Death Magnetic."  What seemed like a big hipster crowd at Outside Lands was being taken over by the METALLICA fan base and the POD's from the Sunset District.  While it was a novel ideal to perform in front of a new audience, it was kind of funny to see some of the hipsters running for cover as soon the expected pit began to emerge.

METALLICA was in top notch form and so was the pyro as the band and it's crew literally almost blew up Golden Gate Park and burned the place down to the ground!  The neighbors in the Haight District or Ocean Beach were probably treated to an unexpected show of explosions in the sky (sorry, had to add the local flavor there.)  2 hours just flew across the board as the   the runaway METALLICA train made all stops through it's decorated past with visits from "Orion," "For Whom The Bell Tolls" and "Blackened."  The knock out blow was administered during the encore with the 1-2-3 punch of "Creeping Death," "Battery" and the ender "Seek And Destroy."  The songs speak for themselves and many of the crowd couldn't stop doing so after the inspired performance the band delivered in front of the home town crowd.  "Metal Up Your Ass" indeed!

IRON MAIDEN - Shoreline, Mountain View 08.03.12   
12:29pm 06/08/2012

Coheed And Cambria
Shoreline Amphitheater
Mountain View, Ca
August 3, 2012

set list

intro: Doctor Doctor [UFO]
Can I Play With Madness
The Prisoner
2 Minutes to Midnight
Afraid to Shoot Strangers
The Trooper
The Number of the Beast
Phantom of the Opera
Run to the Hills
Wasted Years
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
The Clairvoyant
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden

Aces High
The Evil That Men Do
Running Free
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life [Monty Python]

The "Beast" returned to the Bay Area for yet another visit from the lads of IRON MAIDEN.  As has been the continuing trend for MAIDEN on tour, it was yet another "theme set list" as MAIDEN turned back the time machine to the year 1988 and the album "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" (without GUNS N ROSES as the opener,) where MAIDEN would draw their set list after the "Maiden England" DVD which documented the "Seventh Tour Of A Seventh Tour."  At the Shoreline, all age demographics were across the board.  You had the older core that's stuck with MAIDEN all these years and you had their toddlers who probably weren't around the first time around when this tour was making it's circles.

As the customary intro tune of UFO's "Doctor, Doctor" came on the PA, the crowd at the Shoreline was into a frantic mood screaming their lungs out even before MAIDEN bursted on stage with the first 2 tracks off "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son." ("Moonchild" & "Can I Play With Madness.") If you own "Maiden England," you pretty much knew what was coming, but MAIDEN did throw in some updated selections.  One of 'em "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" off "Fear Of The Dark," which was kind of an unnecessary selection when you had the title track from that album and could have been best better served with "Infinite Dreams" from "Seventh Son" or even "Hallowed Be Thy Name" which was played on that tour.  Oh well, minor gripe.  An EPIC moment was the return of the "Phantom Of The  Opera" (even at a slower pace.)

MAIDEN had all guns blazing on this night.  There wasn't time for Bruce to go off on his ridiculous banter (but there were times) with an extensive set list.  Speaking of unnecessary, that pretty much defines 3rd guitarist Janick Gers.  Was it really called for him to solo while Dave or Adrian would throw in their solo which was part of the song?  Does that guy ever play a riff while dancing on stage?  Oh well, minor gripe #2.  What would a MAIDEN show be without Eddie?  You had him in his full glory during "Run To The Hills" in confederate mode and a recapture of his "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" guise during the set ender "Iron Maiden" complete with flames on his head and actual heart beating while grasped in his hand. It was the full Monty for MAIDEN tonight. A solid setlist that had all the bases covered. An amazing stage set up and a amazing performance to back it all up. This was the 10th time I've witnessed a performance by MAIDEN and might be the best in a long time since the "World Slavery Tour" back in 1985.

Tidal Wave 2012: Day II - Ghoul   
12:13pm 17/07/2012
Tidal Wave: Day I - Huntress   
09:33am 16/07/2012

SCORPIONS - Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas 06.23.12   
11:41am 23/06/2012

Thomas & Mack Center
Las Vegas, NV
June 23, 2012

set list
Sting in the Tail
Make It Real
Is There Anybody There?
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Loving You Sunday Morning
Wind of Change
The Best Is Yet to Come
Send Me an Angel
Raised on Rock
Tease Me Please Me
Hit Between the Eyes
Kottak Attack
Six String Sting
Big City Nights

Still Loving You
No One Like You
Rock You Like a Hurricane

Primus & Fishbone: The Joint, Las Vegas 06.22.12   
05:55pm 22/06/2012
Viva Las Vegas!   
05:21pm 22/06/2012
  Having a blast!

SCORPIONS: Shoreline Ampatheater, Mountain View 03.09.12   
05:30pm 18/06/2012

Shoreline Ampitheater
Mountain View, Ca
June 9, 2012

set list
Sting in the Tail
Make It Real
Is There Anybody There?
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Loving You Sunday Morning
Wind of Change
The Best Is Yet to Come
Send Me an Angel
Raised on Rock
Tease Me Please Me
Hit Between the Eyes
Kottak Attack
Six String Sting
Big City Nights

Still Loving You
No One Like You
Rock You Like a Hurricane

VAN HALEN: Oracle Arena Oakland 06.03.12   
02:51pm 17/06/2012
mood: excited

Kool & The Gang
Oracle Arena
Oakland, Ca
June 3, 2012

set list

Runnin' With the Devil
She's the Woman
The Full Bug
Everybody Wants Some!!
Somebody Get Me a Doctor
China Town
Hear About It Later
Oh, Pretty Woman
Drum Solo
You Really Got Me 
The Trouble with Never
Dance the Night Away
I'll Wait
And the Cradle Will Rock…
Hot for Teacher
Women In Love
Beautiful Girls
Ice Cream Man 
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love


After a reunion tour in 2007 and a new album release ("A Different Kind Of Truth.")  Van Halen x3 and David Lee Roth returned to Oracle Arena for a 2 night stand in the Bay Area (San Jose being the other tour stop.)  This time around, the first Bay Area stop was Oakland then San Jose (the reunion tour, it was vice versa.)  The crowd at Oracle was mostly males in their 30's & 40's that praised VAN HALEN in their 80's hey day.  The ladies in the audience seemed to bring back the 80's look with a lots of shredded stretch pants as well as a minor return of poofy hair.  There were a few kids sprinkled in brought to the show by their parents to view the VAN HALEN experience as their existence was probably in an embryo stage in life when the Roth era was in it's prime.

The band didn't waste any time to get the crowd pumped up as they launched their first number "Unchained," which by coincidence, the promo video (as was "So This Is Love" & "Hear About It Later") was filmed in the same video an oh so 31 years ago.  On the reunion tour in 2007, the band's set list was filled with rarities and served as a reintroduction to VAN HALEN for it's long time fans and a newer audience.  This time around, you had the recognizable tunes, but as always the case with a new album, 5 new songs in  this tour's set list.  You gotta wonder if "She's A Woman" can be labeled a new tune since it was an unrecorded track.  Anyways, of the newer material, the highlight was the turbo charged "Chinatown."  Still, it's the classics like "Everybody Wants Some," "Panama" and "Dance The Night Away" that the crowd paid (by some, a ridiculous amount) for to see performed.

Eddie and Al were amazing as expected. The kid Wolfgang looks like he's in the band now. No longer is there an adjustment period. He holds his own on the bass.  Both him and dad actually do a solid job on the back up vocals.  With all due respect to Mr. Anthony, the kid holds up his end that you don't even miss him (yeah, I know, blasphemous!)  Roth on the other hand has lost some range, but shuffled stepped his Vegas routine (as fans and critics have labeled this era) and is still good for the occasional high flying kick.  The band must have hi-jacked HD scoreboard from AT&T Park as the video screen was phenomenal in how it visualized the band into skyscraper size.  It definitely enhanced the show and proved it's worth to the stoners in the audience with triple or seven Eddie's on the screen during "Eruption."

While the band was performing a dynamic show, sadly the same couldn't be said for the audience who've gotten older and were in the "watching" state.  They saved their loud enthusiasm for DLR jokes or at the end of the sets. l guess the Geritol didn't kick in time for the show (I'm sure most of you thought I was going to use that comparison on the band. Didn't ya?)  While many would like this train to derail, the truth is that VAN HALEN can still bring it live and is still a spectacle to behold.

RANCID - Warfield, San Francisco 03.24.12   
01:44am 25/03/2012

Cock Sparrer
Factory Minds
Warfield Theater
San Francisco
March 24, 2012

set list
East Bay Night
Roots Radicals
The Way I Feel
Journey To The Center Of The East Bay
The Last One Dead
Dead Bodies
11th Hour
I Wanna Riot
Red Hot Moon
Old Friend
St. Mary
It's Quite Alright
Listed MIA
Fall Back Down
Alleys And Avenues
Something In The World Today
Maxwell Murder
Time Bomb
Rudy Sojo

ARCHERS OF LOAF - Noise Pop Fest, SF, Great American Music Hall 02.27.12   
01:45am 26/02/2012
The Big Sleep
Built Like Alaska

San Francisco
Great American Music Hall
February 25, 2012

It was a long time coming, but finally I got my chance to see the ARCHERS OF LOAF.  After being exposed to the band on college radio and various videos on Mtv's 120 Minutes in the 90's, I purchased their albums "Icky Mettle" and "Vee Vee" and became hooked.  I blew many chances to see them perform live in San Francisco only to make the biggest regret after discovering the band broke up in 1998.  The ARCHERS reunited last year (around this time) with an unexpected opening slot for North Carolina's LOVE LANGUAGE.  Finally!  A second chance, but it was bad timing by me again.  Last July the band booked 2 sold out nights at the Great American Music Hall (where tonight's show was,) but unfortunately for me again, I would be in Los Angeles for the FYF Fest and the DESCENDENTS (and if I had to do it all over again, I would have still done the same.)

This year the ARCHERS were added to San Francisco's Noise Pop fest and I wasn't about to let this golden opportunity slip again.  A ticket was bought and they just BLEW ME AWAY!  I was making up for lost time and also wondering why it took so long?  When they opened up with "Harnessed In Slums," the crowd went NUTS!  While it wasn't a SLAYER pit of sorts, it was pogo-ing madness in the front with the crowd singing along to every song.  Heck! Even one dude was passed around by the crowd on a failed stage dive.  Bassist Matt Gentling played with a "deer in headlights look," but also acted like a maniac on stage with his patinated jumps in the air.  Vocalist/guitarist Eric Bachmann was definitely the star of the show with his Malkmus like vocals and
solid guitar work.

I tell ya, I've seen many acts at the Great American Music Hall (JAWBREAKER, MURDER CITY DEVILS, MOTORHEAD to name a few,) but the ARCHERS OF LOAF sold me on one the most memorable performances in this venue and in the early running for performance of this year.
(yes, it was THAT good.)

set list
Harnessed In Slums
Floating Friends
Greatest of All Time
Web in Front
Mark Price, PI
You & Me
Mutes in the Steeple
Lowest Part Is Free
Freezing Point
Distance Comes in Droves
Scenic Pastures
Fashion Bleeds
Dead Red Eyes

White Trash Heroes
All Hail the Black Market

Gigantour: MEGADETH / Motorhead - San Jose Event Center 02.24.12   
02:35am 24/02/2012
Gigantour (featuring)
lacuna coil

San Jose Event Center
February 24, 2012

Damage Case
I Know How to Die
Stay Clean
Over the Top
The Chase Is Better Than the Catch
The One to Sing the Blues w/Drum Solo
Going to Brazil
Killed by Death
Ace of Spades

Wake Up Dead
In My Darkest Hour
Foreclosure of a Dream
Sweating Bullets
Public Enemy No. 1
Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
Guns, Drugs, & Money
Hook In Mouth
A Tout Le Monde
Symphony Of Destruction
Peace Sells
Holy Wars

ABSU - Rockit Room 02.18.12   
06:42pm 19/02/2012