Five Finger Death Punch and Shinedown are out on the road co-headlining an ambitious tour that found the bands in San Jose, California at the SAP Center on Halloween night along with special guests As Lions and Sixx:A.M.
The evening kicked off early with a 6:30 set by As Lions featuring frontman Austin Dickinson who some may remember as either the vocalist in Rise to Remain which made a run on the Vans Warped Tour a few years ago—or as the son of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. Clearly the apple has not fallen too far from the tree and As Lions delivered an amped set to the unfamiliar crowd.
Next up, Sixx:A.M., Nikki Sixx’s main gig since Mötley Crüe officially called it quits and, from the looks of things, he’s clearly having a good time and not looking back. While Sixx:A.M. has been around for nearly a decade, DJ Ashba (guitar), James Michael (vocals), Dustin Steinke (drums), and the backup vocalists truly gave it their all like any new band fighting to win over new fans.
Timed for the midst of election season, Bad Religion’s aptly named “Vox Populi” (or “voice of the people” if your Latin is rusty) Tour is getting the word out. Halloween eve found the band at San Francisco’s Warfield along with tour mates Against Me! and Dave Hause in front of a packed house.
Given the quality of the touring line-up, people (many in dressed up for the holiday) bee-lined it for the prime viewing spots and, by the time Dave Hause took the stage with his brother, there was already a healthy crowd in attendance. What makes a tour like this special is the potential collaborations, so when Jay Bentley (Bad Religion) and Atom Willard (Against Me!) joined in on bass and drums for “Dirty Fucker” and “We Could Be Kings,” the dynamic in the room quickly shifted from a calm appreciation of the folky tunes to a high-energy rager that served as the perfect tee up for Against Me!’s set.
If you happened by the Against Me! merch table on your way in, you would have noticed a line that far out-stretched those for the other bands’ gear. Such is the enthusiasm that Against Me! gets wherever they go. So when they rolled on stage and launched into “True Trans Soul Rebel,” the floor not surprisingly packed in a little tighter as the fans danced and sang along to a setlist that highlighted the latest material but still went for some deep cuts like “Tonight We’re Gonna Give It 35%.” The only thing that marred the 45 minute set was the distraction by a few idiots fighting in the pit during “Teenage Anarchist.”
PHOTOS: REEVES PEELER | In its tenth and final year on Treasure Island, the Treasure Island Music Festival redefined my understanding of “agoraphobia.” Weather, location, communication and transportation were all stacked against Treasure Island, and I wasn’t the only Sunday festival-goer looking for a marginally convincing reason to stay in my pajamas. Yet somehow, on Sunday night I boarded a packed tour bus—cold, wet and dirty—with a big smile that reflected confidence in my decision to have made the trek.
This year, the festival had to move from one end of the island to the other, eliminating the insane city view that so many festival-goers hope to Instagram (a new location that festival organizers spun as offering “picturesque views of Oakland”). Rain and high winds set the tone for the entire weekend, forcing major festival draws like How to Dress Well and Ice Cube to play much-abbreviated sets, and bands on both days, including Flight Facilities and James Blake, to cancel their sets altogether.
Weekend ticket holders took to social media in droves demanding refunds after Saturday’s weather-induced fiasco (which apparently included a vending machine injury). But Sunday was a slight redemption for Treasure Island, as the crowd adjusted its expectations, adapted to the environment, and hunkered down on a mission to enjoy day two.
Car Seat Headrest was the start to my Sunday on Treasure Island. Admittedly not an objective review, this was my fourth Car Seat show since they played The Independent in January 2016. Each time I’ve seen Will Toledo and his band play, I catch something new that keeps me coming back for the next show. It’s the type of set that forces you to focus on one band member at a time, exposing something real about each musician in the context of a stunningly cohesive set.
After more than a month break, Gwen Stefani’s “This Is What The Truth Feels Like Tour” returned to the road with a Saturday night show at Mountain View, California’s Shoreline Amphitheatre along with opener Eve.
With a crowd that appeared to be about 70% women, the party started well in advance of Eve’s energetic set which had the packed amphitheatre on its feet and dancing along. As the crew set up the stage for Gwen’s set, it was clear that she was pulling out all the stops for this show. Criss-crossing ramps, platforms, giant screens, and oodles of lights set the tone for the balmy fall evening and what amounted to nearly a two-hour set.
Not surprisingly, the setlist drew heavily from her most recent release, but in spite of pulling a whopping 10 songs from her somber “breakup record,” Gwen kept things light. Clearly relishing in the crowd reaction, Gwen didn’t hesitate to get up close and personal with the fans that packed the front of the stage and at one point even invited a member of the audience up so that she could sign a tattoo.
Torrance, CA’s Joyce Manor took the stage at the Great American Music Hall on a crispy autumn night in San Francisco’s Tenderloin for the first stop on their US tour. With the release of their 4th studio album, Cody on October 7 and the hype that ensued with the releases of its first two singles, “Fake I.D.” and “Last You Heard of Me,” pre-show anxiety was heightened by the tenor that Joyce Manor is on the verge of something big.
Their matured, yet still emotional pop-punk sound, which was made a daily part of the average 80s baby’s life by artists like Saves the Day, Brand New, and Alkaline Trio during the early 2000s, is back in a big way with bands like Touche Amore, Modern Baseball, and The Hotelier (one of tonight’s supporting acts) rising to prominence as we speak.
The sold-out crowd packed the creaky oak floor and left no elbow room to spare underneath the grand columns and ceiling frescoes of this hallmark tenement of the city’s rich music history. Great American’s relatively ancient (built in 1907) structure stood in stark contrast to the young crowd bullying their way to the stage front and center. One female fan who looked to be about 19 inquired publicly, “Why is everyone jockeying? Joyce doesn’t allow any stage diving!”
The second of two Bay Area ZZ Top dates landed at San Francisco’s The Warfield on a Sunday night with opener The Kenneth Brian Band for 90 minutes of Texas blues rock from “Los Tres Hombres.”
Drummer Frank Beard took the stage without fanfare, settling in behind his tiki-themed kit with a cigarette in his mouth and cold beverage close by. Even though the stage lights were off, the Warfield knew what was about to take place and the fans started cheering even before the lights came on and Dusty and Billy strode out, all smiles.
After kicking the crowd into the party mode the opener “Got Me Under Pressure,” the band sailed through the set with an ease than only comes with 45+ years together. Musically they were spot on but, just as importantly, looked to be having a great time on stage together.
Addressing the crowd between songs, Billy Gibbons asked the room if they liked the band’s new jackets before recounting the story of when they wore “Future Farmers of America, Hollywood California” shirts. According to Billy, a friend of his exclaimed, “There ain’t no farmers in Hollywood!” To which Billy replied, “Oh, I know a few,” as he whipped a joint out of his pocket. With the spliff deposited carefully back into Billy’s pocket for later, it was back to the music.
Blink-182 is back on the road for their “California Summer Tour” with a new singer/ guitarist (Matt Skiba) and a new album. Hitting amphitheaters across the country along with A Day to Remember and All Time Low, this punk rock extravaganza found itself at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.
With the opening notes of All Time Low’s set, the crowd streamed to their seats so as not to miss a note. And while ATL would normally find themselves peppered with ladies undergarments by the time they wrapped their set, there was nary a thong nor bra to be found, but the place was on its feet and primed for more tunes.
Next up was A Day to Remember which pulled out a surprisingly robust stage setup considering supporting act status. As if that was not enough to get the audience’s attention, over the course of their 45 minute set, they proceeded to pull out giant beach balls, a t-shirt cannon, dozens of rolls of toilet paper, and streamers blasted across the front rows. This band clearly came to crush it and no doubt left the stage after closing out with “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle” feeling the love.
Jane’s Addiction is currently wrapping up the current leg of their “Sterling Spoon Anniversary” Tour commemorating the 25th anniversary of both the release of Ritual de lo Habitual and Lollapalooza. This past Wednesday night found lineup Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums), and Chris Chaney (bass) in San Francisco in front of a packed house at the Masonic.
But before the Ritual could begin, there was 45 minutes of antics from one of the hardest working bands out there, Fishbone. Hailing from Los Angeles, Fishbone almost feels like a hometown band to the San Francisco crowd that has become accustomed to their regular visits. Kicking things off with a powerful version of “Sunless Saturday” before tearing through the classics. By the time the set ended with “Party at Ground Zero,” frontman Angelo Moore was dripping with sweat and the crowd was sufficiently primed for Jane’s Addiction.
Between the large scaffolding set up at the rear of the stage and Perry’s mysterious box of knobs, the stage looked small and the show felt intimate despite the 3,000-ish in attendance. Kicking right into “Stop!,” the lead track from Ritual de lo Habitual, was like solid punch in the face … zero to 60 in 4 seconds flat … pulling G’s off a space shuttle lift off. You’d have thought the crowd would have been blown back by the blast, but instead they surged forward.
There must have been a run on baby sitters this past Saturday night because by all appearances it was date night at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre where couples gathered to let loose without the kids for hometown favorites Counting Crows and Rob Thomas as support.
After a brief opening set by K Phillips, Rob Thomas took the stage for a generous hour and fifteen minute set backed by a full stage production that had the crowd on their feet all the way back to the lawn for a career-spanning set that included a smattering of Matchbox Twenty favorites (highlighted by an acoustic rendition of “3 AM”), a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and of course Santana’s “Smooth” (which Thomas dedicated to “Uncle Carlos” who was sadly not in town to join on guitar).
As if the enthusiastic crowd wasn’t already riled enough, Rob’s trip through the 100’s section of the amphitheater turned the ladies into giddy schoolgirls at which point everyone around was happy the kids weren’t around to witness that.
Counting Crows kicked things off on a decidedly mellower note, frontman Adam Duritz strolling casually onto the stage during the intro music to take a seat on one of the risers as the band settled into position. Looking calm and relaxed, Adam stepped up to his mic as the band kicked into “Round Here” and wowed the already-standing crowd with his soaring vocals.
Twenty years after the release of his debut solo album, Zakk Wylde is back with his much-anticipated follow-up, Book of Shadows II, as well as a headlining tour.
A good portion of the crowd, many sporting their Black Label Society patches, opted for the bar over tight opening sets by Jared James Nichols and Otherwise. But as Zakk’s scheduled set time came and passed, the bars were empty and the general admission floor was packed as the fans impatiently waited for their hero.
All was forgiven when Wylde finally took the stage and tore through what amounted to a nearly 15 minute rendition of “Sold My Soul” that had Zakk ditching his bowler hat halfway through his extended solo and dripping sweat by the end. Backed by his Black Label Society band, it was immediately clear that these guys have all played together for some time as they locked in, John DeServio grooving on the low end as Dario Lorina kicked off on piano before picking up the six string.