Concept albums by definition can be quite pretentious and full of themselves. Having an entire album dedicated to a story can sometimes be too much for a listener to connect too. Plus, trying to make every song fit the concept can be hard to make... well, good! For every THE WALL (Pink Floyd) and MISPLACED CHILDHOOD (Marillion) we have a bunch of (fill in the blank with your least favorite concept album. For the Mood Groove, the concept on SOME LEFT, SOME STAYED is pretty easy to follow... a night at a club or hall with a band just playing some great songs that have a common thread, but manage to be unique in their own way.
Like Frank Zappa's more than classic, JOE'S GARAGE, SOME LEFT, SOME STAYED has a narrator much less offensive than the Central Scrutinizer, but here, the M.C. sets the tone for the 'show'. Like any good live band, the 'set list' has a great running order of songs like Loop Out, Peace Of Mind and Transistor Bath House (my favorite on the album) all have a real free flow/jam style going on that really makes you feel you are listening to a live band in a loud, hot, sweaty venue. On stage anything can happen, and here anything does happen.
The band; JK Northrup (guitars, backing vocals), Ed Balldinger (lead vocals/acoustic guitar), Larry Hart (Bass) and Glenn Hicks (drums) with many guests listed below have created a super cool and very easy to get into vibe. The album is quite original and modern with some nods (at least to my ears) to Sammy Hagar, Black Crowes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kid Rock, The Muppets and a bit of Led Zeppelin, so you get a lot to listen to... without trying to hard. F-U-N!!!!
This album is perfect for a nice relaxing car ride. Sometimes musicians try to hard or want to always say something with their music, here The Mood Groove just wants to say "hey man, listen to this album, and let all your cares just melt away. Peace."
MATMAN RATING - 8 OUT OF 10 COOL FLASHBACKS
SOME LEFT, SOME STAYED will be released on February 29, 2020.
For pre-order info, click here
Eric Ragno- Keyboards (Fiction Syxx, The Babys, Graham Bonnet, China Blue)
Paul Holdgate- Lead and Backing Vocals (Montrose)
Randy Scoles- Lead and Backing Vocals (Montrose)
Steve Brown- Backing Vocals (Montrose, Oleander)
Diana Short- Backing Vocals (Red Sky Sunrise)
Buddy Davis- Backing Vocals
A few weeks back I made my first pilgrimage to The Vault Music Hall and Pub in New Bedford, MA to see Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal and his one man show, Storytellers. Since I have so much to talk about, this review will be covering a lot of stuff, from the show, to the venue, the burger I had and fun before and after the show.
Until Bumblefoot became a part of the ASIA Royal Family tour, I didn't know Ron could sing! Sure, his talents as a guitarist are obvious, but doing a show where it is just you, a guitar and a microphone requires a special talent... that Ron Thal has. One of the things that really came across at this show is his magnetic personality, drawing the fans in with stories about smelly jackets, blizzard driving, the origins of his beard and so much more. Playing a mix of original songs like Little Brother Is Watching, covers like Iron Maiden's Wasted Years and music from his old band, Guns N' Roses, Thal showed off his talents as a performer and up close, gave you a glimpse into his brilliance as a guitarist. He also mid show, got so excited about something, he decided to have an impromptu guitar clinic, making it informative for the players in the audience and entertaining and funny for the non-players.
I have never been to The Vault Music Hall and Pub at Greasy Luck and as far as venues go, W-O-W! Despite the 90 minute ride I will be going to more shows there; Spread Eagle, UFO, Autograph to name a few. The intimate hall has a good size stage, great vantage points from everywhere and the sound is very clear and presented in a way that is clear, loud and yet, not overpowering. If you wanna get close to the stage, you can do that... but if you wanna sit and enjoy, you can do that too. The entire staff were great, too. That is something you don't always hear about from rock clubs.
Despite Ron (pre-show) recommending the coley-flower pizza to me, I decided to go with a good old fashion cheese burger with bacon, fries and soda and (well done of course) and if I thought it would be a typical club/pub burger... I was way wrong!! This was amazingly delicious and was reasonably priced so, come for the concert but eat before the show.
When you walked into the venue, Ron was already out, meeting fans, taking about anything and everything and had for sale CD's and his line of hat sauces that of course I got right into. BUMBLICIOUS! is incredibly flavorful and goes great on a fat chicken and turkey sandwich as well as my sweet and spicy chili and BUMBLEF*****D! will just kill you, so be warned. Before and after show, Ron left every fan with a sense of friendship and gratitude for their support, talking about what they wanted and posing for a zillion pictures.
If Ron's Storyteller show comes to your local venue, GO!!!! It will be a fun 90 minutes you will wish happened every single day.
Megadeth prepping for tour
Joe Elliot not worried about making new music
Stryper fan weekend
Spread Eagle tour dates
Haunt--Mind Freeze (2020) | hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/album/mind-freeze
Sons of Apollo MMXX (2020) | sonsofapollo.com
Comin Atcha Live:
Bumblefoot at New Bedford, MA 1/5/20
Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal
Bonus Track: Jorn—Needles and Pins
From the album Heavy Rock Radio II - Executing The Classics. Buy or Stream: https://radi.al/HRRII
Thanks for listening! If you're subscribing on iTunes or Google play, please leave us a review, as it will help spread the word about the show! You can also hit us up on twitter at twitter.com/powerchordspod, and email us at email@example.com.
The new year is a bit over a week old and already we are getting some amazing new music; one brand new to me, one classic and the last... a very anticipated release!!!! Support your local record shops and live music...
Serious Black - SUITE 226 (AFM Records)
WOW, friggin' WOW!!! Releasing their 4th album, Serious Black have made a huge impact on my ears and eyes. The band have a theatrical side that I love and musically they are as solid as anyone out there. From the power metal of When The Stars Are Right to the Ghost sounding Fate Of All Humanity, Serious Black cover all the metal/hard rock bases in a very familiar and unique way. SUITE 226 is an album a bit on the darker side but presented in a way that is quite pleasing.
Rating 7.5 out of 10.
Release date Feb 14, 2020
Blue Oyster Cult - CULT CLASSIC (Frontiers s.r.l.)
In the 1970's and 1980's, BOC was a band who had it all; mystery, a dark side and an image that made people a bit fearful for their lives... and souls. BUT, more important than all of that was the music, no, the amazing music the band recorded. Recently signed to Frontiers, the band are re-releasing CLASSICS, a greatest hits collection that features 14 classics that have been lovingly re-recorded. Songs like (Don't Fear) The Reaper, This Ain't The Summer Of Love and Astronomy have been modernized, but in a way that still sounds like the originals, just cleaner and more alive! Blue Oyster Cult are one of the best and here... you will here why.
Rating 8 out of 10
Release Date January 24th, 2020
Revolution Saints - RISE (Frontiers s.r.l.)
It is amazing and very exciting that we are getting a third album from Deen Castronovo, Doug Aldrich and Jack Blades, but what is so shocking is how good it is! Like their first two, RISE is centered around drummer Castronovo and his amazing voice and features 11 songs that just make you feel good. With tracks like When The Heartache Is Gone, Coming Home and Win Or Lose, you will hear some of the best and most heartfelt melodic rock, ever! High praise but so well deserved. Now please... hit the road!!!!
Rating 9.5 out of 10
Release Date January 24, 2020
Never thinking we would be getting another studio album from Sons Of Apollo I was shocked to find out... we were!!!! After all, the band members are the best of the best and have numerous projects to keep them busy. There was something about the band’s debut album, PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY that checked off all the boxes for me; heavy yet melodic, progressive but not pretentious and solid vocals and melody. Now I, I mean we get album number two... MMXX or 2020 from InsideOut Music/Sony.
Following their debut, a brilliant live album and a lot of touring, Sons Of Apollo really have cemented as a band, writers and musicians. The first thing I notice with the eight new songs is a lot of depth and chances for everyone to shine, but not at the expense of the song. When you have the musical pedigree of guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, bassist Billy Sheehan, keyboardist Derek Sherinian and drummer Mike Portnoy, there is a chance that the music can become just a showcase of talent and come apart very quickly. Here, more than on their debut, I feel the songs truly come first. Goodbye Divinity, King Of Delusion, Wither To Black and Desolate July weave in and out of styles and emotion thanks to the amazing vocals of Jeff Scott Soto. That dude has got to keep up with a lot going on underneath his voice, a voice I have loved since I first heard him on the first Rising Force album (with Yngwie Malmsteen) way back in 1984.
On MMXX, Sons Of Apollo have captured the elements I love about the players as individuals and the styles/genres they play within. Every song will strike a chord with the listener differently and bring them to a good place. For me, MMXX is a cross between the legendary RAINBOW RISING and King Crimson’s RED, especially on the 16-minute epic, New World Today! Beautiful.... This is the album that sadly every new release in 2020 has to measure up to.
The question I have been getting asked by fans of the band and friends who know I will be reviewing the album is what does MMXX sound like? Guns N’ Roses, Dream Theatre, Art Of Anarchy, Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, Talisman, UFO, Rising Force, ASIA, Black Country Communion? My answer is a simple... yes.
THAT is the sound of Sons Of Apollo!!!
Matman Rating – 9 out of 10
For tour information - https://sonsofapollo.com/live/
For 2020 album pre-order - https://soa.lnk.to/MMXX
The new year is only three days old and already, the new releases are coming in hard and heavy! Here is a quick blurb about three great albums to look out for this month. Also, notice I have expanded the ratings from 5 to 10. After 15 years of stopping at '5' I feel that expanding to '10' will give more freedom and honesty in the review process. I could have made it '11', but that would be too easy.
HEAVY ROCK RADIO 2 - EXECUTING THE CLASSICS by Jorn (Frontiers s.r.l.)
Jorn Landie possesses one of the best rock/metal voices going. Always (rightfully) compared to the late Ronnie James Dio and Whitesnake's David Coverdale should give you an idea of how good he is. On this second collection of covers, Jorn keeps it close to his wheel house with great versions of Bad Attitude (Deep Purple), Mystery (Dio) and other metal anthems, but it's his choice to cover Lonely Nights (Bryan Adams), Winning (Santana) and Needles And Pins (The Searchers) that really make this more than just an album of covers. Love his voice, but really fall for the way he handles some amazing music. (7 out of 10) Release Date - 1/24/2020
ECHOES by A Life Divided (AFM Records)
This German band is near impossible to lump in with any one style or genre... and that gives it very cool listening experience. Lyrically the songs all seem to be about the darker side of the human condition; sadness, isolation, addictions, anger, loneliness... very much like The Cure and New Order, but with a modern rock feel. The production on songs like Dry Your Eyes, Rock N Roll Star and The Ordinary brings the songs to life, making A Life Divided a band to watch for this year. The highest compliment I can give this album is after one listen I need to seek out the bands entire back catalog. Brilliant stuff. (7 out of 10)
Release Date - 1/31/2019
LIGHTING STRIKES TWICE by DECARLO (Frontiers s.l.r.)
Without reading bio about the band, I was struck by how 1970's cool this debut album sounded with so many nods to Boston, a few Foreigner moments as well as America and the legendary band New England. Featuring some amazing songs like A Better Day, the title track and my favorite, There She Goes, a song that can only be described as pure magic. As I would discover (or should have known), vocalist Tommy DeCarlo has been the vocalist with Boston since 2007. But it isn't a great record because it sounds like Boston. It's a great album because of the songs and performances by DeCarlo, Tommy DeCarlo Jr. (guitars) and Dan Hitz (drums) make it great! A feel good album that is needed in times of not feeling good! (8 out of 10)
Release Date - 1/24/2020
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.