Reviews, interviews, articles, and other blather about music from the mind of Yugoboy

Concert Reviews

A Killer's Confession with Hate Grenade and Kissing Candace
February 9, 2017 - Pineapple Jacks

Opening act Hate Grenade, a quartet from Altoona, Pennsylvania, opened right on time at 9 and launched into a furious attack of thrash\metalcore. Their Facebook page describes them as a nu-metal hybrid, which didn't feel right given the absence of overt digital or rapping. These guys create some really terrific tunes that, with a couple more listensI could easily sing along with. The vocalist, Jeff Glace, ranges nicely from singing through to the shoutiest of thrash shreiks. Easily, an act I could get behind.

Kissing Candice likely doesn't think of themselves as a novelty act, but they wore black cloaks throughout set up and tune up. They perform in a very Slipknot\ Mushroomhead-esque set of masks. Theatricality is meaningless without the skills to back it up. These guys got the skill. This quintet from Long Island, New York features some highly skilled musicians. The two guitars allows for lead guitar solos among the thrashy crunch of the rhythm strings. The lead singer spent much of his time growling and shouting. He also engages in much more audience patter than I've seen from most of these bands. The second vocalist does the singing, sounding a great deal like Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix. The combination helps keep them from skewing to death metal vocals masking the solid music. Kissing Candice skews more to nu-metal, but not in a hed(pe)\Powerman5000 way; more like if Papa Roach's tour bus slammed into Celtic Frost's and the survivors decided to craft a hybrid sound and wear masks to disguise their disfigurement.

A Killer's Confession features the former lead singer for Mushroomhead, and they crunch and churn loud. The band started fast, and befitting an ex-Mushroomhead member, threatened to be nearly as theatrical is Kissing Candice; Waylon Reavis came on stage with a dramatcally large white hooded robe. Fortunately, he ditched that by the end of the second song. AKC has an interesting pacing to their show; each break between songs features extended movie quotes, including a chunk from Devil's Advocate and one of the later Rocky movies. It slows the show down a bit and allows the performers a chance to recoup. As this was easily the oldest group of the three, I don't blame them - they play exhaustngly. Fortunately, the songs between the breaks made the waits worth it. Another reason for the breaks must be a limited catalog. Their first album isn't even available for review yet. The between song patter also allowed Reavis to really interact with the audience. He briefly shared a touching story about what he did after leaving Mushroomhead under somewhat acrimonious circumstances (Google it if you need to.)

These three bands are well-matched, giving this tour a nice complete sound. We've all been to concerts where an opening act didn't quite fit the rest of the slate. Didn't happen this time. If you get a chance, and enjoy loud, crunchy music, see this show.


They Are Who We Thought They Were

Bug Jar, March1

Between the second set and the headliner's, I posted the following to my Facebook page:

"Am shooting and reviewing a concert tonight. Headline act is 'Mutilation Rites.' They're next. One of middle act Ancalagon's guitarists' shirt featured a band called Goat Whore. Their closing song was 'Incestuous Incantation.'

Not sure why I forgot to invite my mom to be my +1."

Aside from the zinger line, the description pretty effectively sums up the evening's experience. I went in with low expectations, fully prepared to shoot and leave early. I enjoyed the show far more than I thought I would, and stayed to the end.

Opening act Enthauptung's half hour of grind and scream rhythm and drums featured local musicians Daniel Drexel (vocals/guitars), Joe Leising (guitars), Jason Roman (bass) and Dan Malanowicz (drums) who use maybe a bit more feedback distortion than makes for a good show - they spent a significant amount of time facing the amps behind them at the back of the stage giving the audience more of their back than could possibly entertain any but their girlfriends. The foursome's songs featured many tempo changes and some creative song-writing. Fortunately, the night's sound engineer kept the vocals under control and did not allow them to overwhelm the band. This stayed true for the duration of the show.

Of the three acts, Atlanta-based Ancagalon most closely fits the styles of metal I enjoy. Ajran's vocals could use some cleaning up, but it's not my band, and the screaming fit the night's theme. Ancagalon plays a brand of metal closer to thrash than death or black metal, sounding at times like early Annihilator, Slayer or Metallica, with plenty of other influences thrown in. Drummer Aladron, lead guitarist Kvasir and rhythm guitarist Gilmor craft a decidedly reminiscent style, while maintaining originality. Their songs, although screamed, did feature vocals closest to singing, with actually perceptable lyrics (at times.) The fact that when they announced the last song of their set was "Incestuous Incantation" nobody laughed conveys much about the band and the audience.

MutilationRites, the headliner whose album Harbinger I reviewed plays a black metal so fast that a lot of talent is lost when heard as an album. This music benefits from being experienced live. The skills of the George Paul on guitars and vocals, Justin Ennis on drums, guitarist Michael Dimmit and bassist Ryan Jones show through the frantic music much better than on the album. This may have been in part due to the engineer's mixing. On the album I reviewed the vocals were much more prominent. It was an experience hearing each band warm up. When the vocalists did their mike checks, the sounds they produced must be heard to be believed. If an asthmatic rhinoceros cleared his throat in a caverous tiled bathroom, he'd come close to approximating these sounds. I may have been the only person to find humor in this. Pretty much everyone else took it in stride.
Mutilation Rites' music features relentless speed, followed by more relentless speed at a different chord, backed by drums you'd swear could only come from a guy with three arms, followed by a new chord of more speed. Unlike their opening acts, they slowed rarely, if ever, for a skills break or to play with tempo. This style of music does encourage the development of a "pit" which featured the same 10 or so tall skinny dudes bouncing around and crashing into eachother with abandon at times. One of the prominent moshers was the lead singer/guitarist for opening act Enthauptung. Bearing a camera (insured) and lens (not insured) I couldn't participate; not that I could anymore. I'm old. At one point during the show I was fairly convinced the sound waves had shaken a couple kidney stones into places that caused pain. I'm just glad they didn't stay there.
All in all, the show was fun, if late (MR didn't go on until after midnight) and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The skill and passion of these musicians cannot be denied, and, while it's not for everyone, a good time was had by all.


Mrs.Skannotto, Keaton, SexyTeenagers

Concert Review 3/20/15

As the evening grew later, the music got more... what's the word I'm looking for? ...respectable? eh. ...organized? not exactly. ...accessible? hmm. Well, let me explain. In short, The Sexy Teenagers opened the show with an almost straight-up punk set. Keaton followed doing the power punk thing, while Mrs. Skannotto headlined with their awesome punk ska sound. Not sure what word describes that progression, but I'm certain it exists.

As is my habit, I arrived at the announced time, eight o'clock. It still hasn't kicked in that the shows don't start until nine-ish, but it does give me time to get my camera settings, find good angles and potentially meet band members and talk to them ahead of the show. I also usually get a couple/few shots of the band tuning up in better light than during the show. I did get to meet Mrs. Skannotto's trumpeter Justin Lloyd and enjoy a tasty beverage (Killian's Irish Red) before evening began. Flower City Station doesn’t have a lot of beers, but they do have Guinness and Killian’s on tap, which makes up for a multitude of brewed sins (anything by Coors or Anhueiser-Busch, for example.)

Mrs.Skannotto, despite being a national act, touring with acts like The Toasters and other ska or punk acts, is local to me, hailing from Rochester, NY. Rochester may not be Nashville or Austin, but we've got a thriving music scene and some excellent facilities. Metallica recorded Kill 'Em All here, Lou Gramm of Foreigner calls Rochester home, and our International Jazz Festival is a pretty big deal. Mrs. Skannotto is spending some time at home not only to rest, but also to record a new album, to hopefully be released in June-ish (look for an advanced review on this site.)

Anyway, once the show got started, it got going good. The Sexy Teenagers put on a fun show. They may not be teens, and I don’t know if they’re sexy (that’s for their girlfriends to figure out, I suppose), but they play some entertaining punk, I’ll tell you. Along with the music, they enjoy dishing out some truly crappy jokes – it’s part of their charm.

Keaton, another local act, cranked out the power punk and really got things hopping. These guys know their audience, and know their licks, and ratcheted up the fun factor, getting the crowd involved and moving, hopping, and yes, even a bit of moshing to the beats. As a guy toting a nice Nikon around, I had to be a bit careful, but I didn’t mind; the show was fun. It was nice being at a well-attended show for once.

Once Keaton finished, Mrs. Skannotto took the stage and cranked out about 45 minutes of pounding, bouncing, hopping entertainment-first ska. Between older songs and new, they churned out a ton of ska, but the highlight of the show had to be “Phantom Pain,” a tune that rocks and will get an entire room moving. I’m not entirely sure what all I expected, never having attended a ska show before, but I got the fun I expected, even if I was surprised at how few members of the band there were. (I guess I also expected zoot suits or matching skinny-tie suits or something that screamed “swing.” I didn’t get that, but that’s OK… it feels like only survivors of the 80s glam era give a crap about that sort of stage-show thing much anymore – at least outside the world of Top-40, that is.) That much sound, I expected more people on stage – more guitars, more horns. That six guys make that much musical noise is impressive. That the music is that good, even more so. Whether you know the tunes or not (and you should get to know the tunes – Mrs. Skannotto makes some awesome tunes) a Mrs. Skannotto show should not be missed, if you get the opportunity. Being among the few active, touring ska bands left, missing out would be a wasted skapportunity.

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