Halloween Playlist October 27, 2011Posted by Matt in music.
Tags: AC/DC, alice in chains, Anthrax, Beck, Black Sabbath, Creedence Clearwater Revival, drive-by truckers, Faith No More, Halloween music, Hank Williams, Iron Maiden, Kanye West, Mastodon, Motley Crue, Outkast, Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, Phish, playlist, Robert Johnson, Ryan Adams, Sufjan Stevens, Talking Heads, The Police, The Raveonettes, The Rolling Stones, Type O Negative
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As is true with any occasion, I always feel the need to compile a playlist best reflecting that specific time. With Halloween only days away, it is time for us to put together one reflecting that spookiest of holidays. I looked through my iPod library and these were the songs I chose – at least for now. My only rule was to only choose one song by a particular artist, though I would not be averse to breaking that rule if the songs were cool enough to do so. So, without further ado, here are 25 songs from iPod to go on a Halloween playlist. Your suggestions are always welcome.
AC/DC – Highway to Hell – Come on, a singer who died not long after recording this singing about being on the “Highway to Hell?” That’s messed up. (Runner up: Hell’s Bells)
Alice in Chains – Them Bones – “Gonna end up a big old pile of them bones.” Fatalism is essential for Halloween.
Antrax – Fight ‘em Til You Can’t – Possibly the only song I know about a zombie apocalypse (Runner up: Skeleton in the Closet, Belly of the Beast)
Beck – Satan Gave Me a Taco – Worst trick-or-treating ever. (Runner up: Devil’s Haircut)
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath – Possibly the spookiest song ever recorded. The famous three note riff is a diminished fifth, whose music qualities were seen in the past as Satanic. (Runner Up: Children of the Grave)
Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Put a Spell on You – Witchcraft is always welcome.
Drive-By Truckers – Demonic Possession – Favorite lyric: “(The Devil) says the only thing that’s buggin’ him / is that hell’s filling up with Republicans”
Faith No More – Zombie Eaters – Not just zombies, zombie eaters. (Runner up: Surprise! You’re Dead!”
Hank Williams – Angel of Death – Williams never sounded spookier and more poignant than this tune recorded just a short time before his death at age 29.
Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast – How can you have a Halloween list without Maiden? (Runner Up: Children of the Damned)
Kanye West – Monster – A truly twisted song featuring and introducing the amazing Nicki Minaj.
Mastodon – Divinations – Yes, they are the best metal band working today.
Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil – Sure, it’s totally over-the-top and campy, but it’s still an awesome good time.
Outkast – Dracula’s Wedding – Well, do you know of any other songs mentioning Dracula?
Ozzy Osbourne – Mr. Crowley – You have to include this ode to occult master Aleister Crowley in any Halloween list. (Runner Up: Zombie Stomp)
Pantera – Cemetary Gates – This song is quite possibly my favorite metal recording of all time. (Runner up: By Demons be Driven)
Phish – Wolfman’s Brother – Phish may not immediately come to mind when you think of Halloween music, but this is one of the only werewolf songs I can think of.
The Police – Spirits in the Material World (Spirits help Sting sneak onto the list)
The Raveonettes – Dead Sound – The Raveonettes first album is pretty spooky sounding anyway with its ethereal female vocals and crashing layers of guitars, but this song takes the Halloween prize.
Robert Johnson – Hellhound on my Trail – A truly terrifying song from a guy who supposedly sold his soul to the devil and died young. (Runner up: Me & the Devil Blues, Crossroad Blues)
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil – The Stones: keeping the devil alive in rock music for fifty years.
Ryan Adams – Halloween Head – It may not sound spooky or anything, but it does have the word Halloween in it.
Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr. – A disquieting ballad about one of the most famous and deranged serial killers in American history.
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer – Not just a killer, a psycho killer.
Type O Negative – Black No. 1 – Back in about 1995 or so, I saw Type O Negative in concert opening for Pantera. It was, without a doubt, the most terrifying concert experience of my life and this song is one of the reasons why. (Runner up: Christian Woman)
What would you add to the list?
Ten for Tuesday: 1995 August 31, 2010Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: 1995, alice in chains, Bruce Springsteen, Everclear, Foo Fighters, Garbage, music, Oasis, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, top ten, Tupac Shakur, Wilco
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Hey everybody! It’s time to hop back into our top ten time machine and take a trip back a few years to see what made the music and film industries tick during that time. Over the past few weeks we’ve checked out the tens: 2000, 1990, and 1980, and we’ve looked back five years at 2005. Today we’ll take a look at 1995. In 1995 I began my senior year of high school, turned 18, and spent my time driving the backroads around our small town in an old 4-Runner. While much of the popular music I listened to at the time was not that great (Silverchair and Bone Thugs to name two regrettable choices), there were some true gems released that year, some of which I didn’t come to appreciate until much later.
10. Garbage – Garbage
I always liked what I heard from this album, but it wasn’t until later, after I saw them open for the Smashing Pumpkins, that I finally bought it. Its combination of dance-rock beats, a shoegazing guitar sound, and Shirley Manson’s vocals make this a recording that still holds up well. My favorite track is probably “I’m Only Happy When It Rains,” but the best known one is undoubtedly, “Stupid Girl.”
9. Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters
Following the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994 and the subsequent demise of grunge rock in general, many music fans looked around bewildered, wondering what would be next. They would not have to wait long, though, for rising Phoenix-like from Nirvana’s ashes was drummer Dave Grohl, now as the singer/guitarist of a new band, Foo Fighters. Their brand of pop-punk-rock was a departure from the sometimes noisy sounds of Nirvana, but it was a welcome one nevertheless. “Big Me” was the hugest hit, particularly for it’s video, but I really like the songs “I’ll Stick Around” and “This is a Call” the best.
8. Alice in Chains – Alice in Chains
As the final album featuring vocalist Layne Staley, this work stands as an exit sign of sorts for the grunge era. While I don’t love this as much as 1992’s classic Dirt, it is still a good album that features a good deal of Jerry Cantrell’s trademark sludgy guitar riffs with metal sensibilities. My favorite songs on this collection include “Grind” and “Over Now,” with “Heaven Beside You” also standing as an excellent piece.
7. Everclear – Sparkle and Fade
This album is included more for the nostalgia it induces than anything else, especially since I was part of a band at that time that played “Santa Monica.” Overall, the album is a good one about growing up and moving on, topics that were important to me as an 18 year old. Though I still occasionally like to turn this one on, its place was somewhat diminished after I saw Everclear put on one of the worst concerts I’ve ever seen several years ago. Check out the aforementioned “Santa Monica” and “Summerland.”
6. Tupac Shakur – Me Against the World
Tupac was widely known as one of the best rappers of the decade even before his murder in 1996, and this album, along with the even better All Eyez On Me, display him in top form. For better or worse, Tupac took the 90’s thug persona to a whole new level and his untimely death made him a legend. On this album, check out the monster hit “Dear Mama,” and the title track.
5. Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
With the possible exception of the aforementioned Everclear album, there were no new discs that I listened to from beginning to end more often as a high school senior than this one. The Gallagher brothers reached the pinnacle of their rock star careers with this one and that’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. “Wonderwall” is one of the best and most nostalgia-inducing songs of the decade, while “Champagne Supernova” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” are also great listens.
4. Wilco – A.M.
Wilco’s debut album following the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, evaded my interest as a high school senior and it wasn’t until several years later that I first realized the brilliance of Jeff Tweedy. Sure, this is not among their best albums to date (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Summerteeth), but it is still a very good one, particularly on songs like “Passenger Side,” “I Must be High,” and “Box Full of Letters.”
3. Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad
There is something criminal about the way that this incredible acoustic work from The Boss was swept under the rug in the mid-90’s. Harkening back to the great Nebraska, this album finds Springsteen traveling back to the Midwest, to the trials and tribulations of the common man, and emerging with sparse tales of hard times. Check out the title track, “Youngstown,” and “My Best was Never Good Enough.”
2. Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Mellon Collie is no exception to the general rule of double albums. It is bloated, ego-driven, and sometimes displays a little too much self-importance, but when Billy Corgan’s band is on target, which they are most of the time, they are one of the best around. The band rips through some huge riffs in songs like “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and “Zero” that can still blow the listener away.
1. Radiohead – The Bends
Before The Bends, most thought of Radiohead as little more than a one-hit wonder of the grunge era. Their song “Creep” was huge, but there was little else on their debut that captured the imagination of music fans. When they burst back on the scene in 1995, though, it was with a true game changer and one of the best albums of the entire decade. Everyone remembers songs like “High and Dry” and “Fake Plastic Trees,” but it is the album in its entirety that truly astonishes. The Bends also marked the first entry in a trilogy of works, along with 1997’s OK Computer and 2000’s Kid A, that stands as quite possibly the best threesome of albums in the history of rock music. Seriously, I will put these three up against any three album span of The Beatles, Dylan, anyone, and I think it will fare just fine. For now, though, just listen to The Bends. Turn it up loud and let the genius of Thom Yorke take you away. You won’t be disappointed.
Ten for Tuesday: 1990 July 13, 2010Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: alice in chains, Black Crowes, Firehouse, Garth Brooks, Jane's Addiction, MC Hammer, Megadeth, Nelson, Pantera, Pixies, Poison, public enemy, Sonic Youth, top ten, Uncle Tupelo, Vanilla Ice
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Are you ready for a new series of sorts? Welcome to the top ten time machine.
Today I thought that we could take a step back in time for our list, a leap of 20 years in the past to 1990. In 1990, I was 13 years old, in the seventh grade at Beebe Junior High, and already had one of the largest cassette tape collections of any of my friends. To commemorate this year bridging the gap between the big hair of the 80’s and the sullenness of the 90’s, we will be taking a look at the music released during that 365 day period. Later on I’ll do the same with movies.
Top 10 Albums Released in 1990
10. Alice in Chains – Facelift
A precursor of the grungy early 90’s, Jerry Cantrell’s sludge-rock guitar riffs fill up whatever space is left over from Layne Staley’s growling vocals. Though this work is not up to the same level as 1992’s Dirt, it is still good and contains some of their best known songs like “Man in the Box” and “Bleed the Freak.”
9. The Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker
Chris Robinson’s band takes the hazy, reverb-drenched rock sounds of times past to a new era, channeling the Stones and countless others in their rumble to the top. Over the past twenty years, the Crowes have proven themselves to be among the standard-bearers of the classic rock sound and that is no more evident than on this work, with songs like “She Talks to Angels” and a great cover of “Hard to Handle.”
8. Pixies – Bossanova
When music historians look back at the most important bands of alternative rock, one of the names high on the list will no doubt be the Pixies. Their stamp is all over the boom of bands in the early 90’s and you can see why on this work with tunes like “Velouria” and “Dig for Fire.
7. Pantera – Cowboys from Hell
Dude, when it comes to metal guitar there was nobody like the late Dimebag Darrell. This album still amazes me today and there is a good possibility I’ll be listening to it any time you come by my house when I’m working out. “Cemetary Gates” may very well be my favorite heavy song of all time.
6. Megadeth – Rust in Peace
Dave Mustaine is the king of making metal with a social conscious, and that is no clearer than it is on Rust in Peace, which may be the magnum opus of a long and fruitful career. I had the chance to see them perform this entire album live last year and believe me, it is still awesome.
5. Garth Brooks – No Fences
How can you possible be a country music fan in the South and not mention this album when talking about the early 90’s? You could not avoid this 20 years ago, but with songs like “Friends in Low Places,” and “The Thunder Rolls,” why would you have wanted to?
4. Sonic Youth – Goo
Another band that will no doubt appear on the aforementioned list of the most important bands of alternative rock, Sonic Youth blew it out of the water with this, their follow-up to 1988’s classic Daydream Nation. With loud guitars, curiously strange tunings, and great songs like “Kool Thing” and “Dirty Boots,” the bands influence goes far beyond album sales.
3. Uncle Tupelo – No Depression
Some movements are started with bombastic writings and some with angry mobs and pitchforks – Uncle Tupelo mixed a together a banjo with a distorted guitar and created a genre, alt-country. The dual genius of Jay Farrar (Son Volt) and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) was destined not to last, but at least we got great songs like “Graveyard Shift” and “No Depression” out of it.
2. Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de lo Habitual
It is a shame that the career of Jane’s Addiction was so short and tempestuous, but the small amount of music they did release was so incredible and so far beyond its time, that it’s almost a good thing they weren’t around to disappoint. “Stop” is one of the best opening tracks ever.
1. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet
Forget the cartoonish reality television star that Flavor Flav has become in recent years, 20 years ago he and Chuck D set an incredibly high bar in the world of rap music, one that few have reached in the two decades since. “Fight the Power” still gets me riled up today.
In addition to that, here are five albums released in 1990 that I owned back then, but wish I could say I didn’t.
5. Poison – Flesh and Blood
This was the point where Posion first tried to transition, at least partly, from being a good times hair band of the 80’s to something more serious. No thanks, it makes me want to pull out Look What the Cat Dragged In again…
4. Firehouse – Firehouse
Yes, I did own this piece of garbage. In my defense, though, I was only 13 or 14 at the time!
3. MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em
Seriously, everybody within a few years of my age owned this one in 1990, so leave me alone while I try to make myself forget it…
2. Nelson – After the Rain
Why did I own Nelson? I have no idea, except that maybe the girls in junior high liked them.
And, of course, number 1 has to be…
1. Vanilla Ice – To the Extreme
Wow, this was so bad it was beyond comprehension, but again, who didn’t own it in 1990? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Next: Movies in 1990
Free Music Friday – Music Fest Preview April 30, 2010Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: alice in chains, Band of Horses, Beale Street Music Festival, drive-by truckers, Earth Wind and Fire, Jeff Beck, Memphis in May, Rock Sugar, thunderstorms, Widespread Panic
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For those of you who will not be attending this weekend’s rain-drenched Beale Street Music Festival, here is a taste of what you’ll be missing.
Alice in Chains
Earth, Wind & Fire
Band of Horses
…and a whole lot more. It’s gonna be a good weekend, ya’ll, and I’ll be right in the middle of it, despite the forecasted thunderstorms. If any of you are going to be around let me know and maybe we can hang out at the festival…
Ten for Tuesday: Upcoming 2009 Releases June 23, 2009Posted by Matt in Best of 2009.
Tags: 2009, alice in chains, Beastie Boys, Best Of, Coldplay, Dinosaur Jr., Matisyahu, music, Pearl Jam, The Avett Brothers, The Dead Weather, The Flaming Lips, upcoming releases, Wilco
Last week I gave my top music releases for the first half of 2009 – you can see parts 1, 2 and 3 here – so today I wanted to continue that trend a bit longer and tell you what albums I am most looking forward to for the rest of the year. Let me know what you think.
10. Matisyahu – Light (Release Date: August)
What is not to like about an Orthodox Hasidic Jew as a reggae artist? His last album, 2006’s Youth was an interesting piece of work that even someone like me who is fairly ignorant about both the music style and the branch of Judaism’s tree from which this came can appreciate and really enjoy it.
9. Dinosaur Jr. – Farm (Rlease Date: June)
For more than two decades J. Mascis’ band has been trucking along beneath the surface, creating some of the most incredible noises to be found in the music industry. After finding some success in two minor hits (remember Keep Choppin’ and Feel the Pain?) in the early 90’s, the band again slipped into obscurity. But the band with the prehistoric moniker never quit and their last release, 2007’s Beyond, was a much-needed blast from the past, with the fuzzy distortion of J. Mascis’ guitar and his Neil Young-like vocals helping the band again find their groove. If this one is anywhere near that level of greatness, it could be among the year’s best.
8. Alice in Chains – Black Give Way to Blue (Release Date: September)
With their first album in 14 years, Jerry Cantrell & Co. are finally looking to bounce back from the 2002 death of singer and founding member Layne Staley, this time fronted by William DuVall. I had the chance to see them live last year and, let me tell you, they still rocked. Hard. There are few bands that survive and thrive after the departure of such an important member, so it will remain to be seen how they will fare in today’s music environment. But, as a fan from the early days, I’m hoping their comeback will be one for the ages.
7. Coldplay – untitled (Release Date: November)
Sure, the band plays safe, radio-friendly tunes devoid of anything too challenging that are custom-built to appeal to the masses, but, despite my outright music snobbery, I can’t help but like them. Their songs are catchy and stadium-ready, with sound that many compare to an early U2 without those pesky social causes or, frankly, too much thoughtfulness. Nevertheless, they almost always make for a good listen and I’m sure this will be gracing my Ipod soon after its release.
6. Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee (Release Date: September)
After nearly a quarter century, the Beasties just keep trucking on, despite the fact that they likely used up most of their inventiveness on their classic albums from the 1980’s and early 90’s (Seriously, Paul’s Boutique is one of the greatest collections ever recorded). 2004’s To the 5 Boroughs was a fine return to form, but it was apparent that their well of creativity may be running dry. This album doesn’t need to be a music landmark, though, it will no doubt continue their legacy of enjoyable white boy hip-hop.
5. The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You (Release Date: August)
The Avett Brothers’ 2007 release, Emotionalism, was one of my finest discoveries of that year (thanks to some combination of Scott, Greg, and emusic) and for some time I listened to it on an incessant basis. The band morphs genres as diverse as bluegrass and punk rock into a fantastic whole, immediately broadening the musical horizons of the listener. If you’ve never heard someone rock out on a banjo before, then you obviously need the Avett Brothers in your life.
4. The Dead Weather – Horehound (Release Date: July)
I’ve been a disciple of Jack White for several years now, but his status was forever concreted among the pantheon of rock deity after I saw the White Stripes live in 2007. As a dedicated follower, I am resolved to immediately gobble up any release bearing his name, whether it be through the White Stripes, Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose, the Raconteurs, or, his latest outfit, The Dead Weather, an indie rock supergroup consisting of vocalist Alison Mosshart (The Kills), guitarist Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age), bassist Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) and the aforementioned Jack White on drums/vocals. Make no bones about it, this will be awesome.
3. The Flaming Lips – Embryonic (Release Date: September)
Over the past 15 years the Lips have evolved from their mainstream gimmick-song beginnings to releasing two of the best albums of the past 10 years (1999’s The Soft Bulletin and 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots). 2006’s At War with the Mystics was a good piece of sonic guitar psychedelia, though perhaps not to the standards of their earlier work. So, I eagerly await the latest work with hopes for something as strange and inspired as they have recorded in the past.
2. Wilco – Wilco (The Album) (Release Date: June)
There are few musical groups working today as wildly inventive as Jeff Tweedy’s Wilco. Every album seems to take a step in a slightly different direction, as though Tweedy is feeling out every aspect of the rock universe just because he finds it so darn interesting. 2001’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is one of the greatest albums of the new millennium and the two following recordings, A Ghost is Born and Sky Blue Sky, have been excellent pieces as well. You can always expect great things from Tweedy, so I eagerly await him to continue his musical exploration in ways that will continually challenge us to think outside the box.
1. Pearl Jam – Backspacer (Release Date: September)
What more can I say of my love and devotion for Pearl Jam? They are a band that helped define my generation back in our formative years in the early 90’s and that continues to astound us today, nearly two decades later. Eddie Vedder is, hands down, the preeminent rock vocalist of the past 20 years and I expect the band to continue to blaze a trail for all bands under the umbrella of rock music to continue to follow. If their recent performance on Conan O’Brien is any indication, this album is going to blow every one of us away…and I couldn’t be more excited.
What about you? Is there anything in the music world that you are looking forward to?
Sound of a Generation – pt.2 July 4, 2008Posted by Matt in Sound of a Generation.
Tags: 1990's, alice in chains, Generation X, grunge, music, Pearl Jam
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See part 1 of the series here.
With the ascension of Nirvana in the early 1990′s, Seattle was suddenly thrust into the spotlight as a sort of musical Mecca, with the youth of America suddenly turning to the Pacific Northwest for some sense of direction in their aimless walk through life. Soon, the airwaves were inundated with Seattle bands, many of whom had been toiling in obscurity for years in the dismally overcast city. The sound itself was something far from that which had dominated for the last several years, with loud, crunching guitars tuned so low it sounded as though they were being beaten in a mud pit.
It was a dirty-sounding, depressing sort of tone that soon rose to the forefront of generation – one that encapsulated the feel of a generation struggling for some sense of identity. The songs of bands like Alice In Chains were slow, dirge-like and very, very heavy – bearing a great similarity in sound to earlier groups like Black Sabbath and others. They combed the depths, searching for some sense of purpose in a life of despair, but seemingly coming up empty
Around the same time, another group of young men suddenly broke through into the mainstream with a classic-rock sound, reminiscent of bands like The Doors (without the overbearing, cheesy keyboard) or The Who. From seemingly out of nowhere, Pearl Jam quickly became an internationally famous band, with Eddie Vedder’s Morrison-like singing and penchant for crowd-surfing atop his legions of adoring fans. Here’s a clip of them doing the unreleased track “Porch” from their incredible debut album.
Dancin’ With Mr. Brownstone October 10, 2007Posted by Matt in concert, music.
Tags: alice in chains, concert, guns n roses, music, velvet revolver
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Originally Posted 10/10/07
Real, honest to goodness rock music is built on one concept that everything good (or bad depending on your perspective) stems from – rebellion. All of the sex, drugs, and crashing guitars basically come down to this one spirit of revolution, an insurgency of sorts against parents and other authority figures just for the sake of doing it. It’s about going against the grain, defying a status quo deemed to be oppressive (but most often is nothing of the sort) and resolutely affirming our independence with a big, single-finger salute. Whether it’s through swiveling hips or thumping basslines far beyond the endurable threshold of the human ear, every generation drives the older ones crazy with it.
And that’s what we love about it.
I remember as a preteen kid in the late 80’s being introduced to bands like Guns N’ Roses, who totally blew my young mind with their heavy riffs and incredibly (at least for me at that time) vulgar lyrics. It was music that set my young pulse ablaze and left me always yearning for more. As the 1990’s dawned and I entered those teenage years that are so rocky and unpredictable for boys (and I’m sure for girls also), the music scene changed and my cassette tape collection expanded to include this new brand of music stemming from the Pacific northeast that included everything from the nihilistic screams of Kurt Cobain to the straight-ahead rock of Pearl Jam, from the dirge-like sounds of Alice in Chains to the always-changing Stone Temple Pilots. And I played and played and played these albums and songs over and over again, never tiring of the sounds of my seemingly hopeless generation. It was before file sharing and Ipods, when even CDs were still in their fledgling state, and it was an incredible era to live through.
Last night I was able to relive some of those memories.
As you’ve probably read on here the last few days, I was given two tickets to last night’s Velvet Revolver/Alice in Chains concert in the city we now call home, Southaven. My anticipation for this show was as high as any in memory, even though I don’t generally listen to music of this heavier genre much anymore. In case you are unfamiliar with them, Velvet Revolver is the combination of some of the former members of Guns N’ Roses (Slash, Duff McKagen, and Matt Sorum) along with the former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland. Alice in Chains’ lead singer, Layne Staley, died from a drug overdose several years ago and they have just recently reformed with singer William DuVall from the band Comes With the Fall.
D and I arrived at the amphitheater around 7:00, with plenty of time to grab a $5 (whew!) beer and find a nice, unobstructed spot on the hillside from which to watch the upcoming spectacle. At 7:30, AIC hit the stage with a vengeance, tearing through songs like “Grind” and “Sludge Factory,” with incredible ferocity. Jerry Cantrell’s guitar sound was heavy and deep, like a dropped-D tuning played in a big pool of mud. Shortly thereafter they ripped through back-to-back versions of “We Die Young” and “Them Bones,” with the enthusiastic crowd belting out every word, “I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol’ pile of them bones!” Mike Inez pulled out all the stops on his bass with the opening line to “Rain When I Die,” literally shaking the solid ground beneath our feet with an unbelievable heaviness. They tore through everything you would expect, “Angry Chair,” “Would,” “Man in the Box” and the crowd devoured every heavy, gut-rattling note. For the final number, Slash joined them onstage for their biggest and final song, “Rooster,” while the video screen behind them flashed pictures from Vietnam (which the song is about) and our current conflict in Iraq, complete with pictures of our illustrious president and things like, “Bush lied, thousands died.” While I’m not big on political statements at concerts, I’ll cut Alice some slack because they flat-out rocked.
After waiting an hour after the final chords from Cantrell’s guitar faded away into the Mississippi night, Velvet Revolver walked onto the stage and were greeted with a deafening cheer from the thousands of devoted fans. Slash looked nearly the same as he did 20 years ago, when G N’ R were just a group of LA rockers hitting it big, with his oversized tophat, long black hair, sunglasses, and a requisite cigarette hanging from his lips. Weiland was a maniac onstage, running about like a madman and climbing onto every surface he could find. He strutted like Mick Jagger and then glided along the stage and atop the amps like a sleek cat looking for its prey. The band tore through several of their tunes, “Set Me Free,” “She Builds Quick Machines,” and “Fall to Pieces,” (to name a few), with Slash churning out riff after lumbering riff with the precision of a Ginsu knife. Their version of STP’s “Vaseline” was killer with the screen flashing psychedelic images at a breakneck pace while the band galloped along, before they slowed things down a bit for a short acoustic selection that included “Interstate Love Song” and “Patience” – which painfully showed Weiland’s vocal limitations compared to Axl Rose’s (he could not get anywhere near Axl’s screamed, “I’ve been walking the streets at night…). As one of their final songs before the encore, the band ripped up G N’ R’s ode to vulgarity, “It’s So Easy,” leaving the crowd yelling for more.
Soon, they returned for an encore that brought the whole arena down, beginning with G N R’s “Mr. Brownstone,” immediately followed by “Sex Type Thing,” and again the crowd went absolutely crazy. Weiland then went on some strange Jim Morrison-esque tirade of bad beat poetry set to a beat from the band that I just didn’t really get, but the final song, Velvet Revolver’s “Slither,” was a rollicking good time and we left drained of energy, but satisfied that we had just witnessed one of the last truly great rock bands.