Hopefully to no one’s surprised I’m back at it. Tonight I am going with another recollection. One of the reasons for that is it is still fresh in my head LITERALLY. Specifically I am talking about a concert some friends and I attended a few weeks ago sponsored by 105X, the local hard rockish yet still playing Nickelback crap station. They were holding their annual Spring Fling Concert which typically is a multi-band mashup. They had a decent lineup this year consisting of two bands I really like (Papa Roach and Sick Puppies), a band I wanted to see (Stone Sour) and two bands that intrigued me enough to consider seeing (In This Moment and All That Remains). Not a bad night of entertainment and more importantly, the price was right at $42. Ironically, I’m at a point financially where I can afford concert prices but old enough to not appreciate being gouged by greedy promoters and bands – think Rolling Stones if you need an example.
The first band of the night was All That Remains. There are no pictures to show you being that my arrival came in the middle of their set and the remaining of their two songs was spent trying to figure out who they were and being very unimpressed. This could have been due to some distractions having to kick some people out of our seats. The others were still on their way but since I was already dealing with my seat went ahead and told the squaters in those seats to find another place. They responded with annoyed faces but honestly was beyond caring – we purposely chose seats so we did not have to deal with the general admission crowd… definitely getting old(er). There was one noted band observation – they had a female bassist.
Once they were done, the roadies took to the stage and started building an elaborate set. Out came a bag of skulls, a pikes full of skulls, a platform, a large fan, some dumb looking trellises that looked like wedding props and a few more knickknacks scattered about. Eventually they uncovered the drum which had a barely readable In This Moment logo. Ah, time for the screacher! Based on a few samplings it was apparent they had a front woman that could belt it out. Turns out she was pretty pleasing to the eyes no small part due to the fact she came out in a one piece number giving proper attention to her assets. Of course, for some strange reason, she chose to stand in the middle of a dry ice jet stream which made it difficult to see her most of the time. No stranger to a stripper pole, she gyrated her way through her incredibly long FOUR or FIVE song set accented by her walking off stage after each song and attempting to add some form of dramatic flair to her re-entrance. Summary – she can indeed belt out some notes and at least one of her songs was halfway decent, but her constant gesturing to have the fog blower fiddled with degraded the overall impression – you are trying to watch the “artist” perform yet constantly having to be distracted by a roadie continually coming on stage to jerk around with the fan to fine tune a gimmick that wasn’t adding any real value.
With those two bands out of the way it was time to get into the part I really paid the money for. Sick Puppies came out and to my surprise it was only a three person band. Drummer, guitarist singer and surprise surprise another female bassist. 3 for 3 with women as an integral part of the band (translated.. not simply eye candy as witnessed in the past Crue concerts). The puppies did not let me down. They played with a lot of energy, interacted with the crowd and most importantly played all the songs I came to hear. Kudos to the female bassist pounding away on the strings. They bring a LOT of bass to their songs which is why she surprised me at first, but looked like she had an interesting claw like style which delivered a lot of power. Additionally, there is new found appreciation for their singer’s ability to hold his old against the power voices in the industry. If you have not heard of this band before I highly recommend checking out Long Time Coming – could be my all time favorite bass beat.
Hit the jump to read about the rest of the bands that night.
Things were picking up and now it was time to bring out the veterans. Papa Roach has been the recipient of my money a couple of times now and likely the main reason for getting the tickets. Each time they’ve come with a boat load of energy and had an uncanny ability to get the crowd whipped into a frenzy. Tonight was no exception. Although his voice seems to have dropped off a little, he is still in constant motion, still engaging the crowd and …. STILL getting them frothy. By now, mosh pits were breaking out in the standing areas in front of the stage, body surfing was getting into high gear (girls joining in now) and the liquor was kicking in. Similar to last time, he managed to get the most of the arena bouncing up and down in unison making the whole arena vibrate. Here he is getting them going…
For those new bands trying to break into the scene, take some advice and simply go watch veterans like this engage with the crowd. I can’t tell you how many bands as of late simply walk on stage, stare at the ground, trudge through their set like they are doing the fans a favor and walk off the stage without an ounce of appreciation for people willing to spend their hard earned coins. Those bands will never have the longevity of bands that appreciate their fans. Hell, Sick Puppies told the entire crowd they were going to be in the outer concourse of the arena and wanted to greet personally every one of their fans that night… and still came out to sing a song with Papa.
Papa set the bar pretty high for Stone Sour who was the last band on the ticket. I’ve never seen Stone Sour before but did enjoy a number of their songs. For those who do not know, it is actually the Slipknot singer without his mask. Stone Sour does not have the same edginess as Slipknot, but he still brings one of the most powerful voices I’ve ever heard to the Sour songs. Strong throaty singing in which you can still hear all the words unlike a lot of the crap the heavy metal promoters are trying to push down the youth of today. It was apparent by now that the overall theme of the ticket was pounding bass and strong vocals. Every band (eh.. at least the last three) was powered by a talented drummer working his ass off amplified by a solid bassist keeping the pulse of the set going. Even so, Stone Sour’s drummer managed to stand out among the rest pummeling those skins to death. Not sure if they planned this or not, but notice the lighting on the drummer below…
This spotlighting from the back cast a shadow onto the upper walls of the arena that silhouetted just how hard he was working – reminded me of Animal from the Muppets. From one wannabe drummer to a pro – you rock! Fans appreciate it when you toss out a few lines thanking them for their support, but as a general rule Midwest fans go rabid when they know a fellow Midwesterner is playing for them. Guessing everyone there already new, but when the lead singer told everyone how great a Midwestern audience is and he would know coming from Des Moines IA…. the crowd erupted and renewed vigor in the mosh pits and there was wave after wave of crowd surfers.. including Banana-Man! Stepping back only once for their popular ballad, Stone Sour kept up the frenetic pace until the end. Somewhat humorous, against all this hardcore rock backdrop their lead guitarist was sporting a suit.
After all was sung and done I felt good about the night. I enjoyed it, my friends enjoyed it and nobody got into a confrontation (another story, but we’ve had some issues in the past). There was one bad element to the evening and one downside. I almost named this post “I PAID HOW MUCH FOR A DRINK”. The Peoria Civic Center now has the dubious distinction of charging me the most ever for a soft drink. I had gone up to the vendor area to get a couple of drinks for my friend and I. My time standing in line was spent people watching instead of checking out the menu. To the request for a Sprite and Diet Coke came the standard “small or large” I quickly opted for the large. Upon handing me the cups she informs me it was $16. WTF! you have got to be kidding me. Turns out that is their new revenue gimmick – the large is an “all you can drink size”. First of all I do not need that much soft drink at one time and certainly do not need to spend $8 for it. Having already ordered it I was trapped and reluctantly paid it. My friend ending up demanding he pay for his due to the price. He promptly put this picture up on Facebook and proceed to inform everyone of the ‘rape’ge.
and on the down side… the ears took a beating. In fact, pretty sure they are still ringing to this day. This didn’t stop me from making fun of two of my friends that opted for hearing protection (see one of them below)
but they ended up having the last laugh. One final observation – this post could have easily been titled “A White Wash”. Let’s just say there wasn’t a lot of diversity in the arena!
Rock on friends!…. now someone needs to stop ringing that bell.