As I sit here nursing my coffee whilst causally gauzing out at the sunlight illuminated fog which currently shrouds Hollywood in its intimidating mysteriousness I am trying to move mind into gear and stop gauzing out of the window and towards finding a starting point for this review. This actually happens with surprising ease considering what time I got in after trying to rid this town of that evil thing named beer. Last night began as it normally does with my bus ride down to the House of Blues, I tend to play the “spot the other people” going to the gig game and this evening was no different. Greeted at will call with a professional attitude, duly issued with my photo pass and we proceed inside. Tonight we decided to grab a view from the balcony so we find ourselves a spot and grab a beer.
The first band this evening are Spoken who are a three piece from Arkansas, at this point I am glad I am glad I got there early enough to see these guys, lead singer Matt looks almost like a caged animal frantically trying break free of the restrictions of the stage (it’s currently laden with three bands backline) opening up with “Stand Alone” the first track from the band’s new album “Illusion” which was released via Entertainment One Music on February 12th, Personally I think these guys should be filling venues like this on their own merit. Each song is an energetic explosion of musical prowess and once I had returned to my spot after my allocated three songs in the photo pit I simply head banged my way through the rest of their set. Interesting original riffs, dual vocal styles, thumping bass and intricate drums make Spoken a very welcome opening band this evening and as the set draws to an end Matt does finally break free from the shackles of the stage straddling between the Pit barrier and the stage to close out their set with “Accuser”.
Full Set list: Stand Alone, Don’t Go, Through It All, Dagger, More Than You Know, Accuser.
Their new album “Illusion” is available now in iTunes and Spoken.merchmo.com
Next up this evening are Danko Jones who are a three piece balls out rock band from Toronto Canada consisting of Danko Jones – vocals/guitar, John Calabrese – bass and Atom Willard – drums.
Opening up with “Terrified” from the bands 2012 release “Rock and Roll is Black and Blue” the style is very different to tonight’s openers, clean vocals, structured yet technical guitars backed up by solid bass and drums. Danko’s onstage presence is bold and he’s intent on getting the best from this House of Blues audience, third song from Danko this evening is “First Date” and my personal favourite of theirs, it’s uncontrollably addictive riffs and humorous tongue in cheek lyrics insinuating far more than just kissing on the first date make this track for me. A set full of energy and humorous interjections all led by Danko’s enthusiasm for what he’s there to do make their performance one to be not forgotten in a hurry.
Full set list: Terrified, Forget My Name, First Date, Just A Beautiful Day, Full Of Regret, I Think Bad Thoughts, Lovercall, Cadillac, Mountain. (Set list from memory, may be in the wrong order – sorry).
On to Volbeat a band I first saw on my birthday in 2009 and right then at that moment I knew this band would become a mainstay of my musical enjoyment. In fact they have become so much more they are a band that my wife and I actually got married to (their awesome cover of “I Only Wanna Be With You” which was sadly not played this evening) also on that evening in 2009 my wife and I were in our first picture together despite not even knowing each other at that point, anyway I digress…
Volbeat open up with “Hallelujah Goat” and they are off to a flying start, this over excited House of Blues audience go absolutely crazy and deservedly so, Volbeat are on fire with new guitarist Rob Caggiano (formerly of Anthrax) fitting in perfectly in fact this is the first time I have seen him with them and I am pleasantly surprised how easily he fits in, the bands on stage chemistry is electric, the triple live mic system is in play with Michael utilising each of them in turn with Rob and Anders (Bass) getting a chance to move around the stage and equally enjoy the centre spotlight. “Heaven Nor Hell” is the third track tonight and also the end of my photo pit time so it’s back upstairs to watch the rest of the show from my previously secured viewpoint and it’s time for my all-time favourite Volbeat track “Sad Mans Tongue” which almost got me lynched when DJ’ing in London one evening as no one had heard it before and the very country styled intro caused the room of hard core metal heads I was entertaining to stop dead in their tracks and the entire room to throw me the worst evil eye looks I had ever experienced in my entire life however the kick ass guitars kicked in just in the nick of time and converted the entire room on the spot from angry mob to head banging maniacs.
Next up this evening is the first taste from the band’s new album “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies” with “Lola Montez” and it’s a fine example of what’s to come with the rest of the new album when it’s released in April.
A few more of the highlights of the evening are Danko Jones returning to the stage to sing “Angelfuck” and covers of Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” and Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” before the band leave the stage for a slightly prolonged period before returning to perform the encore which culminated with “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza” – in summary this has been by far the best night out I have had in Hollywood since arriving five months ago.
Full set list: Hallelujah Goat, A New Day, Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood, Heaven Nor Hell, Sad Man’s Tongue, Lola Montez, The Human Instrument, 16 Dollars, A Warriors Call, Mary Ann’s Place, Reign In Blood (Slayer Cover), Breaking the Law (Judas Priest cover), Angelfuck (with Danko Jones), Another Day-Another Way, Dead But Rising, The Hangman’s Body Count, Still Counting.
Encore: The Mirror and the Ripper, My Body (Young The Giant cover), Fallen, Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza.