Category Archives: Shows & Event Reviews

Leaves Eyes opens for Sabaton at Sony PlayStation Theater in New York City

Leaves Eyes Live in NYC 4/21/17.  Photo Mike Porciello

By Michael Porciello

Straight from work, and still in semi – professional attire on a casual Friday, (April 21st) I stepped out of the train at Penn Station and headed up Broadway to the PlayStation Theater to see three incredible bands whose style you really don’t see much of with native bands in the USA. Passing many a trinket vendor, I couldn’t help but notice how vastly this city has changed since I was little. Maybe it was my built in NY attitude that simply told them “no sale” before they even approached me to buy a foam Statue of Liberty crown. Not 15 minutes later, there it was, the cavernous, basement concert venue; one of a few that do not use Ticketmaster, thus affording a later ending time. This was a much needed break up of monotony.

Battle Beast live @ Play Station Theater Photo Mike Porciello

 

Taking the stage at 8 pm sharp was Finland’s Battle Beast. Led by Noora Louhima,  Battle Beast blazed through a 40 minute set starting off with “Straight to the Heart”. Nearing the end of their set, Battle Beast had the crowd in a singalong for “Bastard Son of Odin”. Their style, a good throwback to 80’s power metal, was received quite well from the polite crowd who showed up early. This kind of music may have very little market value here in the USA, but overseas, in countries where English is not the native language, it is resurrected, and perfected. I look forward to hearing more form Battle Beast upcoming.

Leaves Eyes live. Photo Mike Porciello

 

Leaves Eyes is a band who has been on my radar for a long time now. You don’t really see much viking metal, or really just that sharp of a focus and perfection of craft here in America, with our ever changing musical landscapes. Led by Elina Siirala and Alexander Krull, the band took that place over for the 45 minutes that they were on that stage. Elina’s operatic vocals, coupled with Alexander’s death – like growls, Leaves Eyes left me speechless. Opening with “Halvdan The Black”, Leaves eyes literally brings you back in time to the battlefront with each song. From the bloody epic of “Swords In Rock” to “Edge of Steel” you can taste victory each time. Leaves Eyes is a very diverse sounding band. One second operatic, one second brutal. Imagine them acoustic. They have that certain element to their sound that I believe would translate well, complete with full orchestra, and back lit in fire.

Leaves Eyes let it fly in the Big Apple. Photo Mike Porciello

 

Continuing the ever changing battlefront dimensions, the band brought more of the opera meets death, or “Beauty and The Beast” with songs such as “Swords In Rock”, and “Edge of Steel”; each it’s own epic. The highlight of the evening was the brand new “Fires In The North” , which again, the beautiful Elina Siirala handled with style and finesse. Along with Alexander Krull’s fist pumps to get the crowd riled up, many, including myself just stood there in awe, as that chorus was sung. “Fires In The North” sounded twice as good live as the studio recording.  As they left the stage, Alexander Krull (who also fronts death metal band Atrocity) in full knight regalia promised that Leaves Eyes would be back. That’s a show I won’t miss.

Sabaton live in New York City 4/21/17. Photo Mike Porciello

 

At roughly 10 pm, with nearly a packed house, Sabaton took the stage, amidst a cannon and “7.62 Artillery” ammo cases. That’s when things turned into a madhouse. For the 90 odd minutes, Sweden’s favorite war machine tore the house up. Every song they make is like listening to a history professor’s lecture set to music. To experience it live in concert adds that extra element. From “Carolus Rex” to “Swedish Pagans’, they pulled out all the stops. Contrary to belief, this is not Sabaton’s last tour. The Last Tour (a great marketing strategy) is the name of their most recent tour to promote their latest album, “The Last Stand.”

Leaves Eyes Rocked NYC. Photo Mike Porciello


So for roughly 3 and 1/2 hours I was fully entertained by many a battlefront. From the raw power of vikings, to nuclear devastation, these three bands brought out their A Game. Sabaton, with a huge fan base here, may just be getting the respect they finally deserve. I would love to see Sabaton paired with Manowar. THAT would be a hell of a show!  Battle Beast, we’ll undoubtedly be hearing more from. Leaves Eyes, with a lineup change that stunned many a follower, still have that certain 1, 2 punch. We’ll be hearing from them again too once things settle down. As a wiseman once said, “Pray for peace in times of war”.

Date City Venue Country
Tour: King of Kings World Tour
04/25/17 Montreal QC Club Soda CA
SOLD OUT
04/26/17 Quebec, QC Impérial de Québec CA
BUY TICKETS
04/27/17 Toronto, ON The Opera House CA
BUY TICKETS
04/28/17 Cleveland OH Agora Ballroom US
BUY TICKETS
04/29/17 Westland MI Token Lounge US
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04/30/17 Louisville, KY Diamond Pub and Billiards US
BUY TICKETS
05/01/17 Chicago, IL Concord Music Hall US
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05/02/17 Minneapolis, MN The Cabooze US
BUY TICKETS
05/03/17 Winnipeg, MB Park theatre CA
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05/05/17 Edmonton, AB Union Hall CA
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05/06/17 Calgary, AB The Palace formerly Flames Central CA
BUY TICKETS
05/07/17 Vancouver, British Columbia Vogue Theatre CA
Venue phone: +1 604-688-1975. BUY TICKETS
05/08/17 Seattle WA El Corazon US
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05/09/17 Portland OR Hawthorne Theatre US
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05/10/17 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom US
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05/11/17 Anaheim CA The Grove US
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05/12/17 Tempe, AZ The Marquee US
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05/14/17 Englewood CO Gothic Theater US
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05/16/17 Dallas TX Trees US
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05/17/17 San Antonio TX Alamo Music Hall US
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05/18/17 Houston TX Scout Bar US
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05/20/17 Tampa, FL Orpheum US
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05/21/17 Charlotte, NC The Underground US
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05/22/17 Silver Spring MD The Fillmore US
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08/24/17 – 08/26/17 Halleby Baltic open Air 2017 DE

Evergrey US Tour Begins Soon

I’m getting super excited about seeing my favorite band Evergrey in less than 2 months (June 1st in NYC). The powerhouse band plays a couple dates in Sweden and Norway before their US Tour begins May 6th in Florida. Don’ miss out on your opportunity to see what an amazing talented band they are http://www.evergrey.net/tour-dates/.  Look for my review of their NYC Show soon after June 1st.

Check out this video to get a taste of their heavy metal melodic thunderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmIv8jfVEwQ

John Carpenter Live @ Play Station Theater in 7/8/16 in NYC

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I honestly can’t believe I got the chance to live a lifelong dream.  To see John Carpenter, the filmmaker who influenced me to become a film director, perform music from his movies in front of my face.  I’ve been listening to John Carpenter’s scores since the early 80s and have religiously playing his soundtrack music ever since.

But let’s first put something in perspective just how much respect he deserves for being able to do this.  John Carpenter is touring the world with the music he created for his films, to go along with some of the music he’s generated for his two recent solo albums Lost Themes and Lost Themes II, which you can purchase at Sacred Bones Records.

This is something no other director in the history of film has done or could do.  Not Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson Wells, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Frances Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, William Friedkin, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Oliver Stone, Tim Burton or James Cameron.  None of them.  They don’t perform the music for their movies.

John Carpenter has composed or co-composed the music for all but 4 of his movies, two TV movies and couple episodes of Masters of Horror.  Think about that, the legendary director has directed 21 movies.  Plus he’s composed music for two films he didn’t direct (Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch) to go along with a couple video games.

Ok on with the show.

I wasn’t there as a journalist, so in no way I’m not obligated to write this review.  I’m writing because I feel I owe it to the man that made me want to be a film director and nobody else will tell what happened exactly like me.

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It was an amazing experience to walk into Broadway, the Mecca of all Live Performances in the biggest city in the US, New York City and see John Carpenter’s image and name in lights for a Sold-Out Show.  Plus everywhere you looked people were wearing t-shirts and jerseys that supported all the man’s work over the past four decades.  Shirts with Michael Myers, Jack Burton, Snake Plissken, Blake the leper, John Nada and MacReady were just a few of the cool pieces of apparel representing filmmaker we all love.

I was standing in line (wearing my specially ordered John Carpenters’ The Thing shirt, which shows every character from the movie) with my John Carpenter pal Chris Sasser (wearing a Big Trouble in Little China shirt) and his John Carpenter friend James (They Live shirt), who both had taken the train up from Philly.  Somehow our line got chosen to enter the venue first.  What struck me right away as we entered the building was hearing John Carpenter’s music playing on the overhead speakers.  Everywhere we went, his music could be heard before the show started.  Including when I went to use the bathroom and Prince of Darkenss was playing while I was in the latrine.  I couldn’t help but just smile and soak up the atmosphere because my favorite film music composer was finally getting his just due.

It was so cool just being able to talk to other people who respected John Carpenter’s films & music with the same fervor as I did.  As I stood waiting for the show to begin, I really enjoyed speaking to total strangers about all things John Carpenter.  My friend Chris, said he’d compare it to a religious experience and I’d have to agree.

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Carpenter and his band hit the stage with “Main Theme” from Escape From New York, which not only was appropriate considering the town they were performing in, but it’s easily one of everyone’s favorites.  Carpenter looked comfortable in front of the legion of 2,100 fans in attendance, did a little dancing and just soaked up the adoration aimed at him.  It’s very well known that Carpenter has been weathered by the criticism and box office performance of his films, but we did our best to let him know his body of work deeply mattered to all of us and everything he’s done is not in vain.  Carpenter was clearly enjoying himself and that made me feel better than anything.

The Main Title from Assault on Precinct 13 was next and I got to say it was beyond cool hearing the familiar melody pouring out from the speakers, while watching the handpicked images from the 1976 movie playing on the screen behind the band.

“Vortex” was the third song performed and I have to say one of the highlights of the night.  It’s such an amazing track because it contains most of the Carpenter’s signature instrumentation and it point blank ROCKS!

“Mystery” was next and allowed the band move into some musical realms different than the other tracks played on this stupendous evening.

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I loved that when the band performed “Main Title” from The Fog, the stage got covered with the white misty stuff.  This matched not only the title of the movie, but created the fog enshrouded atmosphere Carpenter and DP Dean Cundey captured so well in their classic ghost story.

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“Coming To LA” from They Live was absolutely when of the best songs of the entire night and it was beyond cool that the band donned sunglasses during this song.  It has stayed with me ever since this show and when I talked to other folks in attendance they all listed it among the top 3 tracks.  Just seeing all the Reagan-era themed subliminal messages from the movie playing while listening to the bluesy instrumentation just made everything work so beautifully.

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“Desolation” from The Thing was next and Carpenter said a few kind words about The Thing Music Composer Ennio Morricone.  I’m so glad they did something off what is John Carpenter’s pinnacle work as a director.  I cannot never get enough of seeing the brilliant images from the movie because it’s just one of the greatest films ever made.

“Distant Dream” from Carpenter’s latest Lost Themes II definitely worked for me as well as the rest of the audience.

“Pork Chop Express” Live from John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China

“Pork Chop Express” from Big Trouble In Little China was another stellar selection on the memorable night.  One of my favorite moments occurred after this track concluded.  Many in the audience held up The Chang Sing sign (as seen in the movie a.k.a. One Finger Shooting Zen) to show our universal approval to the master.  How cool is that!

“Wraith” was next from the first Lost Themes album.  It has some liquid like instrumentation which made for a cool live experience.  Especially when paired up against the darker “Night” that followed.  I particularly liked Daniel Davies heavy distorted guitar hanging on notes to emphasize certain moments of the song.

The pulsating rhythmic pattern to “Night” is very catchy and addictive.  It made for a cool music video too, which parts of it was projected on the screen behind the band.

“Main Theme” Live from John Carpenter’s Halloween

Cody Carpenter really showed off his keyboard prowess during “Main Title” of Halloween.  Seeing the images of Laurie Strode, Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis were music for my eyes.  Carpenter’s landmark slasher film is one of my two favorite movies and his score is legendary.  But I will say I don’t consider it as one of the better ones of the night.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear In the Mouth of Madness “Main Title” as I was hoping but not expecting to hear it.  During this Metallica inspired track, the highlight of the night happened for my friend Chris, when one excited fan yelled out “Sam F^&*ing Neill!”

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After a brief break from the stage Carpenter and his band came back for a 15-minute encore that begin with a killer rendition of “Darkness Begins” from Prince of Darkness.  Davies guitar really brought a crushing explanation point to this song about doomsday with the Devil.  I might say the inclusion of this was the biggest unexpected treat of the night.  I absolutely love the score for Prince.

“Virutal Survivor” off the latest Lost Themes II album was a cool avenue for the band to go.  Then “Purgortory” off the first LT album was next and features a down sullen mood for the band to chill things down a bit.  Parts of it remind me a little of Carpenter’s music for his film Vampires.

“Christine Attacks” Live from John Carpenter’s Christine

Carpenter wrapped the night with a wonderful performance of “Christine Attacks” from his highly underrated film Christine.  The main melody of this piece has a huge hook that has staying power.  Having just had re-watched the film shortly before this show, I totally dug the assemblage of footage backing the music.

It’s not every day you get to see your lifelong hero stand before you doing something he/she enjoys.  The fact that I did, along with 2,100 other John Carpenter fanatics just made the night seem almost surreal.  My daughter had national dance competition the day before this show in Hershey, PA.  I choose not to go because of this once in a lifetime opportunity.  Her dance team ended up scoring their highest award ever, but I feel I scored just as high attending this show.  I guess we were winners all around.

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If I was you, I would make it my mission to catch John Carpenter and his band when they come to your town.  I’m still buzzing about the spiritual experience of soaking up the incredible music of John Carpenter almost a month later.  I can’t thank the filmmaker/composer for taking his music on the road and giving all us fans an experience that will never be forgotten.

http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com/tour/