Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Musical Box (Genesis tribute) - 3/1/09

Kind of weird that my second entry about a live show should be one about a tribute band.

I'll get back to the autobiographical posts when I get a chance....but the first bands I was ever in were all cover bands - this would be from 9th grade right through 12th grade. My metal band in 12th grade - Phoenix - had one original song ("Please Say Yes")...(you can all laugh - it's fine)....but I wasn't in a band that played only originals until I was a freshman in college.

As a guy who has now only been in original bands (save for the occasional cover song) - there's a part that now cringes at the idea of cover bands or - as has become quite the trend in recent years - TRIBUTE bands....a cover band that exclusively devotes itself to one single band....even often going so far as to duplicate the clothing, hair styles and even between-song banter that you would see if you actually went to see the real band themselves.

I've seen a handful of tribute bands over the years - not too many.

I saw Bad Animals a few years back - a tribute to Heart (they actually featured Mark Mendoza from Twisted Sister on bass)....some Pat Benatar tribute.....and an AC/DC tribute band.

The best tribute band I've seen (well - maybe up until now) - was The Australian Pink Floyd show.

I have very mixed feelings about seeing a band who's sole goal is to duplicate a band you are already presumably a fan of. I figure - if you're already a band and can play well - why not just write your own stuff?

The musician side of me can't help but turn my nose down to it a little bit.

However - the fan side of me can see where a tribute band can be kind of fun.

If you view a band not just as a group of specific people....but rather as an entire experience - then I suppose seeing a band duplicate Genesis' "Trick of the Tail" tour is really no different than seeing "Hamlet" in 2009....I mean - really - is it?

Does the fact that Shakespeare and his original troupe of actors are long dead bother anyone enough that they would just REFUSE to ever see Hamlet....and they would only enjoy the play by reading the script?

That seems absurd to me.

So if that seems absurd to me....I guess I really should have no problem with tribute bands.

I'm never going to see Genesis in 1976.....I'm certainly never going to see Pink Floyd again as Richard Wright is dead (his death still makes me sad)....but why should I deny myself the Pink Floyd EXPERIENCE....if it's there to be had....and had in a very high quality kind of way?

So - I went to see The Musical Box with some friends who are a part of my "hockey world" (i.e. fellow diehard Islanders fans who I hang out with in the virtual world of the Islander Mania message board - and hang out with in real life at Isles games and tailgates).

The show was at one of the BEST venues on the planet to see a show at: the legendary Westbury Music Fair.

OK - technically - the place is called The Capital One Theatre at Westbury....but to any Long Islander - the place will always & only ever be known as the Westbury Music Fair.

The Fair is a 2700-seat theater where the stage is in the's like a small indoor amphitheater. The audience is the donut and the stage is the hole.

When the full theater is being used - the stage will slowly rotate during the show so that the audience gets every angle - probably about 3 or 4 times - over the course of the show.

For the Musical Box, they closed off half the theatre - so they played to half-a-donut and the stage did not move.

The Musical Box (named for a Genesis song that was NOT played at this show) came on stage looking & dressing exactly like what I imagine Genesis actually did look like back in 1976....right down to the clothes (the white overalls with the Boston Bruins logo that Bill Bruford used to wear) & facial hair (the sort of ratty Butch Goring-esque facial hair that Phil Collins sported). I have no doubt that even the between-song banter was duplicated.

One thing I didn't realize until after the show was over was that they actually had TWO Phil Collins' guy up front doing the lead vocals - and another guy who played his drum parts....from my perspective - it looked like it was the same guy going back & forth between the drums & the mic - but that was not the case.

I'm bad at doing "reviews" - so I'm really not going to bother - this blog is more about my own personal experience with music and my reaction & impression - not to be a reviewer. But if you wanted to see a recreation of a Genesis show from 1976 - I'd have to think you wouldn't have been disappointed (of course - as I turned 3 in 1976, I wasn't there to witness the real thing to draw a comparison).

anyway - here was the setlist....

Dance on a Volcano
the Lamb medley: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway/Fly on a Windshield/Carpet Crawlers
The Cinema Show
Robbery, Assault & Battery
White Mountain
Firth of Fifth
Supper's Ready
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Los Endos

It/Watcher of the Skies

Now go watch the REAL Genesis play Dance on a Volcano - live from JFK Stadium on the Three Sides Live tour - 1982.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Deathcycle (2003-2009) - the final show (2/28/09)

Ultimately - every band ends (unless you're the Stones, I guess).

The reasons why bands end are probably pretty limited....and yet again - the break-up of every band is also highly individual.

I've been in bands. All but 2 of them have broken up (and one of them I was only in for a segment of their career).

[quick disclaimer: I'm not a music journalist - so forgive me if I'm not always the best at describing bands. I'm a musician, you would think I might be halfway decent at something like that - but I'm simply not. I don't know how to write to give a proper description of what a band sounds like. I could write 20 pages about what Deathcycle sounds like - and you would still have no idea - so what's the point? I will, however, be doing the best possible thing short of buying a record for you - and actually provide a YouTube link to a song (if I can find one) so you can hear it for yourself.]

Deathcycle were four guys who played heavy, fast (for the most part), angry-with-a-mission, political hardcore punk rock. I'm not in the band & I'm not their spokesperson or biographer....but the band broke-up because not all of their hearts were into it anymore and - as far as I'm concerned - that is an absolutely perfect reason to end it.

I'm glad to know the guys in the band....anyone who has been involved with the Long Island hardcore scene for any amount of time knows Ron Grimaldi, Gary Bennett, Paul Delaney & John LaFata - not just as members of this one band - but as guys who have been a part of the scene forever - and have all been in (sometimes multiple) other bands - all of whom in one way or another made an impact.

Ron is my friend & my neighbor (literally....he lives 45 seconds away...all hail Bethpage!) - and I give him rides home from shows once in awhile so we have time to talk & discuss. If we all lived our lives that way Ron lives his, we would be living in a much different world...a much better world, I think. The guy also knows more about punk rock, metal & wrestling than you'll know by a million billion ka-jillion - and as a guy who holds an M.S. in mathematics, I'll tell you, that's that a really big number.

Gary & Paul, of course as anyone familiar with the local scene knows, were in what will probably go down as the single greatest hardcore punk band to ever be from Long Island: Kill Your Idols.

Maybe some people feel that it's a little too soon to declare this - after all they only played their final show a couple of years ago....but I simply don't see how it can't be true.

For these guys - their metal band, Black Anvil, fades into view as Deathcycle fades out - in a somewhat similar way to how Deathcycle faded into view as KYI was beginning to bow out.

Not clean breaks....just a fading out and a fading in. Life takes us from one journey to the next - and it's rarely a sudden left turn.

They keep making great music - that's what matters.

John, the drummer, I hardly know compared to the other three. His drumming on the Mind Over Matter 7"'s is incredible. I think he played with Madball for a little bit too.

So after two full-length albums and a bunch of EPs & splits of punch-you-in-the-face thought-provoking (and self-reflecting) hardcore....Deathcycle has called it a day.

I can see them - as many bands do - gain popularity as the years go by and the new kids to the scene are rediscovering old records for themselves. Unlike KYI, though, where I think it MIGHT happen one day....I highly doubt you'll ever see a Deathcycle reunion show or anything like that.

The final show was on my father's 68th birthday - February 28, 2009, at the Rock Star Bar in Brooklyn.

I missed most of the opening bands. I came in during Disnihil's set. Another blistering & brutal band....but tight as all hell and GREAT drumming from Little Anthony (who's now in a billion bands - but I'll always associate him with Sick Of Talk.....another Bethpage-ite) - who it's been great to see has just grown as a drummer over the years....he's still only like 4 years old or something - so it should be pretty sick to see what he's like 10 years from now.

Also caught Inhuman....another band who has been around forever without any breaks.

Deathcycle went on & played as if it were any other show....except for the show being longer. It wasn't a feeling of greater emotion than other shows - because these guys have always left it all out there after EVERY show.

I've never really seen these guys play longer than 25 minutes or so - but tonight it felt like they probably played more like 45....and damn - they absolutely should have! It's the last hurrah....a public closing of a chapter in your life.

At the end of the show - hugs all around and a few final band photos were taken.

While "Deathcycle" - the band - may now be done...."Deathcycle", as individual people, certainly aren't. Gary & Paul are already well into their metal band, Black Anvil (who I still have yet to see - that will have to remedy itself shortly)....and I hear that Ron has already started something up with some people.

Deathcycle left a solid legacy in the history of Long Island hardcore - great records that can be revisited - whether you just want to be pummeled by the sound - or re-read the lyrics a few times and be shocked or offended or provoked or inspired.


Deathcycle - 10 minutes worth of live footage from ABC No Rio, NYC - 4/7/07

Deathcycle MySpace page

Disnihil MySpace page

Inhuman website

Black Anvil MySpace

Kill Your Idols MySpace

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

That Metal Show taping (follow-up post) & The Anvil Experience!

Hey...first off....I am working on blog entries that will hopefully be posted by the end of the week. One on the final Deathcycle show and the other on seeing The Musical Box - a Genesis tribute band who I saw perform the show from the "Trick of the Tail" tour. Two completely & utterly different types of shows that I was at on back-to-back nights.

For now, though, I just wanted to mention that the episode of That Metal Show featuring Anvil (and - assuming I'm not edited out - yours truly in the 'Stump the Trunk' section) will air on VH1 Classic on Saturday, March 28th at 11 p.m.

ALSO...VH1 Classic is sponsoring "The Anvil Experience" - a series of dates where they will show the movie - "Anvil! The Story of Anvil!" - followed-up by a live show from the band themselves.

It'll be at the Blender Theatre at Gramercy on April 6th. There are a few other scattered dates around the U.S. as well.

For dates & info on how to get tix and all that - you can go to