Sunday, March 16, 2008

Metallica and the Dawn of Thrash

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Aural Amphetamine/ Metallica and the Dawn of Thrash (DVD) / MVD Video

As the title implies this video focuses on Metallica and their rise to fame.

There are some interesting parts like when one of the movies “thrash experts” tries to explain that Motley Crue is actually an important part of Thrash’s rise.

Another humorous moment comes when thrash bands are compared, with much seriousness, to The Grateful Dead.

The Panel of “thrash experts” includes members of Megadeth, Machinehead, Diamond Head and Laaz Rocket who spend most of their time recounting the appeal of early Metallica albums and their own theories about the scene.

For an unauthorized video of Metallica and random stories about the thrash scene this movie works. Hardcore fan even find some tidbits that they weren’t aware of.

A definitive film about the history of the thrash scene still needs to be made. This is a good distraction in the meantime.

DJ Hippie

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dengue Fever / Venus on Earth

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Dengue Fever / Venus on Earth / M80 Music

I got to say the music on this disc is decent even when it veers off into sounding like a slinky 70’s style spy movie soundtrack. What I personally don’t like is the “I’m a poor Cambodian waif” routine that singer Chhom Nimol brings to the table. I think the current “cute girl” rock sound that is in current fashion is as deplorable as the boy band trend that once ruled the airswaves. Thankfully guitarist Zac Holtzman lends his vocals to a few songs including “Sober Driver” the best track on the disk.

I certainly don’t here any psychedelic music here, as the press release promises, just music that makes you want to invoke some random mythical spirit.

Fans of the band will surely like this release and hopefully the bands time at SXSW will help them as advance their careers. The albums not bad, just not my cup of rice wine for the most part.

The album has done well since its release and the band is launching a full scale tour with some important festival dates added.

Get more info on Dengue Fever @

DJ Hippie

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Gaslight Anthem "Senor and the Queen"

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This four song EP buy New Jersey based band The Gaslight Anthem creates a good balance between old school punk and the cleaner style of new punk rock.

The best track "Senor and the Queen" is easily the albums best cut. It's not quite razor sharp punk it more like dull kitchen knife punk. That is a compliment by the way.

The next two tracks "Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis" and "Say I Wont" stays basically in the same vein as the title track.

The last cut "Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts" takes a more mellow path and has almost an country feel to it.

Overall if you are a fan grab this up, if you've never heard of the band before pick up one of their other efforts. Get more info @

New Monsoon Helping Jam Bands Grow

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This album has been out for a minute but I'll still give it some love here. Although my tolerance for "Jam-Bands" is limited to The Grateful Dead and The Black Crowes, who are really a pseudo "Jam Band," I have watched New Monsoon grow over the years.

Their fifth effort simply titled "V" is as strong musically as their live album "New Monsoon live at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival" Part of the strength comes from the utilization of producer John Cutler who produced several killer albums with The Grateful Dead including "In The Dark" that finally brought The Grateful Dead some mainstream acceptance with the single "Touch of Grey."

The album also offers a ton of diverse musical styles that offer something for even the most discerning fan. Over all the album is as kick-ass as a after-show grilled cheese fried up by some backwoods hippie. A suggest you put the pipe/bong down and go buy this disc

The Band recently stared a lengthy tour that features a two-night stand here in Denver and an appearance at Wakarusa. You can find out more at


Sunday, January 21, 2007

There are few bands these days that will get me out in sub-zero (I’m writing from Denver) temps to go a club the has exorbitant drink prices and a normal caliber of clientele that makes Pairs Hilton seem like a extraordinarily smart blonde. Couple that with the fact that this particular club, “The Shelter,” is the same club where Denver Broncos player Darrent Williams was partying at when he allegedly got into an altercation that got him murdered, and it should be pretty clear how strong my love for the band I’m about to review is.

The band happens to be Digital Underground, the hip-hop crew that was formed in Oakland, California and is best known for their song “The Humpty Dance” as well as being the launching pad for the late Tupac Shakur. Digital Underground is easily one of the most talented and underrated groups in hip-hop and it’s sad to see them playing in such a cesspool of a club, as opposed to the packed arenas they deserve. Still, I’m willing to brave it for a band that sits among Guns and Roses, The Black Crowes and The Rolling Stones as one of my all-time favorite bands.

Digital Underground also happens to be one of the few bands I enjoy a personal relationship with. During my somewhat brief career as a concert promoter, that actually came about as a result of having to drive to Aspen to see the band years ago, I brought the band to Denver for their first show in the area where they sold out the joint (A “Deadhead” bar called Quixote’s,) quickly. I subsequently brought the bands leader Shock-G, whose alter ego is the famous Humpty Hump for his first solo tour in support of his great album Fear of a Mixed Planet As a side-note, for all you aspiring promoters, let me tell you the job isn’t as glamorous as it sounds and the real money in the business is made by plying people with liquor and not from selling tickets.

That said, it’s Shock-G, and his partner in crime Money B, that make Digital Underground such a great band. They have a passion for their craft that is rare, especially in the “Bitches and Hoes” world that is hip-hop and rap. While the bands mainstream success was brief the bands music is some of the best out there. If you even remotely like rap, or Parliament style funk for that matter, you owe it to yourself to seek out and absorb Digital Underground albums like Sex Packets, Sons of The P and the mind-blowing masterpiece that is The Body-Hat Syndrome. But I digress, and as they say in show business “on with the show.”

After a few backstage libations the band hit the unusually small stage (about the size of a walk-in closet) at Midnight at proceeded to deliver a hefty dose of the distinctive “D-Flow” funk that they are famous for. Unlike many groups, Digital Underground regularly switches up it’s set lists and this particular show saw the band running through classic verses from “Rhyming on the Funk,” “Kiss You Back” and the show stopping “Freaks of the Industry” among others gems. Shock-G also took to the piano and laid down some killer riffs before donning his trademark Humpty Nose to send the crowd into frenzy with the side-splitting lyrical boasting of the aforementioned “Humpty Dance.” By the end of the show the crowd was in a state of elation and DU left the stage proving they are still the best, and most consistent, hip-hop crew around.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

DVD Review: Elvis, still a hero to most....

Elvis Presley
The Ed Sullivan Shows
Image Entertainment

For Members of the Web 2.0 Generation the Ed Sullivan Show may seem like an ancient relic of days long gone. Yet in its heyday the show was considered the equivalent of a popular Myspace page or, for the less idealistic, an appearance on American Idol.

With that considered it’s fair to say that Presley’s three appearances on the Ed Sullivan show were paramount in not only cementing Presley’s image in the American conscious but also, along with "Beatlemania," helped launch America’s, and eventually the world’s, infatuation with celebrity.

Presley’s appearances on the show, all occurring between late 1956 and early 1957, made him both a hero to the youth and an enemy of the state. By the time his final appearance on the show (January 6th, 1957) rolled around, his influence had become so bothersome to the moral majority that the show refused to let the cameras shoot him below the waist. The contrast of this, compared to today’s flesh-bearing television standards, is a stunning, and somewhat disturbing, reminder of how much America has changed in the last fifty-years.

Presented in a lavish three-disc set, all three shows are included in their entirety and provide a great keepsake for hardcore fans. They also provide a time warp like glimpse of the creation of one of music’s biggest stars for younger fans.

These days it’s hotly contested, especially by the hip-hop community, if Presley deserves his long standing title as “The King,” but there is no denying that in the late 50s Presley’s popularity made the success of American Idol look like boring reruns of C-SPAN senate hearings.

Brandon Daviet

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A new, revealing book about the Murder of Dimebag Darrell

For music fans few events, if any, in the last decade carry the same weight and significance as the murder of guitarist Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott. While there were a relativity small number of fans present at the December 8th, 2004 show, held at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, featuring Abbott’s post Pantera band Damageplan the event has a profound effect on music fans the world over.

In addition to the loss of one of rock music’s most charismic and talented guitar players, the senseless tragedy also clamed the lives of Nathan Bray, Erin Halk and Jeff Thompson and forever changed the lives of those who were present on that fateful night. Despite what some critics of “Heavy Metal” have said the actions of killer Nathan Gale, an allegedly deranged fan, contradict everything that true metal-heads stand for. For the generation of fans that grew up on bands like Anthrax, Slayer, Metallica and, of course, Pantera this is our Altamont, a moment that forced us all to take stock of what we really stand for when we pledge our allegiance to Heavy Metal.

In his forthcoming book A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa writer Chris A. explores the solidarity of the metal community, the heroic actions of Officer James Niggemeyer, who provides the books foreword, as well the Columbus Police Department and the fans who were there. What the book is not is a glorification of killer Nathan Gale, but rather a story of triumph over evil.

The following is a conversation with author Chris A. about the book and his experiences writing it. You can get more information about the book, scheduled for publication in March, at the Authors Website. What originally interested you in doing this book?

Chris A.: Well the whole event really kind of bothered me, and I don’t think I had felt that way since John Lennon was killed. It was just one of those things that I had a lot of questions about, and I was always very skeptical about the break-up of Pantera being the cause. I was also very interested in the other three people who were killed that night, and there was very little in the media about them. Their stories seemed to be obscured by Dimebag's celebrity so I started to do some digging. What did you find out?

Chris A.: Well, after I went on line and did a little poking around. I discovered that were really very few things of any merit that had been written, so I got the Idea in my mind that maybe it was something I could do. At one point, in a 2004 interview with Metal Hammer magazine, Phil Anselmo had said that Dimebag “deserves to be severely beaten,” how much do you think that statement might have influenced Dimebag’s murder?

Chris A.: I looked into that aspect a great deal and the fact is that nobody knows. Obviously if he [Nathan Gale] heard about it or read about it, one could suspect that it may have influenced him. As far as finding anything absolute or concrete that he was even aware of the interview, there wasn’t anything. Did you speak with members of the Columbus Police Department in your research for the book?

Chris A. Yes. I spoke with the Homicide Detectives, Ambulance Crews. I spoke with the families of the victims and the mother of Nathan Gale as well as speaking to tons of fans. I probably corresponded with close to 200 people while researching the book. After doing all this research do you think that there was anything that could have been done to prevent this from happening?

Chris A.: Well hindsight is always twenty-twenty, but as far as culpability goes I would put the culpability squarely on the shoulders of Gale. I’m not aware of any precedent to his actions, I never found any instance of somebody actually getting on-stage and killing a performer. I think the biggest misconception is that there was something that the venue missed. I think the security at Alrosa Villa that night, and this is based on my opinion, was no better or no worse than the security at other clubs that I’d seen. We’re not talking about somebody getting drunk and starting a fight or smoking weed. We’re talking about an armed intruder coming into a club with a mission to kill people, and I don’t know of a single venue anywhere in the United States that has a protocol to deal with that. Do you think that the level of aggression present in the type of music that Damageplan, and other bands of the same ilk, are playing had anything to do with the tragedy?

Chris A.: I absolutely, totally reject that and that is part of the thesis of the book. It’s very easy to take a negative, narrow view of Heavy Metal based on what happened. What the book is going to very clearly explain is that the killer was not a fan, and he was not enamored with Pantera or Dimebag for the reasons people think he was. Looking beyond that it is absolutely inspiring and amazing that so many people stayed around and tried to help. When the police showed up there were 250 people milling around the parking lot waiting to give statements. One of the detectives, Bill Gillette, said that in his nine and a half years of working homicides he had never seen that kind of cooperation.

Interview by: Brandon Daviet