Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The week went by quickly and sure enough, Friday night arrived.  I had stopped at Second Spin on the way home and picked up a few new and used CDs.  Number one on the list was Van Halen's new album released earlier in the month.  Time to rock out to studio recordings, the last albums to come from the bands.

First up was Chickenfoot's Chickenfoot III, released on September 27, 2011, former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar's "supergroup's" second studio album (why III?).  Sadly, many of the reviews are not that supportive of the effort. One concludes:

"Overall, Chickenfoot III shows that the concept of the supergroup with these four guys can work quite well; Satriani’s riffs and solos, Sammy’s still strong voice, Anthony’s now audible bass, the consistent although unmemorable drum work of Chad Smith, and the fun vibe created by the majority of the songs make this album a good listen for anyone that likes rock music, Sammy Hagar, or someone looking for the debut album that Chickenfoot should have been."

Another says:

"The band are still having a ton of fun and rocking their balls off, but they are very serious about the music they are pumping out. While the first album still had the stink of ‘experiment’ and ‘getting to know each other’, musically, this one fits like a glove. Chickenfoot are a band and this album proves that this is more than just a weekend recreation for the four talented musicians."

The album rocked and I enjoyed it thoroughly from beginning to end, reminding me why I liked his time with Van Halen.  Chickenfoot is due here in town in May.  Count on me being there.

Go out and buy it!

The headliner for the evening was Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth, the twelfth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on February 7, 2012 to rave reviews (at least by the fans of this band).   "At least 5 of the songs date back to 1976 and although lyrics and arrangements have changed, they bear more than a passing resemblance to the original ideas that fuelled them. It's that link with the past that helps A Different Kind Of Truth to sound like a continuation rather than an afterthought. It's built from the same ideas and from the same perspective as their classic albums, it's not written by a celebrity struggling to deal with success, it's written in part by Eddie Van Halen when he was playing to audiences in their hundreds rather than thousands."
My feelings towards the album are more like the following reviewer's: mixed. Nothing memorable like their early releases back in the day. It felt more like the post-1986 Roth album Eat'em and Smile than a Van Halen album, DLR vocally prancing like a peacock across the album front and center, Eddie in the background. Sorry, I liked Chickenfoot III better.

"From beginning to end, A Different Kind of Truth is chock full of the material that made Van Halen such innovators over 30 years ago. Eddie Van Halen, arguably the archetype for classic rock guitar virtuoso, lays down some absolutely killer guitar tracks: the double-hand tapping intro to “China Town” proves that he hasn’t lost his lightning-quick talent as the years have gone on. The rhythm section is also noteworthy. Bass player Wolfgang Van Halen, at only 20, keeps up rather impressively with his older bandmates. And then there’s Roth… from the moment he shouts “Tat-too, Tat-too!” at the beginning of the record, it’s clear that he hasn’t lost any of the over-the-top theatricality that made Van Halen the dominant presence they were when Roth was around. All in all, the stage that is set by Roth’s return puts the band in the position to make a dramatic comeback. And while the music of A Different Kind of Truth is a throwback to the band’s early years, the band doesn’t do much work in terms of making this material sound fresh. For that reason, the record is a fun and nostalgic listen for fans of the band, but on the whole rather unmemorable."

Van Halen is due here in Denver in May as well, so see you there too.

Go out and buy it!

Friday night was closed out with Nirvana's In Utero, their third and final studio album released on September 13, 1993.

Wikipedia writes:

Nirvana intended the record to diverge significantly from the polished production of its previous album, Nevermind (1991). To capture a more abrasive and natural sound, the group hired producer Steve Albini to record In Utero during a two-week period in February 1993 at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The music was recorded quickly with few studio embellishments, and the song lyrics and album packaging incorporated medical imagery that conveyed frontman Kurt Cobain's outlook on his publicized personal life and his band's newfound fame.

Soon after recording was completed, rumors circulated in the press that DGC might not release the album in its original state, as the record label felt that the result was not commercially viable. Although Nirvana publicly denied the statements, the group was not fully satisfied with the sound Albini had captured. Albini declined to alter the album further, and ultimately the band hired Scott Litt to make minor changes to the album's sound and remix the singles "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies".

Upon release, In Utero entered the Billboard 200 chart at number one and received critical acclaim as a drastic departure from Nevermind

Rolling Stone reviewer David Fricke gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars and wrote, "In Utero is a lot of things – brilliant, corrosive, enraged and thoughtful, most of them all at once. But more than anything, it's a triumph of the will."

Go out and buy it!

Where does the time go and how did I spend it this weekend?  I don't know but Saturday night was spent outside with a couple of great recordings.  First up was something new, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, an American rock band from Ann Arbor, Michigan first active from 1967 to 1974, and later reformed in 2003. Although they sold few records in their original incarnation and often performed for indifferent or hostile audiences, the Stooges are widely regarded as instrumental in the rise of punk rock, as well as influential to alternative rock, heavy metal and rock music at large.  The fact that they are often cited as inspiration for those early Punk bands like the Sex Pistols I had no choice but to go back to Punk's roots and hear what they were all talking about.

Tonight I listened to their Metallic 2x K.O., a live recording featuring the full shows at the Michigan Palace in Detroit, on October 6, 1973 and February 9, 1974 - the band's final live performance until their reformation in 2003. The performance was notable for the level of audience hostility, with the band being constantly pelted with pieces of ice, eggs, beer bottles and jelly beans, among other things, in response to Iggy Pop's audience-baiting.

I really enjoyed the the performance and especially Iggy's "banter" with the audience. Must find more recordings for future weekends.

Download it here:

Last up were Echo and the Bunnymen, their October 23, 1983 evening performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The matinee show was included in an earlier post. The Bunnymen were invited to headline a two-week youth festival by playing two shows at at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The matinee was described as somewhat of a mess, while the evening show "the band was more confident, and they'd found time to knock back a few cocktails. As a result, the Bunnymen were in murderous form, and surged through the performance, which had the same set list as the matinee, in reverse."

Download it here, thanks to Steve:

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