Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Metallica and Lou Reed thoughts...well not on the music.’s been a while since an update.  Thought I would take a few minutes to weigh in on the new Metallica/Lou Reed project.  I believe it’s available to listen to in its entirety online and will be available for purchase soon.  Before I go on, I haven’t heard it yet, not a single note. But I have read a great amount of reaction to this upcoming release and most of it very negative.
I have no problem with someone listening to this, saying they don’t like it, and sharing their opinion.  But many have been condemning Metallica for quite some time now just for doing this.  I don’t get it.  I don’t know if I will like this or not, but I am looking forward to hearing it.  And I do respect Metallica for daring to do something different and not just sticking to the same heavy metal formula that they have for years, not that there is anything wrong with that.  I think it marks the measure of a true artist who dares to go out on a limb, step outside their element and paint a completely different scene. 
Many (not all) metal enthusiasts subscribe to the “death to all but metal” school of thought and the mere mention of these legends stepping outside of the genre is sacrilege to them.  Just because they are trying something different doesn’t mean they won’t be back doing what they do best with another excellent metal album in time I am sure.  So I say if it doesn’t appeal to you, let them (the band) have their fun and wait for them to return.  Some are far too harsh claiming they’ve lost respect and will never support the band again.  Really?
I for one will be checking it out.  My curiosity is certainly peaked.  I may hate it, I may love it.  It doesn’t matter, as with all new music I will still enjoying spinning it at least once and offering up some thoughts.  Stay tuned...have a Happy Halloween everyone!!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Beyond the Lighted Stage

Beyond the Lighted Stage is a great documentary and a must see for any Rush fan.  Even if you are only a casual fan I would recommend this film; you will learn plenty about the Canadian trio and gain much respect for their accomplishments over their 30 year career.
The movie takes us from the early days by briefly profiling each band member’s beginnings as school kids and young adults.  It contains interviews with family members and also has Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson walking around some of their old stomping grounds.  Bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson have been friends since childhood forming a close bond in junior high school.  World renowned drummer Neil Peart entered the scene a little later but his family life and beginnings as an artist are also profiled. 
The film moves at a very nice pace and we do not get bogged down with lengthy profiles of childhood memories and family life.  Soon it is taking us through the first tours and recording of the first few albums including the break through, 2112.  Many artists are featured throughout the film offering comments on Rush including Jack Black, Billy Corgan, Sebastian Bach, Trent Reznor and many others.  It is obvious that there early work was a huge influence on these folks as many of them were impressionable kids at the time.  Gene Simmons also weighs in on the band.  During Rush’s beginnings they filled the opening slot on a lengthy tour for Kiss.
The movie takes us through many phases of Rush’s career and there are several, which is part of the appeal of this band.  The different directions and sounds are all discussed throughout, again moving at a nice pace and never becoming boring.  Also featured in the movie is the band's mass appeal and their loyal fan base that has helped them stand the test of time.  Rush has never really been mainstream yet continues to be touring force playing to large crowds all over the world.
Towards the end of the movie it details a very dark time for the band as they were forced to deal with personal tragedy when drummer Neil Peart suffered the loss of his daughter and wife.  This horrific time is detailed as Peart goes on a bit of a spiritual journey leading him back to recording and performing with Rush after about a 4 year hiatus.
I have always been a fan of Rush and this movies solidifies what makes them so great.  Never fitting any sort of category, having their own unique sound yet continuing to change it and evolve, doing things their own way and continuing to be very relevant for three decades and counting. 
All in all it’s a great rock documentary about a great band!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Welcome 2 My Nightmare, Review

If you follow my twitter account you know already that this is going to be a very a favourable review.  I fell in love with this album pretty quickly.  I had been anticipating it for some time now as the original 1975 Welcome to My Nightmare is a favourite of mine. 
I love this recording for the same reasons as I love the 1975 original.  First of all, it is a concept album.  I admit to being a bit of a sucker for concept albums.  I love listening to an CD in its entirety as a complete work of art and the concept album completely plays into that.
Furthermore, like the first, this CD contains many different musical styles throughout.  Hard rock, ballads, a touch of disco (although done somewhat sarcastically), southern rock, seventies, and others are all thrown in the blender that is the album.   Having said that, this is predominantly a hard rock record.  There are also some different instruments used throughout as well as various sound bites and narrations for an overall quirky, humorous and fun adventure.  
I won’t go into a whole lot of detail about the story here, I don’t want to give too much of it away for anyone who may want to indulge but a few brief details none the less.  It opens with our main character (is it Alice or Steven or are they one in the same, I was never quite sure) fighting sleep.  He eventually succumbs to tiredness and the nightmare continues. Throughout the ride we get tons of typical twisted Alice Cooper imagery.  I won’t reveal how it ends.
As for the songs themselves just a few highlights as well.  It opens in similar fashion as the original release with a bit of a creepy slow to mid temp introduction to the story.  This track, titled I Am Made of You will not become the classic like the opening Welcome to my Nightmare title track on the 1975 record, but it is an awesome tune. 
There are several rockers on here including track number two, Caffeine.  It fits in here as the protagonist of the story is still fighting sleep.  Other rockers include Runaway Train and I’ll Bite Your Face Off.  There is also the much talked about duet with Kesha titled What Baby Wants, another great tune on the disc.  This one is also a harder rocker and Kesha’s vocals fit in perfectly.
Also worth mentioning is the song, Underture.  It is an instrumental number that blends together many of the melodies from this current recording as well as those from the original 1975 Nightmare. 
Although I often use the word disc in this and all my reviews, I actually purchased this one on itunes and with it came a near 20 minute track of Alice talking and taking us through the album one song at a time.  He talks about the influences and musical style of each number and walks us through the story one step at a time.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this too. 
I often find when you are anticipating something for a long time it can never live up to the hype.  Well for me, this one did.  I have read some mixed reviews out there, but I think just like the first one, it’s great fun and very worthy of being called a sequel to the original classic. 
Grade:  A +
Favoutite Tracks:  Put it on and let it play from start to finish.  But I do particularly enjoy I am Made of You, Caffeine, and I Gotta Get Outta Here.