Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Prophets Of Rage At Barclays Center (8/27/16)

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When I heard about a new supergroup containing all the instrumentalists of rap/rock band Rage Against the Machine along with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real, I knew I had to catch this.

Public Enemy and Cypress Hill (well, old Cypress Hill) and Rage were one of the few times rap and rock music mixed well.  Due to the low prices, my friend Doug and I bought tickets to the Prophets of Rage show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Since we both had the day off, we spent time in Coney Island. I had never been here before and I ended up enjoying the areas beautiful yet retro look (I also got to try frog legs for the first time!).  After hopping on the train, we got to the Barclays Center around 7pm just in time to catch the first band.

Wakrat

First on was Tim Commerford from Rage Against the Machine’s side project. We were curious to see how Commerford would fair in another band, and after viewing them…let’s just say we felt Tim should stick to Rage as Commerford was pretty…well, whack. The band played some kind of nu-metal influenced punk. While the bass riffs were cool, Tim’s vocals sounded too whiny and had cringe-worthy lyrics like, “Fuck with me and I’ll kill you all.”

AWOLNATION

After Tim’s midlife crisis band, the electronic rock band AWOLNATION took the stage. I was never a big fan of this band though I was never against them either (except for that obnoxious song “Sail”). Doug, on the other hand likes them a lot (except for that obnoxious song “Sail”).  Though I’m no fan I will say they put on a great performance with lots of energy and I enjoyed their set… except when they played that obnoxious song “Sail.”

Prophets of Rage

Prophet’s of Rage set started with DJ Lord of Public Enemy opening the set by sampling many rock and hip hop hits. The crowd went really wild when he chopped and screwed the Nirvana classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Prophets then got on stage with a cover of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” that infused lyrics from the Public Enemy hit ” Fight the Power.” They then went on to play a string of Public Enemy and Rage classics with the one Cypress Hill song, “How I could just kill a man” thrown in for good measure. The Rage members then got off stage and B-Real and Chuck D went into the audience. They then went back and forth performing classics from Cypress Hill and Public Enemy such as “Insane in the Brain” and “Welcome to the Terrordome.”

This got the audience screaming along to the songs. D and B-Real then went back on stage and played more Rage and Public Enemy songs, including a remake of “She Watch Channel Zero” using the riff from “Cochise” by Audioslave. They also threw in a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s”Ghost of Tom Joad.” Unlike Rage’s original cover of this song, Tom Morello sang on it with Aaron Bruno from AWOLNATION joining in. Prophets ended the set with “Killing in the Name.”

We then left for Montgomery, NY after witnessing one of the best shows of the year. The two of us  later would write an editorial of the five greatest highlights from this show for Alternative Nation.  Read this if you want to hear about Prophets of Rage’s set in more detail.

 

 

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The Melvins Wreck the Music Hall Of Williamsburg

 

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When my friend Doug and I saw that The Melvins were coming to NY with a stacked bill including Napalm Death and Melt Banana, there was no way we wouldn’t be seeing this.

As a grunge head, Doug felt he needed to see The Melvins at least once and they were always a band I was curious about. The only date that was convenient for us was Saturday, April 15th in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, also known as the hipster capital of America.

Doug used this as the opportunity to overcome his fear of city driving. As we ventured through New York City’s lower east side slumps and narrow streets we finally got to “The ‘Burg.” Getting there was a weird experience as the area looked very run down and ghetto, yet artsy at the same time. Instead of scary looking people walking around it was mostly all hipsters and punks. We even found a supermarket that was 90 percent vegan and organic food. At 8:00 P.M. we walked into the venue and waited for the first band.

Melt Banana

The big opener was Japanese noise rock titans Melt Banana. I’ve seen them once before at Maryland DeathFest and while it was wacky there they somehow manged to make this set even wackier.

They started their set with wierd video game sounds being played on both the vocalists phone and the guitarist’s guitar. After this they transitioned to their grind and pop influenced noise rock.

Throughout the majority of their set the vocalist would move her arms up and down like a robot while flashing green and red lights on her white shirt. This all helped the bands signature sound of lazer beam guitar riffs and chirping vocals feel even wilder. Mid-set the band did a medley of about six of their shorter songs in one. This included “Dog Song” that was mostly clean vocals with a barking chorus (yes, a barking chorus). After what felt like an amazing drug trip it was time for The Melvins.

Melvins

At around 10:00 P.M. the duo of Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover got on stage with guest bassist Steve McDonald of the Los Angeles, Calif. alternative rock band Redd Kross.

They started out with The Melvins’ classics “Eyes Fly” and “Queen.” After these two songs the set list was mostly a mixture of later numbers like “Sesame Street Meat” and covers including the grunge classic “Leech” by Green River, “Halo of Flies” by Alice Cooper (which they closed with) and a song from Redd Kross which McDonald got on vocals for.

The band had a very loud and heavy live sound which fit perfectly with their slower droning tracks. While it was a very long set, it wasn’t boring for a minute as these guys are born performers.

After their set, Doug and his brother decided to leave. We wanted to see Napalm Death but we also didn’t want to be home so late plus we had all already seen them before (I’ve seen them twice and Doug’s seen them once). As we drove back, we instantly wanted to find an excuse to return to the city. Chelsea Wolfe is playing next month and director John Carpenter will be performing his iconic film soundtracks live  in July so hopefully my return will be sooner than later.

A Labor of L’Amour: DJ Alex Kayne On His Upcoming Book & Bensonhurst In Its Heavy Metal Heyday

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The legendary L’Amour marquee, circa 1988 (image courtesy of Alex Kayne).

Often hailed by its following as “The Rock Capital of Brooklyn,” L’Amour was a staple of hard rock/heavy metal acts of the 1980s and 1990s.

Some of the genres most legendary bands (such as the “big four” of Thrash Metal: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax) got their break in the tiny club that oftentimes felt like an arena. Memories, bonds, and acts of debauchery occurred on a nightly basis in the Bensonhurst venue. The club’s promoters were also notoriously fair when it came to booking, giving any band a chance to play on Brooklyn’s biggest stage – which made it so prominent for keeping the scene alive and a staple for establishing the developing New York Hardcore scene in the early 90’s.

L’Amour first opened as a disco club on a rather desolate stretch of 63rd Street in 1978 and transformed into a rock venue in 1981. Over the next two decades, its popularity skyrocketed and three somewhat short-lived sister locations were spawned in Queens, Long Island, and Staten Island. Throughout the 1990s and into the early aughts the original club would remain active before finally closing its doors in 2004. Usually at the helm of the Bensonhurst club, was DJ Alex Kayne, who is widely considered New York’s first-ever heavy metal DJ.

To read the full story on Bensonhurst Bean, click here.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 11: Whole Lotta Deadpool

real fmondaysImmediately after a late-night showing of Deadpool, Chris and Jon break the smash-hit down and reflect on what it’s like to go to the movies in Brooklyn, NY.

Moon Tooth Wreak Havoc on St. Vitus at CD Release Show

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The cover for Moon Tooth’s debut album, “Chromaparagon” (via Bandcamp.com).

Last night was another Toothian trek for the boys and I.

An average Thursday was something one could only dream about. Whomever’s dream it was that came true must’ve been bored beyond belief.

I did may weekly freelance work (to attempt to try to make a buck), took a few matters into my own hands and waited around for some brute to install a washer/dryer combo. One who couldn’t wait, I passed the time by writing, listening to a combination of Cypress Hill, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains (in that very order) and playing Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on my Playstation 2 (rock the classics!) for the drones to come between two and five.

A quarter to seven was not exactly what I was expecting.

They couldn’t do what was needed due to negligence on the guy who ripped off my family faking his way into installing a washer/dryer combo into a basement the week before.

Long story short, I was pissed.

My body yearned for sushi, but upon arrival to said sushi joint I realized not only had they recently changed the name but had adopted the inhabiting chain’s menu – raising prices and getting rid of the items I originally had intended to order.

I settled for pizza.

Half a block and a street away my cohorts Timmy and Kevin were parked at the Coney Island Avenue 7-11, grabbing a six-pack of Hoegarden. I walked over, got picked up and off we were like three 80’s headbangers on their way to a Judas Priest show.

When we finally got to St. Vitus, we found an awesome spot in front and dove into our brews while cranking some metal to get the blood flowing. After the beer ran out we headed into the surprisingly packed bar and grabbed some Lemmy’s (aka giant, overpriced Jack and Coke’s)

Unfortunately, we had missed Godmaker (which should not have opened based on the fact that they’ve been touring with Moon Tooth alone) and Meek is Murder. However, Netherlands was taking the stage.

Netherlands was a highly energetic mess of doom and ambiance flooded in visuals. I was a bit puzzled at first as the singer/guitarist had a wireless mic as opposed to using the club’s (makes more sense but doesn’t look as cool). Overall they had a good sound that was great to drink to. Unfortunately, a lot of the songs were very similar and at times they relied a little too much on said visuals and became a little one-dimensional. They did their job as far as getting the crowd pumped, but if they hone their craft and break that barrier, they can really be something special.

Afterwards came another round of drinks (changing things up with a Newcastle this time around) and some catching up with the Moon Tooth guys however I could. Their merch booth was covered in shirts, buttons and decorated in “Chromaparagon” (their debut album which came out today) paraphernalia. Eventually, it became “that time” and the mighty Tooth hit the lights.

If you don’t know Moon Tooth, you’ll have to claw your way out of the ditch, crush the rock and crawl out from wherever you came from as they’ve been all over the metal world lately (thanks to hard work, dedication and a crack marketing team). A sound full of classic, modern, aggressive and progressive influences – it’s hard to define what type of genre Moon Tooth actually is. Due to the strange sophistication of sounds, the term “Fancy Metal” immediately comes to mind (which I will sue over copyright!).

As per diem, Moon Tooth was all over the place. Frontman John Carbone could not sit still, whether he was having stationary seizures or bringing all of his energey directly into the face of the crowd (moshing around him or not). To describe the reaction of Moon Tooth’s fans (I’ll dub them “Toothians” or “Moonnites,” which I will also sue over copyright!) would be a sin, because we already have video evidence all over American Hardcore.

The Moonnites and Toothians were rampant, moshing and/or headbanging seemed to be fair game and the explosive attitude of the Tooth complimented their followers. Guitarist Nick Lee was loose and letting all his skills hang out on a Dean while keeping time and keeping up with drummer Ray Marte and Vin Romanelli’s Warwick/Precision attack. Make no bones about it, everyone was excited for “Chromaparagon” (my only complaints: No Reverend Sensei guitar and no backflips).They wrapped up their set with a longer, slower and predominantly instrumental number that according to Carbone they will allegedly “not play much.”

Allegedly.

At around 1:30 a.m., after having said my “good-byes” (and some hellos) we had another drink and rode on into the night, where I came home to a pleasant surprise:

A fully installed washer/dryer combo.

Life of Agony to Release First Album in Over a Decade

Life of Agony (left to right: guitarist Joey Z, bassist Alan Robert, singer Mina Caputo and drummer Sal Abruscato; courtesy of Google Images).
Life of Agony (left to right: guitarist Joseph “Joey Z” Zampella, bassist Alan Robert, singer Mina Caputo and drummer Sal Abruscato; courtesy of Google Images).

After 11 long years of sporadic live appearances, Brooklyn’s Life of Agony is back with a vengeance and plans on releasing a new album this year on a new label.

The former Roadrunner hardcore/alternative metal group’s new album will be titled “A Place Where There’s No More Pain” and will be available on Napalm Records.

“I think our fans know that our music comes from a very real place of suffering, from all of us in the band,” bassist and comic book writer Alan Robert said in a press release. “Many of our fans have told us over the years that sharing our personal struggles has been cathartic for them in healing the pain in their own lives. That uplifting energy we share at the shows, gives us hope that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And for us and hopefully our fans, that short time when we’re all together is a place where there’s no more pain.”

Shortly after the band announced the good news on their official website last month, they proceeded to go on a short string of German tour dates.

Life of Agony also has three England shows scheduled in March for the “Agony in the U.K” dubbed mini tour.

“Life Of Agony is without a doubt one of the most exciting and energetic Rock bands of our times. It is an honor to work with such talent, we are excited to announce their signing to Napalm Records and release the band’s first album after over a decade,” said Thomas Caser, CEO of Napalm Records.

Shortly after their formation in 1989, Life of Agony landed a deal with Roadrunner Records and released four albums. Their highly acclaimed 1993 debut, “River Runs Red” (which they performed in its entirety in 2010) is their best-selling album and has been reissued several times through several different labels. Also released under Roadrunner were 1995’s “Ugly” and 1997’s “Soul Searching Sun.” Life of Agony’s last album, “Broken Valley” was released by Epic Records in 2005.

Official album art and promotion for Life of Agony’s new album, “A Place Where There’s No More Pain” (courtesy of Life of Agony’s official website).

Moon Tooth & Co. Take Over Lucky 13’s on Friday the 13

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It was no ordinary Friday the 13th in Brooklyn, NY as Lucky 13 Saloon warded off evil with a Jason Voorhees marathon in the front and a party with some sentient beings in the back.

The evening started off like any other, two beers at the office. When it seemed like the time, I hopped on the train and went down to Sackett Street – the current location of the metal bar. It used to be on 13th street in the same Park Slope region, but they moved to a bigger, livelier and more saloon type place next to a gas station earlier this year. The trek wasn’t as easy as it should’ve been, but it was my own damned fault. The call of the wild had me take a wrong turn at Albuquerque (a stop too soon) so I had a good 25-30 minute hike before I got to the bar which was just what I needed to break in my new shoes.

A quick chat with Moon Tooth’s guitarist Nick Lee and a few minutes later I was in and thirsty as ever. It wasn’t too long into my beer before I realized the end of Friday the 13th Part V was on. Unfortunately, New Line Cinema didn’t have the decency to quit there (even though this was billed in the title as “The Final Friday,” it wasn’t) and made sequels galore. Some were slightly better, most were worse – and those were yet to come.

I ordered another beer.

Shortly after Moon Tooth arrived and after a few phone calls and interviews Lee and I were meeting for the first time. I ordered the man a brew and we chatted for a bit before he went in to get ready.

I didn’t get around to seeing the first two bands as shortly after the first one started my phone rang. Kevin, a friend I had originally planned to meet at Lucky’s was down the street at The Sackett with two of his buddies. It would’ve been nice to catch the full show since the first band (either Beast Modulus or In the Presence of Wolves) had a great sound.

Down at The Sackett I was introduced to Kevin’s associates Richard and Henry. Two beers, a shot and an empanada later they proceeded to tell one of the best Mardi Gras stories this side of the Verrazano. I was starting to feel woozy so I grabbed a burger from Bonnie’s Grill and ran back to Lucky’s to catch the rest of the show as time was growing short before the Tooth would hit the stage. Inside I ordered another cold one and caught the last couple of songs from Valence, but not before some blonde gave me a glow stick (why she had an abundance of them I’ll never know).

This most if not all progressive metal band was incredible. Their playing was tight and the sound had Dream Theater elements but was not oversaturated with John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy worship – which is a very good thing. Valence was not a clone of any kind as they had the right balance of influences and originality sprinkled in. Their lead guitarist did not only play keyboards as well, but was using an Agile – one of the cheapest and most underrated guitar brands around. You can get really quality stuff from them without breaking the bank at the custom shop.

As Valence ended I complimented them on their musicanship and gave the lead guitarist a Bonesaw card. We chatted briefly about doing a podcast so there’s a possibility on the horizon.

Dead Empires took the stage and it was interesting to say the least. There were some progressive elements but there was more of an industrial feel to their sound. They were almost like a fusion of early Nine Inch Nails and Ministry with some Prog/Death Metal thrown in. One interesting factor is that the bass player was one of the driving forces of their sound as his rig was massive. Dead Empires also brought with them a big show/rave vibe with their custom lighting. When their set was up, I did some more schmoozing and shameless plugs with them so we’ll see where that goes as well.

Up next were the big guns, Moon Tooth.

While very friendly and down to earth in person, these guys are professionally trained killers on stage. Not only do Moon Tooth have the energy of a young Bad Brains, but they can keep the audience in the palm of their hands from start to finish. Singer John Carbone is a maniac that never stays in the same place twice. The man is possessed when it’s go time and on this particular day, he probably was. Carbone was throwing himself on and off the stage like a rag doll, tying audience members in tape and at one point playing drums while on the shoulders of actual drummer Ray Marte – who didn’t skip a beat all night as bassist Vincent Romanelli laid back and stayed in the pocket like a boss.

Lee on the other hand, is another animal altogether. Like Carbone, he’s a ball of energy. Unlike Carbone, he tends to stay on the stage – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t use every quadrant of it. Lee seamlessly plays guitar (this night he was using a Reverend Sensei) while jumping off cabinets, kicking whatever inanimate object is the closest and trying to get on top of the club itself.

Moon Tooth is not just another band from Long Island, Moon Tooth is performance art.

The Tooth played what seemed like a good hour filled with catchy tunes from their Freaks EP as well as a bunch of new tracks from their debut album set to be released early next year with a celebratory show at fellow metal bar Saint Vitus in February. Some highlights were Freak’s “Ebb/Flow,” a new song called “Bats in the Attic” and a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” that hadn’t been seen since Carnivore’s version on 1987’s “Retaliation.”

As the night came to a close we said our goodbyes, I picked up a shirt from Carbone and that was that. At around 3:30 A.M., I crawled into bed after a train ride I’m not sure how I had gone on there was one thought that still lingers.

“That was a fucking show.”

Manopera – Ep. 1: WWE SummerSlam 2015 Extravaganza

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Welcome to Manopera – A Wrestling Symposium. Join hosts Chris “Mr. Bonesaw” Butera and “Spaceman” Frank Hickey (aka Frank Lucci) as they discuss professional wrestling with brutal honesty.

In this premiere episode, the boys lay the SmackDown on WWE’s epic SummerSlam weekend in Brooklyn, NY. Witness Butera’s first-hand accounts of NXT Takeover and last week’s Monday Night Raw as well as Lucci’s commentarial thrills, spills and chills.

Places to Eat: Bonnie’s Grill

Bonnie's Grill in all its glory.
Bonnie’s Grill in all its glory.

If you’re looking for good food, cheap booze and blues, look no further than Bonnie’s Grill.

Located on 5th avenue and 1st street in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York; the humble eatery is a narrow hole-in-the-wall type of place surrounded with pictures of both blues and southern rock legends.

Bonnie’s Grill features some great wings fried to a crispy perfection, covered with four different sauces of choice – each boasting a different level of heat. If you want a nice, tangy punch then go for BBQ or the medium sauce. If you’re looking for punishment, then go for broke with hot or hotter.

While one of the more traditional selections at Bonnie’s are their ribs, Applewood pork dogs and burgers (a juicy slab of Angus sirloin chock full of flavor), they make one hell of a pulled pork sandwich – served with your choice of fries, salad, soup, chili, or some spicy coleslaw for that extra kick. The different spices, juices and textures complement each other in the supreme way that only Southern cooking can. Bonnie’s also features a soul fueled brunch menu on the weekends complete with chicken and waffles.

One of the more unique features of Bonnie’s Grill is the old-timey homage set by their display. Pictures of Roy Orbison, Robert Johnson and Elvis Presley adorn the walls of the neighborhood haunt.
Bonnie’s Grill also has an impressive beer menu ranging from craft, local and your standard domestic suds to bring it all home.

When it all comes down to the nitty-gritty, Bonnie’s Grill has you covered. With Southern style cooking, great beer and a little piece of Rock ‘n’ Roll, you simply can’t go wrong.

Binnie's pulled pork sandwich with an ample serving of their spicy coleslaw.
Bonnie’s pulled pork sandwich with an ample serving of their spicy coleslaw.

Band of the Week: Life of Agony

From the primal concrete sledges of Brooklyn, New York comes the legendary “Life of Agony.”

Formed in 1989, the sludge infested hardcore band was formed and shortly landed a deal with Roadrunner Records, releasing classic album after classic album, starting with 1993’s “River Runs Red.”

“River Runs Red” would be the bands best selling album and is widely acclaimed to be their best work. Mina (then Keith) Caputo’s emotional pain being painted onto the albums lyrical canvas, contorting the music of guitarists Alan Robert and Joey Z. (ex- Carnivore) and drummer Sal Abruscato (ex- Type O Negative, A Pale Horse Named Death) into a masterpiece. “River Runs Red” would be re-released five times by four different labels (three times on Roadrunner) and was performed in its entirety by Life of Agony in 2009 and 2010.

“River Runs Red” would be followed by “Ugly” in 1995 and would take a darker tone than “River Runs Red,” bearing a broader spectrum of the psyche and how much more it could be bent following further depression. Loss of identity and fear would take a major focal point lyrically and would be blended with even more crushing rhythms than “Ugly’s” predecessor.

Life after “Ugly” would change for the band. Abruscato left after touring for the album and was replaced by Dan Richardson (ex- Pro-Pain, ex- Crumbsuckers), who played drums on 1997’s “Soul Searching Sun,” the more commercial album of Life of Agony’s career. Shortly after the release, Caputo would leave the band with Ugly Kid Joe Whitfield Crane fulfilling his duties on tour. The band would then split up for the first time in 1999.

After three years, Life of Agony would reform with the original lineup, performing sold out one-off shows that later lead to a full-fledged reunion – complete with a spot on Dave Mustaine’s (Megadeth) inagural “Gigantour” and the release of their final album, 2005’s “Broken Valley.”

2011 would mark yet another change for Life of Agony. After 20 years of life as a man, Caputo slowly began transitioning into a woman. Her announcement was initially met with mixed responses, but eventually blossomed into a plethora of support. Musically, there were not many sparks for new material. Abruscato would form “A Pale Horse Named Death” later that year

Life of Agony would choose to dissolve again in 2012, as they would rarely tour and did not plan on releasing any new material. They would reform again in 2014 playing several European festivals.

On February 13, it was announced that Life of Agony will be playing at The Wick in Brooklyn, New York on May 1 and 2.

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