Category Archives: Live Shows

Unwritten Law – Live & Lawless – DVD/CD Review

California punk rockers Unwritten Law have recently released their second live DVD for your visual and listening pleasure. This time around the band has teamed up with Suburban Noize Records to release Live & Lawless, a CD/DVD release that is more of a celebration of their success as a modern punk rock band rather then just another live show.

Recorded in March of 2008 at the historic Key Club on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, the band consisting of singer Scott Russo, guitarist Steve Morris, bassist Pat “PK” Kim, and temporary stand-in drummer Dylan Howard, make a point to play their hearts out to their hardcore fans.

Unwritten Law
Unwritten Law

Formed in the early nineties, Unwritten Law first started out as a speedier punk band but throughout the years they took different approaches to making music, and soon matured into more of a hard rock act. 1998’s self titled album had a couple of tracks that were put into heavy rotation on the radio but nothing more than that. In 2002, the band came out with Elva and their song “Seeing Red” became a chart topping hit.

Just one year later, the band was approached accidentally by VH1 (they meant to call Jimmy Eat World) to see if they would play some acoustic tracks. The result was Music In High Places, a part studio part live acoustic album that coincided with a separately released DVD called Live In Yellowstone.

Live & Lawless is the band’s first start-to-finish live DVD. This release also comes with a CD full of the tracks the band played that night in Hollywood. The CD has seventeen tracks plus a bonus track. The DVD covers the twenty-two song set and also contains some bonus footage.

The show starts with the band on stage in full force playing “Underground”. One of the first things I notice is that there are no bouncers in front of the stage and to me that is a nice thing to see. This show is strictly the band facing the fans. Hit songs “Teenage Suicide” and “Calin” were played to approving fans as they sang along as loud as they possibly could

The acoustic version of “Rest Of My Life” featured just Scott Russo and the crowd. His voice was on point throughout and did not crackle or show any signs of being tired even though sweat was dripping off his forehead. The rest of the band slowly snuck on stage where they smoothly depart into “She Says”. The crowd erupted as soon as they sang the refrain to the song.

“Before I Go” is a bonus treat to the crowd as the band starts a mini acoustic session with the entire band playing their acoustic instruments. I love the way this song sounds. They continue with “Elva” and surprisingly “Shallow”, a real old track by the band.

This was the first time I had heard the old school song performed acoustically and Scott Russo even admitted to the crowd that is was a special song they were going to play. I must say the song brought back some memories. Hearing the band slow the track down a bit and play it unplugged just made it that much more enjoyable. The only sad thing about this song is that I would guess two thirds of the crowd may never have heard this before. Arms waving and smiles were among the many but when it came time to sing along there was not as much partaking.

Before engaging in “Save Me” front man Scott Russo took a moment to spread some love to all the sardine packed fans in the front row. He asked everyone for some crowd participation before starting the song and just about everyone complied. With big thank yous it was clear that the concert was coming to an end.

Making this show even more memorable to myself, the very first song the band ever wrote, and one of my personal favorites, “CPH” closed out the show. Nothing like an oldie to wrap things up, especially when it was one of the first songs I heard as a teenager that caused me to become an Unwritten Law fan.

DVD bonus features included the music video for “Shoulda Know Better” as well as a intimate interview session with questions coming from the fans who were actually at the DVD shoot that evening. Hearing the story from Pennywise about Fletcher jumping a van into someone’s backyard was amusing. The band answered questions individually, shared their influences, decisions to change up their style, and even some more personal stories. The answer to how would Pat “PK” Kim look if he were bald had me laughing out loud as the bassist drew up a picture of himself.

There was not a dull moment throughout the entire live show. This DVD is pure evidence what a punk rock show should be. Seems like only yesterday a young punk rock me was in the crowd checking out Unwritten Law singing all of the songs they sang at the top of my lungs. Over ten years later, they still have it and show no signs of tiring out one bit.

Here’s a couple of clips from the DVD just for a small taste:

Clutch – Full Fathom Five: Audio Field Recordings 2007-2008 – CD Review

Rock act Clutch has recently released Full Fathom Five: Audio Field Recordings 2007-2008, a CD including many of the live tracks that appear on their first ever live DVD.  The CD and DVD appear to be aimed towards the Clutch fan base as it is being sold only through Clutch’s official website, Merch.Com, and other Clutch websites. So far both releases are not available in retail chains.

Where Clutch has released live albums before, this is the band’s first live DVD to be released and also is their first release under the band’s own label Weathermaker Music.  Clutch plans on releasing further material on their own label.

Clutch
Clutch

Formed in the early nineties, Clutch was not your typical rise-to-the-top rock band.  Gaining early commercial attention was something the band seemed to never worry about.  Starting off selling out small clubs, they, through hard work and perseverance, soon found themselves selling out larger shows and were later headlining tours.  Their sound is that of metal, stoner rock, and even a little blues mixed up. Their solid sound seems to lure in new fans with every release.

Speaking of fans, famous skater misfit Bam Margera labels himself and hug fan of Clutch and even helped direct the video for “The Crowd Goes Wild” for the band.  As a return perhaps, Clutch played live for Bam Margera and a few lucky attendees on a ski slope on a past episode of Viva La Bam.  That is about as mainstream the band has ever been as they really do not care for the predictable rock band approach.

If you have never seen Clutch live, you need to know that they are here to rock.  They do not have fancy stage setups nor do they pause a lot in between songs.  I can say this from experience as once I heard them through the doors of the House Of Blues in Cleveland. The show was sold out and my only way in fell through (it sounded great).  I also can say that a year later I went back to the same venue with ticket in hand (visually just as amazing).

The CD and DVD capture tracks played by Clutch on four separate occasions in New Jersey, Pittsburgh (Mr. Small’s Theatre, one of the coolest venues I have ever been to), and overseas in Sydney.  For a review of the DVD check out what Charile Doherty, a Blogcritics.Org writer had to say about it.

Starting off the fifteen track CD was “Dragonfly” a rather grungy track with Neil Fallon roaring throughout as the guitar riffs landed heavy and the drumming was stern.  I especially got a kick out of the track originally found on Elephant Riders going into a little jam session and then unexpectedly slammed into From Beale Street to Oblivion’s “Child Of The City” without even missing a beat.  Upon the completion of these two songs, the crowd went spastic.

“Texan Book Of The Dead”, the first single off the CD, showed Nail Fallon’s voice struggling a tad but hardly noticeable to the point where the song was dire sounding.  “Oh Eee Oh Ahh Ahh” was sung during the track reminding of Alvin & The Chipmunks.  The song is currently in heavy rotation on SiriusFaction Radio.

“The Mob Goes Wild” was nowhere even close to sounding like the studio recording with a slowed down chorus but I loved the organ playing and just the energy that could be felt throughout.  Sometimes a change in tempo and pitch is a good thing.  “Cypress Grove” simply rocked out with help from some sick harmonica playing.   Once again there was a mid song jam session making for an incredible listen.  “Ship Of Gold” and “10001110101” were two other favorites of mine that I enjoyed profusely.

The only vice I have with the performance was that the band really only focused on material from 1995 onward.  Many of the songs played were welcome to my ears but I was kind of hoping to hear a rare track from Transnational Speedway League.  We can all dream, can’t we?

This CD is just a sample of the twenty song live DVD that was released showcasing their abilities.  I now have to go out and order the DVD because after hearing this I need to see it.  Hell, any fan of solid rock music should check the DVD out and if for whatever reason you have no DVD player then this CD should at least give you a small fix of what Clutch is capable of doing.  Do yourself a favor and order the CD or the DVD today by heading over to Clutch’s website, you won’t regret it.

For your viewing pleasure “Texan Book Of The Dead”:

Here is the video that Bam Margera directed, “The Mob Goes Wild”:

Missed Festival, Wedding, & 3OH3!

I’ve had a few days off now and it all comes to an end in less than 5 hours.  I took some time away from work to be with friends as one of us was getting married.  I normally do not like weddings as they are very formal and of course I am not a church goer.

I feel like I canceled some plans too in order to attend the wedding.  I thought I told Matt that I was going to hook up with him sometime this weekend as he and his friend were going to be in Kent for We The People Fest.  I told Matt that my wife and I were possibly going to see Hawthorne Heights and Ben Taylor play at the fest on Friday and also check out the rest of the event but in turn we decided to crash the wedding rehearsal party.  Saturday was an all day event for the wedding, and Sunday we were too pooped to go out there and see the final day, plus the Cleveland Browns were playing. (Finally, a win!)

Sorry Matt…  I hope it was a good time. I hope you can forgive me and tell me a little about it…if you went.

I am sorry too, Chuck Norris, as I know you were speaking on Sunday.  I know you wanted me to be there.

So let me tell you a little about the wedding…

My friends Sam and Ryan decided to tie the knot.  Sam is a few years younger than me and I have known him for a while.  He grew up in the same city as I did.  I met him through friends and thanks to beer and punk rock music we became friends.

Sam met Ryan, they fell in love, and got married.  They had a wedding locally and my wife and I were invited along with plenty of friends. The neat thing about the wedding is that it was sort of a punk rock wedding with a lot of guests being in local punk rock acts at one time or currently.  Sam wore Chuck Taylors as did the groomsmen and when the happy couple entered the reception hall “Hey Ho Let’s Go” was played.

I sat at a table with my friends who some were also members of The Facials.  They are a Cleveland punk rock band that has played tons of shows in Cleveland and Akron as well has opened for Rancid and UK Subs.  They are currently working on a new album and I will be sure to share it once it is pressed.

Also as the wedding were friends of mine who were once in the now defunct punk acts such as the Narcoleptics X5, the Beat Kids, and Novallos.  Its been a while since some of the bands played local shows.  It was awesome to see that even that some of the bands separated that they still remained friends.  The groom was actually a member of all three of the bands.

At one time during the day, the former drummer of Novallos, Ryan,  was sitting next to me at a bar in between the wedding and reception, and we were talking about how he moved to Colorado and recently moved back.  Before long we started talking about music.  He asked me if I was at the Warped Tour this summer and when I said I was he asked if I saw a band called 3OH3!.  I said hell yes.

I told Ryan that I loved 3OH3! and caught their entire set at the Warped Tour.  Knowing that they were from Colorado I already knew what he was going to tell me.  He knew them.  I was stoked to hear Ryan tell stories about them. He then told me that they would be playing in Cleveland in November and asked me and my wife if we wanted to hang out with them.  I thought that was pretty awesome.  We shall see what happens.

The band is relatively new but has been making a strong impact on many music lovers.  Their mix of emo, punk, and crunk really made me a fan.  I reviewed their debut Want and will post it in my archives on here.

If I do happen to kick it with 3OH3! I will be sure to let you all know how it was.

Face To Face Reunion?

I was just killing some time tonight when I came upon a post on Punknews.Org stating that Face To Face has started a reunion tour.  Excuse me???  Apparently I have been out of the loop because I thought the band called it quits for good in 2002.  I really hadn’t heard anything from them since.

Face To Face is a So.Cal punk rock band that was one of my favorites in the late nineties.  Their one song that got major attention was “Disconnected”…

I am not sure yet if the band is going to only tour a couple of cities at this time in the US and overseas or if they will take it one step further and create and album together.  I would love to see a new Face To Face album as they are one of those punk bands I wish never broke up.

I have been aware that front man Trevor Keith has been doing his own thing since the band split.  In fact he has been doing a few things…a few things I was not entirely aware of.

First there is his solo material he has been working on and his label Antagonist Records.  I had no idea Trevor Keith has been working on creating music on his own.  Earlier this year he released his solo album Melancholics Anonymous.  The album is available on his website via download for 5 bucks or you can send him some of your cold hard cash and he’ll send you a CD if he has any left.  I am going to be dishing out 5 bucks myself so I can check it out.  He has the album streaming on his site and from what I hear I like so far.

Then there is Legion Of Doom, a mash-up project like no other featuring Trevor Keith and producer Chad Blinman.  The duo remixes emo, punk, and hip hop songs as well as creates original material, some of which have been featured in films.  I have been a fan of this project for a couple of year now when I accidentally came across a remix of Senses Fail and Coheed & Cambira….

I love the sound of the two bands clashing together, it’s perfect (but you have to like the bands to appreciate it too of course).  I also got a kick out of Claudo’s shorter hair on the video….  This song and others were released on Legion Of Doom’s debut CD called Incorporated.  The CD is well out of print but you can find it out there in the digital world, I know I did.

Ben Folds Five Reunites – Kinda.

Today would be the day where I wished I lived in North Carolina.

My good pal Matt already talked about this event a few weeks back on Addicted To Vinyl.  I previously had heard about it before he reminded me it was not a dream but had not had time to write anything about it until now.

Ben Folds once had a hit this big.
Ben Folds once had a hit this big.

Thanks to MySpace, Ben Folds Five reunited tonight to play a special show in their native homeland at the University of North Carolina.  The band helped launch MySpace’s new music feature “Front To Back”.  “Front To Back” pretty much sums up the idea, a selected band will play an entire album of theirs front to back for a special benefit show that later will be available on the “Place For Friends” website for public viewing.

Ben Folds was asked to play the premier “Front To Back” show originally solo but chose to contact his past band mates to see if they would get together for a special situation.  Thanks to good timing, bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee agreed to perform. The band never really broke up but then again they never have stayed together.  In fact it has been just about 10 years since Ben Folds Five released their last album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner – the very album they played front to back tonight.  All three members agreed to play their last recording live to many lucky fans who nabbed tickets to the sold out show.

Proceeds from the sales of the show will benefit Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization that helps children with facial deformities.

Ben Folds Five does not plan on continuing to tour after tonight as they all have their own projects going on.  I just hope that perhaps one day in the future they will come together and put out a Ben Folds Five album once again.

Ben Folds has his new album Way To Normal dropping at the end of this month and I can not tell you how excited I am to hear it.

Here is a video from the new release featuring Regina Spektor as well stars Tim and Eric from the Tim & Eric Show on Adult Swim.

You Dont Know Me (featuring Regina Spektor)

And for those of you that hadn’t heard, Ben Folds himself leaked Way To Normal to the internet himself.  The catch was that the leak was actually 6 fake songs the artist recorded in only 8 hours.  You can read more about it on RollingStone.Com.  The guy is a hilarious genius.

Here are a few more videos from Ben Folds & Ben Folds Five I enjoy:

This is a cover of The Postal Service I randomly came accross…
Such Great Heights