Def Leppard @ Jacksonville Veteran’s Arena

Wow!  I don’t think I can recall a show that hit me more in the feels than this one.  This is my go to band for all the songs that I know and love.  This band proves you don’t necessarily need flames, spinning drum sets, or over the top light effects because when music is as good as theirs you just don’t need it.

So Doll normally gets dragged along to concerts that I want to go to since most of her concerts happen in other towns to groups you can’t understand but are permanently hypnotizing.  She likes Def Leppard like I “like” the Red Hot Chili Peppers but she really dug the show.

So I really don’t need to fully describe this show since everything went so smoothly (for once) so I’ll get down to what I loved about it the most: Rick Allen!  Are you a Def fan?  Then you know about Rick Allen.  He’s kinda the guy that got the band soberish.  For those of you who don’t know, in the mid 80’s Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car accident.  He is the drummer for Def and had to learn to play using synthesizers and foot pedals.  In the 80’s it was almost a sin for a “metal” band to use electric drums and synth instruments.  Rick was one of the few whom no one would make fun of for that.  He is a spectacular drummer and musician and I watched the video of his comeback after the accident.  His band mates called him ‘The Thunder God’ and I couldn’t agree more.  He did a solo drum set and I was floored and more happy than you could know!

My other happy moments came at the beginning of every song.  Joe Elliot still sounds just as good as he did 30 years ago and every performance was done with ease and pride.  With that I have nothing abnormal for you guys to know about, which is weird for any concert Doll and I attend, I will just leave this post saying that even if you didn’t like then much before go see a show!  This was a bucket list concert!

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Dir En Grey @ House of Blues Chicago

Leola and me are on the right while are friends from Chicago are next to us.

Leola and me are on the right while are friends from Chicago are next to us.

Ah, Dir en Grey.  How we all love and fear you…and your fans.  You see, if you guys have kept up with the blog, Leola and I love going to Dir en Grey concerts because we never walk away disappointed…but at least we walk away!  Well, last year they had another US tour and we were all like, “Hell yeah!  Let’s go to Chicago since we went to Atlanta already and Atlantic traffic sucks balls!” which is how a lot of our decisions are made.  So the tickets were bought and the flight was booked.  Luckily and happily we have friends in Chicago, unluckily they lived too far out of the city for us to stay with them so we booked the amazing Sax hotel which is less then 200ft from the entrance of House of Blues.  Spiffy!

DSC03568Since our first Dir en Grey concert was of a smallish crowd size, we were happy to learn that this time around the concert was sold out!  After having lunch/dinner at the restaurant part we managed to get early access to the venue. Peachy, right?  If anyone has been to a House of Blues venue they are, I would say, a medium size capacity.  Bigger than most night clubs but smaller than most descent concert halls.  It was grimy, it was decadent and Leola was as giddy as a teeny bopper following David Bowie’s glitter trail!  Slowly, the crowd trickled in and everything started off well enough, but I must remind you that our first DeG concert was rather pitiful and this was a sold out show…shit was about to get real!

The opening act was a French metal band called Degoba…it literally took me five seconds to get that.  The band members of Dir en Grey are huge Star Wars fans so I’ll leave the rest up to you.  I would like to say that I didn’t carry my good professional camera into the crowd since I didn’t want it ruined…I had a feeling. So I handed that off to our friends Mandi and her husband Terry to get some shots on the balcony.  I wish to universally thank them since those were some of the only good pics I have! But I had my handy, trusty GoPro attached to my wrist in the hopes that I could get some great shots up front.  How naive and silly my assumptions turned out to be!  As Degoba played we noticed the crowd getting more…excited.  Leola was behind me and we were fine getting really acquainted with the people around us when the lead singer decided to encourage the crowd to make a circle pit…a large…violent circle pit!

It got crazy until they left the stage.  We had to fight off very strong and crazy drunk metal heads being encouraged by the band to kill each other.  This was but a small taste of what was eventually to come.When the opening act finally left the crowd settled down and the crowd was tight!  I’m very sure the women in front of me used Aquanet and the guy next to me loved Old Spice.  So we settled into a tight spot and waited…and then Dir en grey hit the stage!  They didn’t even start playing yet when the crowd went straight bat shit crazy!  And I mean bat shit crazy!  The moshing and fighting and pushing did not cease from the time they came on until well after they left!  I have never experienced anything like it!DSC03625

We were pushed at least 10 more feet closer than we were and poor Leola was the one getting the brunt of it!  As the music started and the pits became more violent, it occurred to us that we might have made a grave error.  Since Leo was behind me I didn’t notice what had happened until it was too late.  Someone had picked Leo up and threw her…literally threw her into one of the pits!  With the help of some shockingly sober men she was able to get back without falling and making our trip to the House of Blues Chicago into a trip to the Chicago Hospital!  Then the pushing came in waves.  Waves, upon waves, upon waves of young inebriated disillusioned youth clashing back and forth on top of everyone in front.  I think they were trying to walk on our bodies to get to the stage…but this didn’t happen.  By this time, both Leo and I had had quite enough and we started doing what any graceful, gentle, open minded and delicate southern woman would do in this situation…fight back!  Whatever space we were given and whomever was close enough to us who was within grabbing distance suffered the brunt of it!

So for well over an hour we fought, sweaty and tired, for our lives five feet away from one of the most massively abusive and violent mosh pits I hope to ever get trapped near again!  We walked away…sort of.  We had to get some water after that cause it was like fighting Krav Maga for an hour and then we got to witness the carnage of those not as lucky as we.  There was blood…oh yes, there was blood.  Ever since Atlanta we had wanted to know what a real Dir en Grey concert would be.  We’ve seen concerts of them in Japan and we jealous.  No longer.

Words from the ones who survived: unless you want the mosh pit experience, stay to the back and even then you might not be safe!  Leo and I are damn proud that we staggered away from that.  The concert was phenomenal when we caught glimpses through armpits and pump fists so I still encourage anyone to go.  We still walked away satisfied but maybe because we survived some of the hardest of the hardcore fans EVER with sanity and fingers intact!

Depeche Mode @ Tampa Amphitheater

DSC03411Based on my horrible track record of keeping up with my concert posts I wish to change that now!  I have had many things that I have had to take care of: saving a local Satanic clan from themselves, taking Myspace shots at the Smithsonian, happily not getting kicked out of the Smithsonian…stuff like that.  But I have managed to get to a few great concerts every once in a while.  And this one was no exception.  As a matter of fact, you probably need to listen to the entire Black Celebration album while reading this.  Ladies and gentlemen…for the second time in my life I present Depeche Mode.

For starters, I think this is going to be the shortest blog ever.  I don’t need to describe this concert nor do I even need to tell you how amazing they were.  These are things you should know in the bottoms of your deviously twisted little hearts.  To begin though, I would like to recommend that if you’ve never seen them live do it quick since time is a cruel taskmaster who steals musicians way to quickly!  But…I did manage to video record most of the concert so you guys can see for yourselves what horrible singers Depeche Mode fans really are and my crazy enthusiasm for them!

Pennington Underground Youtube Channel – Depeche Mode @ Tampa

Eric Clapton @ Veterans Memorial Arena

DSC02704Simply put : AMAZING!  This was a concert I had been waiting 20 years for!  Ever since I was 10 and the Unplugged album came out!  I loved it!  It is so hard to describe in words how fantastic of a show this was for me.  So as with most of the concert blogs I do I shall deconstruct the essentials from the evening to give you the good, the bad, and the absolutely horrifying truth about the future the lies before all of us when we reach the age where time is not so kind and fortune only smiles on the select few.  This was my evening with Eric!

I would like to start by saying that this was a nice change from what I’m used to.  I’m accustomed to gauge wearing, tattooed encrusted, goth mesh clad freaks who salute the devil horns and ‘manscara’ (look it up, it rhymes with emo) at venues that make a bathroom at a Mexican bus station look sanitary.  This was a lot…a lot of middle aged hippies and their unwilling teenage designateds in cardigans and loafers.  The age gap is more than obvious!  So well mannered, so docile, so tame in comparison.  It was, to say the least, a relaxing evening…and then there was me screaming at the drunk groupie bitches in front of to get the hell down.  Oh!  But let me explain first!

This concert was actually a Christmas present that I gave my father who is a huge Clapton fan.  I got side stage seats just so my dad could enjoy it.  You see, my dad is retired military, Vietnam, Storm, Iraq…stuff like that, and he is still living with that mentality.  When we go out to dinner he has to sit facing the door just in case Charlie comes a-strolling along to finally get him.  So I sat him at the end of the row so he could make a break for it when those pesky Vietcong sniper laser (yes, this is the world I grew up in) target him between the eyes.

So the concert begins…all is calm and relatively inactive. The Wallflowers play a set which was nice to hear from then again.  Then Clapton comes on stage! He picks up his guitar and the man next to me starts hooting like an owl!  Most of the videos I got, by the way, have all these sounds in there kind of like a nature documentary.  So he plays his famous “Father’s Eyes” and his awesome blues riffs changing guitars at least every song…at least!  Then the acoustic guitar and a chair come out…and all hell breaks loose!

He starts in on “Tears and Heaven” and the woman in front of my felt the power of Christ compel her!  She felt the Holy Spirit and rose like a pentecostal priest with the demon taking over!  About that time is when my skills and talents from all the hard core metal concerts I’ve gone to kick into overdrive and I was about to liberate a glass beer bottle from its form against the side of her head!  Sadly, my father is a relatively nice man so we just had the woman’s keeper (aka he husband) calm her down.

Luckily, there was an enormous jumbo-tron screen right above us to we could see the front of the concert (side stage…remember) and that was when I got to see his fingers.  I never noticed this before (and this sparked another blog for later) but Clapton has beautiful fingers!  I mean, for a guitarist, just really lovely, beautiful fingers!  And he was fantastic live!  You know how you always think that a live performance won’t be as good (even though with Clapton you know his stuff is awesome!) but then you’re amazed when it was?  He was mesmerizing!

He then performed “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” then went back to the blues.  After an incredibly long set that introduced his band he performed the song everyone was waiting for…”Cocaine” and there then came back the evangelical ascension of the drunk woman in front!   Since the first possession of musical ecstasy she was a ‘tay in the wind’ (Nell reference) moving her arms back in forth feeling the music (I really was expecting this woman to have flowers in her hair and smell of patchouli) but as soon as “Cocaine” started she turned into a full blown hurricane of religious fervor!  I couldn’t blame her since the music was awesome…I just wanted to trip her down the stairs!

So, excluding the major display of biblical passion in front of me, I would totally see him a hundred times again!  He had a no bullshit way of performing.  Just him, his talented band, and lots of guitars.  No smoke, no pyrotechnics, no image movie playing in the background, no half naked dancers, and no crazy show antics.  Just music and a damn good performance!  He proves that he can hold his fan base and attract new comers as well.  I hope like hell he stays around for years since, just like Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens, when he goes it will be the day the music will truly die.  So see him if you get the chance and just listen.  There is a reason Jimi Hendrix looked up to him!  No devil horns required.

Orgy and Davey Suicide @ Brewsters Roc Bar

ORGY

I said it in the Burn Season concert posting and I’ll say it here…Brewsters really, really needs to get their shit together!  Doors opened at 7PM…9PM there is still next to no one at the concert!  And this is Orgy we’re talking about!  Blue Monday, Opticon, Dreams in Digital for crying out loud!  The lead singer, Jay, lent his voice to the Queen of the Damned soundtrack which John Davis wrote the damn music for! This band wrote my high school salvation album Candyass and my graduation soundtrack Vapor Transmission!  I have been waiting to see this band for years!  So allow me to give you a breakdown of the evening so you will know the disappointment which later turned into an opportunity.

To start off, I only found out about this concert through the Brewsters website since I was curious as to some of the bands playing.  Brewsters is almost at the same level as Jack Rabbits (or as Leola lovingly refers to as Crack Habits) in that their talent selection is a hit and miss.  Leola and I are still waiting for Jeffery Star to come back!  We missed him the first time but we heard it’s an entertaining show to say the least.  Anyway, when I saw the Orgy flyer I thought I would never get tickets for two reasons.

  1.  This is Orgy.  They are headliners and the rest of the tour is sold out.
  2.  I live in Freakville…there was bound to be a big surplus of goth clad cult rejects lining up for a chance to catch Jay’s spit.

To my utter disappointment, neither was the case.  Don’t get me wrong.  There was a plethora of couture pale morbidity walking around in black platforms and Twilight makeup and one who even broke my camera for a few minutes but I must continue.  So we invited our friend Leesa along but we needn’t worry about that.  She was going to the same show for another reason.  She’s good friends with Davey, the lead for the opener Davey Suicide, and she was going to support.  With the size of the audience I am proud to have friends willing to go to desolate concerts to show support for music of any type!

When we got to Brewsters Leesa let us in on a inside secret.  The guy who owns Brewsters doesn’t promote shows hardly at all!  Hell, even Burn Season had a bigger crowd and they only play one show a year!  And need I remind all you readers that this was Orgy!?  After Davey Suicide there was Vampires Everywhere…yes…yes there were.  So then Orgy finally came on stage at 11PM.  Amazing is a pale word to describe the energy they gave to such a small audience!  I managed to get two full song videos amongst the inebriated chaos Opticon and Blue Monday which was their “finale”.

But see that was the really awesome part!  Since the crowd was so small and generally harmless drunks, Jay decided it would be a good idea to come down and rock with us!  This was, of course, incredible yet at the same time quite dangerous…for us.  We three are tough but smallish and both Leesa and Leola had a beer waterfall cascade unto them like a holy rock star baptism that was not asked for nor wanted.  And when Jay joined in I’m not too sure anyone in the audience will actually remember it all.  But I have it recorded so all those lyrics of Blue Monday you half baked bitches messed up on will be heard in high HD quality!

And to think if we had a sold out show we might have missed this rock and roll opportunity!  We left with a hug from Davey (of whom Leola noted smelled better than the men in the crowd and he performed a whole set under hot lights), Leola and Leesa heckled the bastards who threw beer on them, and cocked blocked a very drunk scene kid.  All and all, great music, great friends, and great evidence!  Thank you Freakville for not disappointing me even when you do so everyday!

Burn Season @ The New Brewsters Megaplex

Hey everyone!  It’s been awhile since I posted about a concert but fear not…the wait will not be a disappointment!  I would love to regale you all with not only one of the longest nights of my mortal and young life but also to tell you of one of the best concerts I’ve been to the last few months.  I want to elaborate on the human atrocities I was witnessed to in a six hour period at one of the most awkward rock venues I have ever been in.  But most importantly, I want to tell you all how important it is for you all to hear this band!  Sadly there is no visual evidence of these events but that’s alright…I think I can paint a pretty picture.

To start…this is Freakville!  My hometown of Jacksonville is home to over a million steel sucking, skull tattooed, scantly clad semi attractive people who love to get their freak out at the rock bars and concert halls of this underrated vagabond city.  So when you go to a concert of any rock quality at any venue you must not only expect it but prepare yourself for the shear laughable horror that presents itself in the form of fish nets and bulbous protruding flesh.  Allow me to deconstruct the evening but first a very brief history of the concert venue that is Brewsters Pit.

Ah Brewster’s.  What a wonderful shank producing cesspool you were once.  A small place stuck in a dilapidated strip mall with a chair outside that was once used as a weapon against a Neo-Nazi and his friends.  You sold out son!  You bought out the once posh hip hop club Plush, along with the other stages Leopard Lounge and Club Rain and settled your twisted rotten roots under the foundation of such an establishment!   It was odd to walk inside listening to metal music, loud and gruntled, with a gentle wall of rain caressing my ears between sets with purple velvet couches on which nestled the disease ridden metal heads sporting their Pantera shirts and crusted dreds.  Classy.

Burn Season - Burn SeasonSo now the fun!  I went with my good friends Lisa and Leola since they were old fans of Burn Season and I was still green.  I had heard them before but I was not proficient…I’m still not but I do love their stuff!  The deal with this band is they’re sort of like those elusive gold unicorns…from what I understand they only play as Burn Season once a year, mostly around Christmas time (I told you…it’s been a while since I posted) so you only get one shot to see them.  Lisa is the one of us who goes to concerts like I have my picture taken…all the time!  She knows everyone when we go to concerts but besides that we mainly hung out laughing hysterically during our people watching.  For those who don’t know, people watching is seriously 35% of why I go to concerts!

We arrived when the posters told us to…and it was such a lie!  A damnable lie!  They claimed Burn Season would be on at 8pm…oh hell no!  It was closer to midnight!  So we had to wait for over 5 hours in a smoke-filled hall with about 200 of Freakville’s finest!  I swear on this…there was a women there who looked like she was 5 years old!  5 dammit!  And she was dressed like a hooker…a bustier, hooker heels, with pink hair smoking and drinking!  This was one of the most disturbing things any of us had seen yet!  And she was sweet on Leola!  ::shiver::  She spent the rest of the night hiding behind doors and fat people to avoid the oddly placed midget.  The rest of my night was spent gleefully tormenting her about this.

The other bands that were there (one every 25 minutes!) weren’t horrible but I’m glad I don’t have to listen to them again…not bad though just…crazy.  There was one band with their own street crew and a battle flag.  I think I even saw one present a baby (yes, a real one!) to the lead singer.  Happily it was the fans who were crazy not the bands!  After a few hours of it I was weary…oh so weary.  And angry for not bringing my camera!

Fast-forward 5 1/2 hours to the Burn Season concert!  Though the crowd wasn’t big, it was enthusiastic!  We stayed to the side to let the mosh pit fight like Battle Royale.  Now also by this time another Brewsters concert was letting out, Asking Alexandria, and so those groupies found their way into Burn Season!  Scene kids meshing with metal bangers…a beautiful symphony of chaos ensued!  I began wondering if most of those guys were Marines seeing how they took down a man with a thumb to the throat!  But the band was undeterred and played a great show.  I don’t really think the venue was made for rock music but they still killed it!  I think I can find a video of my favorite song from the show…let me see.

Yep, I’m awesome!  Again, great band!  I certainly won’t forget the first time I saw them live!  Can’t wait till the next show!  Next time they can hopefully advertise better than “Hey..we have a concert.” on like four posters taped with chewing gum outside the Kitten Club and pole exercise classroom!

Welcome To Rockville 2012

And so the epic continues!  If you read in Welcome to Rockville 2011 then you know what happened last year!  Now…we have a whole new can of worms to open and throw out into a crowd of spastic cheerleaders during one of their midnight runs to Burger King as they engorge themselves on quarter-pounders (it’s only one small dream of ours…not a big one, just a dream).  Last year we weren’t prepared so in order to help anyone who wants to go, we have prepared a list of provisions we deem necessary to survive a full day on the grassy knoll that is Rockville.

  1. Bring a towel or blanket to sit upon.  Important since you actually get to see what was on the ground before you sat on it.
  2. Moist towelettes and hand sanitizer.  This is not only important for the portables and bathroom areas, but for the aftermath of the water hose in the main pit area!
  3. Water.  Lots and lots of it!  You can refill in the fountains or the tap.  It’s a cheaper way to go.
  4. Sunscreen.  You can never have enough of it!
  5. A good camera!  You most likely won’t get close enough to the stage for good pics so make sure it has a great zoom and focus!

Basically, just bring what you would bring to the beach but a beach that requires brass knuckles and a debasing of the human language.

So here the three of us were again.  This time, we were early and ready to rock!  I am glad we were early and I’ll tell you why later.  Becca had thought of everything this year so we ended up spending the day it comfort!  We started slow and in the shade.  We also decided to stay away from liquor this year since that was our downfall last year.  We had a lineup with us and chose strategically what we all wanted to see and when we need to get sneaky.  Soulswitch was up but we decided to lay out in the middle of the knoll and listen.  That is where a good camera comes in handy!  We just relaxed and listened to the music until the bands we wanted to see came up.  First up…Lacuna Coil.  An Italian band with a few radio plays but we love those obscure bands!

After this was the one I came back to finally see…Halestorm!  We waited until POD was playing and then made our move to the main stage.  This turned out to be far more problematic then one would actually think!  I noticed the ground was wet and tried to come up with a logical solution amongst the illogical, booze soaked, bikini blubber that surrounded me.  I am talking flesh all around me and none of it was appealing!  And when your guards down…that’s when that son of a bitch with a water hose aims right for you!  Who the fuck came up with that!  I’m not having it!  Sure it cooled you down for like a minute, but then when the mold and sweat and nast and, and,and….it was horrible!  I smelled things during that cramped menagerie of festering tattooed flesh that would have made a smelly cheese connoisseur cringe!

So Halestorm finally came out after I had to listen to one of the worst sounding performances by POD ever!  How sad!  I like POD just not in concert!  So here was Lzzy Hale and the rest of Halestorm being absolutely awesome as hell when out of nowhere there was a person on top of Leola’s head!  A body surfing hopeful jumped up somwhere behind us and managed to get all the way to us before we noticed!  And people, if you crowd surf…don’t do so if you’re over 150 lbs. please!  Angry and annoyed at this, I had to hide my camera from the onslaught of both body surfer and evil bitch ass bastard with water hose!  This made every picture rare!  The people in front of us were nice enough to warn us of incoming surfers and since Becca is so much taller than us (we look like the cell phone bar commercial with the bars)she caught it before us!  And just one time, she got unlucky as a man twisted in mid air as she held her hand to stop him from falling on her and it broke her finger…literally!!  She then got smashed and pummeled until she cried “When!”

So as we were getting cleaned up I noticed a large crowd outside the gate.  Apparently, this 10,000 person venue oversold by almost 2,000 tickets!  We realized then that Met Park was beyond capacity!  This is turn meant we were fucked!  We quickly got back to our pad and waited for the last show we wanted to see that day Shinedown!  Even though Korn and Evanesence were the big tickets…we could really care less honestly.  We’re good.  I had a good enough camera to get some good pics but other than that it was Shinedown,  But before that happened, more wondrous goth/emo/hippie craziness went down in front of main stage 2!

Five Finger Death Punch, a good band if you’re into metal, had to get in front of their crazy, drunk, and violent fan base and tell them to calm down.  A metal band had to tell their fans to stop being so damn violent or they wouldn’t go on!  We couldn’t see again due to the new second tower in front of main stage 2 but that must have been insanely bad for the band to have to quite down the audience!

When we got up for Shinedown, we knew it was our last one.  We took our positions in the middle but further back so we wouldn’t get the crowd surfers again.  Becca had gotten pretty banged up from the first time so we didn’t want anymore of that!  The carnage on the ground was incredible!  I was wondering why the garbage cans were empty…everyone was just using the ground!  By this time everyone and your grandmother were wasted and frisky!  There was no stopping some of them.  One toothless wonder behind Leola was doing something to piss her off with her hair or some shit like that…either way it was odd!

Shinedown took the stage!  Yes, they are as good as people say they are!  Amazing!  It was great!  Good energy, the people were bearable…but one thing was still haunting us and it came up right behind Becca and knocked her down.  How in the hell crowd surfers were starting as far back as we were is still amazing to us!  Let’s just say we got the hell beat out of us…but not before we took pieces of the surfers away with us!  I think I saw Leola bunch some guy straight in the groin and I know I took some flesh with me.  Ah, concerts.  It’s a way to get to know people I tell you!

Once Shinedown was done we knew we wanted to leave before Korn came on so we hauled ass to the gate, waved a quick bye to Leesa at Merch, and found a quick way to change in the parking lot after a nice long, grimy day at Rockville!  Hope we gave you a nice show boys!