Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Interview with Genotype on April 20th, 2019

Post #373

While attending Midwest Springfest 2019 at Penny Road Pub I managed to catch a few members of Genotype for a quick interview. Click the audio below and hear my discussion with Kadie, Shaun, and Remington about their inspiration, creative process within Genotype, and plans for the near future. (oh and there is a brief appearance of Justin, their bassist, at about minute 7:23 when he arrives and asks us for tips on where to park...)

After the interview, the band got back to preparing for their set, while I went back to listening to as many of the other performing bands as I could. Please follow this blog and I'll have a full review of Midwest Springfest 2019 up soon!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Catch Genotype at Midwest Springfest at Penny Road Pub on April 20th!

Post #372

2019 Independent Band of the Year, Genotype, will be performing this coming weekend on April 20th at Penny Road Pub's Midwest Springfest 2019!

Tickets are $10 in advance if purchased from the performing bands, $12 at the door. Doors open at 2:00pm, show starts at 2:30pm. 15 confirmed bands! 2 stages with alternating set-times so you'll be able to catch every single act! All-ages show until 8:00pm!!

Don't miss Happyheadbanger's reigning Independent Band of the Year, GENOTYPE, performing songs from their latest release, Genotype III and others.

For more information, click the image below to be directed to the facebook event page:

Happy Headbanging!!!

Monday, March 11, 2019

KISS-End of the Road Tour (3/2/19-Chicago, IL)

Post #371

KISS are a legendary rock-n-roll band that have influenced multiple generations of rock and metal musicians over a career that has spanned nearly 5 decades. They boast the largest discography within Mercury records, hold the record for most Gold albums by an American recording artist, rewrote the rules for the rock-n-roll concert stage show with pioneering theatrics, and have secured a place in the official Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. However, the members of the band are not as young as they once were and this time around they have called the tour "The End of the Road Tour: The Last Tour Ever". However, some critics claim that they have done a "Farewell Tour" once before, so why should we believe them now? That question can be debated as much as you like, but in the end, time will tell. As it always has.

These questions aside, I did approach this concert as if it will be the last chance I'll ever have to see this band in concert. I've long held to the statement that KISS are my all-time favorite band. I am constantly discovering new metal bands, both on the national and local levels, so on any given day there could be a different band that I hold in the highest regard. However, when I look over the course of my music-listening life, the timing, scope, and longevity of KISS all play a role in keeping them high on my ever-growing list of favorites.
(myself in Eric Carr's 'Fox' makeup)

So for this show I was all-in. I put on my 'ultimate fan' hat, outfitted myself in KISS swag from my head to my toes, and yes, even painted my face like a member of the band (this time I chose the late Eric Carr). I left my pipe-dream hopes and expectations of any reunion with past members at the door, as I had heard enough interviews that consistently ruled that scenario out. I simply went with the hopes to see this current KISS lineup of Gene, Paul, Eric and Tommy deliver a selection of songs and performance of music that would exhibit a diverse representation of the band's long and storied career. With this as my frame of mind, I was not disappointed. By the end of the night, I was grateful to have witnessed the KISS live show for quite possibly the last time.

From the moment the lights went out KISS were on a mission to give us a final performance that fulfilled a fan's expectations no matter what year they may have begun to follow this band. They opened with their classic hit, 'Detroit Rock City', descending from the rafters on stage-lifts, with laser-lights and fire balls erupting from the stage. There was no looking back from there. KISS kept the show rolling as best they could. They gave us a good mix of anthems, ballads, and heavier tunes.
(photo by Amanda Dean Morell)

Early in the show, Paul Stanley said they were going to represent every era of the band. By the end of the show I can say they did a fairly good job of that. True, it is difficult to represent every era when a band has 20 studio albums (24 if you count the 4 solo albums). If I looked at their set list under a magnifying glass I could say they skipped a few albums (no 'Hot In The Shade', no 'Revenge', no 'Monster', or 'Elder', or 'Carnival of Souls'... no 'Unmasked'). But I was looking on the bright side. They covered all of their biggest hits, and best-known anthems, and with the first 'Alive' album being their most successful and possibly their best-known release, it's no surprise they still play many songs from that era. But they did perform 'I Was Made for Lovin' You' from the 1979 'Dynasty' album, 'War Machine' and 'Heaven's On Fire' from the 1980's, and 'Say Yeah' from 'Sonic Boom' (one of only 2 albums recorded by their current line-up). So in the end they did represent the spectrum of KISS quite well!
(photo by Brian Batt)

Their classic theatrics were all there: pyrotechnics, elevating drum riser, laser light show, fireworks shooting from the guitar, and of course Gene Simmons breathed fire and spit blood at different points of the concert. Paul Stanley rode a zip-line out to a small platform stage in the back area of the main floor to sing a couple songs- a stunt he has done for several recent tours. Gene Simmons was lifted to the rafters to sing 'God of Thunder'.
(photo by Mary Ionetz Brodnick)

With all of this in mind, I must say that my favorite part was when they played 'Lick It Up'. Ever since they incorporated a segment of The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again' into the breakdown segment of this song it has become a concert experience to behold. They did not disappoint, as they performed this song again with the extended breakdown.

They closed their main set with 'Black Diamond', a classic song from their first album, and Alive! From the clean intro, the crowd participation elements, and slow closing segment of the song, the crowd went crazy right to the end. Then the lights when dim to the enthusiastic cheers of the crowd.
(photo by Jerry Downing)

A few minutes later it became clear that they had saved the best for last. The first song of the encore was 'Beth', sung by Eric Singer. The cool thing about this song was that for the first time in all the years I've seen KISS in concert, Eric actually played the song live on the piano, instead of singing along to the recorded instrumentation like he usually does. I only recall one other tour where they played the song live instead of singing along to the recorded music, but even then it was on acoustic guitars. This was on the piano, as the song is meant to be played. Thank you Eric Singer for making this a memorable performance!

After that they played 'Do You Love Me?' and of course 'Rock and Roll All Nite'! They dropped balloons from the rafters, blew confetti into the air, lifted Gene and Tommy on cranes out over the crown on either side of the arena, and ignited a lot of pyro in the ultimate concert finale. The crowd went crazy as they finished their show with this classic anthem. It was a night I'll never forget.

Thank you again to KISS for all the music and memories through the years. You let us drive you wild; we let you drive us crazy!

KISS-End of the Road setlist:
-Detroit Rock City
-Shout it Out Loud
-Say Yeah
-Heaven's On Fire
-War Machine
-Lick It Up (with medley of 'Won't Get Fooled Again' by The Who)
-Calling Dr. Love
-100,000 Years
-Cold Gin
-God of Thunder
-Psycho Circus
-I Love it Loud
-Let Me Go, Rock N' Roll
-Love Gun
-I Was Made for Lovin' You
-Black Diamond
-Do You Love Me?
-Rock and Roll All Nite

For more pics and videos from this concert on March 2nd, 2019, please visit this Facebook event link, posted by KISS, and filled with comments from the KISS Army of Chicagoland! Lastly, I wish to give a sincere thanks to those who gave permission for me to use your photos in this review. You guys rock! Happy Headbanging to all of the Kiss Army!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2013 Interview from Orion Music and More with Tony Asta from Battlecross

Post #370

Here is another audio file I recently rediscovered, and never shared before on this blog. Granted, the transcript of this interview was posted back in 2013 and you can still read that post here. However, I do want to provide the audio form of the interview, and will hope to include audio files promptly after any future interviews I may conduct. Thank you for your patience!

My interview with Tony Asta- lead guitarist from Battlecross:

2013 Interview from Orion Music and More: Cauldron's Ian Chains and Myles Deck

Post #369

After several years I uncovered the audio files from 2 interviews I did at Metallica's Orion Music and More in Detroit 2013. I realize this is an opportunity to put these discussions online where they belong. I apologize for not including the audio back in my initial reviews of that music festival. The conversations were transcribed in those old posts, but there is much to be enjoyed by hearing the audio itself. Hopefully this is an oversight I will not make again in the future!

My interview with Ian Chains and Myles Deck from Cauldron:

2018 Independent Band of the Year-Final Results

Post #368

Although the responses to the recent Independent Band of the Year readers poll are always viewable at the google form link:

I did also want to post a graph of the final responses within this blog itself. I apologize for the delay.
Here are the final poll results:

Thank you again to all the bands for participating, all of the readers of this blog and fans of each individual band, past winners for you nominations, and anyone else who may have voted for any band in this contest. Congratulations to Genotype for their well-deserved victory.


Happy Headbanging!!! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Genotype-Genotype III (2017)

Post #367

Genotype recently won our Independent Band of the Year reader's poll in late 2018. You can visit their main website by clicking their link in the sidebar. Today I'll be reviewing their latest independent recording, their 3rd full-length album: Genotype III.

Genotype are a melodic, hardcore metal band who incorporate some electronic elements into their sound. It gives their music a futuristic, post-apocalyptic ambiance. They've been promoting their music at various local venues between Chicago, IL and Milwaukee, WI since 2012.

Genotype III holds true to their established elements and shines as cohesive, consistent hardcore metal listening experience, with a top-notch production quality. It showcases the vocal range of Kadie Kirby as well as, if not better than, their previous release, Design Intent, reviewed here. Her aggressive screams are on par with those of Alexis Brown from Straight Line Stitch, but at times she also shows off her melodic side, giving Genotype's music even more dynamic qualities. Here are some thoughts on each track of Genotype III.

Antiquity-The album-opener wastes no time getting into the fast riffs, aggressive vocals and technical prowess this band has to offer. The moderately fast verses are broken up by double-time choruses, and melodic breakdowns alike!

Defiance-Another winner, this track switches the formula around slightly, opening with a melodic verse that gives way to hardcore choruses. Lead guitar solo is reminiscent of the late Oli Herbert from All That Remains. Well done!

Cyberfi-This track is a bit slower on the tempo, but maintains the band's heavy edge. Segments of the song are driven by the rhythm section as guitars cut in and out.

Silence-Perhaps my favorite track, and certainly the one I've heard most frequently- this song has a music video they filmed to promote it. It was also one of their featured tracks in the recent Independent Band competition. Very tight production, very heavy song, and as always, tremendous skill on display with every instrument and the vocal performance! Check it out for yourself:

Light Worker-Here is the true boundary-pusher for this album, but in the lighter direction. This one is entirely melodic in tone, slow and soft in delivery, but still a very enjoyable number. A track like this to break away from the band's typical formula may be taking a risk, but it's well worth it, and makes the album as a whole a better product.

The Dream- This song slowly fades in with some electronic elements, but then they hit you with the heavy, hardcore vocals again. A melodic chorus and elegant lead guitars layered on top the hook-laden riffs deliver us back around to another hardcore verse. A song that meanders through their repertoire in a good way!

Synastry- Another winner that opens with clean vocals over  heavy, pounding riffs, broken up by ambient melodic breaks, then a transition to powerful hardcore vocals, blast beats and killer riffs. Smooth transitions and a mood that flirts equally with uplifting and dark tones.

Darkstar (Afterglow, featuring Michelle Esposito)- Starts off with slower, heavy riffs with middle-range vocals. Nothing over the top tempo-wise but the guest vocals on this one bring a new dimension to the music. For the most part this song stays true to the melodic side of vocals, while the instruments ebb and flow between clean and heavy.

Lo_Drift-A steady heavy riff is perpetual in this song, while the vocal style switches things up between the screams and the melody.

Temple of Saturn- One of the darker, more aggressive songs on this album. This one will give metalheads a fulfilling headbanging experience.

Praeteritus- In a similar way to their previous Design Intent album, Genotype close the album with a more experimental, electronic-focused number. Segments of spoken phrases by Kadie send a take home message to the listener- live without regrets.

Don't forget to check out Genotype's Spotify page!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Breaking Down the Numbers-2018 Independent Band Poll

Post #366

While initially I was not pleased to have to use a different format to conduct my most recent poll for Independent Band of the Year, I did discover that the Google Form approach allowed me to customize the poll a little further. For those of you who voted, you probably noticed that I added an extra question this year, asking you to check the songs you previewed prior to casting your vote. That is, after all, the goal of this contest: to get more people to actually hear the music from these unsigned bands that deserve to be heard. I was very curious to see how many respondents actually were listening to the songs.

The point of the poll, as always, was to determine the most popular band, so the 'Favorite Band' question was required for the poll. The 'Songs Previewed' question was optional. Still, the majority opted to respond- less than 10% did not respond to the 'Songs Previewed' question. The results were interesting, following a slightly skewed Gaussian curve:

There were 125 total responses to this year's Independent Band of the Year poll. Nearly half of those responding (44%) previewed only tracks by the band they voted for. This was expected to a certain degree- I did encourage all contestants to share the contest among their fans and campaign for votes in any way they saw fit. I was encouraged to see that so many respondents took the time to listen to at least one other band, and a fair amount of respondents (almost 22%, more than 1 in 5) listened to at least 1 track from every contestant, if not every single recommended track. (each band except Mediums had 2 tracks featured in the contest.)

Here is a graph depicting how many plays each song received:
(Note: The bands Genotype and Guardsman requested one of their tracks to be changed after the contest was already underway. Hence you see 3 tracks for those bands, but they only had 2 tracks recommended at any given time.)

Clearly the top 2 vote-getting bands, Genotype and Ditchwater, received slightly more song-plays. However, I was quite pleased to see that every band received a good balance of song-plays. 

I look forward to trying this approach again next year. Whether it will again be through Google Forms or some other format I can't say for sure.

Thank you to all who voted for any band in this year's contest. Watch this blog for a review of Genotype's album Genotype III coming very soon!

Happy Headbanging!