Throwback Thursday: AC/DC – Safe In New York City

Pretty excited for EofC’s first installation of Throwback Thursday. With this being DJ Ffej’s idea, he’s a little disappointed he couldn’t get the first post (he’s currently at the Virginia Tech game). In other news, I’m glad AC/DC has the honor of being out first TBT post.

AC/DC is the quintessential example of Hard Rock and Pre-Power Metal. These Australian he-devils have countless songs that hold personal meaning to myself, in addition to being recognized as enshrined classic rock hits.  Sadly, on February 19, 1980, the world lost the iconic and powerful shrills of lead singer Bon Scott to one night of binge drinking. Contextually, Bon’s death separates the band’s music into AC/DC and Post-Bon AC/DC. While much of Post-Bon AC/DC music continued to hold the same rudeboy values and authentic sounds, no man can really replace Bon Scott’s Voice.

Although AC/DC pulled together after the death of Bon Scott and appointed Englishmen, Brian Johnson, as the band’s new lead singer that same year. Since then, Brian Johnson and AC/DC have continued their success in rock and roll, releasing timeless albums such as Back In BlackFor Those About To Rock We Salute YouWho Made Who, The Razor’s Edge, and Stiff Upper Lip

Specifically I chose the song “Safe In New York City” off the 2000 album Stiff Upper Lip because it’s most similar to band’s earliest work with Bon. Despite Bon being irreplaceable, I greatly admire and respect Brian Johnson’s ability to create his persona within the band, while still keeping the band’s shrieking and shrilling intact. More of deep cut than a super hit, Safe In New York City contains the catchy, repetitive chorus that’s supported by the strong, bluesy guitar riffs. The complementing drums and bass culminate to produce an original, steady rhythm that highlights Johnson’s raspy voice. In true AC/DC fashion, Safe In New York City is another easy jam to bob to, while easing into the droning, repetitive lyrics. Another classic that makes me thankful for the band and my habitual Youtubing of Angus Young going nuts in his school boy uniform. Long Live AC/DC!

We still miss you Bon,

– Walker

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Iron Horse

Coming off a summer littered with Country and Country-Pop artists touring all around the east coast, it pains me to hear someone labeling country and bluegrass as the same genre. Here’s a quick guide

Contemporary Bluegrass is organic, fast-paced music played with fiddles, banjos, acoustic guitars, mandolins, and bass. My favorite active bluegrass band happens to be an extremely talented group named Iron Horse. The four band members use the mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo, and bass to emit the traditional bluegrass style. Although, the groups really breaks musical barriers by applying bluegrass characteristics to a wide array of other musical pieces. The band has beautifully covered famous musical artists ranging from Van Halen to The Shins.

Hailing from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the group is currently composed of four members: Vance Henry (guitar), Ricky Rogers (bass), Anthony Richardson (banjo), and Tony Robertson (mandolin).

Iron Horse’s talent is undeniable, with perfect stacking of vocals that reflects the true bluegrass sound, as well as their poetic mastering of the frantic pace of acoustic instruments used within the genre. Although as you’ll soon find out, Iron Horse is like no other standard bluegrass groups. I love and respect the band’s individuality and refusal to stay within any particular music genre, constantly working to reinvent famous songs with a carefully tuned revival of bluegrass twist. There’s so much to say about this band, but listening to them is the best way to appreciate their sound. Here are three of my favorite Iron Horse covers!

– Wook

Cover of Modest Mouse – “Float On”

Cover of The Shins – “New Slang

Cover of Metallica – “Nothing Else Matters”

Did Someone Say Party Metal?

Most Metalhead are quick to inform us that there’s quite a discrepancy about playing Metal songs during a friend’s house party. Okay, fair enough. We know not everybody wants to mosh next to the pong table, or headbang next to the sorority girls. Not everybody wants to hear “that angry music“, but instead, “something we can, like, dance and take shots to“. Fine. It is completely understandable that not every person appreciates metal, especially within particular social contexts.

On the flip side , these generalizations are probably a result of everybody at the party expecting you to put on Slipknot or something similar to this (and yes, Dimmu Borgir rules contrary to what anyone may think). False, metal is obviously a diverse and complex genre that can cater to most any listeners. Well I’m going to propose the a mixed genre of metal called PARTY METAL. That being said, here’s my short playlist to help introduce credibility to Party Metal, and to spark a new trend of parties that promote air-guitar shredding, shotgunningdancing your pants off, and possibly breaking the nearest cheap furniture.

1.) Andrew W.K. – “Party Hard”

Recognized as the Godfather or Partying, Andrew W.K. represents all that is Party Metal. A simple yet infectiously catchy chorus that makes you want smash beer cans all over the place. Fun Fact: Andrew WK is also a motivational speaker and BRONY advocate. A classic that will always remain near and dear to my heart, Party Hard is fun and will always continue to inspire all party-goers to let loose.

2.) Diarrhea Planet – “Ghost With A Boner”

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, that is their name. And yes, they do rule. Ghost With A Boner became a legendary song between our friend group due to its happy nature and quality instrumental performances. The song is an easy one to learn. The only lyrics are “Ghost with a boner“, “Drinkin’ my beer“, and “Drinkin’ my beer and getting drunk“. Cheers to this one. A real Classic!

3.) Municipal Waste – “Born To Party

You have to think that Waste struck inspiration from the great Andrew W.K. Falling under its original genre of Thrash Metal. Born to Party is an aggressive piece of Party Metal that features impressive drumming and speed strumming, as well as a fantasic chrous and well-chosen sounds effects. The Waste is great for really waking the party up and bringing it to the next level…which is usually mosh-puking.

4.) Psychostick – “Beer”

The contrast of this song is absolutely fantastic! The singers bring us a wonderful education of how beer can be the true foundation for happiness and partying. The breakdowns and heavy usage of the double bass make a perfect setting for slam-dunking a pong table, or forming a power puke circle with your best friends. For best results, keep this song on loop for twenty minutes. “BEER IS GOOD“.

5.) Dropkick Murphys – “Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight”

Traditionally it’s tough to classify the Dropkick Murphy’s as metal. Although they have created a surplus of songs that fall under the category of Party Metal that really amp everybody up. Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight is potentially a great way to reinforce the upcoming events in the night. Owning a fundamental quality of party metal, the song poses a simple chorus that we can all scream at once and patronize one another with our drink of choice.

BONUS: Andrew W.K. – “We Want Fun”

You all thought this was over, I know. Give the people what they want: “WE WANT TO HAVE FUN AND WE WANT TO GET WASTED“. Tell me the last time you heard truer lyrics? All right, the lyrics in the aforementioned songs don’t count. But seriously, if you get the chance to rip out whoever’s iPhone is connected to the speaker, remember that Party Metal is Metal that everybody can enjoy!

Special thanks to all my friends that have heard, helped me play, or blared these song with me in the past.

Party Hardy 

– Wook

Black Sabbath – 2013 North American Tour

13 seems to represent more than just a number. (20)13 represents the year that Black Sabbath has finally emerged from retirement. 13 is the name of the Black Sabbath’s first studio album with original lead singer Ozzy Osbourne, since 1978’s “Never Say Die!” Indeed, 13 also represent the first time the band has ever topped both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, marking the beginning of a successful return . And if you look closely enough, 1-3 represents a separation from a founding member, Bill Ward. Whatever the number 13 means to you, it’s indisputable that Black Sabbath is alive, kicking, and touring!

On August 4th, 2013 I was lucky enough to stumble into a small miracle. At the last minute, a friend of a friend was forced to give up their Black Sabbath tickets due to a last minute conflict. I was graciously bestowed upon with these tickets, thanks to an extremely generous individual that has forever earned a dear place in my heart. This obtainment happened within only four hours of the show starting and honestly was a modern day miracle. soon I would be watching the original Black Sabbath for the second time in two years, 10th row, dead center, at New Jersey’s beloved PNC Bank Arts Center (to make it all the sweeter I will note that about five years ago I saw Ronnie James Dio croon with Heaven and Hell at the very same venue).

The venue was packed to the gills and undoubtedly sold out. Andrew WK was blaring classic metal jams and served as the only type of opener for Sabbath. The crowd ranged from businessmen, dads with sons, cougars, hipsters, beer bellies, and your quintessential metal-heads. People of all sorts came from far and near to catch sight of what could be the first or last time they would see the band live, in person. Due to the exorbitant amount of excitement and drunkenness filling the Arts Centers,  I was almost positive that the majority of people forgot that Bill Ward was not going to be playing the drums that night. Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine was manning the percussion, just as he did on the studio-produced “13”. Around 8:30 the lights slowly dimmed and the thousands packing the venue rushed to their seats (or for the majority, the lawn).

The crowd was greeted with War Pigs. In return, Black Sabbath was greeted with the loudest cheering I have ever heard at that particular venue. I was close enough to see every detail from Ozzy’s “Ozzy” knuckles tattoo, to Tommy Clufeto’s abs. Instrumentally, the band played absolutely phenomenal. Tony Iommi played every song while slowly pacing around the stage, smiling calmly at both the crowd and Ozzy’s goofy gestures. Geezer Butler remained more stationary than Iommi, and showed more concentration on perfecting each song, rather than playing to the crowd (which was fine by me). And of course Ozzy fulfilled his duty of captivating the audience though his anticipated antics and crowd engagement.

I did not know how I was supposed to initially judge Tommy Clufetos. I enjoyed his previous work with Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie and recognize his talent and aggressive style as an individual drummer. He truly did nail his part throughout the entire night. At one point Tony, Ozzy, and Geezer took an unexpected break and left the fill-in drummer all alone in front of thousands of die-hard Sabbath fans; a truly daring move. Tommy commanded the crowd’s attention and produced a phenomenal five minute drum solo, leaving everyone wide-eyed and thoroughly impressed. As one veteran Sabbath fan put it, “The last time I saw Sabbath live was 1979. Tonight was their tightest drumming I have ever heard.” In all honestly, I would have rather seen a talented drummer in his prime play with the band, rather than a grumpy, out-of-shape Bill Ward trudge sloppily throughout the night. Clufetos fulfilled his duty and earned the approval from nearly every fan present.

We all knew that Ozzy was not going to be perfect, especially at an outdoor amphitheater during a humid New Jersey summer. Judging from what came out of the speakers (with or without an vocal enhancements), he sounded pretty good. You could easily tell when he was looking down to glimpse at the lyrics taped on the stage; during those moments I chose to close my eyes and pretend it was in 1975. Sometime it sounds like he was reading from book, but for the most part his voice sounded authentic and young. Unfortunately he no longer sings my favorite song, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, simply because no man in his 60’s can sing that high. He certainly doesn’t have the same mobility and fitness, but he displayed unheralded energy that earned the roars and respect of the crowd. It really was truly amazing to see him up there after 40 years of musical wear and tear, thoroughly enjoying himself at age 64. As a dedicated metal fan, hearing the band play classics such as “War Pigs”, “Into The Void”, “N.I.B.”, and “Black Sabbath” was pretty damn emotional.

One tiny, nit-picky, critique I had came during “Snowblind”, when Iommi and Geezer were clearly not on the same page. During the first two choruses the bass and guitar were not matching up at all, producing much dismay in the face of Iommi, the perfectionist that he is. Although the real elephant in the room was made clear by the audience. As expected, every song from “13” the band played, earned significantly less energy and cheers. I felt a sense of discomfort during the few songs played from “13”, but it is understandable for Black Sabbath to promote and show off their new music. Although when “God Is Dead” was played, I found myself robotically spewing out the chorus and entirely enjoyed their newest hit.

10:30 PM rolled around and the band began to wrap it up with “Dirty Women” and “Children Of The Grave”. Directly after the last song Ozzy provoked the fans and generated enough applause to deem it appropriate for an encore. Right around 10:40 the band rightfully ended the show with Paranoid. The famed lead singer blessed and thanked the crowd while the entire venue roared as if the band were never coming back. I left in a daze after spending $100.00 in merchandise, going back over each song in my head during my walk to the car. I still cannot entirely describe my exact feelings about leaving the show that night. Letting it sit for four days allowed my conscious decipher what went through my head the night, and what still continues to plague me: anxiety. Just like all the other fans, I want a guarantee to know that that was not the last time I will ever see Black Sabbath. It might sound pathetic, but just like an ex-girlfriend, I need some closure over here! Within the next six months I better wake up and see the announcement of a 2014 or 2015 world tour. Until then I hope you will continue with me in relentlessly and religiously listening the classic songs of the world’s first heavy metal band.

– Walker

Venue: PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ

Date: August 4th, 2013

Setlist: War Pigs, Into The Void, Under The Sun/Every Day Comes And Goes, Snowblind, Age Of Reason, Black Sabbath, Behind The Wall Of Sleep, N.I.B., End Of The Beginning, Fairies Wear Boots, Methademic, Rat Salad, Iron Man, God Is Dead, Dirty Women, Children Of The Grave, Paranoid (encore).

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