Insane Clown Posse rolled into Milwaukee Saturday night.
Insane Clown Posse rolled into Milwaukee Saturday night.

Insane Clown Posse doesn't disappoint at Rave show

The Insane Clown Posse pounded me with Faygo Saturday night in the photo pit at The Rave Ballroom, and I was absolutely drenched by the time my three songs were up. I was constantly wiping the UV Filter on my camera lens to try and "clear the way" to get a shot of the chaos happening all around me.

Photo Gallery: ICP in Milwaukee

That's just how it goes at an ICP show, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope show no mercy in their dojo, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It marked the second time in two days I found myself in adverse conditions in a photo pit, my camera and myself wrapped up in plastic.

The American Psycho Tour theme extended onstage, and the colors of the American flag were present everywhere you looked, including the four Faygo stations that held a copious and never-ending supply of 2 liter bottles. What flavor you ask ? Diet root beer. I still smell it, I think some is still lodged way up in my nasal cavity. And in case you're wondering, it burns your eyes. The last time I photographed ICP I spent a fair amount of time to the side of the stage, but last night I got right up into the belly of the beast, determined to get a photo of Shaggy & Violent J together. You would think it's an easy task to photograph two musicians together onstage. It turns out my plan failed, my photos were blurry and soda stained, I missed every shot I tried to take of the duo standing together. Maybe next time...

The show was outstanding, intense, and unmistakably cherished by the fans. The opening bands included numerous acts on Psychopathic records including Wolfpac, Hutch, Blaze & Twiztid. ICP took the stage for a little over an hour and they played a setlist heavy on the hits, including "In Your Face", "Chicken Huntin'", The Sly Fox cover "Let's Go All The Way" and the viral hit "Miracles" from their CD "Bang ! Pow ! Boom !" released in 2009. The finale, per usual ICP style, included everyone onstage uncapping bottle after bottle of Faygo onto the crowd. It's not somethin…

Read more...
Gwar descended upon Milwaukee Friday night.
Gwar descended upon Milwaukee Friday night.
The band, which may or may not be aliens from outer space, performed their iconic roles of thrash metal monsters, on the "Return Of The World Maggot" tour.
The band, which may or may not be aliens from outer space, performed their iconic roles of thrash metal monsters, on the "Return Of The World Maggot" tour.
Other noteworthy aliens onstage included Flattus Maximus on guitar.
Other noteworthy aliens onstage included Flattus Maximus on guitar.
Beefcake The Mighty, on bass, wore Roman style headgear and body armor.
Beefcake The Mighty, on bass, wore Roman style headgear and body armor.
Balsac the Jaws of Death, on guitar, had a sharp bear-trap device for a head.
Balsac the Jaws of Death, on guitar, had a sharp bear-trap device for a head.
There was an array of creatures and characters onstage over the course of the show, most of which were slaughtered and spewed blood.
There was an array of creatures and characters onstage over the course of the show, most of which were slaughtered and spewed blood.
The crowd was left covered in fake blood.
The crowd was left covered in fake blood.
Despite having had more than 15 members of the band come and go since 1984, nothing has prevented Gwar from throwing in the towel just yet.
Despite having had more than 15 members of the band come and go since 1984, nothing has prevented Gwar from throwing in the towel just yet.

Gwar kicks off Halloween in Milwaukee with a bloody good time

Gwar descended upon the humans of Milwaukee Friday at The Rave, and proceeded to drench everyone they could see in blood. Well, fake blood, but yo it was still messy. Very messy.

The band, who may or may not be aliens from outer space, performed their iconic roles of thrash metal monsters on the "Return Of The World Maggot" tour, and the concert was an epic slaughter.

Did I mention there was fake blood ? Fans were soaked to the skin as they were relentlessly pounded with blood cannons. It was, in a way, a larger-than-life experience that had me questioning my sanity as I went to occupy the photo pit before the show started. I was a site to see, wearing an orange rain poncho, my camera carefully wrapped in plastic. As I looked at the other photographers around me I just had to chuckle at the extremes concert photographers will go to just to get "the photo."

The leader of Gwar, to the best of my understanding, is Oderus Urungus. For being a reported 43 billion years old, the guy doesn't look that bad. He was, for lack of a better term, a bit exposed onstage, his giant phallus sort of, well, swinging in the wind. Did I mention that it too spewed blood onto the all too willing crowd ? Yeah, it spewed blood. Lots of blood.

Knowing damn well what was going to happen onstage last night, I was still a bit overwhelmed at times at the comedic hilarity of the entire situation. What's more amusing is that Gwar is fast approaching their 30th anniversary, a testament to the demand for their specific brand of comedy rock. Despite having had more than 15 members of the band come and go since 1984, nothing has prevented Gwar from throwing in the towel just yet.

Other noteworthy aliens onstage last night included Flattus Maximus on guitar, a rather bulky fellow who had shoulder pads made of dinosaur heads, Beefcake The Mighty on bass, who wore Roman style headgear and body armor, Balsac the Jaws of Death on guitar who has a sharp bear-trap device for a head, and Jizmak Da Gusha …

Read more...
Opeth at The Rave.
Opeth at The Rave.
 "Heritage" is their latest release.
"Heritage" is their latest release.
The Swedish progressive metal band played to an eager crowd.
The Swedish progressive metal band played to an eager crowd.
A great set list.
A great set list.
Great sound and good jokes.
Great sound and good jokes.
Even a Ronnie James Dio tribute.
Even a Ronnie James Dio tribute.
Opeth plays the Vic Theatre on Friday in Chicago.
Opeth plays the Vic Theatre on Friday in Chicago.
Opeth live in MIlwaukee!
Opeth live in MIlwaukee!

Swedish metal band Opeth brings its Heritage Tour to The Rave

Opeth released their tenth studio album, "Heritage," last month on the legendary Roadrunner Records, and last night brought their highly anticipated Heritage Tour to The Rave.

The Swedish progressive metal band played to a massive crowd eager to hear tracks from the new CD and older tunes rarely performed live. Fellow Swedish band Katatonia opened the show and played an hour long set full of dark and melodic metal that set the tone perfectly for the evening.

Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt, the band's guitarist, songwriter and lead vocalist, walked out on stage about 9:45 p.m. with his bandmates, strapped on his custom PRS guitar, and proceeded to blow minds with a sparkling rendition of "The Devil's Orchard", a roughly 7-minute long track that proclaims bluntly "God is dead." The fans loved it, and the sparsely lit light show set an ominous but promising stage presence that matched the 70s vibe of the riff-heavy song. It's the first single off "Heritage", an album that lacks the infamous growling vocals of previous Opeth releases and can be, perhaps, considered more accessible in many ways than their previous efforts. 

Of course this doesn't come without a sharp amount of controversy from hardcore fans because of the deviation from the standard death metal that they've become accustomed to Opeth producing, but I personally find that Akerfeldt's natural voice is worth showcasing at this point in their career. I have an incredible amount of respect for any band that is willing to shake things up and break free of the expectations of the past. There's nothing worse than being pigeonholed into writing the same album over and over, and repackaging the same songs with a different cover to a loyal fanbase that deserves better. 

Opeth did a fantastic job of crafting a setlist that unified the old with the new, and after another new song "I Feel The Dark", the band ventured into familiar territory with "Face Of Melinda" and "Porcelain Heart", which featured a thunderous and…

Read more...
Three nights, three sell outs.
Three nights, three sell outs.
The Riverside was home all weekend.
The Riverside was home all weekend.
Fans packed Downtown.
Fans packed Downtown.
The band jammed all weekend.
The band jammed all weekend.
Widespread Panic.
Widespread Panic.
Saving the best for the last night.
Saving the best for the last night.
The band closed with "Lawyers Guns and Money"
The band closed with "Lawyers Guns and Money"
The band's taking a break after this tour.
The band's taking a break after this tour.
The Riverside drew fans from all over the country.
The Riverside drew fans from all over the country.
A setlist crafted with love.
A setlist crafted with love.
Farewell, Milwaukee.
Farewell, Milwaukee.

Widespread Panic saves its best for Saturday night's final show

Once again it began with a tweet from Widespread Panic's twitter account @widespreadpanic : "Milwaukee, Best for last".

It brought a smile to my face. I'm not gonna lie, the day was full of bittersweet emotions knowing it was my last Panic show for a while. As it would turn out, Panic delivered on their promise. 

The mood inside the Riverside was electric. Fans from all over the country assembled at the historical theater for the final show of the three day Milwaukee run.

Set one began with "Porch Song", and it was met with universal approval from the crowd. The quiet version of the song was delivered with just the perfect amount of intensity, and it was a sure sign that an amazing night of music was upon us. "Stop Breaking Down" came next, and guitarist Jimmy Herring had himself a field day attacking the classic song from all angles, his guitar screaming artfully constructed blues tones much to the delight of everyone in attendance.

And then something happened that I'd never heard before, the band jammed a monster "Party At Your Mama's House" that melted into "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature", a first for that pairing of songs if I'm not mistaken.

"No Sugar Tonight" was just a treat and as I looked back on the faces of the fans in the front row I saw a lot of pure bliss happening all around me. The band had only been onstage for a handful of minutes and they were firing on all cylinders. 

And that's they way the rest of the first set went, Panic moved from one song to the next with comfort and ease, on a stage that they've spent so many hours creating a unique bond with. "C. Brown" and "Love Tractor" were two of the highlights that helped round out the first set, and showcased the incredible dynamic range that happens on any given night with Widespread Panic. With such a wide selection of songs to pick from their catalog still on the table, we all waited patiently during set break for our next dose of music.

Then it happened, a second set of tunes culle…

Read more...