Saturday night was cold…real cold. But that didn’t stop me from checking out my first outdoor show at new venue, Gas Monkey Bar N’Grill. The REVOLVER Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock Tour finally hit Dallas and man, did this one pack a wallop. Good thing because we froze our asses off, but the bands made it totally worthwhile! CILVER, EYES SET TO KILL, LACUNA COIL, and SICK PUPPIES all braved the less than favorable temperatures to deliver rockin’ sets each and every one of them. I don’t even know where to begin I’m still in awe, so let’s start with CILVER.
Hailing from New York City this group of newcomers blasted the Dallas crowd with high octane rock from moment one, performing songs from their In My Head EP including “Razor Blade”, “Break Free”, and the title track/hot single “In My Head”. I swear, if you can listen to this song and NOT be singing it for days afterward then hats off to you. This is one of the catchiest tunes of 2014 and only a hint of what’s to come from this band. Lead singer Uliana was in fine form and she got everyone going by raising her wine glass to those who braved the cold and ultimately by falling into the crowd at the end to be carried all the way back to the band’s merch table. I had a brief chat with her after their set and found her to be very engaging. Look for our interview with them very soon.
Up next was EYES SET TO KILL. Now, I enjoyed their latest album Masks and gave it a very good review back in September. However, I was NOT prepared for just how fucking great they would be live. I don’t know if it was the cold or what, but vocalist/guitarist Alexia Rodriguez and her sister Anissa (bass) came out with such a fire that they made Dallas their bitch on this night. The floor was hoppin’ and everywhere I looked I saw arms raised and the lyrics being sung right back at the band. After witnessing this I am even more upset that I missed the Trees Dallas show last year. Highlights for me included “Surface”, “Haze”, “Infected” and “Where I Want to Be”. All of these showcase the band’s collective talents and most importantly the sheer attitude with which Alexia delivers her words to the masses.
And if you’re looking for a good kick up the ass, then look no further than “Killing In Your Name” which was the first tune out of the intro and served notice that EYES SET TO KILL are one of the best signings Century Media could have made in the last year or so. When Alexia announced that they’d be at their merch table signing stuff there was a crazy rush to get there and I was lucky enough to get the sisters to sign a CD for Mini-Amps before it got too out of hand. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a band rip shit up onstage and then reap the benefits of crazed fans coming to buy things. Truth be told they were, to me, one of the most impressive young bands I’ve seen in a long time.
Cripes! As if that wasn’t enough labelmates LACUNA COIL came out looking to hurt people with a triple-play off of 2012 masterpiece Dark Adrenaline! “Trip the Darkness”, “Kill the Light”, and “Intoxicated” absolutely brought the house down. This is one band that is a thousand times better live than on disc, especially when it comes to vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. Not only are their voices stronger than steel cable, but they are so lively and animated you can’t help but get all revved up watching them. “Fragments of Faith” off of 2006’s Karmacode really got the longtime fans moving before they treated us to new song “Die & Rise” from the eagerly-awaited Broken Crown Halo due out April 1. Sometimes a new song from a not yet released album can be a pitfall, a momentum-killer if you will. Not in this case! Everyone in attendance has clearly clicked away to hear it online because the response was big.
I was especially happy to hear “I Don’t Believe In Tomorrow” as it’s one of the best cuts from Dark Adrenaline. Another new song, “Nothing Stands In Our Way” also gave us a taste of what’s to come in a few weeks. 2009’s Shallow Life was represented by “Spellbound” before Cristina declared it was time to turn this place “Upsidedown”. This only served to stir the pot and closer “Our Truth” caused it to boil over, the masses truly satiated.
And now it was time for SICK PUPPIES. Jeezus, what do I even say here? My love affair with this group began in 2010 and finally four years later I’m seeing them live for the second time in six months?!? I LOVE WHAT I DO!! “Die to Save You” and “Cancer” were a great one-two punch, singer/guitarist Shim Moore getting rowdy and bassist/singer Emma Anzai, as I have said before, seems to be everywhere at once, stopping only to sing her parts at the mic. The rest of the time she’s headbanging, pounding her bass, and just a whirlwind of energy. Shim promised us one of the best nights of our lives (he was right, btw) and they went into “There’s No Going Back” one of the best songs from new album Connect and “The Trick the Devil Did”, a short little ditty from the same record. As is the custom Emma introduced “Odd One”, my all-time favorite SICK PUPPIES song from 2009’s Tri-Polar. This is all about being who you are and letting
NO ONE stop you from doing what you want in life; just be yourself. In 2014 the world needs more songs like this.
“My World” was a lot of fun with Shim goading the crowd into roaring “Kicking! Screaming!” at him and “Riptide” also rocked hard before giving us a little “Bulls On Parade” from RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE at the end, drummer Mark Goodwin laying down the backbone. One of my top songs was next in “Maybe” also from Tri-Polar. This song really inspired me to look in the mirror and make some changes in my life and I’m not afraid to admit that it choked me up last night hearing it done so perfectly. It would also serve as the last change of pace for the night.
From here it was “Pitiful”, and then “Nothing Really Matters” from 2001’s Welcome to the Real World record. If you wanna see some serious fucking bass-slapping chops, then you just watch Emma on this one. If she’s not one of your favorite bassists, then you need your head examined. For the finale we got a triple-play of heavy -hitters in “War”, socio-political “Gunfight”, and closer “You’re Going Down” which only seemed to drive the masses even crazier. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. SICK PUPPIES are one of the greatest rock and roll bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing/hearing live, and last night they truly made the cold, huddled masses forget about the unpleasant temperature, giving everyone in attendance their money’s worth and then some. With six shows left, you’d be crazy to miss this one.
All four bands put on the performances of their lives, so get your ass to a show PRONTO!!