After EXMORTUS practically leveled the joint I was able to have a quick drink with guitarist David Rivera before Marty Friedman took center stage. Joining him on this Inferno run are CHARGEEEEEE (drums), an absolute maniac, Jordan Ziff on guitars, whose playing is simply lights out, and the fiery ball of energy that IS bassist Kiyoshi. Much like my dear friend Chela Rhea Harper (WHITE EMPRESS) she is everywhere at once, rarely standing still while delivering the thickest of bottom ends from her 5-string!
First up was new track “Hyper Doom” and before long he was visiting his 2006 LP Loudspeaker with “Street Demon”, “Elixir”, “Stigmata Addiction”, and “Devil Take Tomorrow.” A pair of 1992 classics, “Tibet” and “Angel” from Scenes followed and you could tell who the longtime fans were by their shouts and cheers. There were also steady chants of “MARTY!! MARTY!! MARTY!!” after a lot of these tunes. Not surprising when you think of what that man can do with his guitar. Those of you who only know him from his tenure in MEGADETH, shame on you.
One of the highlights for me was definitely Kiyoshi’s bass solo, and she now joins the aforementioned Miss Harper and SICK PUPPIES Emma Anzai as my three favorite bassists on the planet. The band even kicked in for a snippet of “Higher Ground” where she also sang lead. “Ripped” was another ferocious number which led into Jordan Ziff’s solo. That kid can flat out PLAY, and his style complemented Marty’s perfectly across the whole set.
It was back to Inferno as the band tore into the title track and “Undertow”. Live they’re even better, trust me. But the most special point of the night was when during “Dragon Mistress” from the first solo disc Dragon’s Kiss, Marty got a local fan named Cristian Nistor up there to jam with him. If the kid was nervous it sure as hell didn’t show because he simply shredded. Both Friedman and Ziff deferred to him several times so he could just let ‘er rip. That had to be a dream come true, and it was great to see it happen.
“Thunder March” and “Ballad of the Barbie Bandits” closed out the main set before the encore, which was a cover of “Kaeritakunattayo” a Japanese song I know zero about, so I’m not even gonna pretend I do. When all was said and done North Star Bar was sufficiently rocked, rolled, chewed up and spit out. I stepped out into the night praying it won’t be so long till we see Marty Friedman grace our shores and live venues again, because the U.S. needs more visits from him.
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: ANYA SVIRSKAYA