|» Freedom Fest 2006 07 01||
Freedom is all knowing inside; an assault on the nerves.
It was a hot Saturday afternoon, this first of July when Wendy and I arrived at Annies prepared to review the first ever "Freedom Fest" celebration in Cincinnati, Ohio; sponsored by Transfusion Productions (TFP). We owe a great deal of gratitude to Kelly of TFP for providing us with adequate shade at her booth. We also appreciate the munificient water guy who wore the Motley Crue shirt; since he constantly slaked our thirst with the refreshing, unlimited supply of Nestle bottled water. Unfortunately, the tattoo dude was a no show this day and the highly anticipated shirts designed by "Disturbing Impressions" were never completed due to a malfunction the day before the show. I'm convinced these shirts would have sold exceedingly well, since they featured the eagle and Freedom Fest emblem on the front and each band's individual logo on the back.
The show started promptly at 1:00 p.m. as each of the 21 opening bands alternated between inside and outdoor stages performing for 30 minutes. Jani Lane was the headliner; therefore, he played for over an hour. We arrived at 2:00 and were immediately greeted by Paul from TFP, who provided us with our "All Access Passes" for the day. The first band we enjoyed was The High Council (THC) who were serving up a platter of pot-luck and herbal refreshment with their blues influenced mid-'seventies sound. As the day progressed, we became superkreeped out by the performance of Hallow's End, who's monotone female singer butchered and perforated Slayer's "Bloodline". We'd rather listen to Hallow's Eve any day! As the opiate of the masses in-raged us, and the searing heat charred our languid flesh, we succumbed to the the silk abrasion and duration of many hours of caustic clamour, creating a neutral shock in our braindead bodies. This rancour and ruckus from what lingered like a 7 day sun eventually would cause even the dying planet to scream, still rising from the cinders and mortar of the musical barrage. This sonic connundrum left us detached from the dissonance, yet seriously pysched over the sets of certain noteworthy bands, as we would willingly spew out the bubblegum which Billy Carri and his boys billowed. Billy Carri's combined cover of Cheap Trick/John Denver only served to harry and harangue us more as we reached no reprieve or bonified warrant tease.
Indoor stage 15:00 - 15:30
The first band to really intrigue us, and who we had never heard of until this day, turned out to be the one of the best bands who played the festival. Inside Moves sounded really tight and professional; even though they were playing one of their first live gigs with a new bass player and guitarist. Aaron Fasse's vocals were clean and crisp evoking aspects of Sebastian Bach mixed with James LaBrie. Apparently this electrician, had been suffering from muscle spasm this day, but his vocal chords were top notch. The band performed two covers: Buckcherry's - "Dirty Mind" for their opener, and Beautiful Creatures - "Ride" for their closer; but it was their original music which impressed us most, as the music moved inside our minds and out through our hearts. Their hard rockin' 70's sound just made all the other chaos disappear, as we became ensconced in the rhythms. It was like witnessing Shooting Star steal the sky, or Yes & Triumph envelop our fragile frames, so that we would never surrender to the moment. Better yet, it was like a ride on the Grand Funk Railroad or flight with Aerosmith over hallowed ground. The one quality which edified the whole performance was the constant ceremonious soloing by Rick Hurd. Just believe us when we claim that this stellar band are moving up to the inside with deluxe appointments in this guise.
7,5 chalices of 10
Outdoor stage 17:30-18:00
Truth be known, when we first witnessed The Allknowing on stage, we had no idea that their bass player was, in fact, Jason Vie Brooks, who once played with Grip Inc./Heathen/Forbidden. What some detractors may consider Jason's failure; we feel is his driving passion to succeed; his forgive nothing motive to be a man, which stands for the level of mettle he hammers out. His haunting memory of past glory, ever so complicated, now fuels his ambition to create his own music. We learned later that the set-list was sporadic and unplanned; since the drummer Shawn has just returned from his honeymoon in the Caribbean. Overall, they sounded quite qualified on stage, as the vocalist caught our attention with the recent marriage announcement, and his goal to be inestimably intoxicated as the night endured. It was his "I am what you made me" attitude which caused the throng of spectators to thrash. This was especially evident when Jason, who was adorning his "I Love Hot Mothers" red T-shirt, while the guitarist wearing his Pantera uniform, raged on with their rendition of MotorHead's "Ace of Spades". There was even a loyal blue-bearded fan frantically forcing his way to the front row, supporting them with his horns in the air; wearing his book-end Motörhead shoes which bore Lemmy's mascot, with no remorse.
7 chalices of 10
Indoor stage 21:00-21:30
The most organized and professional of all bands playing this day had to be Triad. After hearing so much about this band, we had definitely been waiting all day, anticipating seeing them hit the stage and unleash their requiem. Triad formed when drummer Brian Gray and guitarists John Nunns & Christian Massey met while playing in a house band for a local youth ministry. When Craig Leist moved to Cincinnati from North Carolina, they made him their vocalist and quickly invited bass player Josh Viviano in to the fold. Wendy and I believe Triad have quite a future ahead of them. Even though they are, in fact, a five-piece and not a true triad; the name invokes the triune level of diverse influences, which the band brings to the table. This being the clever combination of the Soundgarden meets Guns N' Roses revolver rile, tinctured with the tonic of Ted Nugent, or Lyrnd Skynrd and the bare bones of AC/DC; mixed lightly, while stirring the cauldron of the shadow valley with their emotional torque and force akin to some of the radio friendly hard rock bands today. While they played enthusiastically and Craig cautiously ensnared the crowd, Wendy & I tried to adjudicate an honest evaluation for their performance, which left us buried beyond belief, six feet under.
7 chalices of 10
A Nervous Wreck
Indoor stage 22:00 - 22:30
A Nervous Wreck was the main band Wendy & I had come to see tonight. Wendy was even wearing their shirt for which she had been complemented on, so often in the past. Our first testament to this new band began when we witnessed them opening for Stryper last year. Instantly, we were very impressed by their cars, scars, and topless bars banality. They are straight ahead, in your face, balls to the wall Rock N' Roll, and they make no apologies. These sleaze merchants sure know how to tear it up and have nothin' but a good time. Once these glam slammers finally hit the stage, the wear and tear of the day was causing us to crawl; rather than walk; feeling like we had just spent nine years in the hole. Wistfully, we mustered up enough gumption to fully experience the faster puissant cat-like catotonic creation. Vocalist Shane, resplendent in his tight spandex, would do his best to show no mercy this night as he again attempted to usurp and imbibe Bret Michael's poison. Shred guitarist Marty, again donning his signature dangling top hat and dandling like a lion seeking his prey from the cradle to the grave, could easily replace Mick Mars in the Crue'; mimicking and making CC De'Ville seem like a poseur (wait a minute...he is!).
As we watched this band bang and bustle, Wendy walked closer to the stage to get better pictures. Bassist John "Perk" Perkins with his Kiss & Crue brassard and tattoos, covering his bulk and brash brand, continued to astound the audience with his pick a dildos. Meanwhile, I sat down to engage in deeper solicitious thought only to be constantly approached and reproached by the bad girl - sex starved strippers who wanted to solicit a sample lap dance. Once I dismissed little miss appropriate, saying, "Goodbye girl", I realized that Shane was singing an L.A. Guns cover of "Show No Mercy". A few songs later I heard him scream out to the audience, "Who likes sex?". I watched as girls went wild dancing and flailing all about. This then lead into Marty playing the opening piano interlude for Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" acoustically on his guitar! After another original cut, Shane shouted to the audience, "Do you know what kind'a time I havin'?" this of course meant the Poison cover was next, which A Nervous Wreck always perform flawlessly. Just watching Marty solo with his fretboard gymnastics is reason enough to like this band, even if glam is not your cup of tease. Before we knew it, 30 minutes had transpired and the band were finishing their set with a bombastic insanity's crescendo, leaving us yearning for more.
8,5 chalices of 10
Assault Machine was the last band to play outdoors this evening, and they drew a voracious mass of true believers. Regretfully, we missed the first half of their set; since we were speaking with A Nervous Wreck after they completed their swanky set. Assault Machine were probably the most intense metal of any band who played this day. Earlier they had given us a copy of their demo and we would describe it as being melodic death metal with some no return/no regret thrash tendencies. As they incited and incensed the crowd, poseurs were left behind floating in a pit of blood, sweat, and fear. Assault Machine's style is peppered with some clean vocal variations as well. Picture Nuclear Assault meets MachineHead. They remind me of the clash and clanking of slots machines in a casino. They are also the band who promoted the scantily clad strippers at their booning booth. They treated us well, and they seemed like really cool dudes. They even distributed complimentary CDs while they performed. Overall, we feel that this band has an excellent handle on things and a prominent future ahead of them . Word of advice, though, to the band, if you are going to hand out CD-rs of your demo, which is perfectly acceptable; please don't paint them or coat them with a sticky magic marker, as the CD then becomes glued to the booklet, and thus, unplayable.
(Sorry, no setlist)
6,5 chalices of 10
Indoor stage 23:45 - 01:00
Andy Warhol was right, fame is fleeting. Jani may think he is so damn pretty that it should be against the law, with his dirty, rotten, filthy, stinking rich attitude. You really got me, but I find this to be totally unwarranted! Wendy was all excited to watch Jani jam out on all of his hits; as for me I was bored and beleagured by Jani's belial banter, continually talking down to the technician boys, complaining that his microphone needed new batteries. The first few songs were fraught with technical difficulties, and Jani was becoming quite inexorable, impudent, and arrogant as the roadcrew worked frantically to fix the situation and correct the kinks. Finally, with a loud blasting microphone replacement, which one would expect Manowar's Eric Adams to utilize, and not Mr Rainmaker, Jani attempted his machine gun gutter ballad - Heaven, which he argues Poison misappropriated from him, as he claims his sonnet was written first; whatever!
The only enjoyable aspect of this hole in my eardrum wall fiasco, was the amazing guitar stylings of 16 year old D'ario Lorina, who is too talented for a lackluster washout like Mr. Gee I'm Lame. Watching D'ario burn, made me swear I saw red. Even Jani, himself, admitted to eating humble cherry pie as he stood in adulation of this adolescent's adept and adroit adagios. Jani attempted to perform an unfinished acoustic song, tentatively titled "Along for the Ride", just before playing his new track called "Serial Killer", which he claimed made him want to kill eveyone. (Suicide's an alternative). By this time, the tedious task of writing down this uncle Tom's babbling, was beginning to grate on my nerves. After the obligatory drum solo, which was a bitter pill lulling me into the glimmer and bonfire of his vanity, I thought for sure the show had abated. No such luck!, Feverish female fans pleaded for more and Jani treated them to the sweet cherry pie (yuck!). Then there was one last encore, this time a Blackfoot cover of "Train, Train", which to me was like being on a roller coaster after eating a heavy meal, as I felt the cold sweat drip down my neck; convinced reverse peristalsis was inevitable. The audience was riding high on hopes for more big talk by this dirty jackass, but when the song was over, so was the show. Thank Dog eat dog!
On an interesting note, Wendy really enjoyed herself, as she is a fan of Warrant, and I'm notably not. Personally, I like the new Warrant line-up with Jaime St. James as their singer. I love classic Black n' Blue, and hearing the new music makes me feel born again!
4,5 chalices of 10