Jazz, Holiday Music Lovers Alike Will Enjoy ‘Big Band Holidays II”

Courtesy: Blue Engine Records

The holiday season is officially here, and while Christmas is still more than two months away, many people are (wisely) already starting to make their plans as to where and how to spend the big day and the days leading up to said day.  Blue Engine Records will help revelers get into the holiday spirit later this month with the release of the new Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis Christmas music compilation, Big Band Holidays II.  Set for release Oct. 25, this 11 song compilation of live performances from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will come almost four years after the release of its predecessor.  It stands out from that record, and other holiday music offerings that will soon hit store shelves and digital retailers in part because of its featured songs.  This will be addressed shortly.  The performances of said songs plays into the compilation’s presentation just as much as the songs themselves.  They will be addressed a little later.  The compilation’s collective mixing and production round play their own crucial collective role to the whole of the presentation, too.  They will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the overall presentation of Big Band Holidays II.  All things considered, they make the recording a work that is in its own way, a welcome presentation that Christmas and Christmas music lovers appreciate.

Music is one of the most important parts of the holidays when it comes to setting the mood for gatherings of family and friends.  The problem is that it is so difficult to find holiday music compilations that stand out from the masses each year.  Thankfully, Blue Engine Records will release later this month, a compilation that actually does stand out in the form of Big Band Holidays II.  The latest holiday music offering from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, this collection of live holiday performances stands out in part because of its featured songs.  While the recording does feature some holiday standards, such as ‘We Three Kings,’ ‘Silver Bells’ and ‘Silent Night,’ it also features just as many (if not more) songs that are far less familiar and common on any other act’s holiday music compilations.  ‘Brazilian Sleigh Bells’ is definitely not something that American audiences can expect to find from holiday music recordings from other big bands.  The same can be said of ‘Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow,’ ‘Cool Yule’ and ‘(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man With The Bag’ as well as ‘What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swinging).’  ‘Rise Up, Shepherd, And Follow’ might show up on holiday collections from perhaps  the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but otherwise, it is not something that most listeners can expect to find in holiday music collections from most popular music artists and acts.  Keeping that in mind, listeners looking for some kind of diversity for their holiday music settings will appreciate just that from this recording.  The familiar tunes are there, but so are pieces that are less familiar and commonplace.  That in itself forms a strong foundation for this recording.  It is just one of the items that makes the compilation so enjoyable.  The performances of the recording’s songs add their own interest to the record.

The performances of this recording’s featured songs did not come from just one performance of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.  They were taken from performances that the organization conducted between 2015 and 2018.  That means that listeners get not just one performance from one concert, but various snippets of the group’s live show from different points in time.  That is just the start of why the performances are so important to the recording.  The actual performances themselves play their own key part in its whole.  Veronica Swift’s vocal performance couples with the performance of the orchestra on ‘Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man With The Bag’ is like something right out of the big band era.  Swift’s presence is completely engaging and entertaining, conjuring thoughts of great big band singers, such as Helen Forrest, Martha Tilton and Bea Wain.  The energy in her performance, coupled with that of the orchestra’s members, makes this performance feel like a gem long locked in some time capsule way back in the golden age of the big band and finally released after all these decades.  That is the power of the group’s performance here.  Much the same can be said of fellow singer Catherine Russel’s work with the group on ‘What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swinging).’  The group’s bluesy take of ‘Silent Night,’ which features vocals from Denzel Sinclair and Audrey Shakir is yet another example of the importance of this recording’s performances.  Composer Victor Goines’ take on the holiday standard gives the typically very somber song a whole new identity and life that is so welcome because it is so unexpected.  Rather than taking the usual noted tone, Goines opted for a more bluesy-mid-tempo arrangement that will leave any listener tapping his or her toes.  The group’s take on ‘Rise up, Shepherd, And Follow’ gives even that standard its own identity, moving it more in the direction of an Andrew Lloyd Weber type work than the more solemn vibe that it might have in a church setting.  At the same time, it boasts the band’s own jazz sensibility, giving it that much more of a unique identity.  There are no vocals here to accompany the group; just the musicians.  Even with that in mind, the song stands out because the performance is so unique both in comparison to other arrangements of the song and to the other performances featured in this collection.  It’s just one more way in which the performances featured in the recording stand out.  One could just as easily cite the other noted performances in showing why they are so important to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, the performances of this recording’s featured songs build on the foundation formed by the songs and make the recording that much more interesting.

While the songs and performances featured in Big Band Holidays II are both critical in their own way to the whole of the recording, they are just a portion of what makes the recording stand out.  Its collective mixing and production adds even more enjoyment to its whole.  As was already noted here, the 11 songs that make up the body of the compilation were pulled from performances put on by the orchestra between 2015 and 2018.  In other words, each performance was in a different setting.  The work on-site and in post is to be commended, as each performance expertly captures the live setting.  The instrumentalists and the vocalists are balanced meticulously.  The transitions from one performance to the next are seamless with the fade-outs.  On the surface, this might not seem important, but in the bigger picture of things, it is very important.  That is because despite being only available on CD and digital, the collection leaves listeners feeling just as fulfilled as if they were taking in the performances on DVD and/or Blu-ray.  This is important to note because concerts are typically more worth taking in when they are presented on full audiovisual presentations than just audio-only presentations.  Yet here in this case, the audio-only presentation is just as enjoyable as any full audiovisual experience.  To that end, the work of those behind the scenes proves just as applause-worthy as the work of the performers.  When the work of all involved is considered together, it makes Big Band Holidays II a wonderful musical backdrop for any holiday gathering.

The forthcoming holiday collection Big Band Holidays II from the Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis is a presentation that will appeal to anyone looking for some variety for their holiday gatherings this and every year.  It is a presentation that is a gift for listeners in its own right.  That is proven in part, as discussed, by its featured songs.  The performances of said songs play their own part to the recording’s whole.  The collective mixing and production of the recording is just as important to its whole as the performances and songs.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Big Band Holidays II a must have for anyone looking for a new musical setting for their holiday gatherings.  More information on this and other titles from the Jazz & Lincoln Center Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis is available online now at:



Website: http://jazz.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jazzatlincolncenterorchestra

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jazzdotorg




To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Walk The Sky’ Shows The “Sky” Is Still The Limit For Alter Bridge

Courtesy: Napalm Records

The wait is almost over for Alter Bridge’s new album.  Walk The Sky is scheduled for release Oct. 18, and the band has already been busy touring in support of the record, getting audiences excited about its release.  The hour-long album offers plenty for audiences to appreciate with its powerful musical arrangements and its seemingly recurring lyrical theme of our life choices and their impacts.  The album’s opener ‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ is one of the most notable of the album’s songs that supports that statement.  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘The Bitter End,’ which comes later in the album’s run, serves just as much as ‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ to support the noted statement.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Tear Us Apart,’ the album’s penultimate composition, is one more example of how the album’s musical and lyrical content serves to give listeners so much to appreciate.  When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the end result is a record that shows the “sky” is the limit for Alter Bridge.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.

Alter Bridge’s new album Walk The Sky is another strong new effort from the veteran hard rock band that is certain to appeal to the band’s longtime fans just as much as its newer fans.  That is thanks to its powerful musical arrangements and its equally strong lyrical content, which seems to address the choices we make in life and the result of those choices.  The album’s lead single ‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ is one of the most notable of the songs that serves to support those statements.  The song’s musical arrangement is yet another of the powerhouse compositions for which the band has come to be known, led by the dual guitar approach of Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy.  Drummer Scott Phillips’ time keeping is solid throughout, while bassist Brian Marshall’s low-end fills out the song’s arrangement.  Each musician joins with the others to make the nearly four-minute opus a great start for the record both as a single and as the album’s official opener, if only for its musical content.  That content is only one part of what makes the song stand out, though.  Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical content.

The song’s lyrical content is important to discuss because it encourages listeners to live the best life that they can.  Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Sell yourself short and buy a world of pain/Follow your bliss or pay the price/All of these lessons/I’ve learned them so well/There is no gain worth the commerce of self/Wouldn’t you rather/Live from the heart/A life that will matter/To be lived from the start.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “You wear an albatross around your neck/The spoils of war will bring you down/Hear my advice/May you hear every word/Don’t sacrifice meaning for riches that burn/Wouldn’t you rather/Live from the heart/A life that will matter/To be lived from the start/All of these lessons I’ve learned from myself/There is no gain worth the commerce of self/A dream left for dead/Now a nightmare that feels like hell.”  As the almost four-minute song nears its end, Kennedy reminds listeners, “I’d rather live from the heart,” reminding listeners of the noted message of living life the best that one possible can live; living life with purpose.  That and the rest of the song’s message is one that every listeners needs to hear.  When that message is coupled with the song’s hard-driving musical arrangement, the end result is a song that is powerful both musically and lyrically, and just one of the album’s most notable tracks.  ‘The Bitter End’ is another powerful song that seems to address the choices that we make in life and the impact of those choices.

‘The Bitter End’ opens, musically, with a semi-introspective feel in its arrangement, that eventually gives way to a much more ballad-esque type work.  From there, the song’s energy creates a moving sound that conjures thoughts of some of Creed’s most well-known power ballads.  Considering that save for Kennedy, the members of Alter Bridge previously recorded and performed as Creed (then with Scott Stapp), this should come as no surprise.  What’s different from those songs and this song is that this work doesn’t come across as schmaltzy as its predecessors.  Rather, there is a certain real strength to this arrangement that the noted other songs did not have.  It is just one part of the song’s importance.  The noted positive message in the song’s lyrical content makes it stand out even more.

Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve walked every road and turned every corner/Searched high and low where I did not belong/Adrift with the tide/Always hungry and yearning/If only I’d known the answer was here all along/the bitter end will come in time/But the joy I have found/In the sweet here and now/It keeps me alive.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, ”I’ve kissed the lips of an angel in waiting/Devil in kind/I’ve been lost and deceived/The thrill had to fade in this world for the taking/Once I woke up…Then I could see/The bitter end will come in time/But the joy I have found in the sweet here and now/It keeps me alive.”  He later adds in the song, “It’s never too late to learn how to start living right.”  This is a statement that is echoed time and again along with the song’s chorus.  Keeping all of this in mind, this song clearly proves itself another work that addresses the noted theme of our life choices and how they impact our lives overall.  When the song’s uplifting message about living life right is coupled with the song’s equally upbeat power ballad arrangement, the whole of the song becomes another of the most notable of the album’s songs that also continues the album’s overall lyrical theme.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable entries.  ‘Tear Us Apart’ presents its own unique lyrical content about the impact of the choices that we make in life.  It also features its own unique musical arrangement that will entertain and engage listeners.

‘Tear Us Apart’ is another ballad-style work, but stands on its own merits, establishing its own identity separate from the likes of ‘The Bitter End.’  It is more in line with past ballad-type arrangements that Alter Bridge’s members have crafted in its previous records.  That is a matter for another discussion as it is just one of so many songs featured in this record that combines elements of the band’s past records for a whole new here that keeps the band’s sound fresh.  The song’s musical elements join with Kennedy’s powerhouse vocals to create another power ballad that stands strong on its own two feet so to speak.  When that notable musical arrangement is coupled with the song’s lyrical content, the end result is yet another work that is its own important part of the album’s whole.

Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Blindsided once again/Fooled by the fool within/Turned to a sacrifice/Lonely way to find no home/Withered…the promises you left for dead go cold/But this, too will surely fade/The truth you cannot escape/That we have to face/And learn from mistakes to grow/Don’t let the world/Tear us apart…don’t compromise/Just wait.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Drink from the poison well/Only to kill yourself alone/Wake up and take a stand.  He adds as the song continues, mentions of not giving up the love that one was meant to have before returning to the song’s chorus and reminding listeners to not compromise and that “if there’s something worth saving/Let it go/If there is something/Worth changing/Let it go/’Cause time is only wasting/Now you know.”  Once more, listeners get what comes across as a message of living life to the fullest and best; a message to not let certain elements in life get us down.  When this seeming message joins with the song’s radio ready arrangement, the whole of the song shows why it is another important part of Walk The Sky’s whole.  It is one more song that presents the album’s central theme of understanding the choices we make and how those choices impact us, and entertains listeners fully in the process.  When it is considered along with the other songs discussed here (and the rest of the album’s songs) the album shows itself in its entirety to be some of Alter Bridge’s best work to date.

Alter Bridge’s sixth full-length studio recording Walk The Sky is another impressive offering from the veteran rock band.  That is due to its collective musical arrangements, which feature elements from each of the band’s past compositions yet still present their own identities.  The noted lyrical theme, which is presented in various ways from the album’s opening to its end joins with the album’s arrangements, to make a record in whole that is not only some of Alter Bridge’s best work to date, but also one of the best rock records so far this year.  It is scheduled for release Oct. 18 through Napalm Records.  More information on the album and the band’s tour in support of the album, is available online now at:




Website: http://www.alterbridge.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alterbridge

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alterbridge




To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Machine Head Debuts New Song, Video; Announces Winter Tour Dates

Courtesy: Atomsplitter PR

Machine Head is not dead!

The band, still fronted by Robb Flynn, now has a new lineup to replace Flynn’s recently departed members, who announced early this year that they were leaving the band.  Along with the new lineup, the band now has a new single and video to boot.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Do Or Die‘ Friday through its official YouTube channel.  The video presents the band performing its old-school thrash style song in what is meant to recreate a live setting.  The song’s lyrical content is pure aggression; perhaps a response from Flynn to everything that he had gone through since the release of the band’s most recent album, Catharsis (2018).

Bassist Jarred MacEachern talked about the song and its companion video in a recent interview, saying he was impressed by each.

“I’m blown away by how this video turned out,” he said.  “I was f****** pumped up after my first viewing.  A pissed off song deserves a pissed off video!  It’s a no-holds-barred, in-your-face, ‘f*** off’ kinda song…Ragers rejoice!”

Carlos Cruz, who played drums on the song, offered his own thoughts on the song as well.

“‘Do Or Die’ is by far the most extreme song in the Machine Head catalog,” he said.

Along with releasing its new song and video, Machine Head will launch its North American Winter 2020 Tour in January.  The tour, which is scheduled to launch Jan. 16 in Phoenix, AZ, will see the band celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of the band’s debut album Burn My Eyes as well as a collection of some of the band’s biggest hits.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.  Tickets for the tour are on sale now.

1/16 — Phoenix, AZ —The Van Buren
1/18—Albuquerque, NM—El Rey
1/20—Dallas, TX —House of Blues
1/21—San Antonio, TX—Aztec Theatre
1/22—Houston, TX —House of Blues
1/26—Orlando, FL—House of Blues
1/27—Ft Lauderdale, FL—Revolution
1/28—Tampa, FL—Ritz Ybor
1/30—Atlanta, GA—Center Stage
1/31—Silver Spring, MD—The Fillmore
2/1—New York, NY—Webster Hall
2/4—Toronto, ON—Danforth Music Hall
2/5—Montreal, QC—Corona Theatre
2/7—Boston, MA—House of Blues
2/8—Buffalo, NY—Town Ballroom
2/9—Cleveland, OH—Agora Theatre
2/11—Indianapolis, IN—The Vogue
2/12—Louisville, KY—Mercury Ballroom
2/14—Detroit, MI—Crofoot
2/15—Chicago, IL—Metro
2/16—Minneapolis, MN—Skyway Theatre
2/18—Denver, CO—Gothic Theathre
2/19—Salt Lake CIty, UT—The Depot
2/21—Oakland, CA—Fox Theater
2/22—Anaheim, CA—House of Blues

More information on Machine Head’s new single, video and tour is available online now at:


Website: http://www.machinehead1.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MfnH


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Edsel Dope Responds To Rumors He Is Static-X Front Man

Edsel Dope is responding to new claims that he is Static-X’s masked singer Xer0.

Dope released a statement Friday in response to claims from multiple media outlets that audiences identified him as the band’s front man, deriding those who have published the allegation.

His statement is noted below.

Hello world.

I have quietly sat through all of this speculation and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Yesterday’s internet eruption reminded me of an episode of Scooby-Doo.

It’s incredible how far some people will go to get attention or clicks, so let me remind you how easy it is to slap a little tribal neck tattoo onto someone in photoshop.

I’m honored for myself and for my band DOPE to be part of this 20th anniversary celebration, along with this unbelievable, traveling memorial to our old friend Wayne Static.

Wayne is currently on the minds and in the hearts of the metal community in a very unique and special way. His memory / legacy is more celebrated than it has ever been before.

I personally get to see the joy, the tears, and the incredible sense of healing that is occurring on the faces and in the hearts of Static-X fans, each and every night, around the world.

I’m not attempting to be a spokesperson for Static-X, but I will share that I have personally met Wayne’s parents and siblings, as they have attended a number of these shows.

I have personally seen their tears of joy and their expressions of gratitude and approval for the way that Tony, Ken, Koichi, & Xer0 are celebrating the music and memorializing the life and legacy of their son and sibling, Wayne Wells Static.

I’m including a candid photo that I snapped of Static-X drummer Ken Jay embracing Wayne’s father, while Tony Campos, Wayne’s mother, Wayne’s siblings and friends share some personal time together. Words cannot express the love and respect that I’ve experienced out here.

Courtesy: Static-X/Edsel Dope/TAG Publicity

It’s one thing to go on a Scooby-Doo scavenger hunt, or to use photoshop to attempt to prove whatever you are trying to spin, but it’s entirely different when trolls, masquerading as journalists, spew their ignorant, hateful words towards something that is so incredibly personal.

Anyone with the nerve to throw virtual tomatoes at a traveling memorial, that has been orchestrated and supported by the family, loved ones, and long-time friends of the deceased should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

In the end, I’m not the type of person to allow others to dictate the narrative of my life or my art, so I’ve decided to also include a picture of me chatting it up, while watching another SOLD OUT Static-X show from the side of the stage the other night.


Courtesy: Static-X/Edsel Dope/TAG Publicity

Static-X Announces New Album Release, Tour Dates; Debuts Album’s Latest Trailer

Courtesy: Tag Publicity

Static-X will return next spring.

The band’s long-gestating album Project Regeneration is scheduled for release May 29, 2020.  Longtime Static-X member Tony Kampos confirmed that information during a recent interview about the album.

“It was very surreal,” Kampos said.  Our producer was going through all of these old studio tapes, many of which were damaged.  He called me up and told me that I needed to get down to the studio right away and listen to what he found…I jumped in my car and raced to the studio, and what he shared f****** blew me away…It was Wayne singing on track after track, but there was little to no music on any of it…Many of the tapes were damaged and Wayne’s voice was virtually all that remained in tact.”

Static-X drummer Ken Jay expanded on Kampos’ comments, saying, he was just as surprised as his band mates to hear the tapes.

“It was just crazy!!,” Jay said.  “There we were…Myself, Tony and Koichi [Fukuda], back in the studio together, after all these years, and somehow the universe decided to surprise us with all of these lost Static-X tapes containing Wayne’s voice.  I just couldn’t help thinking this was all somehow meant to be.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how happy this was going to make Wayne’s family and all of the Static-X fans around the world!”

In anticipation of the album’s forthcoming release, the band debuted a video to tease its impending arrival Monday.  The video features the band performing one of the album’s new songs, ‘Hollow.’  Pre-orders for Project Regeneration are open now.


Courtesy: TAG Publicity

While audiences await Static-X’s new album, they will get to see the band live this fall and winter.  The band will launch the second leg of its Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary Tour Nov. 8 in Austin, TX.  The tour is scheduled to run through Dec. 18 in Fresno, CA and to feature performances in cities, such as Greensboro, NC; New Orleans, LA and Flint, MI.

The tour’s full schedule is noted below.  Tickets for the tour are available here.

STATIC-X North American Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary Tour Dates, Second Leg

Featuring co-headliners DEVILDRIVER w/ support from Dope, Wednesday 13 and Raven Black

11/08 @ Emo’s – Austin, TX
11/09 @ Clicks – Tyler, TX
11/10 @ Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
11/12 @ Varsity Theatre – Baton Rouge, LA
11/13 @ House of Blues – New Orleans, LA
11/15 @ Revolution – Ft. Lauderdale
11/16 @ The Orpheum – Tampa, FL
11/17 @ Club LA – Destin, FL
11/19 @ Cone Denim – Greensboro, NC
11/20 @ The Norva – Norfolk, VA
11/21 @ Express Live – Columbus, OH
11/22 @ Skyloft – Albany, NY
11/23 @ Providence Metal Fest at Fete Ballroom – Providence, RI
11/24 @ Sony Hall – New York, NY
11/27 @ Machine Shop – Flint, MI
11/28 @ Machine Shop – Flint, MI
11/29 @ Riverfront Live – Cincinnati, OH
11/30 @ The Rave II – Milwaukee, WI
12/01 @ The City Center – Champaign, IL
12/02 @ House of Blues – Chicago, IL
12/03 @ Green Bay Distillery – Green Bay, WI
12/04 @ The Myth – St. Paul, MN
12/05 @ Wooly’s – Des Moines, IA
12/06 @ Pop’s – Sauget, IL
12/07 @ Bourbon Theater – Lincoln, NE
12/08 @ Sunshine Studios Live – Colorado Springs, CO

Wednesday 13 ONLY – NO DEVILDRIVER, Dope, or Raven Black

12/10 @ The Royal Bar – Salt Lake City, UT
12/11 @ Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
12/12 @ Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
12/13 @ Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
12/14 @ El Corazon – Seattle, WA
12/15 @ Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC
12/17 @ Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
12/18 @ Fulton 55 – Fresno, CA

More information on Static-X’s upcoming album and tour is available online now along with the original trailer for the album and more at:


Website: http://www.static-x.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/staticx

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialStaticX


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Ice Nine Kills Debuts Video for ‘Stabbing In The Dark’ Acoustic Take

Ice Nine Kills debuted the video for its acoustic take of ‘Stabbing in the Dark‘ this week.

The band debuted the video Friday for the song, which is featured on the upcoming re-issue of the band’s 2018 album The Silver Scream.  The video features a family watching the original video for ‘Stabbing in the Dark‘ on a black and white television in a very 1950s living room setting.

Courtesy: Fearless Records

The acoustic take of ‘Stabbing in the Dark’ features guest vocals from Trivium front man Matt Heafy.  Heafy talked about joining Ice Nine Kills for the recording during a recent interview, saying how happy he was to take part in the song’s re-imagining.

“Ice Nine Kills is one of the absolute best bands on the planet right now,” he said.  “With their blend of styles and sounds and unique imagery, they’ve crafted a world entirely their own.  Being such a big fan myself, I did an acoustic cover of ‘Stabbing in the Dark’ on my Twitch live one day.  Next thing I knew, INK checked it out and dug it — which I was honored to hear.  I can’t wait till the world hears this newly re-imagined version of this incredible song.  Watch as INK takes the world over.  Mark my words.”

INK front man Spencer Charnas responded to Heafy’s comments with his own positive remarks in a separate interview.

“We were devilishly delighted to find out that Matt was a fan of INK,” he said.  “When we heard his chill-inducing cover of ‘Stabbing in the Dark’, we knew right then and there that we had to collaborate with him.”

He added, “We have enormous respect for Matt’s abilities, and are honored to have him be a part of this spooky, almost folk-like rendition of the song.  He slaughtered this performance, and we can’t wait wait for people to hear it during our favorite month of the year.”

INK’s acoustic take of ‘Stabbing in the Dark’ with Matt Heafy is just one of the acoustic works featured in the band’s upcoming re-issue of The Silver Scream.  The re-issue will also feature an acoustic performance of the song ‘A Grave Mistake,’ which the band recorded live on Sirius XM and a new take of ‘Thank God It’s Friday,’ which features the original Jason actor Ari Lehman.

The re-issue’s track listing is noted below.

THE SILVER SCREAM: FINAL CUT album will include the following track listing:
1. The American Nightmare
2. Thank God It’s Friday
3. Stabbing In The Dark
4. Savages
5. The Jig Is Up (ft. Randy Strohmeyer of Finch)
6. A Grave Mistake
7. Rocking The Boat (ft. Jeremy Schwartz)
8. Enjoy Your Slay (ft. Sam Kubrick)
9. Freak Flag
10. The World in My Hands (ft. Tony Lovato of Mest)
11. Merry Axe-mas
12. Love Bites (ft. Chelsea Talmadge, Stranger Things)
13. IT Is The End (ft. JR Wasilewski & Buddy Schaub of Less Than Jake and Will Salazar of Fenix TX)
14. Your Number’s Up
15. Thriller (Michael Jackson cover)
16. A Grave Mistake (Live from SiriusXM)
17. Stabbing In The Dark (Acoustic ft. Matt Heafy)
18. SAVAGES (Acoustic)
19. Thank God It’s Friday (Acoustic ft. Ari Lehman)

The original release of The Silver Scream spawned the singles and videos for ‘The American Nightmare,’ ‘Thank God It’s Friday,’ ‘Stabbing in The Dark,’ ‘A Grave Mistake,’ ‘IT Is The End,’ ‘Enjoy Your Slay,’ ‘Merry Axe-Mas‘ and ‘Savages.’


Courtesy: Fearless Records/SRO

Ice Nine Kills is preparing to launch a new North American tour in support of The Silver Scream‘s forthcoming re-issue.  The tour is scheduled to launch Oct. 29 in Cleveland, OH and to run through Dec. 1 in New York.  It also features performances in cities, such as Phoenix, AZ; Charlotte, NC and Denver, CO.

Fit For A King, Awake At Last, Light The Torch and Make Them Suffer will serve as support for the tour.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Cleveland, OH
House of Blues *
Milwaukee, WI
The Rave Club *
Minneapolis, MN
Varsity Theater *
Estes Park, CO
The Stanley Hotel
Denver, CO
Summit Music Hall *
Salt Lake City, UT
The Depot *
Las Vegas, NV
Brooklyn Bowl *
Los Angeles, CA
Belasco Theater *
Phoenix, AZ
The Van Buren *
Dallas, TX
House of Blues *
Houston, TX
House of Blues *
San Antonio, TX
Aztec Theater *
Pensacola, FL
Vinyl Music Hall *
Tampa, FL
Ritz Ybor *
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Revolution Live *
Atlanta, GA
Buckhead Theater *
Charlotte, NC
The Underground – Fillmore *
Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Soundstage *
Pittsburgh, PA
Roxian Theater *
Philadelphia, PA
Theater of Living Arts *
Detroit, MI
St. Andrews Hall *
Chicago, IL
House of Blues *
Worcester, MA
The Palladium *
New York, NY
Webster Hall *
* = SiriusXM Octane Presents “Octane Accelerator Tour” with Fit For a King, Light The Torch, Make Them Suffer & Awake At Last

More information on Ice Nine Kills’ tour is available online now along with more information on the band’s upcoming re-issue of The Silver Scream and the band’s latest news at:


Website: http://iceninekills.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/IceNineKills

Twitter: http://twitter.com/iceninekills


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Live At Us Festival’ Is Santana’s Third Solid Release So Far This Year

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Studios/Icon Television Music, Inc./Sony Music

Carlos Santana has been in the headlines a lot this year.  He released a new EP in January.  That record ­– In Search of Mona Lisa — was followed up in June, with a new full-length album, Africa Speaks.  Early this month, even more music from Santana saw the light of day with a new archived concert from Shout! Factory, Icon Television Music, Inc. and Sony Music in the form of Live at Us Festival.  Originally recorded Sept. 4, 1982, the vintage recording was released on Blu-ray Sept. 6, almost 37 years to the day after the concert featured in the presentation.  The recording is another welcome presentation for fans of Carlos Santana in part because of its set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The recording’s editing adds to its interest and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content featured with the recording rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted here plays its own part in making the concert appealing for Santana fans and music fans alike.  All things considered, they make the recording in whole, one more of this year’s top new live Blu-rays and DVDs.

Carlos Santana’s latest live recording Live at Us Festival is an enjoyable new offering from one of the elder statesmen of the music industry that his fans and music fans alike will enjoy.  That is due in part to the set list featured in this vintage concert recording.  The show’s set list is made up of a total of 13 songs, two of which – ‘Gypsy Queen’ and ‘Marbles’ – are actually part of some two-song collections.  The songs in total show, even then, they wide range of Santana’s talents and his fellow musicians.  The whole thing opens with a performance of the group’s own work, ‘Searchin,’ which is then followed up by the first of the two-part pieces, ‘Black Magic Woman’/’Gypsy Queen.’  What is important to note here is that ‘Black Magic Woman’ was originally composed by peter Green and made famous by Fleetwood Mac.  Fleetwood Mac is a far cry, stylistically, from Santana.  Yet Santana and company made the song their own, and did so impressively at that.  The musicianship of the percussionists – Raul Rekow, Armando Peraza and Orestas Vilat – adds so much to the performance.  The control they have on their respective instruments is astonishing in the best way possible.  Much the same can be said of the trio’s performance during ‘Savor.’  The timbales, guiro and congas really serve as the backbone for the arrangement, which in this case is one of the group’s originals.  The keyboards, handled by Richard Baker, add even more enjoyment to the performance.  This is just one more way in which the set list shines.  Between the group’s own originals and its covers, the whole of the set list makes for a presentation that without any doubt, will keep audiences fully engaged and entertained.  The only down side to the whole thing is the fact that audiences don’t get the band’s whole set in this concert.  Also featured in the concert were performances of the songs ‘Primera Invasion,’ ‘Dealer/’Spanish Rose’ and ‘Soul Sacrifice.’  They were also omitted from the concert’s broadcast on AXS TV.  That aside, what is presented in terms of the set list and performance thereof is enjoyable in its own right.  To that end, it creates a solid foundation for the recording’s whole.

While the concert footage featured in the recording is a key piece of its whole, it is not the recording’s only important element.  The recording’s editing plays into its whole, too. In examining the editing, the most notable aspect thereof is the separation of the recording between its concert and interview segments.  Each performance segment is preceded by an interview segment with Santana that is clearly much more recent than the footage from the concert.  Those breaks from the concert not only serve to help the recording’s pacing, but also to make the overall presentation more personal for viewers.  That is thanks to Santana’s very real and frank commentaries.  Those commentaries tackle a variety of topics, such as his view about the roots of what so many people label as Latin music, “real guitarists vs. not-so-real guitarists,” and the purpose of music.  Those discussions in themselves are just as certain to keep viewers entertained and are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  The bonus extended interviews featured with the recording make for even more interest.

The extended discussions that are featured as bonus content show Santana’s lighter side as he talks about “real guitarists” playing from all throughout inside instead of just their fingers.  He also goes into more depth about his sound and that of his band not really being a signature sound.  That discussion is one of the most enlightening of the discussions.  He also goes into more depth as to his view of how “Latin” music has been mislabeled by the powers that be.  Between these discussions and more, the extended discussion cuts truly are bonuses that are just as worth taking in as the concert’s main footage.  When both elements are considered along with the recording’s editing, the whole of the recording becomes a presentation that Santana’s fans will appreciate just as much as music fans in general.

Live at Us Festival is a positive new offering from Carlos Santana that music lovers across the board will appreciate.  It offers a set list that clearly puts on display the talents of Santana and his fellow musicians and the breadth of the band’s influences.  That in itself makes the concert well worth viewing.  The concert’s editing ensures even more, its appeal for viewers, as it is broken up into varying live and interview segments.  The bonus extended interview cuts that are featured with the recording put the final touch on the recording’s whole.  Each item discussed is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Live at Us Festival one more welcome addition to the music libraries of Santana’s most devoted fans and of audiophiles in general.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory




More information on Live at Us Festival is available online now along with all of Carlos Santana’s latest news at:




Website: http://www.santana.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carlossantana

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SantanaCarlos




To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.