Hammerfall Drops The Hammer On 2020’s Top New Live Recordings List

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Live music and live music venues took a big hit this year thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  That goes without saying.  Music acts and venues from the independent level all the way up to the big names were force to put their live music plans on hold indefinitely as a result of the pandemic.  However a glimmer of hope rose this week when Live Nation head Joe Berchtold was quoted by major media outlets as saying that he believed live music would return by summer 2021.  One can only hope that Mr. Berchtold is right, and that when it does return, audiences will welcome its return rather than let the germaphobes control their minds.  Until then, audiences do have lots of live music to enjoy on CD, DVD and Blu-ray that was released this year.  Hammerfall released its latest live recording Live! Against The World this year.  Dream Theater also dropped its new live recording Distant Memories: Live in London.  Metallica even celebrated the anniversary of its landmark S&M show with the release of S&M2.  These are just some of the recordings that made Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.  They were joined by new live material from the likes of Myrath, The Rolling Stones, and Kamelot.

As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the Top 10 new titles in the given category and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.


  1. Hammerfall – Live! Against The World
  2. Jimi Hendrix – Live in Maui
  3. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration
  4. Def Leppard – London to Vegas
  5. The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels Live
  6. Devin Townsend – Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1
  7. John Lee Hooker – Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990
  8. Waylon Jennings – The Outlaw Perrformances
  9. Myrath – Live in Carthage
  10. Kamelot – I Am The Empire Live from the 013
  11. Dream Theater – Distant Memories: Live in London
  12. Metallica – S&M2
  13. Delta Rae – Coming Home To Carolina
  14. Bush – Live in Tampa
  15. Dee Snider – For The Love of Metal

Up next from Phil’s Picks is one of the last three music categories of the year, Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums.  After that will be the year’s top new hard rock & metal albums, and then last but not least, the year’s top new albums overall.  From there, it’ll be on to the DVDs and Blu-rays in all of their categories.  Stay tuned for all of that.

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

Bush’s Most Devoted Fans Will Appreciate Its Latest Live Recording

Courtesy: Cleopatra Records/MVD Visual/MVD Entertainment Group

When veteran alt-rock band Bush performed live last August in Tampa, Florida few if any thought at the time that the concert in question would go on to become the band’s latest live recording.  The performance was part of the band’s “ALT-imate Tour,” which was in support of its then forthcoming album The Kingdom.  That album was released late last month through independent label Zuma Rock.  Only three months prior to its release, Cleopatra Records released the noted Tampa, Florida performance on a deluxe three-disc package simply titled Live in Tampa.  The 12-song performance is a presentation that audiences will find is worth experiencing at least once.  That is due in part to the noted set list, which is a positive and negative.  The only other negative to the recording is its editing.  This will be discussed a little later.  Making up for the minor concern raised through the editing is the recording’s overall production.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item discussed here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Live in Tampa a presentation that gives hope for future live recordings from Bush.

Bush’s latest live recording Live in Tampa is an interesting new offering from the band.  It is a presentation that audiences will agree is worth hearing at least once.  That is due in part to the recording’s set list.  The 12-song list features works from more than half of the band’s catalog.  Specifically speaking the set list pulls from six of the band’s eight albums.  This comes across as a positive on the surface, and to a certain extent, it is just that.  It could be argued to be a career-spanning work to a point.  A deeper examination of the set list paints a slightly different picture though.  While more than half of the band’s albums are represented here, half of the set list is composed of songs from the band’s 1994 debut album Sixteen StoneThe Kingdom, the band’s most recent album, is represented by only one (yes, one) song.  Considering the fact that the band’s ALT-imate Tour was at least in part in support of The Kingdom, audiences may find it a bit disconcerting that the band’s latest album is so minimally represented here.  The band’s 1999 album The Science of Things meanwhile received two nods.  The Sea of Memories (2011) and Black and White Rainbows (2017) each received one nod respectively.  Golden State (2001) and Man on the Run (2014) were both ignored in this set list.  So in the bigger picture, the concert’s set list does pull from a wide range of the band’s catalog, but is in reality not as in-depth as it could be.  In the band’s defense, Live did join Bush for the tour, so maybe each band’s set time was limited.  To that end, it might account for the lack of real depth to the set list.  It could in turn make that aspect forgivable.  Adding to the set list’s positives is that the set list is presented in the same order on its Blu-ray, DVD and CD platform.  That is important in that it means audiences will get exactly the same concert from one platform to the other. Keeping that in mind, the set list the set’s only real negative is its editing.

The editing is a problem specifically in the matter of the interweaving of the interview segments into the concert.  This approach is nothing new for live recordings from Cleopatra Records (or for recordings from other companies). The same approach was taken in Cleopatra Records’ 2017 live recording from Jane’s Addiction, Ritual De La Habitual Live.  Unlike that recording, the audio balance between the live and interview segments is worthy of applause.  The problem is that it would have made more sense for the interview segments to have been included as bonus content separate from the concert.  Given, they do serve to break up the concert, but some audiences might find those breaks unwelcome.  Those audiences will agree that they starkly change the concert’s energy, which can be detrimental to the recording.  Adding to that is that the fact that the interview segments are also interwoven into the set’s CD platform.  It would have been easier to feature the interview segments after the concert on the CD.  By just transferring the concert’s audio to CD, audiences are just getting the exact same result on that platform as on the DVD and Blu-ray, resulting in the same end.  While this is clearly a detriment to the set’s presentation, it is not such that it defeats the recording.  It is just something that hopefully the people at Cleopatra Records will take into account with its next live recording (which apparently is that of “hippie metal” band Boyhitscar).

While the editing of Live in Tampa is at least somewhat of a detriment to its presentation, it is the recording’s only concern.  What’s more, only some audiences will find it problematic, as some might even appreciate this aspect.  To that end, it could be just as easily considered a positive as a negative, depending on the viewer.  Adding to the recording’s interest is its production.  As already noted, the sound mix in the recording is actually relatively stable, despite what some have said as to the surround sound mix.  The video quality and general cinematography play into the production, too.  Thanks to those behind the cameras and the boards, audiences watching at home get the best seat in the house.  There are even little effects tossed in that enhance the experience even more.  The work put in by those who handled the video and audio during and post concert are to be commended for their work, as it really serves as the recording’s foundation.  When it is taken into consideration along with everything else noted here, the whole of the elements makes the concert recording worth experiencing at least once among Bush’s most devoted fans.

Bush’s new live recording is a presentation that the band’s most devoted audiences will find worth experiencing at least once.  That is due in large part to its overall production.  The work of those behind the boards and cameras collectively put audiences in the best seat in the house.  The recording’s set list, while problematic in that it does not necessarily richly represent the band’s catalog, still does at least make an effort to represent the band’s body of work.  It deserves that much credit.  The editing is also a toss-up in its own right.  The interweaving of the interview segments into the bigger concert presentation breaks up the concert’s energy considerably and abruptly.  Some viewers will find this a positive, others will find this a negative.  There is nothing wrong with the information in the interview segments, but it would have made more sense to have featured the interviews as bonus content.  Regardless of pro or con, every viewer will agree that taking this course is the right course.  When this aspect is considered along with the concert’s set list and its production, the whole of said content makes this presentation one that Bush’s most devoted audiences will find worth experiencing at least once.  Live in Tampa is available now.  More information is available on the recording along with all of Bush’s news at :




Website: http://www.BushOfficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bushofficial




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2017 Rock On The Range Festival Lineup Announced

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival has been announced, and once again it has proven to be quite the collection of acts.

The three-day festival will be headlined by Metallica, Soundgarden and Korn.  It will feature more than 50 bands over the course of that time along with some of the country’s top comics at the festival’s Rock on the Range Rolling Rock Comedy Tent.

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival includes: Metallica, Soundgarden, Korn, The Offspring, Volbeat, Primus, Bush, Chevelle, Papa Roach, Seether, Coheed & Cambria, Alter Bridge, The Pretty Reckless, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Amon Amarth, Pierce The Veil, Sum 41, Skillet, Dillinger Escape Plan, In Flames, Gojira, Biffy Clyro, Motionless In White, Nothing More, Beartooth, Starset, Every Time I Die, The Story So Far, Deafheaven, Zakk Sabbath, Rival Sons, The Amity Affliction, Attila, Norma Jean, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, I Prevail, Turnstile, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Red Fang, Dorothy, Kyng, Radkey, As Lions, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sylar, Fire From The Gods, Badflower, Wage War, Goodbye June, Cover Your Tracks, DED, Bleeker, Royal Republic, Mother Feather, Aeges and One Less Reason.

Rock on the Range—fueled by Monster Energy—is billed as America’s largest and most acclaimed rock festival.  The festival will also feature in 2017 “The Music Experience,” art installations, and unique on-site activities over the course of the festival’s three days.

Tickets for the 2016 festival sold out more than two months in advance of the festival.  It marked the fourth consecutive year the festival has sold out in advance.

Weekend Field, new Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Stadium and a limited number of Weekend Stadium 4-packs are available now for purchase.  A layaway option is also available for concert-goers.  That option allows audiences to split the cost of their ticket/ticket packages into four separate monthly payments.

Fans can get a pre-sale password for Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Field GA, Weekend Stadium GA and Weekend Stadium GA 4-packs on the official Rock on the Range website, Facebook page and Twitter page.  The ticket prices are listed below.


  • Weekend Field VIP: starting at $349.50* + fees
  • Weekend Field GA: starting at $199.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA: starting at $99.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA Ticket 4-Pack: $380.00 + fees
  • * Phase One prices listed
  • *** Ticket prices automatically move to the next price level once the allotment sells out ***

General on-sale for tickets is Friday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. EST.  Tickets will be available online at the festival’s website, at Ticketmaster locations and the MAPFRE Stadium box office.

Audiences who want an even more special concert experience can purchase the new Uber Ranger Camping Package.  The package includes amenities for four people such as luxury RV on a double campsite at the Ohio Expo North Campground (May 18 – 21), a dedicated concierge with golf cart shuttle, 4 Weekend VIP Field Admission Tickets, a backstage tour, access to the stadium club (with catered lunch and dinner), access to the Side Stage Viewing Platform, access to the VIP Lounge and more.  More information on the new Uber Ranger Camping Package is available here.

Rock on The Range celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016.  More than 120,000 people attended the festival from around the world.  As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, Columbus, OH mayor Andrew J. Ginther and the Columbus, OH city council presented festival organizers with awards of recognition.  A resolution was also announced from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners acknowledging the festival’s economic impact on the city.

The commissioners pointed out in their resolution pointed out the festival brought in more than $140 million for the city over the course of its ten years in the city.

Rock on the Range is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, AEG Live and MAPFRE Stadium.  It is supported by Monster Energy, Bud Light and Zippo.  They and other partners will feature interactive experiences, meet & greets, and other special fan engagement opportunities throughout the festival.

More information on the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival is available online now at:




Website: http://www.RockontheRange.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rockontherange




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Carolina Rebellion Organizers Announce Details For 5th Annual Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is one of North Carolina’s biggest annual music festivals if not the biggest. And this year, the festival will celebrate an important anniversary when it returns to the Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 2nd and 3rd.

This year, the Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary with one of its biggest lineups to date. The fifth annual festival will feature no fewer than thirty-six acts over two days. The acts tapped to perform this year include some of the biggest names in rock’s past, present, and future. Those names include the likes of: Slayer, Slipknot, Queensryche, Hatebreed, Cheap Trick, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Jackyl, In Flames, Periphery, and many other major names. The current lineup for this year’s festival is listed below.

Saturday, May 2

Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Chevelle, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach, Bush, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, Jackyl, Of Mice & Men, Live, Motionless In White, Periphery, Beartooth, Young Guns, Marmozets, Islander and more.


Sunday, May 3

Slipknot, Godsmack, Slayer, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, Queensrÿche, The Pretty Reckless, In This Moment, In Flames, Tremonti, Suicidal Tendencies, Testament, Hatebreed, Starset, Butcher Babies, We Are Harlot, Exodus, and more.

Slipknot front man Corey Taylor discussed the band’s addition to the bill and playing alongside other great names in rock in a recent interview saying, “We are very excited to be headlining Rebellion this year! We’re honored to be playing in the company of Cheap Trick, one of my all-time favorites, as well as playing with such good friends like Korn, Halestorm and Slayer!” Korn front man Jonathan Davis explained that the Carolina Rebellion festival plays a very important part in that band’s history as it served as the point of reunion for the band with guitarist Brian “Head” Welch in 2012. “Three years ago, we reunited with our brother Head on stage at Carolina Rebellion. Since then, we made a new album and toured the world together,” he said. He went on to note that the reunion means even more as the band plans on playing its debut album in its entirety at this year’s festival. And now we’re back to perform our first album in its entirety.  Rebellion is going to be a really special show for us,” he said.

Carolina Rebellion Festival Co-Executive Producer Gary Spivack of RockHouse discussed the importance of this year’s installment of what is the biggest of the Mid-Atlantic region’s rock festivals and of making it a special, memorable anniversary for audiences. “Rebellion is truly the Carolinas ’ biggest music party of the year,” he said. “For the 5th annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, we wanted to acknowledge not only the best in current rock with the likes of Slipknot, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin and more, but also celebrate some great iconic rock bands like Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Cheap Trick, Slayer and others to give the Rebels the widest range of Rock N’ Roll possible.”

A ticket pre-sale is currently underway for the festival. It runs until Friday, January 16th at 11:59am ET. The pre-sale offers a limited amount of tickets at early bird pre-sale prices (plus fees). Those prices are:

Weekend General Admission Ticket: $99

Weekend General Admission Ticket 4-Pack: $299

Single Day General Admission Ticket: $59.50

Those that purchase weekend general admission tickets during both the current pre-sale and the upcoming general on-sale period can purchase a VIP Lounge Upgrade for $110. Even bigger news for audiences, the Carolina Rebellion Festival is offering layaway packages for purchase through January 31st. This is the first year that this is being made available for audiences. A limited number of discount tickets for active military members via GovX.

Along with the general admission, weekend general admission, and VIP packages, hotel and camping packages are also currently available. Prices will remain the same through both pre-sale and general on-sale periods. All hotel packages are for three nights. They are available for couples and for groups of up to four. The packages include access to the Friday Night Campground Party in the campgrounds. Camping opens at noon on Friday, May 1st and closes at noon on Monday, May 4th. Camping upgrades include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. The Camping packages include a $25 merchandise voucher, access to VIP Lounge, a festival poster, and access to the Friday Night Campground Party.

The annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is sponsored by Monster Energy, Bud Light, Jack Daniels, Jagermeister, Crazy Dave’s Music Experience, Zippo Encore and others. It is produced by AEG Live, Danny Wimmer Presents, and RockHouse Presents. It is part of the World’s Loudest Month festival series. More information on the Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is available online at:

Website: http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com

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

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