Chad Smith Lends His Talents To SAD’s Upcoming Debut LP

Photo Credit: Thierry Brouard

Photo Credit: Thierry Brouard

Independent rock band Screaming at Demons recently introduced itself to the world in a big way when it partnered with the nationally known charity group Homeless Rock Stars. The band combined the video for its new song ‘Rock Star’ with footage from a Homeless Rock Stars event to make an emotionally moving and powerful to help raise money for the organization and introduce itself to the music community at large at the same time. Now the band has taken another huge step in getting its name out there. The band has enlisted the help of one of the most talented and respected drummers in the music community today to help record a pair of songs for its upcoming debut record.

Screaming at Demons announced this week that it has enlisted famed drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot) to record the drums for two of the songs to be included in the band’s upcoming album. Those songs are ‘Our Time’ and ‘All Of Me.’ Smith’s inclusion on the album, which currently has no set release date, is rooted in his friendship with AD bassist Chris Clemmence. Having previously performed live with Smith, Clemmence had a first hand understanding of and appreciation for Smith’s work behind the kit, leading to Clemmence asking Smith to lend his talents to the band’s new record. When asked about those talents, Clemmence responded telling reporters, “Chad is a legend and phenomenal powerhouse of a drummer. We are beyond honored to have him play on our two new upcoming singles. His feel and groove have brought our songs to a new level. We are so lucky to have him as well as an all-star team working on our music.”

Photo Credit: Thierry Brouard

Photo Credit: Thierry Brouard

Currently, Screaming at Demons is hard at work on its upcoming album. The album is being mixed by five-time Grammy Award-winning producer Chris Lord-Alge. Alge is no stranger to the music community and obviously to success within that community having those awards to his name. The roster of bands with which he has worked over the course of his career says plenty of his expertise behind the boards. That list includes the likes of: Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Cher, Bon Jovi, Seal, Meatloaf, Three Days Grace, Aerosmith, Shinedown, Deftones, and countless others.  Alge was asked by reporters his thoughts on working with SAD.  his response showed just how excited he is to work with front man Shimon Moore and fellow SAD band mates Russell Ali and Chris Clemmence.  He had only positive things to say of working with the band, noting of the group, “A new level of excitement is coming from these boys and they are giving back to people in need and making music that instantly makes you wanna be a part of it!”  While fans wait for Alge, and the members of SAD to finish the band’s new album, they can check out the band’s video for its inspirational and infectious song ‘Rock Star.’ It can be viewed online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0g7QiwkAe4&feature=youtu.be. Audiences can also keep up with all of the latest updates from the studio and all of the band’s latest news online at:

Website: http://screamingatdemons.com

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

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.

Pop Evil Sits Among Rock’s Elite Again With Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Last Friday, veteran rock band Pop Evil released its latest full-length studio recording Up. The album, the band’s fifth (and its third released via eOne), continues the band’s long-running tradition of producing top-notch mainstream rock albums. The album’s mix of hard rock arena anthems and equally radio-ready rock songs together make it an album that just as with its predecessors is one of this year’s best new rock records. That is evident right from the album’s outset. ‘Footsteps’ is one of those radio ready rock songs whose catchy hooks and choruses come together with its equally thoughtful verses to make for a solid opener for the album and an equally solid example of what makes Up yet another enjoyable new release from one of the biggest names today in mainstream rock. ‘Take It All’ is another solid example of what makes Up another success for Pop Evil. It is one of those aforementioned hard rock arena anthems that is sure to have fans singing along just as proudly by themselves as they would in an arena with thousands of their fellow fans. That is thanks both to its high-energy musical content and its equally inspiring lyrical content. Just as ‘Footsteps’ and ‘Take It All’ both show in their own way what makes Up such a solid slab of rock so does the ballad style song ‘If Only For Now’ show in its own way what makes this record so enjoyable, too. These are just a few examples of what makes Up yet another enjoyable recording from one of today’s leading names in mainstream rock. There are other songs included in this record such as the hard rock opuses ‘Vendetta’ and ‘Dead in the Water’ and the rather emotionally moving acoustic work ‘Seattle Rain.’ These three songs each do just as much by themselves and collectively why Up is yet another impressive album from Pop Evil. Whether for these songs, the prior trio noted or any of the others not more directly noted, fans and audiences in general will agree that this album in whole is one of the best of this year’s new rock records.

Counting August, there are only five more months left in 2015. Over the course of the past seven months, audiences have seen quite a few impressive new mainstream rock records released in stores and online. Artists and acts such as Joe Satriani, Finger Eleven, Everclear, Barenaked Ladies and others have already proven themselves worthy of being added to the list of the year’s best new rock albums with their new recordings. That’s a pretty wide swath of names. So it is safe to say that Pop Evil is in pretty comfortable company with its latest full-length studio recording Up. That’s right. This album is, just as with Pop Evil’s previous albums, one of this year’s best new mainstream rock records. That is proven through every one of the album’s thirteen total tracks (fifteen in the case of the album’s Deluxe Edition) including its opener and latest single ‘Footsteps.’ ‘Footsteps’ is a solid opener and just one clear example of what makes Up one of this year’s top new albums. Just as with songs included in previous Pop Evil albums ‘Footsteps’ is one of those songs that is a perfect fit for any mainstream rock radio station. It isn’t one of those standard, formulaic, copycat pieces that sounds like so many others. For that reason alone, it is well worth the listen. It also doesn’t just rehash any stylistically similar songs from Pop Evil’s previous LPs either. It is just a good, solid mainstream rock song that will entertain audiences from its musical content alone. Its lyrical content gives it even more punch. Front man Leigh Kakaty and Dave Bassett teamed up to write this song’s lyrical content. Their efforts led to some rather inspiring material. The pair wrote for this song, “Starting over once again/This is where it all begins/It’s right in front of me/Down is not where I belong/This aching heart won’t turn to stone/There’s a fire inside these bones/It was meant to be/I see a world still full of light/How could I’ve ever been so blind/I still haven’t lost my fight/That haunts ne in my sleep.” Examining these lines alone audiences see just how powerful and inspiring these lyrics are. They are just part of that proof, too. The song’s closing verse is just as inspiring with Kakaty and Bassett writing of staying optimistic despite the uncertainty of the future. That parallel of that positive message and the song’s upbeat musical content makes clear why this song was chosen to open Pop Evil’s new album and why it is just the latest representation for the band’s new album, too. Audiences can hear the song for themselves and see the song’s new video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXvkTuMyZpM.

‘Footsteps’ is in itself a solid example of why Up is one of 2015’s top new rock records. The mix of its upbeat musical content and optimistic lyrical content makes this clear. It is just one example of what makes Up such a solid collection of songs, too. ‘Take It All’ is another clear example of what makes Up so enjoyable. This high-energy song is an instant fan favorite that is just as certain to be a favorite at the band’s live shows as on disc. That is thanks to its own mix of musical and lyrical content. Musically speaking, ‘Take It All’ is the polar opposite of ‘Footsteps.’ It shows another side of the band with its much heavier riffs, low-end from bassist Matt DiRito, and concrete strong drumming from Chaci Riot. It shows musically that once again, the band refuses to rest easy on its laurels, opting instead to show the breadth of its abilities. While this song proves to be the polar opposite of ‘Footsteps’ stylistically, its lyrical approach is very much the same, which is in this case not a bad thing. Kakaty and Bassett co-wrote this song’s lyrical content, too. Kakaty sings here, “You got that fire burning your eyes/LIghting up the sky I see you coming/You got desire running through your brain/Ice in your veins I see you coming/So what do you say.” Kakaty and Bassett leave little room for doubt in examining this verse. It is someone addressing a rather strong-willed individual, motivating said person. It’s one of those pieces that is perfect for a workout session or game prep session especially with football season now under way at every level. If there is in fact any doubt left in any listener’s mind from that verse, the song’s second verse makes even clearer the message being presented by Kakaty and Bassett. That is the case as Kakaty sings in said verse, “Got that drive way deep inside/Keeping you alive it’s all or nothing/There ain’t no shame just playing the game/No pain and no game just rise about it/So what do you say.” The energy in those lyrics coupled with the energy in the song’s driving musical content is sure to get any listener’s blood and body moving. The same can be said of the partnering of the song’s lead verse and its musical content. All things considered here, ‘Take It All’ proves to be one of the best examples of what makes Up so enjoyable if not the single best example. Even as great of an example as it is, it still is not the last example of why Up is one of this year’s best new rock albums. The more reserved ‘If Only For Now’ is one more example of what makes it a solid record.

‘Footsteps’ and ‘Take It All’ each serve in their own way to show just how much Up has to offer audiences. It is not the first time that the band has ever included a ballad-style song in any of its albums. And while not being the first time that the band has ever included a ballad on any of its albums, listeners that are familiar with the band’s body of work will be happy that the band avoided repeating its previous ballads all the way around in the case of this song. That is made clear first and foremost through the song’s lyrical approach. The song, co-written by Kakaty, Bassett, Joshua Marunde, and bassist Matt DiRito, the song surprises by tackling the subject of a person hoping for love. As Kakaty sings, “Streets crowded with voices/Thousands of faces but you’re all I wanna see/Lights reflections of yesterday/Days thrown away cause you’re all I wanna keep.” These are the words of someone not longing for a lost love but of someone singing to another of his or her yearning for another. That person goes on in the song’s second verse to say to that person, “Here the world’s at our fingers/So live in the moment I’m not gonna say goodbye/So why don’t we for now forget tomorrow/Let me be the only thing you need/If only for now.” The song’s subject is saying, “Let me make this moment about us if only for now.” Sure, it’s mushy. But it could have been even more so. Thankfully Kakaty and company didn’t let that happen in the case of this song. because they didn’t it makes the song all the more enjoyable. Being that the subject of a person hoping for love is tackled far less than the subject of love lost, it becomes that much more enjoyable. The attention paid to the song’s musical content adds another level of enjoyment to the song. The band builds the song in each verse right up to the song’s chorus to make for the fullest possible emotional impact. It succeeds in this goal, too. The attention to the tone of the song’s musical content gives the song even more of a positive impact. It serves to even better illustrate the song’s upbeat, optimistic outlook. And in doing so it rounds out the ways in which this song shows itself to be another solid example of what makes Up so impressive in whole.

‘Footsteps,’ ‘Take It All,’ and ‘If Only For Now’ are all prime examples of what makes Up yet another impressive release from Pop Evil. All three songs show a different side of the band both musically and lyrically. They are only a small handful of examples of that diversity, too. ‘Vendetta,’ ‘Dead in The Water,’ and the emotionally moving ‘Seattle Rain’ could just as easily be used to exemplify how much this record has to offer fans. The same could be said of any of the album’s other songs not directly noted here. Regardless of which songs one choose, listeners and long-time fans alike will agree that all things considered, Up proves to be not just another enjoyable record from Pop Evil but another one of this year’s best new rock records overall. Up is available now in stores and online. And the band is currently touring in support of Up. Its next slated date is Tuesday, September 8th at the Rose Music Hall (formerly Mojo’s) in Colombia, Missouri. The band is also scheduled to perform live at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina alongside Three Days Grace on Wednesday, September 16th. Tickets for that and all of the band’s other shows are available now. All of the band’s latest tour dates are available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.PopEvil.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/popevil

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.

Finger Eleven Announces Details For New Album, Touris

Courtesy:  The Bicycle Music Company/Concord

Courtesy: The Bicycle Music Company/Concord

Finger Eleven has made it official. It will release its sixth full-length studio recording this summer.

Five years removed from the release of its 2010 album Life Turns Electric the Canadian rock group will release its new album Five Crooked Lines. The album is currently slated to be released on Friday, July 31st via The Bicycle Music Company/Concord. In regards to the album’s title, front man Scott Anderson explained that it stemmed from the lyrics to the album’s title track. He explained that five crooked lines can be used to make something ordinary or something extraordinary, and how that ability to use such lines is linked to the fragility of fortune and luck. “For me it’s symbolic of fortune and luck and how fragile those things are,” he said. “In one instance you’ve got five crooked lines, which in one position is just a heap of bent sticks. But in the right way, they make a star, which is the most glorious shape there is.” Fans can download Five Crooked Lines via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/five-crooked-lines/id999975916 and order it via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Five-Crooked-Lines-Finger-Eleven/dp/B00YV9OIW2/?tag=concordreco0c-20.

In anticipation of the album’s upcoming release, the band has debuted the video for its lead single ‘Wolves and Doors’ online. The video, which cuts between shots of the band performing its new song and shots of other rather intriguing images, can be viewed online at http://www.vevo.com/watch/finger-eleven/Wolves-And-Doors-(Music-Video)/QMFMK1500155. The band also announced that it will hit the road ahead of the album’s release beginning Saturday, June 13th in Burlington, Ontario at the Sound of Music Festival. Three Days Grace will join the band on select dates. Finger Eleven’s current tour schedule is listed below.

Check out FINGER ELEVEN at any of the following stops, with more dates to be announced in the coming weeks:

DATE CITY VENUE

Sat 6/13 Burlington, ONT. Sound of Music Festival

Thu 6/18 Franksville, WI Krautfest

Fri 6/19 Newton, IA Iowa Speedway (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series)

Sat 6/20 Joliet, IL Mojoes

Sun 6/21 Traverse City, MI Ground Zero

Fri 7/3 Warwick, PQ. Festival Hommes Fort Warwick

Thu 7/9 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE

* Fri 7/10 Lansing, MI Common Ground Music Festival

* Sat 7/11 Columbus, OH LC Pavilion

* Mon 7/13 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom

* Tue 7/14 Louisville, KY Diamond Pub Concert Hall

* Wed 7/15 Peoria, IL Limelight

Thu 7/16 Cadott, WI Rock Fest

Sat 7/18 Walker, MN Moondance Jam

* Tue 7/21 Stroudsburg, PA Sherman Theater

* Wed 7/22 Portland, ME State Theater

Fri 7/24 Dayton, OH Oddbody’s Music Room

Sat 7/25 St. Louis, MO Fubar

Sun 7/26 Springfield, MO Gillioz Theatre

Mon 7/27 Fayetteville, AR George’s Majestic

* Tue 7/28 Wichita Falls, TX Kay Yeager Coliseum

Thu 7/30 Clive, IA 7 Flags Event Center

Fri 7/31 Sioux City, IA Hard Rock Hotel

Sun 8/2 Fort Wayne, IN Piere’s

Mon 8/3 Cleveland, OH The Agora Ballroom

Tue 8/4 Buffalo, NY Iron Works

Wed 8/5 Manchester, NH Jewel

Fri 8/14 Mount Brydges, ONT. RockinWheel Fest Lion’s Park

* With Three Days Grace

All of the latest updates on Finger Eleven’s upcoming tour dates and album are available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.fingereleven.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Finger_Eleven

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.

Adage Could Be North Carolina’s Next Big Name In Music

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Austin, Texas.  Seattle, Washington.  Los Angeles, California. Atlanta, Georgia.  New York, New York.  Most people reading this right now are likely scratching their heads where this is going.  The answer is simple.  The cities noted here are some of America’s biggest hotbeds in the music industry.  They aren’t the industry’s only major hotbeds, though. Most people might not know it, but North Carolina as a whole state is a music hotbed within itself.  As a matter of fact, North Carolina could be argued to be one of the biggest musical hotbeds in America.  That’s because of the variety of major name acts that have called North Carolina home throughout the ages.  Jazz pioneers such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Max Roach all called North Carolina home as did fellow jazz great Billy Taylor. Taylor hailed from Greenville, North Carolina while Monk and Coletrane came from Rocky Mount and High Point respectively.  The Fabulous Corsairs, which featured famed singer-songwriter James Taylor called Chapel Hill home.  In terms of the world of rock, the world renowned Corrosion of Conformity is still performing and recording today.  As a matter of fact, COC released its latest album earlier this year.  The band calls The Old North State’s capital city Raleigh home.  Delta Rae, which is one of the biggest of North Carolina’s biggest acts today calls Durham home as does indie band Bombadil.  Of course one can’t forget the likes of The Avett Brothers, Parmalee, Between The Buried and Me, or Trioscapes among so many others.  Now another young up and coming band has added its name to that list of bands and artists that have made North Carolina the rich musical hotbed that it is for so many decades thanks to its new EP Defined.  The band’s debut for Pavement Entertainment presents great potential for the Winston-Salem based band even with only a total of five songs.  The songs included on this record exhibit influence from bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and to a lesser extent Trapt.  What’s more any of the songs included on this disc could easily be used as a single to promote the band.  That is obvious right off the top in the EP’s opening number ‘Anymore.’  It is just as obvious on the EP’s third and final songs, ‘Hold On’ and ‘By Myself’ respectively.’  ‘Best Of’ and ‘Growing Colder’ are also excellent examples of what audiences can expect from Adage’s new EP.  Collectively, the songs included on this record show Adage as a band that is on the brink of adding its name to the list of North Carolina’s biggest bands and artists.

The members of Adage show why the band is close to becoming another of North Carolina’s most well-known and talked about acts right from the outset of its new EP in the song ‘Anymore’  The song’s agro-rock stlye sound hints at influences both from the likes of Trapt and even Taproot to a slightly lesser extent.  Drummer Alex Hough’s timekeeping in this piece is exception especially considering the polyrhythmic patterns that he handles while keeping time for the band.  And the 1-2 punch of guitarist Luke and vocalist Justin Doyle heightens the song’s energy and emotion as well.  There is a certain furiousness in Doyle’s voice as he sings over the equally driving guitar line, “Everytime you look in my eyes you lie/And tell me everything’s alright/I know you don’t feel it anymore…I hate you/For all you’ve done to me/Some things you never see/And I don’t care.”  Songs about breakups are nothing new to the music industry.  They go back as far as the industry’s own beginnings it would seem.  But those songs that take the high road instead of the depression oh-woe-is-me angle are rather few and far between.  So when angrier, more aggressive pieces such as this one come along, they are a welcome change of pace.  That more aggressive lyrical and musical style that collectively make up this song makes it an instant radio ready song and a good representation of the band’s work on Defined.

As with ‘Anymore,’ ‘Hold On’ is also centered in the standard lyrical theme of relationships.  It also boasts the same agro-rock style that made so many bands in the late 90s and early 2000s fan favorites.  This song absolutely cries “LIVE” because of that sound.  Doyle sings Sorry that I’m not perfect/One day I will be worth it/To you/So hold on/I can’t ever find the right words/For saying nothing is so much worse to you/Hold on/All of this will come together/And I promise you/I promise you/Say goodbye for you.”  This song comes across as the polar opposite to the EP’s opener in that it seems more like his subject here is pleading for a woman to stay around versus the self-assured figure in ‘Anymore.’  He is trying his hardest to convince her to stay.  The musical comparison to the band’s bigger named counterparts only serves to make the song even more entertaining for audiences.  It goes to show the caliber of material the band is presenting here.  And that caliber is high, needless to say.  Together with ‘Anymore’ it makes for even more reason for fans to check out this EP when it drops August 19th.

Both ‘Anymore’ and ‘Hold On’ are good examples of what makes Defined an impressive new release from Adage.  Of the EP’s five songs, though there is still one more example of what makes this release the work that could potentially make Adage North Carolina’s next big name.  That song is the EP’s closer ‘By Myself.’  This song is a good way for the band to have closed out Defined.  It was such a good choice for a closer in that it shows the band’s softer side.  It’s a more melodic piece.  And among the EP’s five songs, it is perhaps the strongest candidate of all for the song that really breaks out the band.  Doyle sings in this song, “I’m crying out/Out for help/I just can’t be by myself/Remember how/How I felt/I just can’t see/By myself/I hear it from all sides/On how I should love you/I can’t make up my mind/On anything I do/Why am I here/Why won’t you just take me home/Why am I here/Why won’t you just leave me alone.”  The guitar breaks that follow the chorus are right up there with the likes of Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) and other top named guitarists.  That along with the power in Doyle’s vocals make this song just as fitting a closer as ‘Anymore’ is the opener for the record.  Such a powerful final statement along with the EP’s other noted songs (and the pair not mentioned) seals the deal for Adage and for Defined.  It is the final piece of musical evidence proving why Adage is on the verge of becoming North Carolina’s next big name.

Defined will be available in stores and online Tuesday, August 19th via Pavement Entertainment.  Audiences can check out the songs from Defined online now via Adage’s ReverbNation website at http://www.reverbnation.com/adageband while they wait for the EP to drop.  They can also keep up with the band’s latest tour dates through that website and the band’s official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/adageband1.  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.

Gus G.’s Solo Debut A Record That Every Rock Purist Should Hear

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Guitarist Gus G.’s solo debut I Am The Fire is an album that any hard rock and rock purist must hear at least once in 2014.  This record exhibits elements of the award-winning guitarist’s entire career over the course of its dozen total tracks.  From more modern sounding material similar to the likes of Three Days Grace to older classic Iron Maiden style shredding to anything in between, G. (a.k.a. Kostas Karamitroudis) offers his listeners a musical melting pot on this record.  Add in guest appearances from fellow greats such as Billy Sheehan and David Ellefson among many others, and audiences get a record that more than deserves a spot on any critic’s year-end lists of the best new rock and/or hard rock records.

I Am The Fire wastes no time grabbing the attention of its audiences.  That is exhibited in the album’s opener, ‘My Will Be Done.’  The song’s first few bars hint at what’s about to come before it really launches with its full, driving energy.  And the vocals of singer Mats Leven (Therion, Krux, Candlemass) add even more of a punch to the song.  Leven sings against G.’s full throttle guitar work, “I hit the gas out on the road/And I don’t care about tomorrow/I see the places that you don’t/I will command and you will follow.”  Those first few lines are classic rock anthem in every sense of the term.  And they perfectly complement the song’s energy.  They exude the attitude and energy of so many classic anthems that have come before.   Leven goes on in the song’s chorus singing, “Why not get on it/Life depends on it/I’m gonna survive /I felt your disgust/In myself I trust/I am right/You are wrong/My will be done.”  That presents even more of that defiant, self-assured attitude exhibited in so many far more classic rock songs.  And it doesn’t stop there, either as listeners will hear throughout the song’s remaining verses.  Having that attitude and energy exhibited so expertly throughout this  song makes ‘My Will Be Done’ the perfect choice with which to open I Am The Fire.

The classic rock and roll attitude and energy crafted and released in the opener of I Am The Fire made that song the perfect choice with which to open the album.  Just as welcome an addition to this album is the first of the album’s two instrumental tracks, ‘Vengeance.’  Coming less than halfway through the album, Gus G. really gets the chance to shine in this track.  Audiences can take their pick in terms of comparisons.  The veteran guitarist shows why he is more than deserving of having his name next to any number of other guitar greats.  He shows just as much why he was the obvious choice to take over guitar duties for Ozzy Osbourne on his 2010 album Scream.  Audiences will especially enjoy this song because it bridges so well, the classic shredding style of so many veteran guitarists and that of more modern rock.  It is one more well-chosen addition to the record as a whole.

For all of the intense energy contained throughout the songs on I Am The Fire, Gus G. does give listeners some more pulled back moments, too.  Case in point: ‘Long Way Down.’  Eyes Set To Kill vocalist Alexia Rodriguez handles vocal duties on this far deeper and emotional song.  If one were to hear this song without knowing Rodriguez was handling vocal duties, one would almost swear it was Evanesence singer Amy Lee with Gus G. and the rest of the musicians on hand for the song sounding like the rest of Evanesence.  She does quite the job of capturing the song’s emotion as she sings, “Nobody’s perfect/Is it really worth it/To let this go to waste/Just let me break away/Break away/Release my tension/Nothing left between the ledge and the ground/Take away/Take away/My regression/I’m on the edge/Another step/It’s a long way down.”  Obviously, these lyrics are meant in an entirely metaphorical sense.  She’s not actually singing about a subject jumping to one’s own death.  Most people likely would already know this.  But sadly, there are those that take things far too seriously even today.  So it necessitates that being pointed out.  The lyrics, it would seem, are meant to illustrate one’s own personal inner turmoil and how that turmoil is ripping said subject apart inside.  Yes, it’s a standard lyrical topic.  But the manner in which Rodriguez and Karamitroudis capture the song’s emotion is what makes it well worth the listen.  It is of course just one more of so many songs on I Am The Fire that makes this album one that every rock and hard rock purist should experience at least once before 2014 ends.  Gus G.’s European fans will get to hear his new music live as he kicks off his “”Unity 1” tour tomorrow, March 7th with Uli Jon Roth, Jorn Lande and Mats Leven.  The six-date tour begins in Kerkyra, Greece tomorrow and winds down in Athens next Wednesday, March 12th in Athens, Greece.

The “Unity 1” tour winds down a little less than a week before the release of I Am The Fire.  Fans don’t have to wait to get the album, though.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Century Media’s online store at  http://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=715.  Fans can get more information on I Am The Fire, tour dates and more online at http://www.gusgofficial.com and http://www.facebook.com/officialgusg.  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.

Sevendust Announces Details For New Album, Tour

Courtesy:  ABC Promotions

Courtesy: ABC Promotions

The long wait for Sevendust’s new album is almost over.  The band—Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Vince Hornsby (bass), Clint Lowery (guitar/vocals), Morgan Rose (drums/vocals), and John Connolly (guitar/vocals)—has announced that it will release its fan-funded acoustic album Time Travelers & Bonfires will be released nationwide in April.  The upcoming all-acoustic compilation will feature a collection of new songs mixed in with re-worked versions of songs such as: ‘Black’, ‘Gone’, ‘Denial’, ‘Karma’, ‘Trust’ and ‘Crucified’ just to name a handful of songs.  Time Travelers& Bonfires isn’t the first time that Sevendust’s members have delved into the acoustic side of their songs.  The band released the highly acclaimed live acoustic recording Southside Double-wide in 2004.  One writer with All Music Guide wrote of that recording, “Fans should invest readily in Southside Double-Wide…Sevendust’s famously confrontational sound smolders, and damn it if their sensitive side isn’t just as fiery.” The complete listing for Time Travelers & Bonfires is available below.

Time Travelers & Bonfires Track Listing

1. Come Down

2. Under It All

3. The Wait

4. Upbeat Sugar

5. One Life

6. Bonfire

7. Gone

8. Denial

9. Trust

10. Crucified

11. Karma

12. Black

In conjunction with the album’s release, the band has also announced a supporting tour beginning April 1st in its hometown of Atlanta, GA.  The band’s “An Acoustic Evening with Sevendust” tour spans twenty-eight dates.  The current tour schedule sees the band making its way from the south to the West Coast (including the Pacific Northwest) before swinging back through the nation’s heartland and back around to the Northeast.  The most current tour schedule is listed below.

AN ACOUSTIC EVENING WITH SEVENDUST TOUR

DATE               CITY                             VENUE

Tue 4/1             Athens, GA                   Georgia Theatre

Wed 4/2            Destin, FL                     Club LA

Fri 4/4               Houston, TX                   Scout Bar

Sat 4/5              Dallas, TX                      Trees

Sun 4/6             Austin, TX                     Emo’s

Tue 4/8             Tempe, AZ                    Marquee

Thu 4/10            El Cajon, CA                 Sycuan Casino

Fri 4/11             Los Angeles, CA            House Of Blues

Sat 4/12            Las Vegas, NV              Vinyl at Hard Rock

Sun 4/13           Reno, NV                      Knitting Factory

Wed 4/16          Sacramento, CA            Ace Of Spades

Fri 4/18             Seattle, WA                  El Corazon

Sat 4/19            Portland, OR                 Hawthorne Theatre

Sun 4/20           Boise, ID                       Knitting Factory

Mon 4/21           Salt Lake City, UT          The Complex

Tue 4/22            Denver, CO                    Gothic Theatre

Fri 4/25             Joliet, IL                        Mojoes

Sat 4/26            Madison, WI                  Orpheum

Mon 4/28           Detroit, MI                     Royal Oak Music Theatre

Tue 4/29            Cincinnati, OH               Bogart’s

Wed 4/30          Louisville, KY                 Mercury Ballroom

Fri 5/2               Baltimore, MD               Sound Stage

Sat 5/3              Washington, DC            The Howard Theatre

Sun 5/4             New York, NY                Highline Ballroom

Tue 5/6             Hartford, CT                   Webster Theatre

Thu 5/8             Patchogue, NY              Emporium

Fri 5/9               Portland, ME                 Asylum

Sat 5/10            Philadelphia, PA            Electric Factory

Before the band hits the road this Spring, it will be part of the annual ShipRocked cruise.  It will be in good company when the cruise leaves port.  Also scheduled to perform on the cruise are: Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch, Three Days Grace, In This Moment, Tremonti, Black Stone Cherry, and a slew of others.  The cruise will depart from the Port of Miami this Sunday, January 26th and will return next Thursday, January 30th.  While at sea, the cruise will take audiences to Great Stirrup Cay, a private island in the Bahamas. A small number of staterooms for this year’s cruise is still available.  Vacationers and audiences get info on that limited space online at the official ShipRocked website, http://www.ShipRocked.com.

More information on Sevendust’s upcoming tour, new album, and more is available online at http://www.sevendust.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sevendust/25493613958, and http://twitter.com/sevendust.  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.

Pop Evil Releases New Single, Video

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

The men of Pop Evil have released a new single from the band’s new album, Onyx.  And along with the new song, a video for the song has made its debut, too.  ‘Deal with the Devil’ is the band’s sing single.  This high energy song tackles the subject of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.  And the video pulls no punches in taking on the issue, either.  Keeping this in mind, viewer discretion is advised at least in the opening moments of video that accompanies the song.  That is because it shows a young woman cooking heroin and what is meant to look like shooting up.

The new video can be viewed via Clear Channel’s iHeart Radio platform at http://news.iheart.com/player/?mid=23600651.  ‘Deal with the Devil’ is the second in a trilogy of works from the band’s new album.  It was directed by Johan Carlen.  The videos in question work in reverse of a standard trilogy, with the first of the videos marking the end of the sequence.  This new video is the middle of the trilogy, while the next video—while the last of the trilogy—would show the story’s beginning.

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Onyx is the third full length studio release from Pop Evil.  The album was released earlier this year, and is the highest selling record that the band has released in its first week of release to date.  The album’s first single, ‘Trenches’ went straight to #1 on the Active Rock and Mainstream Rock Charts and stayed in that position for three weeks straight.  The band is currently touring in support of its new album.  It will be at the Rock Jam on Friday, August 23rd in Grand Junction, Colorado alongside the likes of Sevendust, Fuel, and Three Days Grace.  Next up for the band is a stop in Farmington, New Mexico this Sunday.  The latest schedule of Pop Evil’s tour dates is available online at http://www.facebook.com/popevil and http://popevil.com/home.  Fans can also keep up with the band via Twitter at http://twitter.com/popevil, and on Instagram at http://instagram.com/popevilmusic.

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.

Performance Times Released For Annual Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual “Welcome To Rockville” Festival presented by Monster Energy have released more information on this year’s festival.  2013 is the festival’s third year being held.  Performance times for bands on each stage have officially been released.  The “Monster Energy Main Stage East” opens with a performance by Pop Evil at 12:40pm.  Pop Evil will be followed by All That Remains, Halestorm, Papa Roach, Stone Sour, and headliners Alice in Chains.  Alice in Chains takes the “Monster Energy Main Stage East” at 9:45pm.  The “Monster Energy Main Stage West” is just one of the many stages from which audiences have to choose during the festival.  A full listing of bands and performance times is available below.

Saturday, April 27

Monster Energy Main Stage East

12:40 PM         Pop Evil

2:05 PM           All That Remains

3:35 PM           Halestorm

5:25 PM           Papa Roach

7:25 PM           Stone Sour

9:45 PM           Alice In Chains

 

Monster Energy Main Stage West

12:05 PM         Young Guns

1:20 PM           In This Moment

2:50 PM           Asking Alexandria

4:30 PM           Bullet For My Valentine

6:20 PM           Three Days Grace

8:30 PM           Limp Bizkit

 

Emerging Artist Stage

Noon                Rockville Rumble Winner

1:00 PM           Hell Or Highwater

2:10 PM           Gemini Syndrome

3:20 PM           Whitechapel

4:45 PM           Otherwise

6:20 PM           Escape The Fate

 

Jax Live Stage

11:30 AM         Rockville Rumble Winner

12:30 PM         Edens Fill       

1:40 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

2:50 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

4:05 PM           Stars In Stereo

5:35 PM           MonstrO

7:25 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

 

Sunday, April 28

Monster Energy Main Stage East

11:45 AM         Red

12:55 PM         Saving Abel

2:30 PM           Filter

4:10 PM           Skillet

6:05 PM           3 Doors Down

8:35 PM           Lynyrd Skynyrd

 

Monster Energy Main Stage West

11:15 AM         Farewell 2 Fear

12:20 PM         Nonpoint

1:40 PM           Steel Panther

3:20 PM           Hollywood Undead

5:05 PM           Buckcherry

7:15 PM           Shinedown

 

Emerging Artist Stage

11:20 AM         Nebraska Bricks

12:20 PM         Soulswitch

1:25 PM           Girl On Fire

2:35 PM           Saliva

3:45 PM           Motionless In White

5:10 PM           Device

6:50 PM           Nothing More

 

Jax Live Stage

11:50 AM         (N)ception

12:55 PM         The Apprehended

2:05 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

3:15 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

4:40 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

6:15 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

 

The whole party will be preceded by the “Rockville Downtown Experience presented by Corona Light” pre-party on Friday, April 26th.  Two post-show parties will be held Saturday, April 27th.  Admission to these parties is FREE.  Friday’s show will feature Saliva, Evergreen Terrace, and Victr as entertainment.  The bands will perform live at the Underbelly in Jacksonville, FL.  More information on this party is available online at http://www.jaxunderbelly.com.  Saturday’s after-parties will feature performances by DJ Monk and Robert Goodman at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville, FL (http://www.facebook.com/1904MusicHall, http://www.1904MusicHall.com) and Icey at the Underbelly.

Fans that attend the festival will have plenty of opportunities to get their CDs, shirts, and more signed by their favorite band(s) at the f.y.e. tent and other onsite locations.  There will also be interactive experiences such as a gaming area and Dave’s Crazy Music Experience.  This experience lets fans find out for themselves what it’s like to make music in a studio environment.  It includes actual guitars, drums, basses, and all the gear used by today’s top acts.

Tickets are still available for this year’s festival.  Prices are listed below.

Single Day General Admission – $59.50 plus fees

Single Day VIP – $134.50 plus fees
2-Day General Admission – $107 plus fees
2-Day VIP – $219 plus fees
2-Day Party Pack (4 weekend tickets) – $357 plus fees

Along with the listed ticket prices, “no service fee tickets” are available at specific Metro PCS locations.  More information on this is available online at http://www.welcometorockvillefestival.com/tickets.html.  A limited number of VIP tickets and hotel packages are still available.  They can be purchased online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com.  VIP tickets include entrance to all concerts through a VIP entrance, access to VIP lounge featuring dedicated bar, beverage and food service, viewing of the Monster Main Stage (both seated and standing areas), a seated area with shade for dining, private bathrooms and laminated VIP guest pass.    

More information on the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival is available online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com, http://www.facebook.com/welcometorockville, and on Twitter at @RockvilleFest.

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.

Carolina Rebellion Festival Expands In Its Third Year

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The Carolina Rebellion Festival is coming back this Spring.  The annual festival returns to the Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday and Sunday may 4th and 5th.  The Charlotte Motor Speedway is in Concord, just outside of Charlotte.  Now in its third year, this year’s festival marks the first time that it will fill a full weekend.  There will be three stages for this year’s festival:  The Monster Energy ‘Carolina Stage, the Monster Energy ‘Rebellion Stage, and the Jagermeister Stage.  This year’s band lineup is going to be big one.  It’s all set to kick off with performance on Saturday by:  Alice in Chains, Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, Bullet for my Valentine, Halestorm, Asking Alexandria, Sick Puppies, In This Moment, Device (with David Draiman), Young Guns, Otherwise, Aranda, Tracer, and Monstro.

Things won’t let up much on Sunday, May 5th.  The current lineup slated for the festival’s second day includes:  Soundgarden, Rise Against, Bush, 3 Doors Down, Buckcherry, Volbeat, Hollywood Undead, All That Remains, Steel Panther, Pop Evil, Escape The Fate, Nonpoint, Thousand Foot Krutch, Red Line Chemistry, Heaven’s Basement, and American Fangs.

Full weekend general admission tickets and single day general admission tickets for the Carolina Rebellion Festival go on sale Friday, February 8th at 10amEST.  Full weekend tickets start at $99/person plus fees.  Single day admission tickets start at $59.50 plus fees.  Parking cost is included with all tickets.  For more information on tickets and the festival, audiences can go online to http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com and http://www.facebook.com/CRebellion.  Anyone that signs up for the Carolina Rebellion Newsletter can pre-order full weekend tickets for a discounted price of $89 plus fees.  This applies only during the pre-sale period, which runs from Wednesday February 6th to Thursday, February 7th.

Fans can also go online to http://www.CarolinaRebellion to get information on camping, hotel and VIP packages as well as military discounts, which will also be available for all active duty military personnel.

To get the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.