MOTLEY CRUE LAY 34-YEAR CAREER TO REST WITH “THE END’,

Concerts, Music reviews

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Farewell tours are tricky affairs. Bands come and go—and come back—members leave and return in revolving door fashion and some bands have only one original member left. In short, its not always pretty. In the process certain artists hurt their legacy by staying in the game too long. Mötley Crüe wanted a different kind of farewell.

Mötley Crüe shocked the world in January of 2014 when they announced to decision to call it quits. The Saints of Los Angeles had chosen to end the party sooner rather than later. The band signed a cessation of touring contract, a first in rock history, prior to embarking on a two-year long farewell. In true Crüe fashion, the event served as a tremendous publicity stunt. With displays of “RIP Mötley Crue”, complete with tombstones that read each band member’s name, it would prove to be one can’t miss funeral.

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The End press conference, London, England, 2014. Photo credit: Rolling Stone

If The End has taught us anything, it’s that Mötley Crüe was a wild, untamed beast for more than 34 years. A Mötley Crüe show remained a spectacular, reckless and even chaotic event right up to The End.

Complete with big choruses, pyrotechnics, stage production values, female backup singers and dancers in scantily clad outfits, tears and displays of emotions from the band and fans alike, The End is an exciting visual memento and the end of an era. From the bombast and fire that begins with “Girls, Girls, Girls” to Nikki Sixx adressing the audience, Tommy’s roller coaster drum solo, the flamethrower bass and Vince Neil in tears during the last song of the set “Home Sweet Home”, it’s a relentless, unforgettable journey. It’s one last big, epic, blow-out to top off a truly memorable career.

Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way. Anyone who’s been to a Crüe concert in the last decade can attest that frontman Vince Neil’s voice is not what it once was—by a long shot, some would say—and its true [It becomes especially evident on the live CD of the concert]. In the dysfunctional environment that is Mötley Crüe, however, it works.

Vince Neil’s voice and charisma is part of what made the band so successful. Neil remains one of rock’s ultimate frontmen. Even if his voice isn’t quite up to par at times, the energy and excitement level is there.

Nikki Sixx does a commendable job of looking like one of the coolest human beings on the planet. These are his songs and this is his band. The flamethrower bass bit would make Gene Simmons blush.

Tommy Lee lays down a beat like only he can, providing a solid groove and backbone for the band. While performing a drum solo on his roller coaster contraption, the whole stops unexpectedly in mid-air, Lee’s reaction is nothing short of exceptional.

Perhaps most impressive of all is Mick Mars, Crüe’s sole guitarist. Mars often falls under the radar whenever the band is mentioned, but his playing never ceases to impress even after all these years.

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An emotional Vince Neil in tears during “Home Sweet Home”.

Mötley Crüe’s imperfections are exactly what made them a perfect rock band. Rock was never about perfection. Somehow, when these four beings come together magic happens. New year’s eve 2015 would be the last time this magic would be displayed. Thankfully, the Crüe’s send-off was captured in high-definition for the whole world to relive over and over.

The End comes in standalone DVD or Blu-Ray edition and in DVD/CD, Blu-Ray/CD packaging.

Objectively, the live CD is not incredible—most of the blame can be attributed to Neil’s singing— but the excitement of Mötley Crüe’s last concert was captured and that’s enough. The heart wrenching version of “Home Sweet Home” is almost worth the price of admission alone.

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Nikki Sixx, litterally in the heat of the moment. Photo: Motley.com

The cinematography however, is among the best I’ve seen in a concert film. The cameras capture every bit: the action, emotions and pyrotechnics with beautiful wide angles, just enough slow motion bits, subtle close-ups and depth-of-field shots that would make any rock band envious. Concert cinematography has always been about the emotion and feel, less so about the visuals. The End stands in a category of its own. It sets a template for the next generation of live rock documentation.

There’s a documentary portion just before the concert that serves as a reminder of the dedication fans have for this band. It also legitimizes how big of a draw and band Mötley Crüe really was. The End comes with a few extras. Nikki Sixx talks about his flamethrower bass and Tommy Lee details the history behind his roller coaster drum set.

There are a few more interview that will no doubt be interesting and give insight to fans. Take this particularly one with Nikki Sixx for instance:

“The fact that we’ve lasted is a miracle. Maybe that’s why we’re putting a bullet in its head…We know it’s inevitable that we’re going to break up or blow up or something. Maybe we’re just doing it before it happens anyway. We shouldn’t have lasted this long,” says Sixx in the interview portion of The End.

If anything, The End is a proper send off for Mötley Crüe and one heck of a burial. One final motorcycle ride under the sunset for one of the all time great rock bands. It’s reassuring to see a farewell done right in the world of rock, a landscape where the word “retirement” isn’t always taken seriously. I’ve never been this happy and sad watching a concert on home video.

RIP Mötley Crüe, 1981-2015, you will be missed.

mcrue2.jpg                                                                           Photo cred: Ultimateclassicrock.com

LIVE DVD TRACK LISTING:

1.) Intro
2.) Girls, Girls, Girls
3.) Wild Side
4.) Primal Scream
5.) Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S)
6.) Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
7.) Rock N Roll Part II / Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room
8.) Looks That Kill
9.) Motherf***** Of The Year
10.) In The Beginning / Shout At The Devil
11.) Louder Than Hell
12.) Drum Solo
13.) Guitar Solo
14.) Saints Of Los Angeles
15.) Live Wire
16.) T.N.T (Terror ‘N Tinseltown) / Dr. Feelgood
17.) Kickstart My Heart
18.) Home Sweet Home
19.) My Way (Credits)

LIVE CD TRACK LISTING:
1.) Intro
2.) Girls, Girls, Girls
3.) Wild Side
4.) Primal Scream
5.) Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
6.) Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
7.) Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room
8.) Looks That Kill
9.) Mutherf***** Of The Year
10.) Shout At The Devil
11.) Louder Than Hell
12.) Saints Of Los Angeles
13.) Live Wire
14.) Dr. Feelgood
15.) Kickstart My Heart
16.) Home Sweet Home

They did it again— Horror inspired Goth-rock with a misunderstood romantic flavour

Music reviews, Uncategorized

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Universal Monsters, The 69 Eyes, Nuclear Blast America, 2016.

The 69 Eyes are back it again. With their last two albums, Back In Blood and X, the band seems to have found a balance in both sound and style that works quite while for them. On Universal Monsters however, the Helsinki Vampires take a step back and take a slightly more vintage approach that harkens back to a sound reminiscent of the Paris Kills days.

If anything, the album title cover are very indicative of Universal Monsters’ musical direction: good old horror inspired goth-rock— with a a misunderstood romantic flavour, it’s what the 69 Eyes does best.

“Dolce Vita” is vintage 69 Eyes complete with the slow, dark, ominous goth-rock ambiance and feel of old. This should have been the first choice of single.

I wasn’t overjoyed by the first single “Jet Fighter Plane”. It sounded like something from X which isn’t bad in itself but felt a little political. It’s a good song but perhaps not single-worthy.

“Blackbird Pie” is with some choice acoustic guitars in certain places (intro, breakdown) that complement the song surprisingly well. One of the finest songs on Universal Monsters. Jyrki’s voice just like this song is memorable and haunting. A monster of a song.

“Lady Darkness” is a moody piece that would be fit for a classic Universal monster movie. The song even sounds black and white. It’s as melodic as it is delightful.

“Miss Pastis” is the weakest song in my opinion. It has a punk edge to it but a very weak “Salut, sa va, miss Pastis” chorus sang in French. I like the accompanying French-sounding elements, but l didn’t too care much for the fake accents.

“Shallow Graves” is a ghostly number featuring a menacing riff, rather upbeat with strong gang vocals.

“Jerusalem” features beautiful musical arrangements and a passionate vocal delivery. Melancholic with an interesting progression.

“Stiv & Johnny” has a decidedly punk flavour to it. From the riffs to the drum beat this one screams punk yet it also features elements that are completely different and it works to great effect when everything is put together.

“Never” is perhaps the catchiest song on Universal Monster with it’s doomy chorus and a lifted-from-a-movie instrumentation. This is one made for the repeat button.

“Blue” is a soft, slow gothic prose. Very poetic.

“Rock And Roll Junkie” is a satisfying song but l was surprised to see it close the album. To me, it’s a very fun and upbeat song that l would put for track number 2 or 3. Doesn’t take away that it’s a good song, very rock’n’roll like it’s title implies.

Universal Monsters sees The 69 Eye displays different musical flavours and styles in the context of Goth-Rock/Metal—with stunning results. This feels like a natural direction for the band. The Helsinki Vampires are expanding their sound while going a bit retro and keeping their edge and personality.

Jerky 69’s voice is as deep and pleasant as ever, guitars sound wonderful, the rhythm section is tight and the array of instruments and accompanying background music used enhance Universal Monsters. I’m not disappointed and neither will you be 4.5/5 stars.

Unplugged? Thanks, Tesla.

Music reviews

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Live from Lexxi’s mom’s Garage, Steel Panther, Kobalt, 2016.

And yes, that’s the Cherrie Pie girl adorning the cover, the one and only Bobbie Brown.

When l first heard the news of a Steel Panther live album in early January, I thought,”That’s great, now is the perfect time!”. With three albums of comedy gold and infectious Heavy Metal under their belts, the band’s ever-dedicated fanthers are more than ready for a live album. I’ve personally witnessed the band in concert a few times on different tours and they always deliver the goods live. Then l read the album – then untitled – was to be an acoustic performance l had mixed feelings (and flashbacks of Tesla and Mr. Big). Knowing how talented and fun the guys in Steel Panther are l was sure they would somehow pull it off and that Live from Lexxi’s mom’s garage would be a hit… At my place.

Sure there’s been the British lnvasion DVD (2011), but this counts as the band’s first proper live album. Live from Lexxi’s mom’s garage is a dual CD/DVD package. The DVD also features some video skits with the band’s trademark humour on display in between songs (not so much in the live set). I’m not much of a tech guy, but l can tell you the visuals and quality of the DVD are excellent. Likewise, the audio CD sounds great in the car and is not heavily edited from the concert.

Michael Starr is – to me – one of the best frontmen in rock, present or past. The man delivers night after night the way some of his older peers can’t. Ever the highly energetic frontman and ringleader, Starr commands attention with his undeniable charisma. Satchel proves he is one talented guitar player, making the move from electric to acoustic smoothly, playing his butt off and his backing vocals complement Starr’s perfectly. Stixx Zadinia has to hold back a little on the drums in an acoustic setting, but does a great job of laying the foundation hard without overshadowing the rest of the band. Lexxi, plays what needs to be played on bass (I still think he doesn’t enough credit for his playing and backing vocals) and as usual, is the target of many jokes.

Bobbie Brown making an appearance on the album cover and during the show is great and helps cement Steel Panther’s association with Hair-Metal. Having the “Cherry Pie” girl be a part of the show was a nice touch (Tawny Kitaen would have been s suitable choice as well). She delivers on her role as Lexxi’s mom and contributes to comic moments.

From time-proven tunes like “Community Property” and “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows) to new songs like “That’s When You Came In”, the band is giving the packed garage a healthy serving of their best songs and the audience is eating it up. Even though this is an acoustic performance and little more mellow than the usual Steel Panther show the crowd is on fire and it’s a great sight to behold.

A lot of the songs already lend very well to the acoustic setting such as “If You Really, Really Love Me”. Some of the songs have a different flavour acoustically such as “The Burden of Being Wonderful” which came as a great surprise. Even one of their heavier offering, “Death To All But Metal”, has a nice twist to it and ends up sounding unexpectedly unique in an acoustic setting.

Live from Lexxi’s mom’s garage is comprised of 13 songs, a live CD and a DVD in one fun and inexpensive package. For the Steel Panther fan, this is worth a look as it offers interesting twists on beloved songs and all the fun, crude humour you can handle. 4/5stars