Live In Seattle by The Empty Pockets

Live At Seattle is the June 14, 2019 album a and my fourth review for the Chicago, Illinois band The Empty Pockets which features Josh Solomon on vocals and guitar, Erika Brett on vocals and keyboards, Nate Bellon vocals and bass, and Adam Balasco on drums on the MT Pockets Records. This seven-song set features songs from The Ten Cent Tour and Voices, including a new arrangement of Leaving Jackson, special guest Marc Macisso on harmonica and flute in Reprise, along with Erika singing lead on I Am Strong. The remaining tracks on this album include The Bubble, I Hear Your Voice, Empty Pockets and Travelin’ Song.  Most live albums I normally don’t listen to due to the recording, but this album is totally different.  This album features a great performance with great vocals and harmonies, excellent songwriting and a superb recording.  This album is the best thing next to seeing them live. If you have not had the chance to hear this amazing band yet, please give them a listen, you will not regret it.  This great album is available as a digital download from Amazon, Itunes, and all other music retailers.  It is also available on autographed Vinyl from https://the-empty-  plus you will be able to learn more about this amazing band, their other music releases and their current tour schedule by going to their official website


Y&T and Red Reign at The Grey Eagle in Ashville, North Carolina

This past Saturday, I finally got the opportunity to see a band live that I have been waiting for some 45 years to see.  On February 15, 2020, I finally got to see Y&T at The Grey Eagle in Ashville, North Carolina which is over an hour’s drive from me.  Opening for Y&T was a great heavy rock band Red ReignRed Reign is from Richmond, Virginia and features the line up of Carlton “Bubba” McMichael on lead vocals and guitar, Steve Shred on Lead guitar and backup vocals, Larry Moore on bass and back up vocals and Sammy Lee on drums.  I loved their energetic performance as they played original tracks from their EP and some new songs not yet recorded.  I totally enjoyed their performance plus getting the opportunity to talk to all the band members plus getting my EP signed all of the members.  This is a band I am looking forward to hearing more from. After a short break, it was time to hear the band I have been looking forward to Y&T (originally known as Yesterday & Today) is an American hard rock/heavy metal band formed in 1974 in Oakland, California.  This band features the current line up of Dave Meniketti on lead vocals and guitar, John Nymann on guitar and backing vocals, Mike Vanderhule on drums and Aaron Leigh on bass and backing vocals.  This amazing band gave a high energy performance with they performed many of their tracks from the many albums they have released over the years.  This is a band I hope to see again.  I have been talking to their member John Nymann for several years on Facebook and finally got the opportunity to talk to him in person.  John took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk to me, which I was quite honored.  I was hoping to meet the rest of the band, but I did not get the opportunity, maybe another time.  The Grey Eagle is a great venue with friendly staff, a nice size venue of about 500 person capacity, clean, and plenty of seating in the bar area.  I am not a fan of Mexican food which is all they served but that is okay.  All and all I enjoyed the experience of that evening.

Mahto and The Loose Balloons, Minorcan and Loose Leaves at The Hideaway in Johnson City, Tennessee

Last night was a night of great local bands at The Hideaway in Johnson City, Tennessee with Mahto and The Loose BalloonsMinorcan and Loose Leaves.  These three bands put on a great show with Mahto and The Loose Balloons opening up the show. This band out of Johnson City, Tennessee comprised of Sam Love on the drums and Will Diebold on the bass with Mahto Addison-Browder acting as a frontman on guitar.  This band had a folk-rock sound that I enjoyed very much with tracks from their numerous albums. I was able to get their cassette tape Loose Balloons signed by the band and looking forward to getting my hands on their CDs.  After a short break, it was time for Minorcan, a rock trio based in Asheville, North Carolina to hit the stage featuring Ryan Anderson on guitar, vocals, songwriting, Joey Terry on bass and Dustin Goose on drums. I enjoyed their alternative rock style as they played tracks from their various albums.  I was lucky to get a copy of their vinyl album Keep At Hand signed by the band.  To finish off the evening is Loose Leaves, a little funk, a little folk and a whole lot of rock and roll band from Church Hill, Tennessee featuring Trace Hoover on guitar and vocals, Jacob Tipton on bass and Justin Hoard on drums.  I was quite impressed with their sound and looking forward to reviewing their recordings.  I also had a chance to meet and to talk to all three bands and I am looking forward to seeing them perform again in the future.  If you ever get a chance, check out The Hideaway, a great venue for local bands.

Graveyards by Donnie & The Dry Heavers

Graveyards is the 2019 album by Donnie & The Dry Heavers, an Indie-Rock/Jam/Blues Rock from Kingsport, Tennessee consisting of Chance Lawson on guitar and vocals, Andrew Kramer on guitar and vocals, Niko Graham on bass and Cameron Hite on drums.  I saw this band last night at The Hideaway, a small club in Johnson City, Tennessee and they gave a great live performance.  This ten-track album features such songs as Falling Asleep, the title track Graveyards, When I Leave Here, Troubled Son, Life Understood and much more.  This album was well written, performed and recorded.  The only suggestion I can make on this album does not include the drummer count off at the beginning of the songs, oh course that is my opinion. I could not find anything showing where this album is available but it is available when you go to one of their shows.  This is a band you must see if they are playing near you.


The Kindest People, Donnie And The Dry Heavers and The Styrofoam Turtles at The Hideaway in Johnson City, Tennessee

Last night after an invitation by Spencer Otey of the band The Kindest People who I saw a couple nights before at Capone’s in Johnson City, Tennessee to see them perform at a venue I have not been to before called The Hideaway.  As I walked in, I notice that the venue was a lot smaller than Capone’s but a nice venue to go to.  The band that was on the stage was Donnie And The Dry Heavers, an Indie-Rock/Jam/Blues Rock from Kingsport, Tennessee consisting of Chance Lawson on guitar and vocals, Andrew Kramer on guitar and vocals, Niko Graham on bass and Cameron Hite on drums.  They gave a great performance with a mixture of sounds such as blues, rock, country and even a little bit of reggae thrown in.  After the performance, I had the opportunity to have a nice chat with Chance Lawson about their music and he gave me a copy of their CD called Grave Yards to listen and review later.  After a short break, I experienced the sound of The Styrofoam Turtles, a garage rock-infused grunge band from Asheville, North Carolina featuring Josh Davis on drums and Tristen Colby on guitar and vocals.  I was unable to find out who was playing bass.  This three-piece band gave an amazing performance for great guitar work and driving drum beats.  I got the opportunity to speak to Tristen after the show and he plans to send me some of his work to listen to and review. After another short break, the band I was invited to see again went on the stage The Kindest People an Indie/Garage/Punk band from Johnson City, Tennessee featuring Matthew Sykes on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Spencer Otey on guitar and backing vocals, Evan Rice on Bass and backing vocals and Matthew Dougherty on drums. Their high energy show featured original music from their album Observations From The Alternate and others, plus a great performance.  It was great to see these guys again and they remembered me from the other night and we had a chance to talk for a while before they went on.  The venue The Hideaway is a great venue that features local bands and was surprised that they only sell canned beer, no cocktails or draft beer, but when I saw that the owner was working as a bartender, sound man and doorman, I could understand why. In addition to plenty of seating, there was plenty of room that want to stand in front of the stage to see the bands.  It is still a venue I want to visit again.

10 Years, In The Whale, and The Kindest People at Capone’s in Johnson City, Tennessee

On Thursday, December 26, 2019, I experienced the great sounds of local and national bands at Capone’s in Johnson City, Tennessee with The Kindest People, In The Whale and 10 Years.  This sold-out show started with The Kindest People an Indie/Garage/Punk band from Johnson City, Tennessee featuring Matthew Sykes on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Spencer Otey on guitar and backing vocals, Evan Rice on Bass and backing vocals and Matthew Dougherty on drums. Their high energy show featured original music from their album Observations From The Alternate and others, plus a great performance. I got the opportunity to talk to this band for a long time after their show and planned to see them again which I did a couple days later.  After a short break for set up it was time for the next band In The Whale, an American alternative rock band from Greeley, Colorado composed of Nathaniel Valdez on lead vocals and guitar and Eric Riley on drums and vocals.  As I was coming back into the club, I was hearing a great sound and when I looked, I was shocked to see this great sound coming from only two people as they played tracks from their album Dopamine and previous work.  Their performance was definitely high energy and got the crowd ready for the final performance of the night which was the Knoxville, Tennessee American alternative metal band called 10 Years featuring Jesse Hasek on lead vocals, Brian Vodinh on lead and rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Matt Wantland on rhythm guitar, Luke Narey on drums and Chad Grennor on bass.  I have been waiting to see this band again since 98Rockfest that took place in Ladson, South Carolina on April 22, 2018, but I missed the opportunity to get my vinyl album (How To Live) As Ghost signed during their autograph session.  I finally got my album signed just before they went on stage.  Thanks to a new friend that I made with one of the opening acts band I could see this performance from the sound area in which I could see the band from above as they performed tracks from their album (How To Live) As Ghost and other albums. This band gave a great performance  As always I enjoyed this venue with a great and friendly staff.

Five Finger Death Punch, Three Days Grace, Bad Wolves and Fire From The Gods at Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee

Last night was a great night of metal at the Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee with Fire From The Gods, Bad Wolves, Three Days Grace and Five Finger Death Punch.  One of these bands I have seen in the past and the other three I have been looking forward to seeing.  The first band to go on the stage to warm the audience up is Fire From The Gods, a metal band from Austin, Texas consisting of AJ Channer on vocals, Jameson Teat and Drew Walker on guitars, Bonner Baker on bass and Richard Wicander on Drums.  This high energy band performed songs from their most recent album American Sun and earlier albums.  I was quite impressed by their performance with AJ’s clean and unclean vocals and the band’s heavy guitar riffs and driving drum beats making this a band I would love to see again.  They were at Sonic Temple and I love his talks of equality and support of the troops.  Next up is a band that I have seen four times before and they are getting better every time, the Los Angeles, California based band Bad Wolves which consists of vocalist Tommy Vext (ex-Divine Heresy, ex-Snot, ex-Westfield Massacre), drummer John Boecklin (ex-DevilDriver), lead guitarist Doc Coyle (ex-God Forbid), rhythm guitarist Chris Cain (ex-Bury Your Dead, ex-For the Fallen Dreams) and bassist Kyle Konkiel (ex-In This Moment, ex-Scar the Martyr, Vimic).  They did an amazing performance with tracks from their latest album N.A.T.I.O.N. and their debut album Disobey.  They ended their set with their biggest hit, a song originally recorded by the Cranberries called Zombie.  We had the opportunity to meet them last year. His stage presence has changed a lot, from saying a few words to really getting the crowd going.  His talks of mental health are inspiring, him being a violence and suicide attempt survivor.  It’s important to let people know they are not alone and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  The third band to hit the stage is the Canadian rock band Three Days Grace consisting of drummer and backing vocalist Neil Sanderson, bassist Brad Walst, lead guitarist  Barry Stock and vocalist Matt Walst, who is also bassist Brad Walst’s brother.  This great metal band performed tracks from their latest album Outsider and from their earlier albums.  After hearing I Hate Everything About You from their 2003 self-titled album and Pain from their 2006 album One X, I know I need to add these two albums to my library.  They gave a high energy performance that got the crowd ready for headlining act Five Finger Death Punch an American heavy metal band from Las Vegas, Nevada consisting of Ivan Moody on lead vocals, Zoltan Bathory on rhythm and lead guitar, Jason Hook on lead guitar and backing vocals, Chris Kael on bass and backing vocals and Charlie Engen on drums.  They gave a kick-ass performance along with an amazing light show with laser, pyrotechnics and more as they played tracks from their latest album And Justice For None as well as tracks from previous albums 2015 Got Your Six, their 2013 two-volume set The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell and much moreI have been looking forward to seeing this band for a long time and I am glad I finally got the opportunity to see them. He also is very patriotic when it comes to the troops and presented a gift to the sign language interpreter, whose husband returned from Afghanistan.  He also gave a shout out to people in recovery, stating he was 22 months clean.  The rocks bands are the quickest to address all of the problems out there today and it’s so important.  The venue, Thompson Boling Arena was just okay in my book.  The area where we were sitting was a little scary to get to your seat, with no rails and the steps rather narrow with just a glass partition to prevent you from falling off to the lower level.  It made it even difficult for my wife to get down to her seat and back up after the concert with a broken foot.  There was also maybe a foot or less of legroom, making it very uncomfortable for taller patrons.   Thanks to another person who helped get her up the stairs or she would have been a permanent fixture.  We were unable to find where wheelchair seating was.  The bathrooms were not maintained and because the beer vendors were not watching who they were selling beer to, you had to go into a stall full of vomit to use the bathroom since in the men’s room were only two urinals and the rest toilets.  Also, I think that food and drinks were overpriced compared to what we paid for food and drinks at the major festivals we have gone to, $12 for a can of beer poured into a cup.  Getting out of the parking building took well over an hour.  The ramp that goes up to the building was not very wheelchair friendly as it was a pretty steep incline and you had to go down the incline to get in the very long line, then back up.

Vankale, Roman Riot and Lydia Can’t Breathe hosted by Coenthebutcher at Capone’s, Johnson City, Tennessee

Last night November 15, 2019, was a great night for metal at Capone’s in Johnson City, Tennessee with Vankale, Roman Riot and Lydia Can’t Breathe hosted by Coenthebutcher.  First to hit the stage was the heavy metal band Vankale consisting of Jeremy Jones on vocals, Jay Presley and Jacob Miller on guitars, Chris Downey on bass and vocals, and David Vananda on drums.  They gave the audience a high energy performance with strong vocals, heavy guitar riffs and driving drum beats. Next on stage is a band I have seen once before Roman Riot, a metal band out of the tri-cities featuring Adam Gonce and Cory Eidson on guitars, Daniel Roberts on bass and backing vocals, Daniel Swain on drums and backing vocals, Jason Wilkins and David Athon on lead clean vocals.  Listening to this performance I see the growth of this band since the last time heard them play with them playing tracks from their Ep Tribulation and more.  I was happy to hear them again and I got a chance to talk with them before the show.  Finally to hit the stage is Florida based metal band Lydia Can’t Dance featuring the energetic vocals of Kyle Bolduc along with Josh Runfeldt on drums, Shad Roundy on bass, and Ryan Cowell and Travis Daigle on guitars.  They put on heavy high energy performance with tracks from their latest album Taste New and even a couple tracks from their forthcoming album to be released next year.  This band and I had to opportunity to have a nice chat about their music, festivals and many other things which I will go into detail in another posting.  All in all, it was a great evening with fantastic music and great friendships.

Natural Born Leaders and Demon Waffle at Capone’s in Johnson City, Tennessee

Halloween this year was very enjoyable at Capone’s in Johnson City, Tennessee with performances by Natural Born Leaders and Demon WaffleNatural Born Leaders features Mike Martinez on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, James Eddington on bass and vocals, Ben Survant on saxophone, Kevin Murtha on drums, and Rex Shaffer on lead guitar.  This band from Ashville, North Carolina performed a great mixture of progressive rock, jazz, and funk with a bit a reggae threw in and also performed tracks from their new EP called About Time.  I enjoyed their performance and spending some time talking to them. To finish the night Demon Waffle, a fun, high energy band from Knoxville and Johnson City, Tennessee that blends reggae, rock, punk, soul, and funk took the stage and consists of the lineup of Tyler Parkhill on vocals, Donnie Barnett on guitar, Evan Rice on bass, Andrew Oliver on Sax, Matt Dougherty on drums, Tim Lester on Trombone and Matthew Sykes on trumpet.  They entertained the crowd with tracks from their latest album Drink Your Dinner and many other tunes.  They gave an enjoyable performance which completed the evening.  In closing thank you to the staff of Capone’s for an enjoyable Halloween experience with great food and drink and very friendly staff.

Strutter America’s #1Kiss Tribute Band at OT Sports And Social Club

Last night was an enjoyable evening at OT Sports and Social Club in Johnson City, Tennessee with the amazing performance by Strutter America’s Number One Kiss Tribute Band.  Even though it venue is a small venue and will not allow pyrotechnics and other things that are normally in their show, they came on stage in full Kiss makeup and costumes and a sound that was truly Kiss with such tracks as Dr. Love, Detroit Rock City, Shout It Out Loud, Love Gun, Rock And Roll All Night and so much more.  I was a bit disappointed that they did not do such great songs as Beth, Put The X In Sex, I Was Made For Lovin’ You, God Gave Rock N Roll To You and others.  I understand by them going on late and had to stop at a particular time for the DJ to start later, they were unable to play all they planned to play.  They were still quite good, with the amazing sound of Kiss, and their makeup and costumes which made the Kiss performance realistic.  I look forward to seeing them again.  The only thing I felt could be improved as I was told that they ran out of merchandise and so there was no merchandise table.  I tried to get something signed by them and they were going to sign a drum head for me, but no one had a black sharpie, so I lost out on that one too.   As always, I was impressed by the environment, the staff and food and drink at OT Sports and Social Club which makes it a great place to party. To learn more about this great band go to their website