Show In Review: Hard Rock On The Strip IN FLAMES
It was day 8 of recovering from an office plague that was a cold turned a lovely case of bronchitis. I wrapped up working from my couch playing boss lady for my day job with barely any voice left to spare before freshening up. I knew full well that this would be a another sober evening due to 48 more hours of antibiotics, but at least I wasn’t still contagious and able to once again proceed with human interactions. Yay me!
My male suitor swung by to hang for a bit before we headed out to the venue. Navigating our way through Vegas back street traffic we made it to the parking garage through the sea of pedestrians and construction zones that blocked our path. The parking garage right between the Hard Rock and Ross is a decent place to park. Not overly packed but it will cost you about $15 bucks for the night, not recommended for large vehicles as the exit ramp is bit sharp , steep and narrow. A trifecta for fucking up your paint if you aren’t extremely careful.
When we arrived 15 minutes prior to doors (6:45 pm) there was a line not quite to the bottom of the steps from the 2nd to 3rd floor. When security started waiving people through they had one guy scan tickets , then one person do wrist bands and check I.D.’s before you were to empty your pockets for a wanding.
The Hard Rock Live on the Strip is off Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana. It’s in the heart if the Las Vegas strip surrounded by all the major casino. The venue space itself is on the 3rd floor of the Hard Rock Cafe. Band memorabilia could be found encased in glass on your way up to and around this floor. The bar is next to the lounge area for your tired feet and the smoking patio that overlooks the busy Las Vegas strip filled with taxis , uber’s and locals and tons of tourist foot traffic.
I will give HRL credit where credit is due, the sound is fantastic every time I come here. No weird back feed from a mic or cab. They do however charge 5 bucks for a bottle of water and this time around to sit at a table you had to do a $200 minimum. If you wanted to eat food you had to get a table or leave to go to the restaurant on the 2nd floor to snag a bite between sets / sacrifice missing a set.
Las Vegas, NV, USA
These gents are one of my local favorites. Heavily influenced by the very headliner for this show themselves, In Flames, they have made their footprint in the Melodic Death World. Vocally Miles Lanham takes on the a heavy tone similar to the style that Anders Fridén from In Flames utilizes on stage for their heavier songs. Mark Bazar on Bass and back up Vox adds some extra flare and vocal dimension while thrashing his hair around on stage. Mauricio Silva on drums absolutely obliterates. This guy’s kick pedal game is hardcore. I only have a small handful of drummers I fully appreciate and he makes the list hands down.
Mauricio is a HUGE In Flames fan. He as been listening to them since he was 15 years old so this was a life’s dream fulfilled type of show. It is an amazing thing to watch a local band be able to play with a band they are so heavily influenced by. Just like the boys from Vatican Falling and Gods of Hate opening for The Black Dahlia Murder . It shows that the scene is not dead yet. There is still an opportunity for local bands to become known on a larger scale and get these opportunities.
Now not that I play favorites with band members buttttttt…. in this case I do….they know it….I know it…. at least I’m honest about it.
The guitar gods smile upon us once more. Returning to grace the stage with Mynas is one hell of a local talent Jeff Pritz. Jeff returns after a, brief for some but much too long for me, break from the band. During his hiatus Kevin Balzano filled in as lead guitar and we here at Into the Pit with Annie wish him all the best on his future music endeavors. But for me personally, it wasn’t the same without Jeff. This show is the 2nd since his return, the first being Las Rageous 2019 in late October.
Once again his magic fingers produced widdly-wahs that sang to my soul. I am a sucker for a good riff and boy does he know how the fuck to shred them out. Collectively they raged out on stage to their masterfully written songs off their 2019 LP drop Dead to the Unknown with A Time to Fall, Tearing Down the Clouds, Worse for Wear and Until I Go.
Facebook Live Video: https://www.facebook.com/IntoThePitWAnnie/videos/2663770457022017/
Grande Prairie, AB, Canada
A new band to me that I had not heard of before this show was pretty stellar. This is the type of band that just goes on and has fun on stage, making faces at each other and messing with each others guitars, which adds nothing but positive vibes to the experience.
They hit me hard in the chest right from the start. The hardwood floor of the venue vibrated from the bass and drums and penetrates through me from toes to head and back again. That is when you know a band is hitting you right. It is a euphoric feeling that I honestly attribute to being as good as if not better than sex. Now I will say that the clean vocals fell a little flat for me on a couple of songs, but I’m not completely mad at it.
A pit broke out towards the end of their first song. All the while a hardcore fan that I later spoke to named Patrick (and caught on the FB Live footage) , stood behind me singing along to every song, not just the chorus but word for word lyrics in unison with the band. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, I love the fan dedication that goes into that. You can tell that a band really speaks to them and draws from their passion and connection. According to Patrick when their album dropped this past May, he listened to it and became an instant fan. His description of Harbinger was “33 minutes that’s just amazing!”
While Patrick was having his duet with the band, a couple danced in the mosh pit to Apocalyptic and for a short while during Old Bones//New Blood in an adorable fashion before the lady pushed her suitor away in embarrassment. The set itself consisted fully of songs off of their Nuclear Blast Records release Harbinger to additionally include The Horror, The Endless and Better Off Without.
After their set I snagged myself a hard copy of the album and a band T-shirt to feed my band merch addiction.
Facebook Live Video: https://www.facebook.com/IntoThePitWAnnie/videos/406482690304888/
Nashville, TN, USA
Genre: Rock / Alternative / Ambient
Now the only reason I know this Christian Rock band exists is because of their song Already Over. But if we are being honest, most of their material is way too soft for my tastes. I can appreciate their talent but the first two bands set a harder atmosphere and then Red opens up their set with a super emo dad rock number.
It’s cool they have a huge fan base. I’m not knocking them for having music where people can understand their lyrics and it teeters on the acceptable music to listen to for non-metalheads. They don’t sound Angry enough with the human condition for me personally.
The lead singer looked like he was doing a cheer-leading routine half of the time on his ego box center-stage. And then they did something that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. What we thought was the intro to a cover for War Pigs which would have been awesome, instead turned out to be a rip off of the well known intro for it like so many other bands have done and made into something….else …I had the distinct “what the fuck” look on my face.
During their set someone in the front of the crowd yelled “Hail Satan” and the vocalist Michael Barnes responded saying “We don’t do that here.” It was odd to say the least to see this band on this line up in the midst of 3 METAL bands. But it is what it is. #GenreClashFails #IndustrialButtRock #ButIStillRespectIt #SortOf #SorryNotSorry
They played the title track and From the Ashes during their set of their new EP freshly released on called the Evening of Hate The of course included Already Over and a few other songs from their older stuff from their 2006 Album “End of Silence” . Their sound was on point. But again just not my cup of tea. So if they are your cup of tea, feel free to catch them live at another show and enjoy , and/or buy a copy.
IN FUCKING FLAMES ..not too hard not too soft ….just fucking right. The Melodic Metal Shredding Swedish Demons are always a thrill to see. I had the pleasure of seeing them October of last year (that review is in my archives but not yet published) and boy was that also just as good of a show. Less people tried to fight me at this one though which was nice.
Anders, Bjorn and the rest of the band on stage had some great witty banter and crowd interactions. Anders would address a particular memeber he set his sights on in the crowd and tell the rest of the wailing banshees and bro-jobs to shut up so he could hear them. At one point even singling out a fans band T-shirt from fellow stage ragers Amorphis , professing his love for the band before continuing on.
They played a 21 song set…yes…21 .. ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES of banter and metal music that took us on a journey through what is almost 3 decades worth of music. I was so tired, my feet were not used to being used from a week of being couch and bed ridden so I sat for a good half of their set.
They opened with Cloud Connected , worked their way to Call My Name, The Hive, Follow Me , Wall Flower, Voices and everything in between closing out with The End. To top it all off they even gave Mynas a shout out on stage that just made me love them more . Mauricio came back exclaiming “HE SAID OUR FUCKING NAMEEEEEEEEEE!!!” in a justifyable level of excitement. He said only their name… “Give it up for Mynas.” Clearly Anders was as impressed with their precision and badassery as I have been of the years. SO THANK YOU, IN FLAMES, FOR MAKING THEIR NIGHT!!!!
Facebook Live Video: https://www.facebook.com/IntoThePitWAnnie/videos/2449625501925397/
THE HEAD BANG-OVER
After the festivities ended I said my good byes several times over…got licked on my ear and then 5 of us headed to Denny’s next door for an ever so disappointing post show meal. The service was slow and although out waiter was professional seemed to be the only one who wasn’t standing around. The food was over cooked and un-edible for the most part but it’s Denny’s after midnight ….what should I have expected.
Great night , great friends, awesome music, would give a 9.5 out of 10.