I've been meaning to catch up with Teramaze guitarist Dean Wells for a while now, so why not do it at a shredfest of a gig?
It's been a while since I saw the band, and that was from the Anhedonia days, so I was really keen to catch this show. Now a brand new lineup, this time as a single guitar band, they still delivered the goods. Vocalist Nathan Peachey is note perfect even singing the ultra high notes, the rhythm section were tight as a nun's nasty, and Dean makes me envious and wanna burn my guitars, a feeling I get every time I see him play. Aside from a technical difficulty with the double kick pedal that delayed them for 5-10 minutes, they played a crushing show with songs mostly from the Her Halo album. Ending the set with Delusion Of Grandeur was just epic. This is a band that seriously needs to tour more, especially overseas. Anybody who hasn't checked this band out, DO SO NOW.
Heavy Metal Ninjas:
I've always been curious about this band, and I finally got to see what these NZ Ninjas were all about. I love the ninjas onstage gimmick even it's done many times before (Ninjaspy, 12 Foot Ninja etc), I love the musicianship: lead guitarist Richie Allan NAILS the Vai like fluidity and circular vibrato down to a tee, and also has a sweet white/red RGD to boot, and the rest of the band played with machine like precision. Unfortunately, the Ninjas also showcased everything that I didn't like about modern instrumental metal music: the songwriting. Aside from Ritchie's leads, the rhythm guitar and bass, while having the odd moments in the spotlight, were just riding the low open strings in typical syncopated djent riffs to the point where I found the backing track more musically compelling. And while the leads are dazzling, there's very little memorable as it was mostly fast shredding. All of that gets old quickly when you have to go through 45 minutes of it. Thankfully there were certain moments where that wasn't the case, even if a few. Still, the band can play their asses off and sweet to see them jump around the stage. See these guys if that's your kind of instrumental shred music.
Whatever quibbles I had with the Ninjas, Plini's set was the welcome that I needed. And the songs had a lot to do with it. While still in line with the instrumental djent shtick that usually happens with most of today's bedroom guitarists, Plini at least mixes it up with a bit of funk, jazz fusion and a few other tricks that isn't just being pummeled by downtuned syncopated open string riffs. They sound dare I say... organic and natural. It certainly helps when seeing the band play live and done so flawlessly. I wouldn't mind seeing a more lively show rather have all the members that isn't playing drums just stare at their instruments and bop their head sidewards (another djent cliché), but a fun show nonetheless. It was also great to see Richie from the Ninjas jam with them on the last song. Despite the usual djent clichés, I'd still recommend seeing Plini live. Those in Chicago, will get the chance: he's playing with Angel Vivaldi and Intervals next month.
Overall it was a great show, well worth the 25 bucks and the reminder that I have to practice my ass off more.
Another thing, and this may just be me, but I'm getting bummed out with the over-reliance on backing tracks bands seem to do a lot of lately. I understand that it's much better from a logistical standpoint, but I guess growing up on seeing bands like Rush and Vai/Satch get members to try to do everything themselves live has kinda spoiled my expectations of seeing a live band. But that's enough of my rambling....