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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

80's Hair Metal vs 90's Grunge

When the 90's came along and grunge got big it seemed like the end of 80's metal and 80's metal bands.  Some bands made it through the 90's,such as Van Halen and Motley Crue. but ultimately it seemed the genre had run its course.   However, with the advent of the  internet and festivals a lot of those bands have returned and some have recaptured at least some of their former glory.

One of the big differences that stuck out to everyone is the look.  With the 80's it was all about glam and big hair as seen in the photo of  Motley Crue shown below. 

In the 80's it was all about pleasing the girls and part of the way to do that was to make yourself look pretty.  Before these bands came along girls were not really into metal before the 80's but with this era of glam going on it gave girls a way to find it appealing. Throughout the 80's bands dressed in spandex, carried around 2 cans of hair spray for big hair (well maybe only one!), and wore lots of make up.  The make up became less of a thing later in the 80's but the type of songs they did stayed the same through the decade.

With grunge it was the other way around.  These bands not only did not wear makeup but they didn't really look like they kept themselves together much at all.  With their tee shirts, Flannel shirts, and torn up jeans they really never looked clean as seen with this picture of Nirvana.

The grunge seen was really angry and rebellious compared to the bands of the 80's.  These bands were seen as misfits and they liked it that way.  They didn't want to come off as happy souls they wanted people to see them as tortured souls not wanting to conform to society.  

When it comes to music it was simplicity vs complex playing.  In the 80's the musicians wanted to be as good at their instruments as they could.  So many great guitar players came out of the 80's such as Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Warren DeMartini, George Lynch, and Steve Vai.  One of the staples of 80's metal was to bust out killer guitar solos by using speed and tricks as seen in the videos below.

Another staple of the 80's metal music were power ballads.  As I've said, this was a time of trying to appeal to the girls and one of ways to do that was through a ballad.  

Lyrically they focused on mainly sex and love with some few exceptions.  Even though a ballad is good way to show the emotion and human side of a rocker these bands did it so much to the point you couldn't take it seriously, which played a big part in the rise of grunge in the 90's.

Grunge music more closely resembled punk then anything else.  The  musicians knew very few chords, didn't master scales, and had a reputation of being low level players.  If you ever go to see a grunge band expecting an Eddie Van Halen solo you will be very disappointed because these guys didn't believe in that kind of playing, and didn't have do pull it off anyhow.

Now where these bands exceeded was their lyric writing.  Unlike how the 80's were all about sex these guys tackled a person's darkest hour.  With that it felt like they were being real and authentic which was a big plus with a lot of people.  

Also the concerts were different as well.  With the 80's it was all about stadiums and playing in front of 30,000 people.  If you were a band in the 80's nothing was cooler then playing in front of a ton of people and putting on a big show.

 If you were a grunge band that was a terrible thing.  Grunge bands would do stadiums and large festivals because they had to promote themselves but the majority of the time they preferred smaller venues with less people

Both genres had their ups and downs. The 80's seemed to produce the better musicians, and their playing was an influence for many current players. However,  their song lyrics had a  narrow focus and in the end they lacked substance and authenticity. In this respect the 90's seemed to produce much better lyricists than the 80's.
Another problem these bands had was that there were so many  bands that it became sickening and people wanted something different.  Even though the genre hit rock bottom in the 90's, many of the bands survived and still have a big influence.  They influenced bands all over the world in places like Japan where bands like XJapan came along and through that Visual Kei was born. Visual Kei was heavily inspired by the 80's hair bands and it is a very successful music genre in Japan. Also many of those bands that survived the 90's still have a big appeal all over the world.   

With grunge you got the sense of authenticity, and felt like the musicians meant what they were singing.  They were easier to relate to personally.  They were musicians that spoke from the heart and would play a big part in how to some people thought they are a good inspiration because they show that you didn't need to be great to make good music.  However that was also one of their problems as well.  Because they were not the greatest musicians in the world they created a void where people wanted to hear more advanced music and it would allow bands like Dream Theater and TOOL to gain fame. One of its biggest problems was that is was very short lived in popularity, Once Kurt Cobain died the genre slowly died with him.  Pearl Jam took a long break, Sound Garden would break up in 1997 and Alice In Chains took a long break with Layne Staley's death in 2002.  However, many of the bands have since reunited and like the 80's still remain popular through out the world.

Personally, I believe that we can learn things from both genres and I will encourage people to listen and find to good things in both and stop having a rivalry between them.

Thursday, May 19, 2016







Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Smileberry Sun Sun Smile

Recently while browsing YouTube I came across this video, Sun Sun Smile from the band Smileberry.  I will start off by talking about the music video itself which I am not a big fan of.  First off, I really don't like this bands look.  I don't think that the drummer and lead guitar player look that bad but I don't really care for the rest bands look. Another thing I don't care for is the rhythm guitar players guitar. That pink half moon with stars on it is not a guitar I would ever play on stage.  One last problem I will point out is the lack of energy the lead guitar player has in the video.  In my opinion he doesn't look like he is enjoying being there compared to the rest of the band.  When you are trying to promote your music at least look like you are enjoying it.

Now as for the music itself I didn't think it was bad.  I don't say that lightly, especially since i typically do not like bands like Smileberry.  However, this time I will make an exception.  The musicians were good and the song was upbeat.  I wasn't a big fan of the synth in the song but it wasn't bad enough to push me away from the song. I like the guitar solo in the song and I thought the singer sounded good as well.  The combination of heavy rhythm guitar and funky and melodic lead guitar worked well and help brought the song together.

On a video aspect I hate the song.  I hate the bands look and I especially hate that pink/star guitar.   However, if  I am not watching the video and am listening to the song from my IPhone I enjoy it.  I don't think it is great but it is enjoyable I would give it a 3 out of 5.    

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Motley Crue The End

If you are a Motley Crue fan you must check out this movie event they have going on in June.  For one night in select theaters they will show a movie called The End.  However, it is only one night so don't miss it

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Gazette Live at The Wiltern

On May 3rd, 2016 The Gazette played in California for the first time at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles and man did they put on a good show. The Energy was great, the music was fantastic, the band were great, and the audience were fantastic as well.  I remember my friend and I arriving there and seeing a long line wrapping around the building and only getting longer as we joined it.  I believe it was 7:30 when they opened door and people started making their way in. Once in we were very excited and could not wait for the show to begin as seen below.

We waited for a little over half an hour before the lights dimmed and the show began.   One by one the band members made their way to the stage before kicking things off with the song Dogma.The crowd was energized and wen't crazy once the song started.  I was excited from the beginning and even some songs that I were not the biggest fan of I enjoyed. 

Which brings me to my first highlight which is first and for most the music.  The band sounded great and really solid.  From beginning to end every song sounded great and was well executed.  My favorite songs were Derangement, Vortex, Filth In Beauty, Agony, Cockroach, and Tomorrow Never Dies.  One of my favorite features of The Gazette is how they can combine heavy intense riffs with great melodic solos.  One of the best examples is Uruha's solo during Tomorrow Never Dies.

Sorry about the quality, filmed it from my Iphone, but you still get the point.  Anyway, things like that I dig, I love it when melodic music and heavy riffs blend together.  

Another aspect that was great was the bands energy.  You could tell that they were into it and were having fun.  At first Aoi seemed a little stiff but he got past if really quickly and was enjoying the show like the rest of the band.  

Ruki did a combination of being mysterious and rockin out though out the show and executed it well. 

Reita was all over the place, sometimes he would be in his spot on stage, sometimes he would run to one of the 3 platforms, and even jumped on the drum riser and be playing next to Kai.

Uruha would often jump on his platform and look into the crowd while he would be playing the opening riff to the next song and the crowd would go crazy.

Kai may not be able to move around freely like the rest of the band does but  the intricacy and fast beats he plays on drums made him energetic in his own way.  

The audience were great through out the show.  Everybody was really into the music and showed it by throwing their hands in the air or headbanging to the music.  The audience were very mature, no one was drunk, or at least appeared drunk, and no instances broke out  which made the show a lot more enjoyable. 

One of my favorite moments of the show was when the band came out for their encore and Ruki came out with the American flag and wrapped it around himself and then asked the audience if they were ready and the audience went crazy and they kicked their encore off with Agony.

Another great part was when they took their bows and as they were walking off Aoi went up to Uruha's mic and said thank you to the audience.  It was unexpected and was a really nice addition to the show's ending as shown in The Gazette Ending link shown below. 

This show will be one for the book for me. I have been to a lot of concerts and this is with out a doubt one of the best I have seen.  I can't wait for them to come back to LA and if you are a metal head this is a band worth seeing live and checking out their music.