SHOW OF THE YEAR
King Diamond/Jess & The Ancient Ones
October 11, 2014 – – Center Stage Theater
Have you ever been to a concert and right after it was over you just knew that you’d seen not just the best concert of the year but one of the best concerts of your life? Well, that’s exactly what happened after seeing this year’s King Diamond/Jess and the Ancient Ones concert here in Atlanta. As a full package, this concert was everything I hoped it would be. Hell, as a matter of fact, both acts completely exceeded my expectations. Jess and the Ancient One was absolutely mesmerizing while King Diamond pulled out all the stops both with his set list and his over the top visual stage production. This performance was not just the show of the year but definitely solidified itself as one of the greatest shows of my entire life. This was definitely a performance that I will never forget as long as I live.
April 10, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
The Masquerade (Purgatory)
The pairing together of Kadavar and Mothership was a one two punch that totally blew my mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a show and thought to myself, “WHy are these bands playing together?” Well, seeing these two acts together was such an awesome experience and each band held their own completely. Mothership totally wowed me with their high energy live set but it was Kadavar that totally took things to stratospheric heights. Kadavar is a band that has a way of making you forget where you’re at and, as corny as it is, it’s like pure magic. The music, the performance, the energy, everything about how they perform live is absolutely captivating and another reason why they are one of the greatest live bands out there today.
Sabaton (opening for Iced Earth)
April 23, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
The Masquerade (Heaven)
The only thing cooler than seeing one of your favorite bands is seeing your favorite band stomp all over the headlining act that they are opening for. Sabaton never ceases to amaze me. Whenever I see them live I’m just totally blown away. These guys are one of the single best live metal bands out there today and this show just solidified that fact to me. These guys did in 45 minutes what most bands don’t and can’t do in twice that time. Seeing Sabaton live is like seeing Iron Maiden crammed onto a club stage. The energy is through the roof and the crowd just always loses their shit over this band. This was Sabaton performing at the top of their game and I cannot wait to see them return to Atlanta as headliners once again to blow my fucking face off.
April 28, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
The Masquerade (Hell)
When life gives you lemons, you throw those fuckers into a blender, add some booze and carry the fuck on. That’s exactly what Kyng and Crobot did this year when tour headliners Kill Devil Hill were forced to back out at the last minute. Instead of cancelling, both bands forged forward as co-headliners and delivered one of the most solid, face melting shows of the fucking year. Crobot has been fucking killing it this year on the road and this show they totally fucking brought it in a huge way. Kyng also shined as a headliner and getting to hear some deep cuts like “Porcelain” “Big Ugly Me” was a real fucking treat. Both bands were on top of their game and everyone in attendance knew they were getting one of the best one/two punches on the road in 2014. This is another one of those pairings that I really hoped for and the end result exceeded any and all expectations I had for this show. What an amazing experience it was and I’m so fucking lucky I was there to take it all in.
May 9, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
Shaky Knees Festival
I can probably count on three fingers the bands that I would stand in torrential down pouring rain to watch and Graveyard is without a doubt one of them. Graveyard made one more stop in Atlanta on their Lights Out tour and unfortunately their stop here had them performing at the Shaky Knees Festival. On a festival bill full of noisy, hipsteriffic shit bands, Graveyard managed to take to the stage and blow the thick rimmed glasses off of everyone’s faces with a high energy, passionate set. Watching Graveyard open with “Blues Soul” under black as night skies pouring rain and then closing with “As The Years Pass By, The Hours Bend” was a performance that I will never forget. This was Graveyard just being themselves and not even trying yet totally succeeding in blowing minds and melting faces with ease.
May 28, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
The Masquerade (Hell)
This is the 2nd double bill to feature Crobot that made my top shows list. Why? Because Crobot kicks fucking ass and when you pair a band like Crobot with another outstanding, through the roof band like Scorpion Child, you get a fucking show that I would’ve paid double the ticket price to see. Crobot opened things this night and, as always owned it with a flawless, soul crushing dirty ass rock n’ roll set. Scorpion Child headlined the night and easily put on one the most outsanding, powerful, and moving performances I saw all year and the inclusion of the Lucifer’s Friend classic “Keep Going” just sealed the deal. This was one of those shows where there weren’t a whole lot of people present to see it but both bands played like they were playing to thousands. It’s that kind of mentality that puts these two bands above the pack. Everyone that was present got a top notch performance that made an everlasting impact and made me a fan for life.
Black Star Riders
June 8, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
The Masquerade (Heaven)
Black Star Riders took Atlanta by storm and delivered an absolutely stellar, jaw dropping performance that left mouths wide open and three mile smiles on every fucking face in the room. Lead singer/guitarist Ricky Warwick led his band through and unbelievable marathon set of songs that covered nearly the entire BSR debut album All Hell Breaks Loose along with some Thin Lizzy classics. Much like the Crobot/Scorpion Child show, there weren’t a whole lot of people present but everyone that was there was treated to a top tier, professional, and mesmerizing performance that left us all with sore throats from singing at the tops of our lungs. This was yet another unforgettable performance from a band that deserves way more credit and attention than they’re getting. Hopefully all that will change when they release their follow up in 2015.
Geoff Tate’s Queensryche
August 17, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
Center Stage Theater
After a long, grueling battle in and out of the courtroom, Geoff Tate brought his band to Atlanta, GA for the “farewell” to the name Queensryche. Geoff has taken a lot of pot shots over the last year or so but this performance at Center Stage Theater absolutely blew me away and everyone else in attendance. Performing a set that was heavy on Empire and Promised Land material, Geoff and his band of stellar musicians proved to be more than capable of putting on a top tier performance. When Geoff and Co. launched into “Real World” that night, the hairs on my arm stood straight up and the mindblowing rendition of “Della Brown” feature a guitar solo by Robert Sarzo that left me feeling like I was seeing magic being made right before my eyes. This was a truly unforgettable show by a band that no matter how well and how strong they play will take sucker punches from the general public. Ya know what? That’s fine with me because I know what I saw and I know what I heard and what I saw and heard was a band that was full of life, full of passion, and full of fire.
October 28, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
Just when I was ready to write off Judas Priest forever as a band that was long past their prime, here they come delivering the goods (pun intended) and putting on a show that had me inserting my foot right into my own fucking piehole. For an hour and a half Judas Priest totally blew me away. New guitarist Richie Faulkner must have injected them with some youthful venom because the band was playing with so much energy and Rob Halford was more animated and talkative than I’ve seen him in 20 years. Just hearing him belt out the opening line of “Victim of Changes” alone was worth the ticket price. Judas Priest really made a believer out of me this night and all I can say is that I’m so glad that this is how I’ll always remember Priest. Even if the band tours again, this is the last time I’ll see them because this is how I want to remember them. I’ll remember them as a band that still had it going on for them as opposed to being tired and strained.
November 13, 2014 – Marietta, GA
120 Music Hall
John Corabi is without a doubt one of the best kept secrets in rock n’ roll and when I heard he was bringing his “Unplugged” show to the burbs of Atlanta, rain, sleet, and snow wasn’t going to keep me away. Armed with nothing but his guitar, a few drinks, and that soulful, stratospheric voice, John Corabi delivered a marathon 2 hour + set that played like an anthology of his career. Pulling from the Motley Crue, Union, and Scream song books, Corabi delivered some of the most passionate and engaging renditions of his material in addition to some stellar covers including The Beatles “Norwegian Wood” and a mind blowing, jaw dropping cover the Aerosmith classic “Seasons of Wither.” In addition to a stellar set of songs, Corabi engaged and entertained the audience with stories that were humorous, touching, and captivating. John Corabi did with just a guitar and his voice what most full on bands with walls of Marshalls behind them can’t do. This was yet another unforgettable show that was lightning in a bottle without a doubt.
December 6, 2014 – Atlanta, GA
The last show of the year for the Brainfart turned out to be VERY close behind King Diamond/Jess and the Ancient Ones for being the best show of the year. GWAR brought their GWAR Eternal tour to Atlanta and it was easily one of the most moving, fun, and exciting shows I saw this year. After the passing of Dave “Oderus Urungus” Brockie, GWAR fans really didn’t know what would happen but GWAR forged forward not missing a step and put on my favorite GWAR performance since 1994. With long time friend and original bassist Mike “Blothar/Beefcake the Mighty” Bishop at the mic, GWAR delivered a marathon set that dug deep into the band’s past and pulled out songs rarely/seldom heard such such “The Years Without Light”, “Black and Huge”, and “U Ain’t Shit.” Blothar and Co. proved that GWAR is nowhere near done and that a whole new chapter has been launched that will carry GWAR far into the future. Wow, there must be a God or something!