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It is so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that yet another fucking year has blown by us!  It seems like just a week ago that I was thinking to myself, “How the fuck is 2016 even going to come close to ruling like 2015 did?”  Well, here I am looking at my Top Shows list thinking, “How is 2017 even going to come close to ruling this fucking hard?”  This was was a great fucking year full of amazing shows.  In all honesty, I had the hardest time compiling this list knowing that some just wouldn’t make the cut, not because the shows weren’t good but because they were just slightly edged out by the shows that eventually made this list.  From heavy metal legends and prog rock masters to new bearers of the torch, this list covered so many facets and degrees of heaviness.  This is also the first year that I actually listed the shows in order of greatness.  Talk about a fucking challenge but hey, I did it and I’m proud to stand by it. 

To all the bands that made this list, congrats to you all and thank you all for putting on some truly remarkable and unforgettable performances.  Ok, so here we go.  The winners are…

SHOW OF THE YEAR
January 31, 2016
Graveyard
Raleigh, NC
Lincoln Theatre

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that if either Iron Maiden or Graveyard have been seen in a year’s time, one of them is likely to be crowned victorious. I wasn’t able to attend the Graveyard show in Atlanta so I tripped up to Raleigh and took in the show up there with my best buddy who had never seen them. Finally, he got what I had been talking about all these years because the minute the band walked out opening with “Slow Motion Countdown”, as always, magic was being made right in front of us.
Truls Morck being back in the fold was fantastic and to hear him singing “As the Years Pass By, the Hours Bend” was an absolute treat. The band played flawlessly with the purest of heart. Joakim sang better and more soulful than I had ever heard him and everything about this show had them locked in and sounding better than they have in a long time. It saddens me to think that this was the last time I would ever see Graveyard but if anything, I can look back and say that they went out proving once again that nobody does it better than Graveyard.

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=15666

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December 4, 2016
Dream Theater
Symphony Hall
Atlanta, GA

This show was without a doubt the biggest surprise of 2016 for me.  Dream Theater totally made a believer out of me in their 2016 release, The Astonishing.  While it didn’t make much of an impact on me when I first heard it, seeing them perform the album live in it’s entirety was a whole other ballgame.  This performance had Dream Theater playing with more fire, passion, and energy than I have seen them play with in many, many years.  Now solidified behind the drums, Mike Mangini proved himself to be THEE Dream Theater drummer while James LaBrie reminded me just what an amazing and commanding front man he is.  John Petrucci also seems to have grown as a guitarist infusing more soul and feel into his playing that I have ever seen while Jordan Rudess and John Myung are the understated wizards of the band.  All in all, this was a completely mesmerizing performance that left me speechless and wanting more.  Never has a nearly 3 hour concert gone by so fast.  Dream Theater knocked it out of the park on this one and I’m so proud to have been there to witness it.

Original Show Review:

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November 20, 2016
Electric Citizen/Horisont
The Masquerade
Atlanta, GA

I absolutely love it when a show comes along and exceeds your expectations so much that you can barely comprehend it. That is the case with the Electric Citizen/Horisont show. Horisont was definitely the buzz band on this tour but I have to say that on this particular stop, while Horisont was fantastic, Electric Citizen totally brought their “A Game” and proved to be the reigning champion this night.

The energy from both bands this night was absolutely off the charts and there wasn’t a still body or quite mouth in the place. We thrust fists, we headbanged, we sang, but most of all we smiled, laughed, and hugged. In this time that we are in right now, I needed that more than ever and this show delivered on so many levels I can’t even begin to go into them all. This show was off the charts and to anyone that was there, you know what I mean. To those that weren’t, I feel bad that you missed such an unforgettable performance from two amazing bands.

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=16695

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January 5, 2016
Venom, INC
Atlanta, GA
The Masquerade

When I first heard that there was even a thing called “Venom Inc”, I couldn’t do much more than to roll my eyes and just blow them off. I mean, c’mon, Cronos is Venom right? Well, if you agree with this sentiment, you couldn’t be more wrong my friend. The Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan era of Venom reunited as Venom Inc and I attended this show with an open mind. What I witnessed that night was the true heart and soul of Venom. From “Prime Evil” to “Countess Bathory” to “Black Metal” and all in between, Venom Inc. delivered hit after hit one after the other with such power that I could barely wrap my fool head around it. Abbadon, Mantas, and Demolition Man preserving the legacy of Venom and proving that this was not a mere off shoot of Venom… this IS Venom. As for Cronos… better step aside brother… The REAL Venom is back!

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=15590

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September 19, 2016
Sabaton
The Masquerade
Atlanta, GA

You know it’s going to be a great time when Sabaton pulls into town. Every time I see Sabaton, they are always such a strong force to be reckoned with. This time around, they came to Atlanta as support for Trivium and let me tell you, there was absolutely no contest. Sabaton hit the stage opening with “Ghost Division” and right off the bat the place went absolutely apeshit. This was definitely a Sabaton crowd for the most part. Hearing new songs such as “Sparta” and “Winged Hussars” was mind blowing and as always, it was flawless fucking performance. I would hate to be any band going on after Sabaton. All I can say is that I hope Trivium was backstage taking notes.

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=16529

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February 18, 2016
Enforcer
Atlanta, GA
The Masquerade

With the release of their latest album From Beyond, Enforcer was a band that quickly grabbed my attention. On album, the band was so tight and full of fire but I was going to have to see it live to believe it. When Enforcer finally made it to Atlanta, I was giddy with excitement. The band hit the stage with “Destroyer” and right off the bad my face slid right off my fucking head. There was so much energy, raw power, and fire coming out of that band that I felt like I had been transported back to seeing Judas Priest or Maiden in a small club. Enforcer made a huge believer out of me without a doubt and left me wanting more.

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=15718

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August 10, 2016
Alice Cooper
Atlanta, GA
Symphony Hall

Alice returned to Atlanta for his Spend the Night with Alice Cooper and, as always, Alice brought his entire toy box of freaks with him. Alice’s set list hasn’t changed very much over the past few tours but he always manages to slip in some great surprises. This time around, getting to hear “Public Animal #9” and “Long Way to Go” was a real treat but it was his “Raise the Dead” show closer where he paid tribute to The Who, Hendrix, Bowie, and Lemmy that truly brought the house down. Alice still has it and is showing no sign of losing it any time soon.

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=16296

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September 22, 2016
Savage Master
Drunken Unicorn
Atlanta, GA

Stacey Savage and her band of henchmen brought their headlining tour to Atlanta in September and this was a performance that left me absolutely blown away. In a little over year, Savage Master grew from a fledgling band to a powerful band that both captivated and dominated their audience. This particular show was such an awesome thing for me to see because seeing a band grow and mature right before your eyes never gets old. If Savage Master keeps growing at this pace, I can honestly say that in a then next year or two they will be an ultimate force to be reckoned with that’s for sure.

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=16527

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May 14, 2016
Purson
Atlanta, GA
The Loft

Purson brought their psychedelic technocolor rock show to Atlanta, GA and I was so ecstatic. Playing a headline set here on a night off from their tour supporting The Sword, Purson headlined the Loft and delivered a powerhouse set to a small but extremely appreciative and vocal audience. The band played a really fun set of songs pulling from both their debut album and from their latest masterpiece, Desires Magic Theatre and put on an unforgettable performance. Alas, it was one of those shows that should’ve been seen by hundreds proving that old saying true, “Some of the best shows are the ones that nobody was there to see.”

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=15971

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September 29, 2016
Stryper
Center Stage Theater
Atlanta, GA

It’s hard to believe that it has been 30 years since Stryper put out their monumental album, To Hell With the Devil. It’s even harder to believe that the last time I saw them was back in 1989. The years have been very good to Stryper because this performance had the band looking and sounding absolutely timeless and amazing. Hearing To Hell With the Devil in its entirety was a real treat and a solid testament to how well this album has stood the test of time. The sold out theater sang along song after song, smiled, and grooved about as the band took us back in time only to bring us back to the future with newer songs such as “Revelation” and “Yahweh.” Stryper proved this night that their best years are still way ahead of them.

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=16564

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February 6, 2016
Europe
Atlanta, GA
The Masquerade

If you would’ve told me 20 something years ago that not only would Europe put out one of my favorite albums of the decade in addition to being one of the best fucking shows I have seen all year, I would’ve probably laughed in your face. Honestly, Europe delivered the fucking goods putting on an arena level performance in the nearly sold out Masquerade and made a true believer out of me. Joey Tempest proved to be one of the single best frontmen out there today and also proved that you definitely can’t judge a book by its covers… especially when that cover is “The Final Countdown.”

Original Show Review: http://thegreatsouthernbrainfart.com/?p=15687

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About Don de Leaumont

Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats and dog. He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, "No fucking way."

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