Monday, October 20, 2014

Tony MacAlpine / Travis Larson Band/ LoNero @ Jammin Java 10/19/2014

Upon recommendation from T.J., I went to see technical guitar virtuoso Tony MacAlpine at Jammin' Java ($25). I saw T.J, his wife, Christine and Paul, Ariel, and Juan there. As this was a Sunday night, all instrumental bands, kind of short notice, and I'd not been back here (and never seen a show here) in a while, I wasn't sure how all these things would flow together if at all!

Tony MacAlpine, Bjorn, and Aquilies Priester !

There were about 100 people there,  maybe about a third of the venue capacity? It wasn't jam packed, but it was definitely somewhat crowded, especially near the stage. Elsewhere, not so much. Jammin' Java was actually pretty spacious, allowed reentry, looked like it had been renovated since I had last been years ago, and had an excellent sound system. Parking also wasn't too bad. They had coffee, draft (and not) beer, and a full food menu (their chili dog was really great). I think this is a pretty great place to see a show, but the only other heavy show I saw on posters was an old Anvil show from a couple years back. I don't know how booking works, but it would be a nice place to see future concerts.

Merchandise, each of the bands had a table set up with merch, in darkness. I know the openers had shirts and CDs, but I didn't really peruse. Tony MacAlpine had 2 CDs- a best of and his 2011 Self Titled release ($15), Aquiles Priester DVDs, a shirt or 2, and  maybe something else hidden by shadows.

I got there as LoNero was finishing up- they had 5 guys on stage, 3 guitarists, bassist, and drummer. I immediately noticed that they sounded rather good over the speakers, nice and clear, even from back near the tables (bar/dining area). I don't believe they mentioned what the couple of songs I heard were called, but their triple guitar work sounded perfectly fine to me. I don't know if I would have been able to handle 3 full instrumental sets.

Travis n co

The trio of the Travis Larson Band was next. Also totally instrumental, there was some talking in between songs, but I couldn't make out what the guitarist was saying (Travis, presumably) as I was eating. He also had a drummer and a female bass player who was pretty high up in the mix, which yielded a very prominent groovy bass line. That's the thing I most remember. They sounded good as well, but I don't recall much else distinctive besides the bass.

 Bjorn on Bass and Maximum Security Drums

There was a track that kept mentioning "Countdown" and then Tony MacAlpine (guitar), Aquiles Priester (drummer), and Bjorn Englen (bass) took the stage and launched into the entire "Maximum Security" album from the late 80s. Aquiles (ex-Primal Fear, ex-Angra) from Sao Paulo Brazil was a bit of a monster on the drums, and I am pretty sure I had seen Bjorn with Yngwie Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth, or Dio Disciples after looking him up a bit on Wikipedia, but I can't really confirm one way or the other. I had never seen Tony MacAlpine before and wasn't sure what to expect besides talent. And he delivered many times over. from the first notes he played, you could tell this guy is a professional and was playing with a bit more... soul... than say Yngwie. The sound of the drums and bass was maybe a bit too high/loud, as my entire frame was shaking a lot, but the guitar was crystal clear.

Eyes Wide Shut!

Tony had his eyes closed for pretty much the entire time he was playing guitar, which def is impressive and made me think he was feeling the music and letting it flow through him. It was interesting to note that both Tony and Bjorn had +1 strings on their instruments, but they were not djentlemen. I will defer to a friend who mentioned his tolerance of neoclassical /guitar wankery- about 50 minutes and then he's good. I will say that this reminded me of seeing Jeff Loomis live- all instrumental, not even addressing the crowd. Technically amazing, but show wise, the songs kind of blended together and I was a bit...bored. That almost happened a couple of times, during the bass and drum solo and maybe a song near the middle, but the songs in and of themselves were rather different and each one, although containing a lot of sweeping arpeggios and two handed tapping, they were all pretty different. I don't know if I would have been able to differentiate them if I had been more familiar, tho. I will say that yes I was a bit bored during this drum solo, too- Aquilies was good, but not holding my attention greatly.

Just Chillin', playing guitar

There were not many people moving during the performance, maybe a few (including myself and Mrs T.J.). Maybe they were busy taking videos or awed by the technical prowess on stage? I don't know, but it was like seeing a regular 'rock' band- a lot of applause but no movement. This was more of a progressive snobby show than a rock n roll show I'd say- as a disclaimer. But I think people seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

SO many notes

I got a picture of the setlist after Ariel retrieved it from a monitor. It seemed a bit off from my notes, particularly the bass and drum solos switched. I think the songs played were the same, but perhaps the solos were out of order. I was not familiar with any of the songs played, but placement wise, the songs seem to be accurate. The set was kind of short, but would I have been able to handle more musical masturbation? After the performance, The band came out to the merch table and signed things and took photos. I just went home, not really feeling like waiting in the rather long line, but perhaps I missed out?

Overall, it was a very impressive show, and I am glad my buddy T.J. let me know about it! A bit different from the usual (but a little of the same ;3), and it was over kind of early, so that was nice. I would totally recommend Jammin' Java as a place to see a show, but they just need to book some more rockin' acts! Tony was definitely one of the best technical guitarists I've seen. EVEr.

LoNero (7:00- 7:40)

  • ?

Travis Larson Band (8:00- 8:46)
  • ?

Tony MacAlpine (9:07- 10:25)

  • Autumn Lords
  • Hundreds of Thousands
  • Tears of Sahara
  • Key to the City
  • The Time and the Test
  • The King's Cup
  • Sacred Wonder
  • The Vision
  • Dreamstate
  • Porcelain Doll (end max)
  • Drum solo (bass solo happened here, contrary to Setlist)
  • Sepens Cauda
  • Bass solo (drum solo happened here , contrary to Setlist)
  • Pyrokenesis
  • Guitar Solo
  • Concrete Gardens
  • -
  • The Taker