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Jagermeister MusicTour - Southern California

By A Headbanger, Do You Bang Head?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 @ 12:34 AM

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By Sandi Salina

I've spent three nights with Corey Taylor this year. It's good to see a band favorite work different rooms in varied cities. Songs come alive distinctively based on the artist's mood for the room and the mix of the milieu facing him.

This week Stone Sour headlined two dates of the Jagermeister MusicTour in SoCal, both shows interesting but each definitely cut from a different rock.

Anaheim on Tuesday was a smallish venue--House of Blues at Downtown Disneyland. For those not familiar, or out-of-state, this concert hall isn't actually in the grounds of Mickey's House, but next door in an outdoor mall made-up of mostly restaurants, sports bars and single-vendor display booths.

Strict curfews in this theme-park area made the door time earlier than sunset (something like 6:20pm), so the show started just a bit after 7pm. Tough for those of us who work and are traveling down from LA. I had to cover at my job til 7pm and I work up by Universal Studios, so that's a good 45-minute trek even when there's with no traffic.

Thank goodness the Travel Gods were easy on me for a weekday and I arrived about 8:10pm. The awesome smell of coconut-caramel kettle corn being popped almost blew me down as I hurried through the walk-ways rushing to pick up my will-call tickets. By the time I got through all the searches, up the stairs to the second-floor entry, then back down the stairwell inside so I could get up close to the stage, it was 8:30. Lacuna Coil were on their last song. Damn! They sure didn't give these guys very long set-times, eh? Jeeze, openers Mower must've only played like 20 minutes.

Anyway, the few measures of Lacuna Coil I was able to absorb were gripping and I vowed to make more time for them when I saw the show at the Wiltern the next night in LA.

Shadows Fall came up next, but I'm sorry to say I was disappointed with their sound in that nice intimate room. Stage is only about 14 people wide at HOB Anaheim, but Shadows Fall's guitars were just a big, muddy wash of clutter blasting out at us. The neat harmonies you can hear on their records were all untidy and confused amongst the thunder of the music.

Stone Sour stopped in about 10pm, taking the stage as the campy, dramatic keyboards of Europe's "Final Countdown" filled the air. Cute. Wish they would've shown up in spandex too to make the lampoon even more luxurious. But the warp-down of that pop-metal hit melting into the thunderous drumbeats of "30/30-160" was even smarter, and I felt the band's concrete vigor wash over everyone immediately. Corey was delectably cocky as usual, and the first half of the set was filled with Stone Sour's socially conscious messages and powerful playing. It was great to see him doin' his thing up close like that, and I wasn't even in the pit, just standing over on the other side of the amps by the bar.

Initially I wasn't even going to go to the Los Angeles show because I figured the HOB-environment would provoke such a killer performance from SS that I would easily be satiated. However, I was wrong. When I showed up Wednesday at the classic Wiltern concert hall, I had a sudden premonition that this would be the best show I would see from them yet. Bingo. Such a winner!

If I thought Corey was cool in a sold-out smaller room, well his performance was simply magical in the swanky, art-deco theatrical surrounds of the Wiltern. The big ol' wide stage gave the band's stance much more drama as they spread themselves across it and launched a powerful performance. Maybe the hall's vaudeville beginnings still seep into the souls of those who stand upon the stage, I dunno, but surely they all really seemed to enjoy themselves and cut loose during this show.

Roy Mayorga is the new Tommy Lee, thunderously governing everything in the room as he plows through beats and drives everyone's headbanging. Something kinda pornographic about seeing Corey's close-cropped head gyrating round in round in circles when he used to swing his curls all over the place that way. But who doesn't love that new look on him. James Root still holds up the dark side of the band, sneaking in sharp, sinester licks while Josh and Rand seem to power together more, delivering the essential melodies and heartbeat of it all.

Corey's solo spots continue to be richly engaging; he's replaced "Free Bird" with a bit of "Sweet Home Alabama;" his bits of "Wicked Game" persist and nag at my heart; and then he added a breathtaking few measures to burn, burn, burn Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," something that really showcases the lower realms of Corey's throaty devices. Please give us more spoken word when you get a chance, boy, or hey, perform some of that stuff at the next SS show maybe?

"Sillyworld," "Made of Scars," and "Tumult," remain the best parts of Stone Sour's concerts for me this year. But how can I ignore the grind of "Reborn" and "Get Inside"? I can't. I'm jonesing for both to blow me away again this morning as I write this. Folks, you're sure to find your own little nuggets of pleasure when you see SS on their remaining Jagermeister MusicShows over the next week.

And hey, make sure to make some time for Lacuna Coil. Oddly enough, they switched the lineup of the show at the Wiltern, and Shadows Fall went on before Lacuna this time. So when I showed up at 9pm, I was just in time to see LC's whole set. No one is slaggin' in this band; everyone seems to be working overtime to present such a cohesive coverlet of metal and melody.

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