Monday, February 28, 2011

Kopek: Dublin's Addictive Musical Export

Ireland’s newest export to the USA comes in the form of a power trio of rockers called Kopek. Their stellar debut CD entitled “White Collar Lies” has just been released onto the world. The band, consisting of Shane Cooney on drums, Brad Kinsella on bass and Daniel Jordan on vocals and guitar, are here to bring back some much needed energy and passion to rock and roll.

How many times have you opted not to buy a band’s CD because you only liked a song or two on it? Well, this CD is an exception to that rule as it is a work of art from beginning to end. It flows cohesively from beginning to end and warrants the listener’s attention to such an extent, that you don’t want to skip any tracks. How many times has that happened to you while listening to a band’s CD? Be honest now; very few times has such an occurrence happened.

The CD opens with the new single “Cocaine Chest Pains” and the opening riff immediately grabs you by the throat demanding your attention. It also caught the attention of Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue as he featured it on his radio show The Sixx Sense as one of his new picks. If this one doesn’t get you rocking, then you best call 911 because this is pure rock and roll ecstasy.

The title track shifts gears and slows the tempo a bit while delving in lyrics on a level sure to strike a chord with many people today. Touching on the government getting richer while more and more lives are lost, it is a song that touches on the sentiment of many Americans today.

“Love Is Dead” is another stand-out track that pays homage to many of the band’s fallen idols. It was the band’s first video and is a stellar example of singer Daniel Jordan’s insanely original and powerful vocals.

The band really mixes it up and rocks out with fierce intensity on songs such as “The Easy Way (D.B. Cooper)” and “Bring It Home”, which also includes another nasty riff that the song is based around. They also know how to slow the tempo a bit on songs such as “Floridian” and “Bigger Than Us All” to where they are almost ballads, but they build up to their chorus which rocks out.

Brad and Shane are a tight unit to supply the backbeat and drive that powers this band. Daniel, well, what can I say about Daniel? This guy is definitely a star that many people will be talking about in the near future. He is a highly skilled guitar player with some original and amazing riffs that hook you from the first chord. He also possesses one of the most original voices to come along in years. He has a rough and raspy voice that is so powerful and full of conviction that you can’t help but to notice who is singing. It hooks you and makes you want to hear more.

I highly recommend this CD to lovers of powerful rock and roll that is true to the core and heartfelt. You also have to love the effect of the distortion pedal on a catchy riff. Kopek may be new to the scene for most of us, but these guys have been putting in their dues for almost a decade and it looks as if the payoff is in sight. Check out “White Collar Lies” and experience a new force in rock and roll to be reckoned with.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Music as a Weapon Tour Assaults Winston Salem, NC

It may have been a cold and windy day in February, but it was about to heat up as the Music as a Weapon 5 tour pulled into Winston Salem, NC. A sea of black t-shirts congregated in front of the Lawrence Joel Sports Annex as the fans began to line up to claim their spots when the doors opened. The tour, consisting of co-headliners Korn and Disturbed along with Sevendust and In This Moment, has been drawing impressive numbers along the way so far and tonight’s show looked to follow suit.
Monster Energy Drink, the sponsor of the tour, was on hand for the show with their mobile unit parked out front. Their crew was giving away free drinks to anyone who ventured up too their tent outside. There’s nothing like getting a bunch of anxious head bangers all jacked up on energy drinks before a show! The doors opened at 6:30 and a mad dash ensued for not only the general admission floor spots, but also for the bathrooms!

In This Moment were first to hit the stage. The band, fronted by Revolver’s Hottest Chick in Metal Maria Brink, have been touring relentlessly since 2005 and establishing a very loyal fan base. Their five song set, focusing solely on their newest CD “A Star Crossed Wasteland”, was a full on assault. Maria seemed to be having some audio problems at the start, which did prove to be distracting for her, but she managed to keep it together like a pro. The crowd was definitely full of new recruits into their Iron Army. Their set closed with “Welcome to The Gun show” and a full moshpit erupted as bodies started to fly everywhere. This was my first time seeing In This Moment on a big stage and I have to say that they seemed right at home.

Sevendust were up next and fed off of the energy that In This Moment drummed up in the crowd. Lead singer Lajon Witherspoon took the stage with a vengeance and from the opening notes of “Splinter”, he had a chokehold on the hungry fans. The band sounded tight and marched through staples such as “Driven” and “Black”. Their short, but intense, 30 minute set ended with “Face to Face” and left the crowd hungry for more.

This proved to be the perfect set-up for Disturbed, who had a strong following in the building by turnout of t-shirt support alone. David Draiman, lead singer, may not prove to be the most charismatic person on stage, but he knows how to deliver the goods to the crowd of followers. The band, who’s last four CDs have debuted at number one, sounded great and the lightshow was top notch. They blitzed through their hour long set with very little interaction with the crowd. “Remnants” followed by “Asylum” followed by “Stupify”, one hit right after the other. It barely gave the crowd time to catch its own breath. The kamikaze style set closed with their signature hit “Sickness”. One argument heard about the band is that their sound has definitely been well crafted, but it’s beginning to sound a bit repetitious. It may be time to freshen up things just a bit.

It was Korn’s turn to close out the show, as they take turns with Disturbed alternating that coveted spot. The originators of the “nu-metal” sound, Korn has seen a lot of wannabes pop up in their career of almost 20 years. Their showing tonight proved why they have lasted for so long and earned the respect of many in the crowd. Lead singer Jonathan Davis may not look the part of the traditional front man, but the man has got the skills to fill the shoes and get the job done.

Davis, along with Munky on guitar and Fieldy on bass, controlled the stage front with their unique presence. Munky, looking somewhat like a cross between Prince and Adam Ant with his face paint and attire was a beast on guitar. Fieldy wielded his bass more as a weapon than an instrument of sound as he pounded away on it. Davis came out dressed more for a run at the gym than a rock show, but that’s the beauty of this front man. He doesn’t need all the props and fancy gimmicks used by some; substance over style.

I admit that a lot of people that I spoke with before the show were not very interested in seeing Korn perform. I heard a lot of comments such as “They use to be good”, “They suck” and “Maybe 10 years ago, but not tonight” when I talked to some of the crowd before the show. Well, Davis and company made believers out of these doubters with their high energy hour plus set of old and new songs. Most of the staple songs were there, “Freak on a Leash”, Twisted Transitor”, “Ya’ll Want a Single” and “Blind” kept the rabid crowd head banging along. Davis even brought out the bagpipes for “Shoots and Ladders” which turned into a mash-up of sorts with Metallica’s “One”. Are Korn closet Glee fans?

The band ended the show by coming out to center stage and tossing shirts, guitar picks, drum sticks and drum heads out into the audience. I will admit that I was highly impressed with their set. Yes, it could have been a little longer so that a few more of their signature songs could have been included. That being said, the entire show was a treat. The Music as a Weapon Tour focused this year n smaller markets that may not necessarily get shows of this caliber. Here’s hoping to its continued success in bringing music like this to the masses.