Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Breaking In At Midnight

Being in radio means that I can get brand new albums for free, usually close to five days before they are released. However, the release of Breaking Benjamin's brand new record, Dear Agony, was a special occasion, and I decided that this time I would, instead, wait like everyone else until the day of sale. I even took it upon myself to stand out in the cold at the Gallery of Sound in Kingston/Edwardsville with a few hundred other Benheads and await the Midnight Release of the highly anticipated new album.

We had a freakin' blast! Also, huge minion points are to be awarded to the two dudes at the front of the line that waited outside the store since 3:00pm, nine whole hours before the release. Now THAT is dedication (and proof of having no job and nothing better to do)!

The big draw to the Midnight Release not only had to do with the desire for an album that has been two years in the making, but also because the Gallery of Sound was raffling off wristbands that would get you into our 97.9X Top Secret Show with Breaking Benjamin the following evening. Everyone that bought the new album that evening was given the opportunity to win.

Excitement was building, and tensions were high. Finally, the doors to the store opened up at Midnight and the crowed rolled in.

Oh, and by the way, look who happened to take the time to stop by the Gallery of Sound in the Gateway Shopping Center and sign stuff...

...None other than NEPA's own, Chad Szeliga, the drummer for Breaking Ben! I think I can speak for all of the people there that evening when I say "thank you" to Chad for stopping by.

The folks who came out had a great time and everyone was thrilled to have the new album. After the line for purchases had ended at roughly 1:30am, it was time to raffle off the passes into the Secret Show, and yours truly was put in charge of picking the winning tickets out of the bucket.

Let me tell you that there are not many things in this world that stress me the hell out, but this was definitely one of those things. While it was simply luck of the draw as to whose number I pulled out, it sucked having to watch people's hearts be broken when they didn't win. So to all of those people whose number(s) I did not pick, I am sorry that I let you down and ask that you please do not hate me forever and ever. To all those people whose number(s) I DID pick, I shall expect gifts and favors as a sign of your gratitude to be forthcoming.

So with the midnight release complete and Dear Agony officially in stores, it was time for part two of the festivities: the Secret Show with Breaking Benjamin!

And what a show it was.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the River Street Jazz Cafe helped us out by supplying the venue, and I hope we can do more things with them in the future, because it was a great time! Breaking Benjamin blew the crowd away with acoustic performances of "The Diary of Jane", "I Will Not Bow", "Until the End", and finished things off with "Breath". Of course, the crowd goes crazy when the band left the stage, and of course the boys came back out and played an encore which featured a song off of the brand new album.

It was an awesome night, and the band even came out afterward to hang out with their loyal NEPA fanbase, take pictures, and sign autographs.

And so, after two straight days of busy-work and very little sleep, the frenzy surrounding the release of Dear Agony has finally begun to settle down. If you have yet to buy the album, I suggest that you stop reading this blog, get off of your ass, and go get it! Trust me, it rocks. And if you couldn't get into the Secret Show, you have my sympathy, and I hope that you can join us for one in the future.

I'm going to catch up on some sleep. Until next time, greasers, KEEP ROCKIN'!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Check Out My Face!

Due to popular demand (i.e. because I wanted to), I am now on Facebook!

After arguing headlong with the Facebook developers and moderators over the fact that they didn't believe my name was Crisco, I have finally got it up and running. There is hardly anything on it yet and I have next to no friends.

All that being said, make sure to send me a request and some suggestions for friends and help me expand my network a bit. And tell your friends.

You can head over to my Facebook page by clicking here.

Check it out. Rock on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Three Days Grace "Break" Music Video

Hot off the film reel, here is the music video for the brand new single "Break" by Three Days Grace.

The new album from Three Days Grace is called Life Starts Now and it will be on store shelves on September 22nd.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Double Shot of New Music Goodness

Most of the time when I am on-air (and on this blog) I try to keep you all up-to-date on any new music announcements that may come around concerning the many bands played on 97.9X. I do this under the assumption that, much like myself, you listeners get excited when you hear that one of you favorite bands has some new music headed your way.

As long as I have been doing this, I have gotten more than a few e-mails from listeners who were grateful for my trying to keep them so in the loop. Though I can't keep up with EVERY piece of news about a band or new music, I try and make you aware of the important stuff. Still, every now and then, some New Rock news will slip through the cracks. There is no excuse, however, for me not covering the two bands included in this blog. Being that I haven't covered this news in the manner that it deserves, I have decided to give you guys a dual report on everything I know about these two new albums, and I hope you will forgive my slacking off.

Spinning In Circles

The first band I want to make a point of reporting on is Creed. The announcement that Creed had reunited was huge news for the world of rock. When a band with three multi-platinum albums that has been apart for half a decade decides to get back together, go on tour, and record a new album, people tend to pick up their heads and listen. But somehow, I feel like this was sort of ignored and pushed aside. For crying out loud, they had a tour date in both Hershey, PA and in Camden, NJ and we never even mentioned either at great length! They are still touring even as you are reading this, but no stops on the remainder of the tour are going to be anywhere near NEPA. Still, if you wanted to check out the remaining tour dates, just head over to and check them out.

As far as new music goes, Creed is planning on releasing a brand new album called Full Circle on October 27th of this year. The first track off of the new album is called "Overcome" and is going through regular rotation on 97.9X, so tune in to take a listen. I have included the artwork for the new album in the picture above.

This CD will definitely be one to look forward to.

A Congregation of Musical Styles

The next band I wanted to mention is Atreyu. Most of you will be familiar with their singles "Becoming the Bull", "Falling Down", and "Slow Burn" which received a lot of airplay on 97.9X and came off of their last album Lead Sails Paper Anchor. Some others, like myself, have been long familiar with Atreyu from back when they were signed to Victory Records. I think those people will agree that Lead Sails was not Atreyu's best work. Some might even argue that the band "sold out" and made themselves more commercially acceptable. All may have varying degrees of truth, but that is why we should be excited for their new CD release.

The new album, called Congregation of the Damned, is set to hit stores on October 27th (ironically, the same days as Creed's new album). In various interviews with the band, frontman Alex Varkatzas admits that the last album was a let-down and has promised that Atreyu will make up for it with the new record. Varkatzas says we can expect a mix between the band's primal energy from their earlier records with the dynamic hooks and enhanced craftsmanship of their newer work. The band has promised that the new album will not disappoint.

I know one thing: I am definitely excited to listen to it when it comes out.

As always, keep it here for updates on this and other New Rock announcements.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Smacked by the Gods!

A difficult task comes with writing a blog about a concert. This is especially true for a concert that rocked as hard as Crüe Fest 2 did this past Friday at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain. The difficulty comes with the desire to adequately encapsulate the sheer badassedness of the event. The problem is it is difficult to know where to begin. Regardless, I am going to give it a shot.

Having attended the first Crüe Fest that went down last year, I walked into the show on Friday thinking I knew what to expect. Was I ever wrong! The tour was twice as big this year, both literally and figuratively. The first thing I noticed when I entered through the gate at the VIP lot was the crowds rocking out at the Monster Energy stage set up just before the wooden bridge. The news that Crüe Fest 2 had added the second stage came late last spring, and I was very excited. The second stage definitely added something to the show. Not only did it keep the throngs of concert-goers occupied while the bands on the main stage set up their equipment, they also kept a large amount of people running back and forth between the stages, which maintained a very high-energy atmosphere, something that the somewhat lesser-known Monster Energy bands captured and built upon.

Our hometown boys in Destination West kicked things off on the Monster Energy stage, performing a great set for the crowds as they piled into the venue. The always entertaining Destination West did not fail to disappoint. I can't wait to see where these guys go from here.

The Charm City Devils then kicked off festivities on the main stage within the Pavilion. For a band that I hadn't heard of up until a few months ago, the Charm City Devils did a great job. Although they are still a bit unrefined when it comes to live shows, they managed to get the crowd excited nonetheless. With a little polish, I think this band can become very very entertaining in live performances. I'm going to have to pick up their new studio album, Let's Rock-N-Roll, and give it a solid listen.

Up next on the main stage was Drowning Pool, who never fail to thrash our asses off. They played right into the rowdy crowd, opening things up with "Sinner". It is worth mentioning that their new lead vocalist, Ryan McCombs, carries himself quite easily through the vocals of Drowning Pool's older singles, which were recorded with original singer Dave Williams. McCombs does great justice for all of Drowning Pool's singles, and the band rocked the hell out of the Pavilion with a set-closing performance of "Bodies" that had the whole crowd on their feet.

After Drowning Pool left the stage, it was Theory of a Deadman's turn to rock. At a point in just about every festival when the crowd is a bit worn from the first few performances and are eagerly awaiting the main acts, Theory of a Deadman pulled everyone to attention and kept things alive in pro-fashion. Theory kept things light-hearted and entertaining, often pandering to the crowd. Still, they delivered when it came time to rock out. After ripping through a few older singles and some new ones, their moment came when it was time for their hit "Hate My Life", which had the whole Pavilion singing along. They closed out with "Bad Girlfriend", which had the place (especially the bad girlfriends) jumping.

A quick trip down the hill and it was time for Rev Theory to take the Monster Energy stage. This was the first time I had seen Rev Theory perform plugged-in for an entire set, but it was worth the wait. Rev Theory has a very energetic stage presence and they dominated with a performance that should have been in the main line-up. They cleaned up with "Hell Yeah", and put a wrap on the Monster Energy stage.

Then it was time for the huge acts to begin. Rev Theory had only just finished when Godsmack took the stage, tearing it open with "Awake". Godsmack continued into the set with hit after hit, even throwing in a brief cover of Pantera's "Walk" in the middle of "Speak". Then, we were treated to a haunting and mellowing performance of "Voodoo" which brought out the lighters. About halfway through their set, Sully Erna disappeared off stage, only to re-emerge inside of a second drum kit. The drum battle was on as Erna and Shannon Larkin erupted into a 15-minute dual-drum solo featuring more brief covers of AC/DC and Black Sabbath.

I also need to commend Sully for slowing things down during "Keep Away" and calming the crowd after things got out of hand and a few fights broke out in the pit. It was very professional of him, and he managed to pull it off in a way that kept the crowd's energy up. After things had been broken up, the band brought the song back to the whole venue jumping and moving. They finished up their set even stronger than they started it, and left us hungry for more. In my personal opinion, I felt that Godsmack stole the show, even outshining the Crüe themselves. It was definitely the best performance I have seen in a long time.

Last, and certainly not least, was the Festival's titular band: Mötley Crüe! As was advertised, Crüe ripped their way through their album Dr. Feelgood from front to back in the grand fashion that we have come to expect from their shows. Truthfully, I wasn't so sure how to take the whole "playing one album" thing, but Crüe didn't disappoint. After they had cleared the album, they continued to rock with their other famous hits, ending on a high note, but also bringing the night to a satisfying conclusion.

It was most definitely a show that should not have been missed, especially considering that Mötley Crüe has already said that there will be no Crüe Fest next year since the band plans to take time off to write and record a new record. I feel pity for those of you that couldn't be there, and strongly suggest that you attend when it comes back (hopefully) in 2011.

On a side (and amusing) note, I was able to get backstage for a while to hang out with a few of the bands. I wasn't back there for very long, but it was enough time to answer the call of nature in Mötley Crüe's dressing room. Not in a bathroom, just in their dressing room. Good times!

So ends another concert season at the Toyota Pavilion. It is upsetting to see the summer already over, but it only makes me even more greedy for next year. As far as Crüe Fest goes, I seriously hope that it comes back, and I'm sure you will all be joining me as we eagerly await the next run.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Breaking Ben Album Artwork

There it is, you greedy listeners! The picture above, snagged from, is the official album artwork for Breaking Benjamin's new album Dear Agony which is set to hit stores on September 29th.

I know you have probably labeled me as a filthy bastard by now for all the teasing I do for this album. Well, deal with it! I'm stuck waiting for it the same as you!

The anticipation continues to build...