Friday, February 29, 2008

Concert Review: Pelican @ Empty Bottle, Chicago 02-28-08

By Myche J

About three minutes into the first song, Mark leans over to me and says “yea, this is where we should be tonight”. My sentiments exactly. Having never seen Pelican before, I will say that they exceeded my expectations. Blew them away, really.

Instrumental music is an interesting thing. In my opinion, going voxless can be a limiting factor in the eyes of many music listeners, but of course there have been exceptions to this rule (“Telstar”, the “Cantina Theme” from Star Wars, “Rockit” by Herbie Hancock, Jan Hammer’s “Theme to Miami Vice”, “Axel F” – I apologize if you now can’t get some of these tunes out of your head now). On the other hand, how many times have you been rocking away from the opening riffage of a track, it sounds vey promising, you are ready to love it – then just as the singer offers up his contribution to the track you instantly say to yourself “ok, this sucks” and move on? But I digress. When the instrumental thing is pulled off effectively, it can be special. And Pelican pulls it off effectively. So on to the show…

The band pretty much grabbed me by the juglar from the onset. What I like about them is that they are very patient with the songs. They let the jam spill out slowly and smoothly. No need to hurry, we’re all in this thing together. But then when the time comes, they have the ability to dig deep and smack you right over the head! The nice variety in tempo makes a huge impact here.

I get the sense that they really enjoy making and playing their music. It shows. Nothing seems contrived. There were a couple times where one of the guitarists and the bassist both did some similar power moves in unison, and for a split second I thought it looked fantastic and wondered how they got that down (given that they weren’t looking at each other at all). But as I watched them more and more, I don’t think it’s contrived at all. It’s just what the music makes you want to do. The right move for the groove, if you will. Hell, if I would have never seen them live I would have done some of those things whilst jamming solo at home…

Forgive me for not knowing song titles here, besides “City of Echoes”. This show was one of the easiest 90 minutes I’ve encountered. Nothing seemed to drag too long, every note fit together perfectly. A wonderful concert experience.

They made me proud to be from Chicago…
This Weekend's Notable Chicago Shows

by Wayne Graham

Bang Camaro (w/ Thunderwing)
Double Door - Chicago, IL

Yakuza (w/ Dirge, Dead for Days)
Metro - Chicago, IL

Middian Legal Defense Benefit (okay, not a show, but still)
Kuma's Corner - Chicago, IL

Pearl Room - Mokena, IL
Most Unfair Tour News of the Day

by Wayne Graham

According to, Pig Destroyer and Into Eternity have been added to the At the Gates, Mayhem, Dillinger Escape Plan tour.

Um..........the what tour??

Yep. At the Gates, Mayhem, Dillinger, Pig Destroyer, and Into Eternity on one bill. For three Japan.

SON OF A.......!!!!!
Middian Legal Defense Benefit TONIGHT @ Kuma's Corner in Chicago!!!

By Wayne Graham

As has been widely reported on a good number of sites, Portland doom merchants Middian are entangled in a messy legal clusterfuck regarding their name. They've received a cease and desist order from Midian of Milwaukee LLC, and, as one can imagine, are having a bit of a tough go of things.

Apparently this "Midian" (note the single "D") is a band that has not updated any of their online content since the year 2000, have not performed outside of Wisconsin at all, and are huge douchbags, as they have sidestepped any attempts on the part of MiDDian to settle out of court, and are suing the Oregon band's three members, Metal Blade Records (their label, who have been forced to drop them), their booking agent, and an online merchandiser. Needless to say, the legal fees are probably overwhelming.

The amazing people over at first-rate Chicago burger spot Kuma's Corner are flying Middian out to town for this weekend, and the guys will be at the restaurant tonight to meet with fans and chow down on some amazing burgers. Any tips left on the bar in between 6pm and 2am will go towards Middian's legal defense fund.

All you Chicagoland Metal Maniacs need to raise some horns and get your asses out to Kuma's tonight. It's for a good cause, and, if you haven't tried out one of Kuma's scrumptuous metal-themed burgers and a delicious brew from their extensive beer list, well, what better time than now? (Try the Mastodon burger.....soooo good)

If you live outside of the area, or cannot make it, drop by Middian's MySpace page, or their official site, and donate. Pick up their fantastic album Age Eternal. Go see them if they're doing a gig near you. (tourdates below) Given that guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt was a founding member of Yob, any fans of that group will love Middian.

Here's the Kuma's Corner info

Friday Feb 29, 2008 at 6:00 PM

2900 W. Belmont
Chicago, IL 60618
(view map)
(Kuma's Website)
(more particulars)

Middian on the road

March 7th --- Eugene, OR @ The Samurai Duck
March 21st -- Portland, OR @ Berbati's Pan
March 22nd-- Seattle @ El Corazon
March 25th --- Eugene, OR @ The Samurai Duck
March 26th --- Medford, OR @ Music Head
March 27th ---- Oakland, CA @ Maxwell's
March 28th ---- LA, CA @ The Mountain Bar
March 29th----- San Fran, CA @ Annie's Social Club
March 20th --- Eureka, CA @ The Alibi

Middian on MySpace
Middian Official Site
Age Eternal for sale at
Entire A Life Once Lost Gig Available for Streaming!

by Wayne Graham

Remember Monday's A Life Once Lost Hook of the Day? That was awesome. And remember that entire High on Fire gig that posted? Somehow, MORE awesome. Dammit, why is it we can't find a way to combine those two posts into one SuperPost?!?!

Relax, dude.

ALOL opened for High on Fire that same night. The Magnificent Bastards at WoozyFly have now posted their set as well.

Wait for it.................NOW.
Hook of the Day - Mastodon "Cut You Up With a Linoleum Knife"

by Wayne Graham

Whew..... I just finished reading Decibel Magazine's cover story with Deicide's Glen Benton, and, I gotta tell ya, metal can be such serious stuff! How about we take a relaxed attitude and have some laughs with our Hook of the Day? Please enjoy Mastodon's hi-larious contribution to the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie for Theatres" film and soundtrack, "Cut You Up With a Linoleum Knife." Did you bring your baby? Babies don't watch this, take the seed outside!

Oh, and what the hell, why shouldn't you get a second Mastodon hook?? Courtesy of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, here's a trailer for EA Games' Army of Two, featuring The Don's cover of Three Dog Night's "One."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Concert Review: Foo Fighters @ Allstate Arena, Chicago 2-25-2008

by Wayne Graham

In a word? Incredible. In thirteen words? The Foo Fighters have perfected the art of the Big Arena Rock Show.

After spirited (and well-received) opening sets by Against Me! and Serj Tankian, Dave Grohl and the gang took the stage to "Let it Die" from their very fine Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace album. From that point 'til the end of their two-hour set, they served up one perfectly executed display of power pop-infused hard rock after another. And the sold-out audience gobbled it up.

The band touched on the best, the best, the best, the best of each of their 6 studio albums, with each member of the band (Grohl, firecracker drummer Taylor Hawkins, lead guitarist Chris Shifflet, and bassist Nate Mendel) playing with a hearty amount of Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band-style gusto. Grohl, as always, was the perfect Master of Ceremonies, combining infectious enthusiasm, non-stop kinetic cheerleading, and--without a doubt--the most hilarious stage banter of anyone touring the globe today. (Sorry, Paul Stanley)

The band blasted through a string of fist-pumping anthems (punctuated by a guitar duel and a terrific Hawkins drum solo) before traveling with their auxiliary touring members--former full-time Fighter Pat Smear on third guitar, a keyboard player, a mutli-percussionist, and a violin/cello player--down a catwalk to a small, circular satellite stage in the center of arena. Here, they played a series of exuberant, oddly intimate (for Allstate Arena, anyway) acoustic/semi-acoustic numbers. The band truly excelled during this portion, especially on a stunning version of "My Hero." Grohl played "Everlong" Live Earth-style, alone with his guitar on the center stage, before joining the rest of the band on the mainstage for the song's explosive conclusion. From there, they delivered the rest of the hits, turned up to 11.

I had seen FF three times prior to this gig, and this one was easily the best of the bunch. With every year, the Foo Fighters grow in stature within the hard rock community, and their live prowess grows right with it. Do not miss them on this tour.

Let It Die
The Pretender
Times Like These
Learn To Fly
Cheer Up Boys, Your Makeup Is Running
This is a Call
Stacked Actors
Skin And Bones
My Hero
Cold Day In The Sun
But, Honestly
Monkey Wrench
All My Life

Big Me
Long Road To Ruin
Best Of You
New Meshuggah album available for streaming!

by Wayne Graham

Hooks So Big = Meshuggah nerds

Their latest record, ObZen, will hit the U.S. like a ton of bricks on March 11th courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records.

Can't wait that long? It's streaming in its entirety on Meshuggah's MySpace page.

Yes, we've heard it. Many times. Yes, it's amazing.
Hook of the Day - Melvins "Hooch"

by Wayne Graham

All that Mike Patton talk yesterday made me think of Fantomas. Thinking of Fantomas made me think of Buzz Osbourne, which made me think of the Melvins. Thinking of the Melvins made me think of little else.

Here's "Hooch" from their Houdini album. You should own this record, if you don't already.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Concert Review: Clutch @ Metro, Chicago 02-26-08

by Myche J

It's been a very active concert season as of late. This was the first concert of an upcoming "four shows in six days" run. I'll tell you what: I could use an all-ages, show will be over by 10pm and I have a seat if I want it type of experience interspersed in here somwhere. But I don't see that coming. Yes, I'm officially getting old. Anyway, enough of my petty complaining - on to the show...

This was the third time I've seen Clutch. While no new ground was broken last night, it was a very solid show. I'll admit, I am much more familiar with the tracks from the last two albums, and perhaps because of that I felt those were the stand-outs. When they broke into "You Can't Stop Progress" from the latest From Beale Street To Oblivion, I felt the show really got a boost. Songs from that album that followed were "Power Player", "The Devil & Me", "Electric Worry", "Child Of The City" and "One Eye Dollar" - all great. Their new album continues to grow on me, and was certainly one of my faves of 2007. I would have liked to hear a few more off of Robot Hive/Exodus, but they did play a great version of "Burning Beard" so I'll just stop complaining.

Neil Fallon's vocals were very strong throughout, and of course Jean-Paul was tight. I was standing on the left so I paid a little more attention to guitarist Tim Sult. For as much attention as the two formerly mentioned bandmates get, much kudos goes to Sult. He has a fairly unassuming stage presence, but man, those riffs! An absolute key to the whole Clutch package.

A special shout-out to the guy who was going nuts before the encore in order to make the plea for everyone to be "LOUDER!" so the band would come out again. He seemed very concerned that they might just forget about us if we didn't scream really loud, stomp our feet, and clap in unison. Thanks to the band for not letting him or us down...

Ok, time to rest up for the rest of this week's shows...
Entire High on Fire Gig Available for Streaming!

by Wayne Graham

We know you're not doing anything productive right now...neither are we. How bout you kick back and enjoy this High on Fire performance, courtesy of social-networking site This is HonF's entire February 10th gig at Club Europa in Brooklyn, NY.

We don't have much experience with WoozyFly, but between this and the Baroness performance they posted a while back, it might be time to give MySpace the heave-ho, once and for all.
Hook of the Day - Faith No More "From Out of Nowhere"

by Wayne Graham

Hooks So Big? HUGE Mike Patton fans. One of the most unique musical minds of the past couple of decades. We could have gone with anything for a Patton-related Hook, really---Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Peeping Tom, Fantomas--but let's go all the way back to where many of us first met him. Do enjoy "From Out of Nowhere" from the classic album, The Real Thing, won't you?

No sooner had we posted today's Hook when the fine, upstanding gentlemen of Metal Sucks posted news of yet another Mike Patton project in the works. This project is with MP's Peeping Tom teammate Dan the Automator, and is called CRUDO. Not many details available outside of that, but it appears they'll participate in this year's Sasquatch Music Festival, taking place over Memorial Day weekend at Washington's Gorge Amphitheatre.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MP3 Player Randomization!

by Myche J

I don't think anything says more about a person than what pops up on their MP3 player on random at any given moment. It shows the world how diverse your musical tastes are (or not), and it can uncover some guilty pleasures. I treat mine kind of like a horoscope: "Oh, a Queensryche song followed by Strapping Young is going to be a good day!"

So from time to time I may post some random MP3 player fun. I encourage the other contributors to add theirs to the post as well.

Here are the rules:

1. Five songs, in order, no cheating or skipping forward and picking a different song.
2. Set player on random, when you are ready to start, hit the forward button - that's song #1.
3. No excuses, explanations, etc. Just song title and the artist's name. Readers of this page will take it from there...

Here we go. Here's mine for the day:

1. Rockazoid Rollerrroid - Y&T
2. Friday Night, August 14th - Funkadelic
3. You Keep Breaking My Heart - Rough Cutt
4. Blackwater Park - Opeth
5. Destroyer - Masotodon

The New Boris video is here! The New Boris video is here!!

by Wayne Graham

Courtesy of the fine folks at Brooklyn Vegan, here's the new Boris video for "Statement" off of their upcoming Smile album.

Smile will hit stores on April 29th, courtesty of Southern Lord Recordings.
Ozzfest......The Destination Festival??

By Wayne Graham

According to Blabbermouth, rumours abound of Ozzfest making a transition from a single day traveling metal festival to a two-day fest in Dallas this year. As you may recall, last year's go-around was free to attendees, with costs offset by corporate sponsors. That resulted in a pretty strong second stage with a lot of hungry up-and-comers (3 Inches of Blood, Behemoth, Nile) and---with the exception of the show stealing Lamb of God---an extremely lousy mainstage.

Yeah, guess that didn't work. Given the success Rocklahoma had last year, combined with this year's excitement around the upcoming Mayhem Fest with Slipknot, Mastodon, DragonForce and other popular bands that might have participated in an Ozzfest tour, I guess Ozzy and Sharon felt like they wanted to get into the ever-growing stationary festival racket.

None of this is official, so no lineup choices have been released, but we can count on solo Ozzy since Heaven and Hell may be recording soon. And, I dunno, I'm sure Zakk Wylde and The Neverending Pinched Harmonics will probably be there.
Hook of the Day - Clutch "Burning Beard"

by Wayne Graham

We at Hooks So Big sure do love us some Clutch. Please enjoy my personal favorite Clutch tune "Burning Beard" from their excellent Robot Hive/Exodus album. You'll be glad you did! Rawk!

Monday, February 25, 2008

New Rush Live Album!!!!!
by Wayne Graham

According to the scholars and gentlemen at Billboard, everyone's favorite Canadian Prog-Gods will release their 6th live album, "Snakes and Arrows Live," on April 8th. The show was taped at their "Snakes & Arrows" tour stop in Rotterdam, Holland back in October. A few of us here at Hooks So Big caught the Chicagoland date and loved it, so, if you missed out, be sure to pick this one up!

Disc 1:
"Digital Man"
"Entre Nous"
"The Main Monkey Business"
"The Larger Bowl"
"Secret Touch"
"Between the Wheels"
"Far Cry"
"Workin' Them Angels"
"Armor and Sword"

Disc 2:
"The Way the Wind Blows"
"Natural Science"
"Witch Hunt"
"Malignant Narcissism / De Slagwerker"
"Distant Early Warning"
"The Spirit of Radio"
"Tom Sawyer"

"One Little Victory"
"A Passage to Bangkok"

Two Things to Do As You Wait Patiently for the At the Gates Reunion

by Wayne Graham

1) Buy the new Disfear album "Live the Storm"
Trust us, if you like Motorhead, you'll love this slab of Swedish D-Beat heaven, with ATG's Tomas Lindberg on vox! Produced by Converge's Kurt Ballou!

2) Buy a ticket for Disfear's upcoming tour
4/16 NYC - Knitting Factory (tickets)
4/17 Washington DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
4/18 Philadelphia - First Unitarian Church (tickets)
4/19 Pittsburgh - Robotto Project
4/20 Cleveland - Pirate's Cove (tickets)
4/21 Indianapolis - The Melody Inn
4/22 Chicago - Subterranean (tickets)
4/23 Lansing, MI - Mac's Bar
4/24 Toronto - Sneaky Dee's
4/25 Montreal - Black Dot
4/26 Worchester, MA - The Palladeium - (part of the New England Metal and Hardcore Fest) (tickets)
4/27 Providence, RI - The Living Room
5/24 Baltimore - Sonar (part of Maryland Deathfest) (tickets)
5/25 Allston, MA - Great Scott (tickets)
This Week's Notable Chicago Shows
by Wayne Graham

Any of you Chicagoland area readers feel like attending a nice, loud rock show this week? There are a few choice options for you!

Foo Fighters (w/ Serj Tankian, Against Me!)
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

Clutch (w/ Murder by Death, Maylene & The Sons of Disaster, Hex Machine)
Metro, Chicago, IL

Dub Trio (w/ Foreign Islands, The Jai-Alai Savant)
Subterranean, Chicago, IL

Pelican (w/ Black Cobra, Unearthly Trance)
Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL


Hook of the Day - A Life Once Lost "Firewater Joyride"
by Wayne Graham

Today's Hook of the Day comes from Philadelphia metal maniacs A Life Once Lost. The track is "Firewater Joyride" from their latest release Iron Gag. You fans of Pantera, Meshuggah, Lamb of God, and Unearth should like this one.

ALOL are quite the road dogs these days. We first caught up with them on the Dillinger Escape Plan/Genghis Tron bill back in December, and they really caught our attention. They'll do a few dates on the Brotherhood of Riffs and Spliffs bill with Arsis, the mighty Skeletonwitch, and Veil of Maya.
After the band swings through Europe with HIMSA, Chicago fans can catch them on the Friday, May 2nd date of Chicago Powerfest. (same night as Iced Earth!!!)

A LIFE ONCE LOST on the road (U.S. Dates)
w/ Arsis, Skeletonwitch, and Veil of Maya
2-25-2008 KARMA, Victorville, CA (tickets)
2-26-2008 Jerry's Pizza, Bakersfield, CA (tickets)
2-27-2008 Chain Reaction, Anaheim, CA (tickets)

5-2-2008 Pearl Room, Mokena, IL (tickets)
(Chicago Powerfest w/ Iced Earth, Epicurean, Ion Vein, and Arise & Run)