Sunday, July 31, 2016

Chicago Open Air photogallery: Of Mice & Men

Austin Carlile, vocals, Of Mice & Men
Austin Carlile, vocals, Of Mice & Men
Also at Chicago Open Air: here's the photogallery for Of Mice & Men. They have a new album on the way, release date is September 9th and you can pre-order here.

Currently on tour throughout the USA, Of Mice & Men are then heading off to Europe (supported by Hands Like Houses, who are well worth seeing!) and then Australia (with A Day To Remember)... find all tour dates here!

Don't forget--click this link to see all the photos!

Nothing More... but there truly is a whole lot more to say. More from Chicago Open Air, plus #iamjenny

Jonny Hawkins and Ben Anderson, Nothing More
Nothing More, Chicago Open Air
I had actually forgotten that I'd seen Nothing More, once before, back in 2013. Seeing them at Chicago Open Air was like discovering a band for the first time... and they blew me away.

Daniel Oliver, bass, Nothing More
Daniel Oliver, Nothing More, and creator of the Bassinator
Not only the music, and the songs--familiar from metal and rock radio--but the entire band's stage presence, Jonny Hawkins' occasional and uncanny resemblence to Jim Morrison, the genius bass solo involving three members of the band and a metal contraption, the Bassinator, which allowed playing the bass with picks, slide, and drumsticks...

The Bassinator, Nothing More
Nothing More, Chicago Open Air
The set opens with extra drums, front and centre, wound with rusty bike chains and other recycled metal. Jonny Hawkins, barechested, attacks them; Ben Anderson on regular drums, Mark Vollelunga on guitar, Daniel Oliver on bass, and the band is complete.

Jonny Hawkins, vocals and additional drums, Nothing More
Nothing More, at Chicago Open Air, 2016
Opening with Christ Copyright, then Mr. MTV, right through to Salem (Burn the Witch), and I'm hooked.

Jonny Hawkins, vocals and additional drums, Nothing More
Nothing More, Chicago Open Air
I had seen people wearing #IamJenny t-shirts. It wasn't until I'd returned home and worked on the Nothing More photo gallery, doing what I usually do--listening to a band while I work on the photos I've taken--that the story, and the meaning, became very clear. If you haven't already seen it, watch the official video for Jenny all the way through, right to the end. Every one of us--and I mean, each and every one of us--knows someone who has struggled with, who is struggling with, who lives with mental illness, addiction, depression, any or all of the above, or who has someone in their lives who are struggling with mental health... the song describes the turmoil, the hope, the love, the despair. At the end of the video, there are organizations who might be able to help, such as Bring Change 2 Mind, The Jed Foundation, The International Bipolar Foundation, Young Minds (UK), and To Write Love on her Arms, with whom the band have partnered to raise awareness. (There is always, always someone to talk to, no matter how bad today is... if sharing this video, and these organizations, and #iamjenny, makes a difference to one person, one family, one person's friend, sister, child, brother, parent, lover... it's worth so very much. You can check out and share #iamjenny stories on instagram and other social media. Let's keep this message going.)

Here's Jenny:

Nothing More's self-titled album is available at all your usual places, plus there is a PledgeMusic campaign running, right now, for their next album. Check it out here!

Nothing More are heading off across the pond to the UK for the Reading and Leeds festivals, and then return to the USA for an extensive tour. Find all the dates here--including dates with Disturbed--and put one or more into your plans. Not to be missed! (Personally hoping that a Northern California date or three will be added...)

All the photos are in the Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos photo gallery: Nothing More at Chicago Open Air, click here!

Jonny Hawkins, vocals and additional drums, Nothing More
Jonny Hawkins, Nothing More, Chicago Open Air

Some Fear None at Thunder Valley, with Oleander and Papa Roach: photos!

Nathan Giguiere, vocals and guitar, Some Fear None
Nathan Giguiere, vocals and guitar, Some Fear None
Some Fear None, winners of this year's Sammies Artist of the Year and Outstanding Hard Rock awards, last night opened the show at Thunder Valley Casino Resort's summer concert series, where Papa Roach headed the bill.

Gina Salatino, bass and guitar, Some Fear None
Gina Salatino, bass and guitar, Some Fear None
So good to see these guys in the major lineups: they'll also be performing at this year's Aftershock festival in Discovery Park in October. Always high energy, always.

Nathan Giguiere, vocals and guitar, Some Fear None
Nathan Giguiere, Some Fear None
Some Fear None
Chuck Carrasco and Gina Salatino, Some Fear None
Take the time to check out Some Fear None's recordings here on Apple iTunes, or here on CD Baby, and here on their YouTube channel, and you'll find some seriously good music... Sacramento music to be heard by the world!

Some Fear None
Some Fear None
Many more photos from last night's show here in the photo gallery. (And it was a real treat to photograph them in daylight, instead of wringing drops of light out of a dingy nightclub.)

Gina Salatino, bass and guitar, Some Fear None
Gina Salatino playing a Tremonti guitar, Some Fear None, Thunder Valley

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Silver Snakes, Seahaven, Letlive... all at the Boardwalk last night

Alex Estrada, vocals and guitar, Silver Snakes
Alex Estrada, Silver Snakes, Chicago Open Air
(I wasn't photographing last night, so these photos were all taken at Chicago Open Air.)

It was very interesting to see both Silver Snakes, and letlive, twice within a very short time--less than two weeks--and in such different environments.

At Chicago Open Air, before thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people, both bands playing the festival's second stage, outdoors, as the festival's name suggests. And then last night, at the Boardwalk in Orangevale, before an audience of maybe two hundred, if you counted very carefully (which I didn't); a compact venue, a tiny stage, sweaty, and dark, very dark.

Jason Aalon Butler, vocals, letlive
Jason Aalon Butler, letlive, Chicago Open Air
These bands put every ounce of energy into their performance, regardless of the size of the stage, the venue, or the audience. (Seahaven too, had many in the audience singing along to their songs--it was my first time seeing or hearing them.)  letlive's Jason Aalon Butler again launched himself into the crowd and continued singing while being passed from person to person, then back onto the stage.

Jeremiah Bignell, guitar, Silver Snakes
Jeremiah Bignell, Silver Snakes, Chicago Open Air
For those who haven't experienced the live sound of Silver Snakes yet, or experienced a letlive performance, you have another Sacramento opportunity: both bands are now included in the lineup for Aftershock in October at Discovery Park!

Chicago Open Air letlive review  click here
Chicago Open Air letlive photo gallery:  click here
Chicago Open Air Silver Snakes photo gallery:  click here

Friday, July 29, 2016

Chicago Open Air photogallery: Slipknot!!!

Corey Taylor, vocals, Slipknot
Corey Taylor, Slipknot
And welcome to my nightmare... and yours, and yours, and yes yours, too. Visually and musically dark, scary, intriguing, heavy, and totally-spectacular, Slipknot's headline show at Chicago Open Air, and highlight for the many, many thousands of Slipknot fans filling Toyota Park.

Insane clown in your nightmares? He's here... I think everyone of our worst dreads can be found on stage during a Slipknot show, and yet, we love it, and go back for more.

Thank you for the music. And the dreams...  shudder...

Full photo gallery here:  don't forget to click!

All That Remains at Chicago Open Air: photoshoot by Andy Wright, plus live photogallery!

Another band in the amazing line up for the three-day, first-ever, Chicago Open Air festival at Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois: All That Remains.

After their set on the main stage at Chicago Open Air, Phil Labonte and Oli Herbert of All That Remains very kindly stopped by for a portrait session with Andy Wright of Andy Wright Studios.

You can find more of Andy's work here on his website, and follow him on Instagram as @only1andywright

And here's the Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos photogallery from the live show at Chicago Open Air: click here to see!

While editing a million photos this week, I've been down several internet ratholes researching the background/inspiration for several tattoos... coming across erroneous, Google-translated oooopses (I'm not telling where), and finding lots of people who have far too much time on their hands (nasty comments threads). But one of the most-interesting tattoos is the one on Phil Labonte's right arm; a segmented snake, and the words "Join Or Die". Each of the snake segments has the initials of an early USA state or region... it comes from a political cartoon created by Benjamin Franklin, and published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1754. The meaning and use of the image has morphed since it was created (unity or war), and the history is fascinating. (You can see the tattoo in the live photo gallery.)

Find out about upcoming All That Remains tour dates and more, on their website and Facebook!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pop Evil. Did I mention that I like Pop Evil? Or that they were at Chicago Open Air? Here are photos!!!

Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil
Leigh Kakaty, Pop Evil, Chicago Open Air
Three times seeing Pop Evil in concert in less than one year, and I feel spoiled: first time, late last year at Aftershock in Sacramento, where the recently-issued 360 degree videos were recorded (and yes, you can find me in the pit if you watch it enough times); then on their headline tour, at the Ace of Spades, and most recently, at the inaugural Chicago Open Air.

Oh and yes, there are more photos, of all the band--click here to see them all.

Matt DiRito, bass, Pop Evil
Matt DiRito, bass, Pop Evil at Chicago Open Air
Each show, excellent, and each show, different. This time, without Chachi Riot (who departed the band in May), and also without new drummer Hayley Cramer (visa delay... thnx, US immigration, yet again, too many bands affected by this, this year). (The band's drummer did a great job--if anyone can share his name, please do, and I'll update this post!)  Good news: Hayley is now all set with visa and will be appearing with Pop Evil from now on. I'm hoping (yes, greedy, I know) to see them again soon. Maybe a road trip to catch up with then on their tour with Three Doors Down?

Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil, crowdwalking
Walking on hands: Pop Evil at Chicago Open Air, 2016
The Chicago Open Air set kicked off with Deal with the Devil, and rocked through to the last notes of Footsteps. Leigh Kakaty walked on the crowd. Numerous surfers glided into the pit. Great show.

(I keep saying that. "Great show". At the risk of repeating myself over, and over, again, t was a great show. Pop Evil rocked! And the whole Chicago Open Air weekend too!!!)

Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil
Pop Evil, Chicago Open Air
Many more photos from Pop Evil's show at Chicago Open Air in the photo gallery-click here!  And if you still haven't heard UP?  Check the album out here! It's at the ridiculously-low price of $6.99 this week... go for it!!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

In This Moment at Chicago Open Air; review and photo gallery

Maria Brink, vocals, In This Moment
In This Moment, Chicago Open Air 2016
I feel like I've come a long way with In This Moment, from seeing them several years ago for the first time, then last year in Nevada on tour with Five Finger Death Punch. They have certainly grown on me...

Maria Brink, vocals, In This Moment
Maria Brink, In This Moment
So much so, that I couldn't wait to see them take the stage at Chicago Open Air. And they did not disappoint. Opening with Sick Like Me, and also playing Black Widow, Sex Metal Barbie, Whore, and Blood, with drama, story-telling-in-song, and costume changes that the band are known for.

In This Moment
In This Moment, Chicago Open Air
Fronted by Maria Brink and the dancing Blood Girls, guitarists Chris Howarth and Travis Johnson, bassist Randy Weitzel, and now with drummer Kent Diimmell who recently joined the band, In This Moment are theatrical, dramatic, entertaining, and metal. Think Lady Gaga meets Alice Cooper, with a twist of Slipknot. (If you've never seen them, check out the official videos for Sick Like Me and one of my current favourites, the slower but strong The Fighter, on YouTube.)

Travis Johnson, bass, In This Moment
Travis Johnson, bass, In This Moment
The pictures tell the wild, outrageous story.

Maria Brink, vocals, In This Moment
Sex Metal Barbie, In This Moment, at Chicago Open Air 2016
Catch In This Moment on tour by checking for dates here. And expect a show.

For many more photos from In This Moment at Chicago Open Air, see the photo gallery--click here!

In This Moment
In This Moment, Chicago Open Air

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Korn at Chicago Open Air; photos: and a new video, new album on the way... preorder now!

Jonathan Davis, vocals, Korn
Johnathan Davis, Korn, Chicago Open Air
Performing before arguably the most intense crowd of the Chicago Open Air weekend--Korn.

Jonathan Davis, vocals, Korn
Jonathan Davis, HR Giger, Korn at Chicago Open Air
A good, strong, festival set of Korn songs: opening the show with Right Now from 2003's Take A Look In The Mirror, premiering Rotting In Vain from Serenity of Suffering (see below), and through to Freak on a Leash, they kept the audience rocking, surfing, and moving like a giant Korn-powered monster with a life of it's own. Loads more crowd photos in the photogallery!

Korn, Chicago Open Air 2016
There's something very very special about a live Korn show, not least of which for any art-movie-sculpture fan, seeing the beautiful H.R. Giger-designed microphone stand that Jonathan Davis uses as his partner, muse and headbanging support, center stage, a stunning piece of work.

Brian Head Welch, guitar, Korn
Brian Welch, guitar, Korn
Wild, energetic, and wonderful. That's Korn. Currently on tour .. see if you can catch them! And then: October 23rd, at Aftershock in Sacramento! Absolutely not to be missed!

Korn, Chicago Open Air
Korn this week released a new video for the song premiered at Chicago Open Air: (no special prize for Sons of Anarchy fans recognizing the non-band member);  Rotting In Vain, taken from their upcoming album, The Serenity of Suffering, which has a planned release date of October 21st on Roadrunner Records. Preorder bundles are available through Korn's website, or from iTunes, Amazon Music, and Google Play. Here's the video:

Many more photos in the Chicago Open Air Korn photogallery: click here to be magically transported there!  And here's just a glimpse of a small part of the crowd:

Huge crowd for Korn
Korn, performing at Chicago Open Air, 2016
... and another, Munky on the big screen, crowd going wild... let's make this happen again at Aftershock in October!!!

Huge crowd for Korn
Korn crowd at Chicago Open Air 2016

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Marilyn Manson at Chicago Open Air... and my regret

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson, Chicago Open Air, 2016
I have one regret with Marilyn Manson: that I didn't see him perform live, fifteen or twenty years ago. He still raises a huge crowd of followers, his recent album The Pale Emporer was huge, but no, I didn't see him all those years ago, and I do regret it.

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson, Chicago Open Air
Why? Because I have nothing to compare his recent performances with, except for shady YouTube videos. I can't talk to how good a performance he gave on Sunday last at Chicago Open Air in comparison to earlier shows... and so I'm not going to try. I do know that his rendition of Sweet Dreams is still my favourite Manson song, by far...  so I'll just share the photos.

Marilyn Manson arrived on stage, tossed out one bag of pink powder which burst into a glorious opaque cloud (and several more bags which didn't burst, but became thudding missiles); he spent much of the first song with his back to the crowd, but smiling, a secret joke; and then the show really began, with Manson marching from one side of the stage to the other, rousing the audience, who responded beautifully.

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson, Chicago Open Air
The setlist included Angel with the Scabbed Wings, The Beautiful People, and his unique, and the best, cover of the Eurythmic's Sweet Dreams.

Marilyn Manson is currently on tour throughout North America: catch all the tour dates here:

Marilyn Manson
Marilyin Manson, and the crowd sings along... at Chicago Open Air, 2016
More photos in the Chicago Open Air Marilyn Manson photo gallery!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Five Finger Death Punch at Chicago Open Air, and new video out today!

Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody, Five Finger Death Punch, at the first Chicago Open Air
Sunday 17th July, it's evening, dusk is falling, and Five Finger Death Punch are on stage on the third day of the very first Chicago Open Air; a little late beginning, the previous act ran long... we lost the sound for a very short moment part-way through, and the stage lighting was a little timid, maybe just in contrast to the gathering thunderstorm which, thank goodness, held off; but nothing else is ever timid, sky or reserved with these guys. Not the music. Never the music. Full-bore-all-barrels-firing, Five Finger Death Punch brought the show to all the many fans who made up the huge audience.

(I've never seen Ivan Moody smile so much during a show. Take a look at the photo gallery: see what I mean? Yes, there are a lot of photos. Yes, there's a Share button. You know what to do.)

Jason Hook, guitar, Five Finger Death Punch
Jason Hook, Five Finger Death Punch
From Lift Me Up through to the band's closing song for the evening, pretty much a tradition, it was The Bleeding... we were all singing along. Complete strangers and best friends in a huge crowd, joined by the song, singing loud into each others' faces, grinning too.

Chris Kael, bass, Five Finger Death Punch
Chris Kael, Five Finger Death Punch
Festival sets are always a condensed, best-of-radio-play selection of a band's songs; FFDP's set included Lift Me Up, Never Enough, Got Your Six, Bad Company, Jekyll and Hyde, Wrong Side of Heaven, Under and Over It, and finished with The Bleeding... which was probably the moment that melted more stone-cold metal hearts than ever before, when Ivan Moody invited young fan Chylynne on stage, who sang her heart out. Showing no fear before the huge audience--over 75,000 attended the three-day event--and it was clearly an emotional time for Ivan, and for lots of us watching. (There are several videos online now of the song, I'm sure you know how to use Google by now.)

At the front!
Yes, you may have seen Chylynne before, if you were at Rock on the Range. But no, she wasn't just at Chicago Open Air for Five Finger Death Punch. This little lady, with her family, had been in, or close to, the front row of the main stage from early on day one of the festival, wearing her FFDP t-shirt, right through until she was invited on stage late in the evening of day three. Crowdsurfing like a hero (with a parent or friend in tow). Cheering the bands all through the festival. All day. All three days... Those of you who like to turn up just for the late-late show? Ask Chylynne what you miss! (It's a lot.) There are more photos in the People of Chicago Open Air collection, linked from this post, click here!

Zoltan Bathory, guitar, Five Finger Death Punch
Zoltan Bathory, Five Finger Death Punch
And today... Five Finger Death Punch have released a new video, for I Apologise, from their latest album, Got Your Six. It speaks for itself. It's moving, it has a message, and I hope that everyone who knows someone suffering from an addiction, or who is struggling themselves, hears the message. There's only one person who can make the change. Just one.

Here's the video:

Five Finger Death Punch are on tour all over the place for the rest of the year: USA, Canada, Europe, Mexico for one date tomorrow, July 23rd... and I'm still trying to work out the best intersection between the FFDP tour and the Marillion tour because there really, really must be a way to see both, as they are both on the road in the USA at the same time in October!

Five Finger Death Punch
Five Finger Death Punch, Chicago Open Air
Ivan? You know that cuppa tea is still on offer, right?

All the photos:

Riki Rachtman and Ivan Moody on stage at Chicago Open Air
Riki Rachtman (Heaadbangers' Ball) and Ivan Moody, Chicago Open Air

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ministry: at the church of industrial metal

Al Jourgensen, vocals, Ministry
Al Jourgensen, Ministry
One band that I somehow didn't ever expect to be lucky enough to see, let alone photograph, in person, live on stage: Ministry. And if I hadn't been at Chicago Open Air this weekend... who knows if that opportunity would come around. Read Al Jourgensen's autobiography, and know that he prefers being shut away in a studio making music to being on the road and on stage. Know that in 2008, Jourgensen disbanded the band, saying it was the end... but then reformed Ministry in 2011. Who knows what's coming next?

Ministry, playing at Chicago Open Air
Heavy, heavy, industrial metal, Ministry, together with Friday's headliners Rammstein, rule the genre, with Jourgensen's band coming into existence about 12 years before the German group formed in Berlin.

Johnny Depp may say that he based his characterization of Jack Sparrow partly on Keith Richard, but today the movie character bears a far closer physical resemblance to Jourgensen, who also sports as many piercings as a pincushion, a pirate's cheeky smirk, and nips nimbly around the stage while playing some of the heaviest music you're likely to hear anywhere. A bit like the engine which powers some underground, dark-but-purposeful machine; the setlist included newer songs Hail To His Majesty (Peasants), Punch in the Face, and oldies such as LiesLiesLies, Just One Fix and The Missing.

Al Jourgensen, vocals, Ministry
Al Jourgensen, Ministry
Ministry are heading to Europe for more tour dates in August, back to the USA in September. Check their tour page for details,

Full photogallery: click here to go to the Ministry photogallery from Chicago Open Air.

Al Jourgensen, vocals, Ministry