Iron Mike

Posts from November 2013

NIN & Dir En Grey Show Reviews

Nine Inch Nails/Explosions in the Sky - Key Arena - Seattle 11.22.13 - Review/Photos: "Iron" Mike Savoia

Last night was interesting. I really was suppose to be in two places at the same time, but obviously I don't have a clone yet but I have super wifey to help in those situations. It wasn't suppose to be like that because Thursday night Japan's Dir En Grey was suppose to play the Showbox Market but due to a broken down tour bus they couldn't make it to Seattle in time. So lucky enough they had last night off as did the Showbox Market so they just pushed the Thursday show to last night. Total bummer for me, obviously I'm not missing shooting NIN since it's been nearly 2 decades since the last time I did when they co-headlined with (yes this is correct) David Bowie! See I still have my pass from the 10/24/95 Tacoma Dome show. [View Here]

In a real rarity, I didn't get to see the whole show because they didn't give us review tickets and we actually couldn't enter back into the building with our camera stuff until the band was in around the 8th song so we were lucky enough to watch songs 9 & 10 ("Find My Way" & "Sanctified") then jumped in the photo pit for songs 11, 12 & 13 ("In Two" "The Frail" & "The Wretched"). Let me tell ya, even though I got some cool shots these do no justice to the overall stage rig and lighting amazement! If you paid the big bucks to see NIN I'm sure you got a visual light overload like you've never seen before in a concert. Hopefully they had seizure warning signs at the doors (for those sensitive to strobe lights etc.), it was that intense and awesome! Trent Reznor owned his spot on stage like a beast. Completely engulfed in the moment and emotionalizing what he was singing. When square pieces of the lighting rig came down just feet above the performers heads in their blue haze it made for a cool "Close Encounters" like moment as seen in the photo above.

So for the short time of the set I saw, it was spectacular. Trent was dead on and his rather large band brought it. For the big money people paid I think they got their monies worth. Setlist: Copy of A/1,000,000/Terrible Lie/March of the Pigs/Piggy/All Time Low/Disappointed/Came Back Haunted/Find My Way/Sanctified/In Two/The Frail/The Wretched/Satellite/Survivalism/Running/A Warm Place/Somewhat/Damaged/Wish/The Hand That Feeds/Head Like a Hole - Encore: All the Love in the World/Even Deeper/While I'm Still Here/Black Noise/Hurt. For more NIN photos from the show check out our album on our KISW Facebook page HERE and gallery HERE.

Opening the NIN show was a cool experimental progressive rock band from Texas called Explosions in the Sky. They played only 5 songs but they all averaged over 5 minutes making for a nice short set.

Dir En Grey/Dagoba - Showbox Market - Seattle 11.22.13 - Review/Photos: Stephanie Savoia

The show was a day late, after a broken down bus from Denver to Seattle, but that didn't matter to the masses that chose to go to the Dir En Grey show at the Showbox Market instead of Nine Inch Nails at the Key!

Opening up for Dir En Grey was French band Dagoba in support of their newest release 'Post Mortem Nihil Est'. With their heavy industrial metal sound and deep grooves, they were a great choice to get the crowd warmed up for the headliner. Singer Shawter had great energy and made his way onto the barrier to be closer to the crowd on several occasions. I was drawn to the bass player, Werther, and the drummer Frank. Both were very high energy and kept the crowd into the performance.

I was not familiar with Dir En Grey. Mike was supposed to shoot this show on Thursday night but with the breakdown and move to Friday night, he was at Nine Inch Nails and I stepped in to cover Dir En Grey.

I'm going to start with - Wow - just WOW! This was a really hard show to cover visually. Singer Kyo had his head covered in a shroud the entire time I was in the pit and the stage lighting was the dreaded blues and reds. Occasionally Kyo would hold the shroud in a way that a fan would catch it and give you a quick glimpse at his skeletal made up face. Kyo has a ridiculous vocal range. He goes from death metal growling to screamo to J-pop to almost operatic in mere seconds!

The rest of the band complemented Kyo very well. I could tell immediately who the girls were there to see though as I heard countless voices calling for Toshiya the bass player. This cat was crazy on the bass. He was as interesting to watch as Kyo as well.

I kinda think I got the better end of the deal this time. Nine Inch Nails would have been cool, but I got to discover two bands I otherwise may never have heard of. So I'd like to thank the Dir En Grey bus for breaking down! Check out their latest album "The Unraveling" on iTunes and more concert photos on my Facebook photo page.

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Locations: Seattle
People: David Bowie

Dir En Grey, NIN, Woodstick this week

Rockaholics! We have some dang cool shows this week starting tonight at the Showbox Market!

Thursday 11/21 - Dir En Grey (Japan) & Dagoba (France) - Showbox Market - Tickets still available here. All-Ages! SHOW UPDATE 2:00PM 11/21: Due to transportation issues tonight’s Dir En Grey show at Showbox at the Market is postponing to tomorrow night, Fri. Nov. 22nd. All other show details remain the same. All tickets purchased for tonight’s show will be honored. More info & tickets here:

Notes: Of all the J-Rock bands around Dir En Grey are probably the most interesting. A musical melting pot of experimental combos of progressive-nu-death-screamo metal, rock, avant-garde etc. Your guess is good as mine. Lead singer Kyo is very known for his multi-personality vocal style and range that actually landed him on the DL again last year with vocal nodule dysphonia. Fan's of heavy bass driven beats will love bassist Toshiya! Opening the show will be the industrial/groove metal band from France, Dagoba

Friday 11/22 - Nine Inch NailsExplosions In the Sky - Key Arena - Tickets SOLD-OUT!

Notes: The return of NIN finally hits Seattle! Last time I saw/shot NIN? Yes, 18 years ago 10/24/95 in the Tacoma Dome when they did the co-headline Dissonance/Outside tour with David Bowie! <click here to see photo pass> That was awesome cause opening the show was Prick who released one of my favorite debut self-titled albums of the 90s. A band who signed with Reznor's Nothing label in which he produced four of the album's ten tracks.

One guarantee for the lucky one's going to the NIN show tomorrow will be it's 2013 and NIN will have visual technology on its side for a stage show that was only imaginable back in 1995. Check out this pre-tour documentation to see what I mean on some of the awesome visual concepts for this "Tension 2013" tour.

NIN's eighth studio album Hesitation Marks was released on August 30, 2013 and debuted at #3 of the Billboard 200 charts. Click here to hear samples and buy this release on iTunes. A BIG shout of respect goes out to Trent Reznor for his news he made this week reaching out to a huge NIN's fan (Andrew Youssef) and fellow concert photographer nearing his time on earth with us. Yes, he calls him during the show onstage in Las Vegas with FaceTime! Read this article and see the touching video with Andrew! Here's video from the front row in Las Vegas when it happened, but check out the article for the real video. Tonight the band is in Vancouver, BC then have 3 remaining shows in the USA before heading to Australia/New Zealand, South America and then Europe for 2014. Keep up-to-date with NIN on Facebook & their Official Website. Watch for my show photos on and KISW Facebook too! 

Sunday 11/24/13 - Woodstick 2013 - EQC Emerald Queen Casino Showroom - Tickets at door.

Notes: Come participate or spectate at one of the worlds biggest drums shows and clinics around! All-ages! For full details click here!

WHERE: Emerald Queen Showroom, 2024 E.29th St, Tacoma WA 98404
WHEN: November 24th, Sunday 3:00 to 5:00 PM. Doors open at 10:00 AM
Plan to arrive no later than 2:00pm in order to be set up before the event starts. Free drum clinics and drum performances will begin at 11:00 am up until 3:00 pm show time.
GUEST ARTISTS: Woodstick will feature the following drummers for clinics, live performance and autographs. Clinic schedule will be announced soon.
1) Kenny Aronoff, (Mellencamp, Fogerty, session legend) TAMA, Zildjian, Remo, Vic Firth, Kickport
2) Todd Sucherman, (STYX) Pearl, Sabian, Remo, ProMark, Hudson
3) Rich Redmond, (Jason Aldean), Roland V-Drums, DW
4) Mike Johnston, ( Gretsch, Meinl
5) JP Bouvet, (Dave Mackay Group, Helicopria, 2011 GC Drum Off, Roland V-Drum Contest winner) DW, Meinl, Remo, Vic Firth
6) Michael Derosier, (Original Heart drummer)
7) Russ Miller, (Studio great) Mapex
8) Jeff Kathan,(Paul Rodgers, Spike and the Impalers) DW, Sabian, Remo, Vic Firth
9) Jon Bolton (Apple Jam, Beatniks)

Little sample from last years Woodstick:

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Topics: Entertainment_Culture

Killswitch Engage and Huntress play on

Monday nights show at the Showbox Sodo was a last resort move to salvage what was suppose to be a Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage,Testament and Huntress show at the Kent Showare Center. Sunday word spread quickly that Lamb of God had to cancel due to an undisclosed personal family matter. Understood, so Killswitch Engage went on to play with Huntress and added Seattle's own Witchburn to the bill at the Showbox Sodo. The buzz then was why did Testament cancel also? All 4 bands played last night in Vancouver which didn't set well with Testament fans in Seattle. If you have a ticket, you'll get a partial refund automatically credited back to you and your ticket will still be good for Showbox Sodo show. If you chose not to go to the show, a full refund is available at your point of purchase. So on with the show! 

Opening was Seattle's very own metal behemoths Witchburn! A two female and two male abracadabra of sludging Southern-fried Sabbath anthem riffage got every bone in that venue moving around. There is no better female singing/guitarist combo with Jamie Nova & Mischa Kianne in the business.

With an unexpected crowd, Witchburn (not Withburn as printed on the concert tickets) laid down a mighty hammer of sound upon the crowd that had many running to their merch table after their show in exciting amazement. With their 30 minute set, they blasted through 5 songs (many 5min+) opening with "Warning to the Weak" off their new CD "Bathed in Blood" and ending with "Bleed The Stone" off their classic debut CD (I actually did all the photography and CD layout for this) "This is How We Slay Our Demons".

Check out Witchburn online at Facebook or at their official website/store. One of Seattle's top (if not the top) rock/metal bands around! 

Next up was Los Angeles' Huntress. Band formed by the amazing screaming vocalist Jill Janus. Possessing a 4 octave range, Jill developed a coloratura soprano range early in life and began singing with operas at the age of 10! Read her wild bio story here. A self-proclaimed solitary witch, Jill is one of the nicest, intelligent and focused gals in I've ever met in rock/metal music. She's putting everything into her dreams of success with this band.

The band blend a style that has been compared to classic heavy metal mixed with influences of rock, thrash, power and doom metal. Check out their new amazing video for their new single "Zenith". A '60s-like visual psychedelic, witchy, space, and occult themed orgasm for your computer screen. 

Huntress 40 minute set included: "Senicide", "Destroy Your Life", "Spell Eater", "I Want To F**k You To Death" (written by Lemmy of Motorhead), "Zenith" and "Eight of Swords". Fantastic band and the new album "Starbound Beast" will surprise ya. The video for "Zenith" is the albums fastest and heaviest track. The album as a whole is a testament to metal styles from the 80s to present times. Visit Huntress online at their Facebook or official website locations. 

Headliners Killswitch Engage hit the stage. Thank you Killswitch for continuing the tour stop and playing the Showbox Sodo. Opening with the music of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" through the sound system, the crowd was ready for battle and went wild as the band hit the stage and blasted into "A Bid Farewell".

Original vocalist Jesse Leech (1999-2002) is now back in band and touring after he quit in 2002. Howard Jones who sang from 2002-2012 and helped the band go multiple Gold-album status through his tenure had to quit to allow himself to manage his type 2 diabetes. How serious was it? He recently came out of a 3-day coma because of it. Photo shooting these guys is like trying to catch a Tasmanian devil with your bare hands and not getting injured. Active insanity onstage. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz is always hilarious to shoot. He's like a human cartoon character each time I see him play. Last time he was wearing a black Dracula cape and torn jeans shorts. This time around he looked like a American sponsored (headband/guitar strap) "Run Forrest Run" Gump running around the stage. At one point during the show he took his guitar off and handed it to someone on side stage and then proceeded to run the whole length of the stage like he was doing lines in gym class. Ha! No doubt he stays in shape onstage nightly but the dude has to be careful with all his previous back injuries and operations years past. 

With a setlist that spanned their whole career the fans were in Killswitch Engage heaven moshing, singing and kept their continuous wave of crowd surfing going throughout the whole show. Security up front earned their money this night. A Bid Farewell / The New Awakening / Fixation on the Darkness / Rose of Sharyn / No End in Sight / This Is Absolution / You Don't Bleed for Me / Vide Infra / Life to Lifeless / Turning Point / My Last Serenade / In Due Time / My Curse / The End of Heartache.

Supporting their new 2013 album " Disarm the Descent" on Roadrunner Records, here's the new videos for the singles "In Time Due" and the emotional "Always".

Killswitch are here to stay, killer metal band on record and especially entertaining and crushing live! Metalcore for the masses! Go check out Killswitch Engage! Facebook or Official Website

"Iron" Mike Savoia -

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Locations: Seattle

Slayer crushes Seattle Last Night

After Slayer destroyed the WaMu Theater in Seattle last night, many of us woke up this morning to no power and a continuing wind storm blasting the region. Thanks Slayer, come destroy then leave town in a continuing stormy mess..ha! Lets face it, it's nothing new after seeing them play Seattle for nearly 30 years now. The first Slayer show I saw was June 29, 1984 right out of high school at the Norway Center. I know I have some pics of that show in a box somewhere but lets compare setlists from last night to back then cause I really felt it was old-school.

6/29/84: Hell Awaits/Evil Has No Boundaries/Haunting the Chapel/Metal Storm/Face the Slayer/The Final Command/Necrophiliac/Crionics/Black Magic/Aggressive Perfector/Captor of Sin/Chemical Warfare/The Antichrist/Encore: Fight Till Death/Witching Hour(Venom cover)/Die by the Sword/Show No Mercy

11/1/13: Hell Awaits/The Antichrist/Necrophiliac/Mandatory Suicide/Captor of Sin/War Ensemble/Postmortem/Altar of Sacrifice/Jesus Saves/At Dawn They Sleep/Die by the Sword/Spirit in Black/Seasons in the Abyss/Strike of the Beast(Exodus cover)/Dead Skin Mask/Raining Blood/Black Magic/Encore: South of Heaven/Angel of Death

There ya go, 6 songs from the first two records were played last night and they even added in an Exodus cover of "Strike of the Beast" in there.

Reason being, obviously, cause Exodus guitarist Gary Holt is now cemented in the band with the passing of original guitarist Jeff Hanneman this past May due to alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. Let's not forget Jeff's recent necrotizing fasciitis infection (the flesh-eating disease) that devastated his well-being in 2011 from a spider bite and pretty much ended his guitar playing too. Last time I saw him play live was at the Big 4 in California. Seeing the hole in his arm wasn't the most pleasant of sights, but it was amazing to see him play one more time. I've taken some pretty cool shots of him over the years. He was missed but remembered during the encore with the Hanneman "Still Reigning" backdrop. Gary Holt has always been one of the most underrated and best guitarist in Metal and technically a plus for Slayer. Also missing for Slayer was original drummer Dave Lombardo, Paul Bostaph (Exodus/Testament) is now a member of the band and don't get me wrong, he was great, but there was something missing at times in key moments that set Lombardo from the pack. It was especially noticed during the quick solo part in "Angel of Death". Oh well there's only one Dave Lombardo. Other than that it was really a great show but weird not seeing Jeff onstage like that last time I saw the band in this venue as pictured below.  

Big props to Slayer for pulling out a setlist that was old-school in my books. I'm sure ESPN's John Clayton who was there too enjoyed that! (See his commercial at blog bottom) If you're a fan of the older stuff I'd get your ass out there and check out this tour! For more of my Slayer photos click here. Opening acts 4arm and Gojira were great. 4arm hails from Australia and killed it! Blending the whole power metal, Slayer, Bay-Area style thrash into one that was killer live! I'll definitely check their new album "Submission for Liberty" out on Rising Records.

Before Slayer hit the stage France's Gojira annihilated everyone with their HEAVIER than HEAVY crunch metal. Imagine the movie soundtrack in Godzilla's head as he destroys cities! Their latest release called "L'Enfant Sauvage" see's the band crush all competitors in this genre! Really great band live! Go to!

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Locations: Seattle


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