8 years later, back in St. Louis

Smashing Pumpkins at the Fox Theatre

For the past two years, I couldn’t help but wonder aloud why Billy Corgan had brought the Smashing Pumpkins back to be ridiculed, and insulted.
The band released Zeitgeist in 2007 and left fans feeling the same way. It’s not that the CD was awful, just that it wasn’t that good, and it certainly wasn’t a reunion featuring fan favorites James Iha and D’Arcy Wretzky.
Billy Corgan has often been accused of just bringing the band back for a quick cash grab before leaving again. I, however am back on the Pumpkins ship.
After their return to St. Louis on November 26th, all my faith in Billy, and whoever he chooses to put around him, has been restored.
The band was of course fashionably late, coming on stage around fifteen minutes after scheduled start time,  to the roaring guitar strums of one of the better songs off of Zeitgeist, “Tarantula”.
Jimmy Chamberlin’s drumming immediately showed it’s as strong as ever, and he continues to be the only stabilizing feature of the Pumpkins, and Billy Corgan’s other musical half.
New bass player Ginger Reyes then dove into one of the heaviest Pumpkins bass lines in a very long time on new single, “G.L.O.W.” The song is a driving force that distinctively proves that Corgan is as capable as ever as a hit producing front man.
“Siva” came next featuring the first of many “jam” moments of the night, almost as a reminder in case anyone had forgotten that Corgan still knows how to play a blistering guitar solo.
The hits seemingly were on a never ending  streak, continuing with “Eye” and “Tonight, Tonight”, but this was the groups first return to St. Louis since the reunion two years ago, and eight years since their last visit overall, so maybe he was trying to make up for the absence.

Many dates on the “20th Anniversary Tour” have received less than glowing reviews, as Corgan often seems perturbed with the crowd as he goes off on a twenty minute cover of Pink Floyds “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”, which goes over less than swimmingly with fans hoping for actual Pumpkins songs.
As it turned out, that song would end this show as well to the usual reaction, but not before a set list full of classics, which even featured Corgan pulling out an acoustic guitar for his cover of “Landslide” originally performed by Fleetwood Mac.
The band covered over two and a half hours, which was actually cut a little bit shorter than other dates on the tour due to Corgan having a persisting cold.
Corgan seemed in great spirits, maybe it was the cold medicine, even at one point  telling the crowd a story about how he wrote “Disarm” underneath the arch at 6 a.m. one morning, though of course that wasn’t true.
At the end of though show, though some were disillusioned by the Floyd cover song, it was clear that the Smashing Pumpkins seem to back on the right track.
With thundering new songs like “As Rome Burns”, mostly instrumental “Superchrist” and “G.L.O.W.”, as well as a astounding lineup that seems to be growing well together, here’s hoping the next CD will hopefully continue the good feelings everyone left with after the show.


The New Game has begun

Chad Grey

More Photos!

Some bands thrive on being mysterious; they prefer you to constantly be wondering what they are thinking, or what they are going to do next. Mudvayne, and lead singer Chad Grey however, don’t fall anywhere near that group.
As the band returned to St. Louis from their three year absence from the touring music scene, Grey and the band let the crowd now from moment one what they were going to get, an trip deep into the dark minds of the bands past, and a look at where the metal band stands today.
Grey emerged in an outfit straight out of Stephen King’s classic It.
With a clown suit split down the middle, one side blood red, to go with the blood like substance creeping down the side of his face, and the other side so black that if it wasn’t for the incredible spotlights you would have thought only half of him made it to the stage.
Roaring through classics such as “Death Blooms”, “Nothing to Gein”, “-1” and “Dig”, off of their breakthrough record L.D. 50, let older fans know they were still very much so appreciated. As Grey said it  mid way through the set, “We have some old time fan’s in the building tonight,” and they all loved every second of it.
Newer material from the short, but ear blasting set included, “Happy” and “Forget to Remember” off of 2005s’ Lost and Found, and “Do what you do” off of the bands latest release The New Game.
Though the band played just over an hour, much to the displeasure of many in the crowd, they made sure to stay after for over an hour to meet with fans purchasing their new CD.
Openers at the show, and recently reunited Snot, put on an incredible showing of brute strength as they pounded through old and new material featuring new lead singer Tommy “Vext” Cummings.
10 Years showed up with a rather dark, and odd set. The band just didn’t quite seem to fit sandwiched between the two much heavier acts, and fans showed it, causing singer Jesse Hasek to dive into the crowd on multiple occasions to try and rile the crowd up.
Musically the band played a great set of mostly new material off of 2008s’ Division, but it just couldn’t live up to the aggressive crowds temperament.
By the end of the show many a mosh had come and gone, but all were left standing, screaming, for their returned heroes, lead by Chad Grey’s urgent call to, “make all the noise you can, it’s not like you can do this everyday.”


Update 11.20.08

The final version of the paper from the Death Cab show is officially up on the concert page. Also have everything finalized for the Mudvayne show Tuesday, though I’m starting to worry about getting the photo pass for the SP show. Time will tell…. should have some videos up from Rise Against and DCFC on the youtube page soon though 🙂

update: of course as soon as I typed this, I got verified for the SP show, so I am good to go! I anxiously look forward to reporting back to you on my biggest week in photography yet!

Rise Against!

Thrice lead singer Dustin Kensrue


The day has come and passed and despite the fact that I have been unbearably sick for the last week I was undeterred in getting to St. Louis for one of the best touring lineups of the fall. Rise against came to town with Alkaline Trio, Thrice and the Gaslight Anthem.

The Gaslight Anthem opened with a booming set for an opener. From a band that I have only heard one song from previously, the put on a great set. They kind of sound like a mixture between maybe Bruce Springsteen, and a little Alkaline Trio. The songs all had great lyrical quality and didn’t get old quickly. I would like to note also that the guys were nice enough to hang around afterward despite the fact it was freezing outside.

Thrice came on next and put on a great set heavy on new material, but awesome nonetheless. They played several songs off of the Fire disc, of their Alchemy Index series, that all went over great with the crowd. In particular “Firebreather” went over great, with lead singer Dustin Kensrue wailing, “tell me are you free?” I was slightly dissapointed they didn’t get into some of their lighter acoustic stuff, however a cover of the Beatles “Helter Skelter”, more than made up for it.

Alkaline Trio failed to thrill me with their style of Chicago pop-punk. Though a good half of the crowd seemed to really love the band, I just didn’t get the appeal.

Rise Against came to the stage absolutely on fire. New guitarist Zach Blair is an absolute thrill to watch work the stage and play the guitar. Tim McIlrath is a great stage man as well when not tied down by a guitar. The heavily political band was in great spirits and self proclaimed “we all have a lot to be grateful for,” McIlrath said, before explaining, “the George Bush era of America is OVER.” The band ran through a great mix of new and old, as well as remembering their first days in St. Louis at the Creepy Crawl, and noting that it was their, “literally biggest show” in the city.

Right after the band briefly left the stage for a breather, McIlrath and Blair emerged quickly for a brief acoustic set featuring new song, “Hero of War” as well as “Swing Life Away”. The band ended the set with an explosive version of “Prayer of the Refugee” which unleashed the entire floor of the Pageant into a large mosh.

As McIlrath said early in the night, “this is what its all about, everyone right here, together, enjoying themselves and getting a break from daily life.” There was certainly no better way to accomplish that goal/.