It’s fitting for a building that got blown up as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on The Walking Dead to be Alice Cooper’s choice of music venue in Atlanta, albeit one much nicer than any arena and probably much nicer than the real CDC building. On Tuesday, December 13, Alice Cooper brought his “No More Mr Nice Guy: The Original Evil Returns,” to the Cobb Energy Centre. The 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee attracted a very large, diverse crowd for a Tuesday night with several attendees getting there two hours before the main doors even opened for a reserved seat show! (And even after the doors opened, they still had to wait 45 minutes before the theatre opened, which means that Alice has a lot of dedicated fans!)
Opening for Alice Cooper, the British band Livan, headed up by a front man of the same name, offered up a UK swagger that was a combination of punk, industrial, and goth with vocal stylings similar to the lead from She Wants Revenge – eerie, deep, and hypnotic. And to clarify, by “swagger” I mean the way Livan was strutting around on stage shirtless in tight red pants with a huge black industrial inspired belt and suspenders. Muscles, tattoos, a shaved head, and a little bit of glam rock on his face, Livan and his band played a solid set with a Velvet Underground cover thrown in the mix before they ended with their songs, “King of the World” and “Black Cherry.”
There was a 30 minute break between Livan and Alice; during that time, I overheard concert goes talk about how posh the venue was, saying it wasn’t like any other arena that they’ve been to and how they really liked it. The crowd ranged from older bikers, leather wearing middle agers, punks, goths, teenagers, youngsters with their parents, people who were wearing Alice Cooper inspired make up and clothing, top hat sporting ones, an Alice Cooper impersonator look alike, people who just got off work, and the list goes on and on and on of people of all different sizes, shapes, colors, and from different walks of life who were there to rock out with the band. The merch table was full of t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, buttons, Alice inspired Panda stuffed animals, and makeup kits.
The crowd was on their feet and anticipation was high as we waited in front of the large Alice Cooper “No More Mr Nice Guy: The Original Evil Returns” show curtain for the band to take the stage. Then it began – the Vincent Price intro to Cooper’s “The Black Widow.” Next the curtain fell and Alice appeared in black widow costume on a scaffold high above everyone. Down from his tower he came and off the band went into “Brutal Planet” as Alice stomped around and swung a cane. The cane was flung into the audience and he grabbed a threatening saber, slapping his leather, grimacing, and singing into the mike. For “I’m Eighteen,” Alice shook a bloody crutch at the audience and members of his band. A foggy haze covered the stage at different times during his performance, adding to the mystique and horror that is an Alice Cooper show. Alice had multiple costume changes of leather and studs, including a patched up jacket, a studded jacket, a studded top hat, gloves, and bloody shirts. His band rocked on through it all, including young, famed Orianthi who absolutely wailed on her guitar. (In her mid-20’s, she was Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist before his passing. A few lady concert goers even sported their Orianthi shirts. She’s the first woman to be in Alice’s band.) The rest of the band were fierce musicians as well, including a drummer who kept hitting beats as he was twirling the sticks in his hands.
The infamous albino python graced the stage with Alice after “No More Mr Nice Guy” for “Is This My Body.” The crowd got riled up for “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” before calming down to wave lighters to “Only Women Bleed” as Alice danced with a doll onstage before tossing her aside a song later. Probably the most beloved song of the evening was “Feed My Frankenstein.” (I’d wager money that we can thank the movie, Wayne’s World for some of the song’s notoriety.) During this song, we got to meet Franken-Alice, a large Alice Cooper looking monster that overtook the stage and sung the final verses of the song. “Feed My Frankenstein” is one of my favorite Alice Cooper songs for lyrics, vocal quality, and performance/showmanship. A couple songs later, they played one of my other favorite Alice songs, “Poison.” The guillotine took Alice’s head for being a “Wicked Young Man,” then we were lovin’ on the dead with a completely studded out Alice. “School’s Out for Summer” gave us a #18 jersey wearing Alice with leather jacket. Another cane was flung to the audience and then humongous balloons filled with confetti were tossed into the crowd as Alice popped them with his conductor stick sword. A bit of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” was weaved in and then we headed into the encore. A razzle dazzled Alice came out and shouted, “I want to be your nightmare!” Then they performed “Elected” as streamers and confetti poured on to the audience. Alice was wearing a sparkly American flag shirt with matching top hat and tails. The sound in the venue was top notch, the energy was high, and the music was a compilation of Alice Cooper’s greatest hits! So, should we elect Alice Cooper to solve our problems? I think we should!
Photos by John Adams[nggallery id=470]
Alice Cooper’s 2011 “No More Mr Nice Guy: The Original Evil Returns” at the Cobb Energy Centre Set List:
Vincent Price intro
The Black Widow
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Is It My Body
Halo Of Flies
I’ll Bite Your Face Off
Muscle Of Love
Only Women Bleed
Feed My Frankenstein
Clones (We’re All)
Wicked Young Man
I Love The Dead
School’s Out (including a little “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2” by Pink Floyd)
[box type=”info”] Check out this recent audio interview with Alice right here![/box]
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.
Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”
Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.
The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.
What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.
Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.
Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.” The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.
Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.
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