April 17, 2005

Concert Review: James Labrie 4/15/05

James Labrie makes his triumphant return to The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY. This time he is not with his usual bandmates in Dream Theater, but with the musicians that he has gathered for his debut solo album. But before that, there were the warm ups.

The first act took to the stage just before 9:00. The band goes by the name Sentinel, they put on a great set too. I have never seen these guys before today, although I think I will be seeing them more in the future. They put on a 35 minute set of old school sounding metal, much in the vein of early Metallica. They could use some polishing, but that will come as they gain experience. Specifically, they could use some work in the vocal department, he sounded a bit out off, not terrible, but probably not one of his better nights. I would definitely check these guys out again.

Next up is a band I have had the misfortune of seeing before. They are called Sonic Lords, and they are, to be kind, not good. They are just some sort of low brow bar band, where they may have talent, it is squandered. The guitar player shows some skills, every once in a while chruning out a heavy riff to groove on, and the drumming shows signs of life. Bass playing, on the other hand is rather genric, nothing special. Finally the vocals are just horrid, unintelligible screaming mess. The were met with a chorus of boos. Much relief was had when they left the stage.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe moment that we were all waiting for was arriving. James Labrie was about to take the stage. I was eagerly awaiting to hear the new material, as I hadn't been able to track down the album locally, plus I was interested in hearing what his band sounded like. I was also kind of hoping that I would hear some Dream Theater material, that would not come true, but it turned out not to matter as all of the material sounded great. I did not recognize any of the songs played, but it appears that all of the songs came from his solo album and from Mullmuzzler 2 (I only have the first one). Labrie's voice sounded incredible, he was on for the entire night. Although he had the sound guy changing the mix throughout the night. For two hours Labrie and crew put on on absolutely amazing set. The one criticism I have with the performance is that he didn't seem to make a connection with the audience, sure he would stop and relate a story or say what album the song was from, but it was missing something.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAnyway, the main thing here is the performance, his band was great. They all got to put on a solo, each of which blew me away, particularly the bass solo. Bryan Beller is an absolutely stellar bass player. Then there is Mike Mangini, whose drumming was solid, and his solo was one of the better drum solos I've seen live. Keyboardist Matt Guillory and guitarist Marco Sfogli each did not get stand alone solos, but they more than made up for it with the incredible segements they had during the songs.

I know this isn't the most detailed review you've read, or that I have written, but the thing to take away from this is that if you are a music fan see him live! Or, even better, see Dream Theater live. You can't get better than Dream Theater or whatever musicians it's members work with for technically proficient and mind blowing music.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSet list (May not be complete):
Slightly Out Of Reach
Venice Burning
Confronting the Devil
Shores of Avalon
Listening Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Save Me
In Too Deep
A Simple Man

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