CMOORE CONCERTS PRESENTS
Dropkick Murphys, Clutch, Hatebreed, Russ Rankin
Please note: RAIN OR SHINE. PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Children age 2 and under do not need a ticket.
Please call 208-426-1764 for Outlaw Field Reserved Garden Suite tickets.
DROPKICK MURPHYS ARE:
Al Barr - lead vocals
Tim Brennan - guitars, accordion, whistles and vocals
Ken Casey - bass guitar and lead vocals
Jeff DaRosa - banjo, bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica, acoustic guitars,
mondola and vocals
Matt Kelly - drums and vocals
James Lynch - guitars and vocals
Scruffy Wallace - bagpipes, whistles
Dropkick Murphys come out swinging on their eighth full-length album, "SIGNED and SEALED in BLOOD" [Born & Bred Records/ADA]. This time around, everything has been cranked up past 10. The guitars are ballsier, the gang vocals are louder, the hooks are catchier, the lyrics stop you in your tracks. The brashest moments of "SIGNED and SEALED in BLOOD" feel like the last 30 seconds of a Stanley Cup hockey game: frenetic, on the edge, dangerous. The softest songs are testaments to the values that pump through the Dropkicks' veins: family, neighborhoods, honor, respect, roots and remembering those who are gone. Every second of "SIGNED and SEALED in BLOOD" is evidence of one thing: Dropkick Murphys aren't just loud and brash, they're at the top of their game as songwriters.
Knowing this, it's no surprise upon hearing the opening line of the opening song: "The boys are back and they're looking for trouble." ...they most certainly are.
The Dropkicks' music is universal stuff. Songs for the common man, about common things, that come together with such fury and infectious melody that everyone within earshot is struck straight. Dropkick Murphys, as much as any of the 'punk' or 'blue collar' labels they've earned, are fantastic songwriters. They are on the same quest as their beloved Woody Guthrie or their buddy Bruce Springsteen: how to get that big truth to come out the other end of the speakers in a way people all over the world will feel in their bones.
"SIGNED and SEALED in BLOOD" is Dropkick Murphys at their universal best. "Our fans make us want to do this forever," smiles Casey. "They live and die by this band as much as we do. We know who we are, and we always have. The key to a good Dropkick Murphys record is to have a little bit of everything: it makes you want to laugh. It makes you want to cry. It makes you want to punch someone in the face. It makes you want to be happy. We put our hearts and souls into our music. We're very grateful that people respond."
Forget whatever you thought about Clutch. Earth Rocker crumples up the bad categories that have miscast them for years — stoner rock, post-hardcore, metal, grunge — and leaves no question about what they are: a damn good rock and roll band.
Earth Rocker is a solid, straight-up rock and roll album, exactly what the band had in mind for their tenth studio album, now that their Weathermaker Recordslabel is fully up and running. “It might be the best Clutch album that has ever existed,” says guitarist Tim Sult.
It's a concise, efficient album. That was the point, says drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. “We really tried to reign in the jam aspect of the band. We like to improvise a lot, but this album, we really wanted stuff mapped out. We wanted to go into the studio fully armed to make a really powerful record.”
“I'm excited about its succinctness, and how balls-to-the-wall it is,” says frontman Neil Fallon. “The length of an LP is optimal for enjoying a body of new music, approximately 40- 45 minutes. There's something to be said about Side A and Side B. It's more cinematic, and that was the approach.”
The album began taking shape when Clutch toured with Mötorhead, then Thin Lizzy. Revisiting those two favorite bands, they were able to apply their own experience as musicians to better understand the dynamics of their heroes. “The songwriting process happened around the time of those tours, so that really sank into our writing,” Sult recalls. “Maybe people expected us to go more acoustic or bluesy, but this album definitely showcases a riffs-in-your-face kind of style. These songs ended up being faster and a bit more rocking.”
“Overall, we wanted the album to pick up the pace a little bit,” bassist Dan Maines explains. “Songs developing at a faster tempo led to a very straightforward songwriting approach.”
That songwriting simplicity is also indirectly a result of the Basket Of Eggs EP issued two years ago with the Weathermaker re-release of Blast Tyrant. “That acoustic stuff represents a new style of writing for us,” Maines says. “It kind of forces you to strip down what you're playing. We had almost two years to spend on the writing process, and we had a lot of ideas. Having two years allowed us to trim the fat.”
Clutch are passionate students of rock and roll, and music in general. Gaster's love of a good shuffle brought that rhythmic approach to nearly half the album. Professor Longhair's “Bald Head” — notably the loping style of Earl Palmer's swinging eight notes — was a direct influence on Earth Rocker. So was Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey, also a shuffle monster.
“When you hear a light shuffle, or the brushwork on 'Gone Cold,' at first it can be a head- scratcher,” says Fallon. “But when you join in, you will be taken to a place you wouldn't have gone by yourself.”
Fallon's reputation as a clever lyricist will likely grow once people hear Earth Rocker. His approach is similar to writing fiction. “You've got to do it convincingly. There's a bit of theater to it, in a way. The four minutes a song is being recorded or performed, I can convince myself that I'm an expert on whatever subject I'm singing about, even if I don't know exactly what it is.”
“There are some tips of the hat to rock and roll history in the lyrics that I enjoy singing because they reference the album in a bigger picture. 'Rocket 88' is considered the first rock and roll song that used distortion. That lyrical reference on 'Crucial Velocity' kind of fuels Earth Rocker as a whole with that back story. It's American myth, even though it really happened.”
Not everything on Earth Rocker is strictly vintage rock and roll. Maines made sure his love of the aggression and minimalism of Bad Brains and Fugazi was applied to these tracks. “The simpler the better, and I really tried to keep it streamlined and a little more focused.
Whatever came to mind first was pretty much what I stuck with throughout the whole recording process. I didn't feel the need to try to over complicate the parts.”
The influence of their favorite bands might have inspired Earth Rocker, but continuous growth as players also affected the album. “You wouldn't have a song like 'Earth Rocker' five years ago,” Gaster insists. “We've continued to grow on our instruments, finding our own voices. Hopefully, you hear that on the new songs.”
Behind the scenes, Earth Rocker is also a result of an inordinate amount of preparation for Clutch. The album was entirely plotted out before recording even started at The Machine Shop in Belleville, NJ, with veteran producer Machine. “In the past, we would go into the studio and write,” says Fallon. “That never worked out to anyone's satisfaction. It was really important to do a lot of pre-production, knowing exactly what we would be doing when we went into the studio. It was crucial that we did all that prior to hitting record.”
“It was so mapped out that we weren't even in the studio together. You had to take a lot on faith. But once you know a part inside and out, you can move on to worrying about performance. If you're trying to remember it, then you're not playing from the heart — you're playing from the brain. That always sounds stale on playback.”
The Earth Rocker sessions were largely based on faith for Sult, a guitarist more attuned to riffs than solos. “I would have never expected to be playing as many solos,” he says. “On this album, they definitely had more of a direction than they usually do. It definitely took a lot more concentration, but I walked away from this album liking them more than I have on any other album.”
“I just decided to trust the producer this time and not try to second guess too much. Having Machine there really helped. He's very opinionated on what it should be, as far as performance goes. He definitely pushed us in a direction we normally wouldn't go.”
It was Machine's idea to replicate the flow of their live set with the running order of Earth Rocker. “He kind of made a set list of songs we do live at festivals,” Fallon explains. “He wanted to reproduce that energy in an album. He pointed things out to us, bringing us back to listening to ourselves as a fan would, to make an album that could be played beginning to end at a show, and everyone would dig it.”
“There's a certain energy to our shows that we've had difficulty capturing on tape,” Maines admits. “I think this record comes closer to really capturing that energy of Clutch live. It's a very balanced album. There's no B-side material. It's an album of A-sides. That sounds pretty bold and confident, but that's the way we feel about Earth Rocker.”
An institution can be relied on. Its foundations don’t shake due to the winds of change or tides of trends—no matter how volatile, omnipresent, or tenuous.
With steadfast determination, drive, and dedication, Hatebreed cement themselves as one of heavy music’s strongest institutions on their seventh full-length offering and very first for Nuclear Blast worldwide, 2016’s The Concrete Confessional. Since 1994, the Connecticut quintet—Jamey Jasta [vocals], Chris Beattie [bass], Wayne Lozinak [guitar], Frank Novinec [guitar], and Matthew Byrne [drums]—has risen to the ranks of hardcore and heavy metal elite with a GRAMMY® Award nomination, main stage slots on festivals, and countless fans worldwide. 2013’s The Divinity Of Purpose earned their highest entry on the Billboard Top 200, bowing at #17 with impressive first-week sales in excess of 17,000. When it came time to return to the studio after two years on the road, Jasta and his cohorts clung to the bedrock on which their legacy stands firm.
“There’s nothing better than loud amps in the face, cranked up riffs that hit you right in the chest and lyrics that spark a new thought and give you a charge,” he declares. “That’s our musical DNA. We could just be who we are. We don’t need to incorporate whatever the trend is. We can just be Hatebreed. There are some new highlights to the game, but you know it’s us.”
The Divinity Of Purpose brought them to new areas of the globe as the headlined festivals in the UK, Finland, Norway, Germany, and Eastern Europe and landed a slot on Ozzfest Japan. They would perform at Poland’s Woodstock in front of 400,000 people. Stateside, the band supported longtime friends Black Label Society in the winter of 2015 and then got the opportunity to be direct support to Slipknot on a Spring 2015 run in between festival appearances at Rock On The Range, Welcome To Rockville, and more as well as Motörhead's Motörboat with Slayer and Motörhead.
“Riding into this album, I realized we could play with bands of every genre nearly anywhere without deviating from who we are,” continues Jasta. “The Motörboat was another real career highlight. We played this exclusive event with some of our chief influences. We got to literally chart new territory.”
Returning home in the Fall of 2015, they entered the studio with longtime producer Zeuss [Rob Zombie, Soulfly]. Immediately, they channeled the spirit that’s long defined their signature sound. By January, the record was mixed by Josh Wilbur [Megadeth, Lamb Of God] and primed for ignition.
“We had a really good vibe in the studio,” he says. “The record is a snapshot of this time for us.”
It also reflects what’s going on outside. The opening track and first single “A.D.” fuses together torrential thrashed-out guitars, double bass drums, and Jasta’s immortal growl before an incendiary lead. The singer dissects what the American Dream means in a climate of upheaval. “Fight fire with fire, you’ll see everyone’s burning,” he screams. Think of it as “Vote With A Bullet” or “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” for the Instagram age.
“It’s a mirror of both sides of the story whether it’s what you believe in the media or what you actually see,” he explains. “Musically, it came together quickly. It’s about all of the frustrated feelings that come out when I turn on the news. So much of our attention is focused on the wrong areas. People want to one-up each other with better clothes and cars, and it’s all bullshit. Nobody goes to the grave with any of that stuff. It’s not all instant gratification. What exists on the phone and computer isn’t what exists in real life. What is the American Dream anymore?”
The machine gun chug of “Looking Down The Barrel Of Today” proves equally uplifting and undeniable. “I wanted something to get crowds pumped up,” he admits. “So many fans will tell us, ‘Your records help me get through my life.’ I needed to encourage this cyclical power to get up and face the day. You either make the best of today, or you’re done in by it.”
“Something’s Off” carries an ominously lyrical bass line into a guttural chant, showcasing Jasta’s chilling vocal dynamics in the process. “I’ve written songs about depression, alcoholism, and falling back into destructive patterns,” he says. “However, I never felt like I could really put my finger on what anxiety is. It’s not just social anxiety but this unexplained feeling of unease, like I’m in a fog. I’ve felt it occasionally since I was in grade school. You can’t control when it happens. Heavy music has kept that beast at bay—in addition to exercise and experiences with my family. I had to confront it directly in the lyrics here.”
Elsewhere, “Remember When” and “Slaughtered In Their Dreams” juxtapose visceral lyricism with a searing sonic backdrop as chaotic as it is catchy. Through and through, The Concrete Confessional is classic Hatebreed.
In order to transfer this message to the masses, the band inked a global deal with Nuclear Blast. “They’re world-renowned mainstays in the metal community,” he smiles. “We get to be in the company of career bands we look up to.”
Hatebreed have come a long way from the East Coast’s storied nineties underground scene. Their journey has seen them achieve a 2005 GRAMMY® Award nod in the category of “Best Metal Performance” for “Live For This,” sell over 1.2 million records, and land a #1 debut on Billboard’s DVD Chart with 2009’s Live Dominance. Moreover, they’ve annihilated audiences from Mayhem Fest to OZZfest Japan and Download Festival to Wacken, Hellfest, and beyond.
Now, The Concrete Confessional fits right into the bold, bloody, and beating heart of the Hatebreed institution.
“The title had to be something that was heavy and hard, but also vulnerable and honest,” Jasta leaves off. “Heavy music is this cleansing, therapeutic, and cathartic experience for so many. You’re there, the guitars are crushing you, and someone’s screaming their head off—sharing their pain and aspects of their life through words, poetry, or songs. There’s nothing like it. You confess you have negative thoughts, and you purge them. For however long you’re at the show, there are no bills to pay, issues to deal with, or problems holding you back. You can be free.”