Venue: House of Blues
City: Anaheim, CA
Set length: About an hour
Masters of Puppets 9:00 PM
Allison Chains 10:00 PM
The Iron Maidens 11:00 PM
Felicia from Allison Chains reached out and invited me to come down to check out the show. I said yes. I’ve shot here before but this will be my first time seeing Masters of Puppets – if you can’t figure out who this is a tribute to then you are probably in the wrong website.
My gear for the night was:
- Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
- Flash: None
- Lenses: Canon 200mm f/2.8 and Canon’s 24-70mm f/2.8, 15mm f/2.8.
The venue is not bad, for being a corporate joint. The staff was nice and accommodating and the sound was pretty good. No complaints, other than the parking-lot gridlock we all experienced at Downtown Disney – it was kind of a mess that night. I missed the first band because of the bad traffic and parking issues but made it in in time to see three great bands; Masters of Puppets, Allison Chains and the Iron Maidens – fun night of some of my favorite tributes!
It is located at:
www.HouseOfBlues.com/anaheim/ in Downtown Disney
Reviews, comments, and possible putdowns for Allison Chains…
Masters of Puppets is a band that is touted as being a World Famous Metallica tribute. I have seen quite a few Metallica tributes throughout the years and this band ranks right at the top of the list as far as sound goes. The group’s look, which I find to be secondary in a tribute band, is also decent. On that note, if you are a regular reader of this site, I’m pretty sure you are sick of my rants about bands trying to look the part but I’m going to touch on it once again (“suck it, Ron Burgundy”)…
I feel that a tribute band should either be all in or just do their thing and simply have fun when it comes to looking the part of a tribute. Don’t borrow parts and add in your own moves on stage because it just confuses the brand they are taking on, and this also cheapens the live experience for the audience. It is definitely a very fine line that gets walked on and Tribute bands should be aware of this. I am not a fan of bands wearing wigs unless the entire band is going all-in to provide the audience with an “as-close-as-possible live experience” because I feel that it is REALLY hard to pull that off. Having said that, I was perfectly okay with Masters of Puppets somewhat looking the part (wig and spider-walk for the Trujillo role) because they really did do a kick-ass job with the music. If you like Metallica, then definitely go check out Masters of Puppets because not only do they represent Metallica very well musically, but they are also nice guys – I should clarify that I only met Harley (the James Hetfield of the band) and he was friendly, outgoing and ego-free, which can be a rare trait in bands. Back to the on-stage persona issue for a minute… I have seen too many tributes feel that they need to inject their own originality into the music they are trying to give homage to. Here is an example, without naming anyone… Years ago I saw a decent AC/DC tribute that was geared more towards the Brian Johnson era – don’t even get me started on mixing the two eras of this iconic band unless you bring out two singers, but I digress… Their music was played fine but the Malcom and Cliff members of this particular band were wearing really bad wigs – fine, no biggie. I get that they have to have day jobs and not everyone can have long hair. The main issue I had with this band was not the wigs necessarily, it was that they were both completely out of control, jumping around, climbing on amps, and trying to outshine the Angus role – they reminded me of an early Janick Gers in Iron Maiden, which is a completely different conversation that I may touch on at some point. That is all fine if that is what your band is about but everyone in the group was trying to look the part, had instruments that matched the role, and they even sounded like a Brian Johnson era version but ruined it by acting like wild monkeys on stage, which is not how Malcom nor Cliff behave on stage. It just cheapens the effect. Look, I get it, we are talking about bands going out there and playing what they love but I take my tributes pretty seriously, I suppose, and I feel that you should either be all in or just have fun with it. So, my apologies for taking all this space when all I meant to do was write about a good Metallica tribute band that I saw last week.
I was really hoping to hear Whiplash this evening but it wasn’t meant to be. I know it is hard to fit in all their music in a 40-50 minute set, especially when most Metallica songs clock in above the 6 minute mark. Maybe next time… Unfortunately, I tend to be more of a deep-catalog music fan and would be so happy if I never heard songs like Enter Sandman, One, Fade to Black and even Master of Puppets live ever again but that is just the music snob in me and I realize that the masses do want to hear those songs.
Hmmm, you know what? it’s my blog and I can do as I please here so this is my chance to write out what MY ideal Metallica setlist would consist of – in order! Here we go…
- The Frayed Ends of Sanity (with an extended Charlie & the Chocolate Factory intro)
- Crash Course in Brain Surgery (Budgie Cover)
- The Shortest Straw
- No Remorse
- Wherever I may Roam
- Leper Messiah
- Fight Fire with Fire
- That Was Just Your Life
- Loverman (Nick Cave cover)
- Metal Militia
- Damage Inc.
- Harvester of Sorrow
- (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth / Whiplash
- Mama Said (complete with slide guitar)
- The Four Horsemen
- Dyers Eve
No guitar solos and definitely no drum solos in the set – only Anesthesia… Feel free to send me your ideal setlist – I’d love to see what others think.
Please, go support Masters of Puppets – they are really good and you’ll have a blast if you are a Metallica fan! Nuff said…