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Top 50 Active Rock Songs of 2016 (by spins)

top-50-active-rock-songs-of-2016

It’s been proven once again this year that Active Rock radio has a handful of favorite artists that are virtually guaranteed airplay whenever a single is released.  While most of these artists are household names in Active Rock, a few newer artists have risen to this level.  A dozen artists accounted for more than half of the Top 50 Active Rock Songs of 2016. The disturbing trend of “wasted spins” on artists/songs that don’t fit the format continues to grow, and there seems to be no end in sight.

It should be noted that this recap is based solely on spin totals, not editorial opinion.  To see the songs chosen by Hard Rock Daddy, check back later in the week when the Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2016 list is published.

Using the actual spins that each song received while featured in the Top 50 of the Active Rock Mediabase Charts (compiled by AllAccess.com), Hard Rock Daddy’s HRD Radio Report ranks the Top 50 Active Rock Songs of 2016 (below).

Active Rock fans should also check out the Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2016.

 

NEW FEATURE!

Below the chart, you will find a YouTube playlist featuring the Top 50 Active Rock Songs of 2016 (by spins). This playlist is also featured on Hard Rock Daddy’s YouTube channel – Hard Rock Daddy Network.

RANK ARTIST SONG TITLE TOP 50 SPINS
1 VOLBEAT “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” 35,767
2 RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS “Dark Necessities” 32,532
3 PRETTY RECKLESS “Take Me Down” 31,920
4 DISTURBED “The Sound Of Silence” 30,330
5 SHINEDOWN “Asking For It” 28,241
6 GREEN DAY “Bang Bang” 28,041
7 DISTURBED “Open Your Eyes” 28,030
8 CHEVELLE “Joyride” 27,926
9 BRING ME THE HORIZON “Happy Song” 26,440
10 HIGHLY SUSPECT “My Name Is Human” 25,106
11 SKILLET “Feel Invincible” 24,957
12 RED SUN RISING “Emotionless” 24,584
13 3 DOORS DOWN “In The Dark” 23,539
14 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “I Apologize” 23,508
15 SHINEDOWN “State Of My Head” 23,461
16 VOLBEAT “Seal The Deal” 23,256
17 SIXX: A.M. “Rise” 22,589
18 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “My Nemesis” 22,499
19 MUSE “Reapers” 22,235
20 POP EVIL “Take It All” 22,170
21 GHOST “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” 21,673
22 KORN “Rotting In Vain” 19,002
23 GHOST “Square Hammer” 18,992
24 METALLICA “Hardwired” 18,554
25 FOO FIGHTERS “Saint Cecilia” 18,389
26 POP EVIL “Ways To Get High” 18,342
27 BLINK-182 “Bored To Death” 17,663
28 THRICE “Black Honey” 17,455
29 PAPA ROACH “Falling Apart” 17,273
30 A DAY TO REMEMBER “Paranoia” 16,872
31 HALESTORM “Mayhem” 16,037
32 3 DOORS DOWN “Still Alive” 15,702
33 RED SUN RISING “Amnesia” 15,592
34 DEFTONES “Phantom Bride” 15,107
35 NOTHING MORE “Here’s To The Heartache” 14,934
36 AVENGED SEVENFOLD “The Stage” 14,850
37 HELLYEAH “I Don’t Care Anymore” 14,444
38 ASKING ALEXANDRIA “Here I Am” 13,198
39 DEFTONES “Prayers/Triangles” 13,146
40 PROPHETS OF RAGE “Prophets Of Rage” 12,876
41 FROM ASHES TO NEW “Through It All” 12,762
42 METALLICA “Moth Into Flame” 12,740
43 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “Wash It All Away” 12,538
44 HOLY WHITE HOUNDS “Switchblade” 12,417
45 DISTURBED “The Light” 11,834
46 HIGHLY SUSPECT “Bloodfeather” 11,832
47 ROB ZOMBIE “Get High” 11,803
48 HELLYEAH “Human” 11,772
49 KALEO “No Good” 11,568
50 SICK PUPPIES “Stick To Your Guns” 11,311

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 50 Active Rock Songs of 2015

2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q4

2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q3

2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q2

2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q1

Top Live Performances of 2016

Joe Lynn Turner - Revolution - Amityville, NY - 2-27-16 - Hard Rock Daddy

By Adam Waldman

The calendar has finally flipped to 2017, but the scars of 2016 remain.  2016 may be remembered for the deaths of several musical icons, but there were some truly memorable live performances that proved that rock and roll is very much alive and well, most notably, Joe Lynn Turner’s stellar solo show.

As rumors swirled that Ritchie Blackmore was ready to step back into the rock arena for a “Rainbow reunion,” JLT seemed like a slam dunk to take center stage once again.  Not only was he the frontman featured on some of the band’s biggest hits, but he also is the only singer to have also fronted Deep Purple.  If Blackmore was ready to rock again, the first call should have gone to JLT.  Inexplicably, it didn’t.

JLT didn’t let Blackmore’s misguided decision stop him from giving the people what they wanted.  His show at Revolution on Long Island is everything that you could have asked for in a Rainbow show (even without the enigmatic guitarist present).  Not only did JLT deliver brilliant performances of the songs that he made famous with Rainbow, he also did so with the songs that pre-dated him joining the band (while throwing in Deep Purple and Yngwie Malmsteen classics for good measure).

JLT didn’t get nearly the hype that Blackmore got for his Rainbow/Deep Purple live performances, but he deserved it.  Amazingly, JLT’s vocals are as strong today as they were over three decades ago when he rose to fame.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

SOTO

Jeff Scott Soto has a tremendous resume, but he still manages to fly under the radar.  In an intimate show on a cold winter night, JSS and his band SOTO delivered an inspired performance, showcasing chemistry that you usually find in bands that have been together for decades.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.

 

SONS OF TEXAS

The first time that I heard “Baptized In The Rio Grande” on SiriusXM’s Octane, I was instantly hooked.  With a seasoned sound that goes well beyond their years, the boys from a small Texas town near the Mexican border live up to the saying…“everything’s bigger in Texas.”  One of the best newcomers onto the hard rock music scene, Sons Of Texas showed that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.

 

ANTHRAX*

Anthrax’s inclusion on this list comes with an asterisk because it wasn’t actually a concert, rather a four-song, show-stealing performance at the recent Epiphone Revolver Music Awards.  It’s a testament to the band’s greatness that the crowd was as enthusiastic about the two new songs (“Breathing Lightning” and “Monster At The End”) as they were about the classics (“Caught In The Mosh” and “Indians”).

CLICK HERE to read a full recap of the event.

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top Live Performances of 2015

Top Live Performances of 2014

Sons Of Texas Concert Review

Written by Adam Waldman

On Friday, September 16, 2016, Sons Of Texas took to the stage at The Chance in Poughkeepsie with no fanfare.  If you didn’t know who they were, you would have thought that the guys tuning the instruments were part of the road crew.  For some odd reason, the band wasn’t even announced.  When they were ready, Sons Of Texas just launched into a music assault that, by all rights, should have brought the crowd to an immediate fever pitch.

Having been on the Sons Of Texas bandwagon since hearing “Baptized In The Rio Grande” on Octane when it first came out, I just assumed that others would be familiar with them as well.  However, because radio has inexplicably dropped the ball on Sons Of Texas since their debut single, the boys from McAllen, TX were fighting an uphill battle for crowd enthusiasm for most of the night.  That is an indictment of the audience, NOT the band.

On a late summer night, Sons Of Texas was an up-and-coming opening act in a club that holds around 1000 people.  However, the sound and performance that they delivered was worthy of an arena headliner.  And though hard rock and metal arena shows have become something of a dinosaur these days, if this was 30 years ago, Sons Of Texas would eventually be headlining arenas.  They’re that good!

With a precision live sound and incredible chemistry, you would think that Sons Of Texas is a band that has been playing together for many years.  In reality, however, this is a band of all-stars from a small Texas town on the Rio Grande that has only been together since 2013…a testament to their talent and dedication to be the best that they can be.

Sometimes, a lower energy crowd can bring down even the most veteran acts, but Sons Of Texas never took their foot off of the gas pedal from the opening note to the last.  Bursting with energy, frontman Mark Morales continuously worked the crowd, encouraging them to “make some noise.”  While he never got the full-throated response that he was looking for, you didn’t see even a hint of frustration, the sign of a true professional.

Throughout the evening, Sons Of Texas delivered a sound that was so powerful, that you could feel it coming at you like a freight train.  The dual guitar attack of Jes De Hoyos and Jon Olivarez, combined with bass player Nick Villarreal, was visually reminiscent of classic Judas Priest, albeit with a lot more groove.

With a guitar duo like De Hoyos and Olivarez, you might expect Villarreal to have a difficult time getting noticed, but like Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, you can’t help but fixate on his dynamic playing, which combines the metal elements of Harris with the funkier, slap elements of Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers).  Perhaps he is able to be front and center and still lock in perfectly with the intense drumming of Mike Villarreal because of their brotherly connection.

In a live setting, Sons Of Texas delivers the intensity of bands like Pantera and Hellyeah, the groove of bands like King’s X and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the blistering dual guitars of bands like Megadeth and Lamb Of God.  Morales showed that he can growl with the best of them, but also sing with the hauntingly melodic, southern flavored style of Zakk Wylde.  He was perfectly complemented by the backing vocals of De Hoyos, who knows just when to infuse shredding solos and when to pull back and stay in the pocket.

Even if you didn’t know any of Sons Of Texas’ songs, you couldn’t help but be blown away by their performance.

From “Baptized In The Rio Grande” (the song that turned me on to the band), to “September” (a deep-meaning track that was recently featured on Music Discovery Monday), to “Blameshift” (a vastly underrated single that was featured on HRD Radio Report back in April), Sons Of Texas showed a versatility and professionalism that rivals the most well-established bands in hard rock today.

Although Sons Of Texas is a high-intensity band, they also know how to tap into the more debaucherous side of rock and roll that is synonymous with Buckcherry (the evening’s headliner).  The band showed a more lighthearted side with their two closing songs, “Slam With The Lights On” and “Texas Trim.”  It was during the two closing songs that the band finally got the enthusiastic response from the crowd that was deserved throughout the performance.

As impressive as Sons Of Texas was on stage, equally as impressive was the true gratitude that the band showed to everyone who came to meet with them at the merch table after the show.  This is particularly true of Morales, who seemed to go right from the stage to the merch table (the perk of not having to load out equipment).  Not only did he hug every fan that came up to him and thank them for their support, he also happily took pictures with anyone who requested.  What really stood out though, was the care that Morales took after signing autographs, literally blowing the ink dry for each person to make sure that it didn’t smudge.  Gestures like that will go a long way towards creating lifelong fans.

Don’t wait to hear Sons Of Texas on the radio before going to see them perform live.  Radio is a political game that (often times) doesn’t favor the truly deserving.  Make sure to catch them when they come to your area.  Someday, you’ll look back with pride at having been one of the early adopters of one of the most kickass bands in rock today.

2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q2

Active Rock Radio Quarterly Report - Hard Rock Daddy

Hard Rock Daddy’s HRD Radio Report provides a weekly look at the Top 50 songs on the Mediabase Active Rock Chart.  Using the actual spins that each song in the Top 50 has received in the second quarter of 2016, we have compiled a ranking of the songs by spin totals.  It should be noted that this recap is based solely on spin totals, not editorial opinion.  Below the Top 50 Active Rock songs of the second quarter of 2016, you will find the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs for the same time period.

Q2 RANK ARTIST SONG TITLE TOP 50 SPINS
1 VOLBEAT “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” 21,853
2 SIXX: A.M. “Rise” 17,947
3 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “My Nemesis” 17,693
4 DISTURBED “The Sound Of Silence” 16,335
5 BRING ME THE HORIZON “Happy Song” 15,419
6 RED SUN RISING “Emotionless” 14,044
7 GHOST “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” 13,065
8 RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS “Dark Necessities” 12,558
9 SHINEDOWN “Asking For It” 12,445
10 HALESTORM “Mayhem” 11,360
11 3 DOORS DOWN “In The Dark” 10,492
12 HELLYEAH “Human” 9,759
13 PAPA ROACH “Falling Apart” 9,458
14 A DAY TO REMEMBER “Paranoia” 8,922
15 DEFTONES “Prayers/Triangles” 8,031
16 ASKING ALEXANDRIA “Here I Am” 8,025
17 SICK PUPPIES “Stick To Your Guns” 7,917
18 MUSE “Reapers” 7,570
19 CHEVELLE “Joyride” 7,531
20 POP EVIL “Take It All” 6,315
21 DEVOUR THE DAY “Lightning In The Sky” 6,149
22 KALEO “No Good” 6,018
23 ROB ZOMBIE “Get High” 5,222
24 FOALS “Mountain At My Gates” 5,049
25 ADELITA’S WAY “Bad Reputation” 4,731
26 BLINK 182 “Bored To Death” 4,572
27 HOLY WHITE HOUNDS “Switchblade” 4,211
28 AVATAR “The Eagle Has Landed” 4,163
29 THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH “Running With Giants” 4,039
30 KILLSWITCH ENGAGE “Hate By Design” 3,824
31 FROM ASHES TO NEW “Through It All” 3,511
32 CHEAP TRICK “When I Wake Up Tomorrow” 3,283
33 THROUGH FIRE “Stronger” 3,084
34 MONSTER TRUCK “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” 3,004
35 SEVENDUST “Death Dance” 2,957
36 LIKE A STORM “Break Free” 2,632
37 TWENTY ONE PILOTS “Ride” 2,575
38 BREAKING BENJAMIN “Ashes Of Eden” 2,571
39 SHAMAN’S HARVEST “In Chains” 2,445
40 BLACK STONE CHERRY “In Our Dreams” 2,438
41 TRIVIUM “Dead And Gone” 2,255
42 ESCAPE THE FATE “Remember Every Scar” 2,186
43 DEFTONES “Phantom Bride” 2,028
44 ONE LESS REASON “Where Were You?” 1,927
45 THE STRUTS “Kiss This” 1,679
46 BEARTOOTH “Aggressive” 1,610
47 FOO FIGHTERS “Saint Cecilia” 1,600
48 BARONESS “Shock Me” 1,370
49 THRICE “Black Honey” 1,343
50 STITCHED UP HEART “Finally Free” 1,333

 

 

Because SiriusXM’s Octane is the most influential Active Rock station in the country, we are also including the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs of the second quarter of 2016.  This recap was compiled using a unique ranking system created by Hard Rock Daddy.  This ranking system is based on a formula that awards points for each position on the weekly countdown. Like the Active Rock Chart, these rankings are based solely on numbers, not editorial opinion.

Q2 RANK ARTIST SONG TITLE
1 HELLYEAH “Human”
2 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “My Nemesis”
3 VOLBEAT “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”
4 KILLSWITCH ENGAGE “Hate By Design”
5 SHINEDOWN “Asking For It”
6 RED SUN RISING “Emotionless”
7 A DAY TO REMEMBER “Paranoia”
8 THRICE “Black Honey”
9 BREAKING BENJAMIN “Defeated”
10 AVATAR “The Eagle Has Landed”
11 PAPA ROACH “Falling Apart”
12 SHAMAN’S HARVEST “In Chains”
13 DISTURBED “The Sound Of Silence”
14 NOTHING MORE “If I Were”
15 BEARTOOTH “Aggressive”

 

2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q1

Active Rock Radio Quarterly Report - Hard Rock Daddy

Hard Rock Daddy’s HRD Radio Report provides a weekly look at the Top 50 songs on the Mediabase Active Rock Chart.  Using the actual spins that each song in the Top 50 has received in the first quarter of 2016, we have compiled a ranking of the songs by spin totals.  It should be noted that this recap is based solely on spin totals, not editorial opinion.  Below the Top 50 Active Rock songs of the first quarter of 2016, you will find the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs for the same time period.

YTD YTD
RANK ARTIST SONG TITLE TOP 50 SPINS
1 SHINEDOWN “State Of My Head” 22,441
2 POP EVIL “Ways To Get High” 18,342
3 FOO FIGHTERS “Saint Cecilia” 16,789
4 NOTHING MORE “Here’s To The Heartache” 14,934
5 MUSE “Reapers” 14,665
6 DISTURBED “The Sound Of Silence” 13,995
7 3 DOORS DOWN “In The Dark” 13,047
8 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “Wash It Away” 12,538
9 DISTURBED “The Light” 11,834
10 HIGHLY SUSPECT “Bloodfeather” 11,832
11 BRING ME THE HORIZON “Happy Song” 11,021
12 SAINT ASONIA “Let Me Live My Life” 9,918
13 RED SUN RISING “Emotionless” 9,504
14 SEETHER “Save Today” 9,446
15 FROM ASHES TO NEW “Through It All” 9,251
16 TRIVIUM “Until The World Goes Cold” 8,790
17 CAGE THE ELEPHANT “Mess Around” 8,051
18 PAPA ROACH “Falling Apart” 7,815
19 SHAMAN’S HARVEST “In Chains” 7,668
20 ADELITA’S WAY “Bad Reputation” 5,578
21 THREE DAYS GRACE “Fallen Angel” 5,434
22 THE STRUTS “Kiss This” 5,426
23 HALESTORM “I Am The Fire” 5,154
24 DEFTONES “Prayers/Triangles” 5,115
25 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “My Nemesis” 4,806
26 THEORY OF A DEADMAN “Blow” 4,531
27 STITCHED UP HEART “Finally Free” 4,277
28 SLIPKNOT “Goodbye” 4,120
29 FAILURE ANTHEM “Paralyzed” 4,091
30 PARKWAY DRIVE “Vice Grip” 4,025
31 GHOST “Cirice” 3,521
32 ARANDA “We Are The Enemy” 3,498
33 ROB ZOMBIE “Well, Everybody’s…in a UFO” 3,357
34 LACEY STURM “Impossible” 3,029
35 ESCAPE THE FATE “Alive” 3,018
36 ALL THAT REMAINS “Victory Lap” 2,940
37 MEGADETH “Dystopia” 2,697
38 DEVOUR THE DAY “Lightning In The Sky” 2,676
39 WOLFMOTHER “Victorious” 2,630
40 SIXX: A.M. “Rise” 2,617
41 FOALS “Mountain At My Gates” 2,138
42 ANDREW WATT “Ghost In My Head” 2,110
43 HALESTORM “Mayhem” 2,064
44 GHOST “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” 1,973
45 DROWNING POOL “By The Blood” 1,915
46 NATHANIEL RATELIFF / NIGHTSWEATS “S.O.B.” 1,623
47 KILLSWITCH ENGAGE “Hate By Design” 1,545
48 PUSCIFIER “The Remedy” 1,398
49 BLACK STONE CHERRY “In Our Dreams” 1,390
50 BARONESS “Shock Me” 1,385

 

 

Because SiriusXM’s Octane is the most influential Active Rock station in the country, we are also including the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs of the first quarter of 2016.  This recap was compiled using a unique ranking system created by Hard Rock Daddy.  This ranking system is based on a formula that awards points for each position on the weekly countdown. Like the Active Rock Chart, these rankings are based solely on numbers, not editorial opinion.

YTD RANK ARTIST SONG TITLE
1 Bring Me The Horizon “Happy Song”
2 Trivium “Until The World Goes Cold”
3 Red Sun Rising “Emotionless”
4 Saint Asonia “Let Me Live My Life”
5 Shaman’s Harvest “In Chains”
6 Five Finger Death Punch “My Nemesis”
7 Parkway Drive “Vice Grip”
8 Shinedown “State Of My Head”
9 Pop Evil “Ways To Get High”
10 Five Finger Death Punch “Wash It All Away”
11 From Ashes To New “Through It All”
12 Nothing More “Here’s To The Heartache”
13 Killswitch Engage “Hate By Design”
14 Highly Suspect “Bloodfeather”
15 Papa Roach “Falling Apart”

 

World On Fire – An Instant Classic Album from Slash, Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators World On Fire Album Cover

Back in June, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators released “World On Fire” – the title track off of their latest album – as their first single.  The seemingly endless wait finally concluded this week when the album was released.  It is said that the best things in life are worth waiting for, which is absolutely true in this case.

World On Fire is a quintessential hard rock album that blends Slash’s brilliant guitar playing, Myles Kennedy’s incomparable vocals and The Conspirators, a hard rock ensemble that rivals every incarnation of Guns N’ Roses.  Although they don’t have the name recognition of Slash and Kennedy yet, Todd Kerns (bass), Brent Fitz (drums) and Frank Sidoris (rhythm guitar) will very likely become household names by the time that this 17-track, hard rock masterpiece runs its course.

 

THE MAKING OF…

In a recent interview on SiriusXM’s Octane, Slash and Kennedy discussed the writing process for new material.  During the interview, Slash said that the hardest part of recording World On Fire was figuring out the right sequence for the tracks, which made a few things abundantly clear.

First of all, Slash is a perfectionist who sees (and hears) things from a different perspective than fans of his music.  The truth of the matter is that, while sequence can have a huge impact on a typical album, World On Fire is anything but typical.  This album could be played on a random sequence with each listen and not lose a bit of its luster.  To be fair to Slash, the first ten tracks probably should be grouped together because they have more of a GNR flavor than the final seven tracks, which are stellar in their own right, just a bit different.

The other thing that was made clear about the writing process between Slash and Kennedy is that they are as close to a perfect combination as you can get.  While many lead vocalists and lead guitarists have clashing egos, this dynamic duo has an undeniable chemistry, and mutual respect for what the other one brings to the table.  This comes across both in their live performance and on the album.

 

…WORLD ON FIRE

Often times, album reviews break down each track, but in this case, things would start to get very repetitive (in a good way) with that approach.

World On Fire is filled with so much great material that it is almost impossible to pick favorite tracks.  I’ve always found that, with albums like this, picking my favorite track is like hitting a moving target because my favorites tend to change after multiple listens.  For what it’s worth, when I saw the band live recently, Kennedy said that “30 Years To Life” is his personal favorite.  There is no doubt that it would make for an excellent follow-up single, but then again, many other tracks would as well.

 

SLASH ~ MYLES KENNEDY ~ THE CONSPIRATORS 

Slash is in a class by himself when it comes to making the guitar “sing.”  The distinct sound that he honed during his GNR days are front and center on many of the tracks (especially the first ten), but he definitely has more than that to offer on World On Fire.  From aggressive, angry riffs to his more bluesy side, Slash once again proves that he should be mentioned in the same breath with other guitar heroes like Ritchie Blackmore and Eric Clapton (to name a few).  While it’s easy to praise his leads, which are all very impressive, one of the things that struck me about this album is his ability to add tasteful, subtle accents to bring the songs to life.

Until his first collaboration with Slash back in 2010, Kennedy inexplicably managed to fly below the radar for his astounding vocal abilities, which are even more impressive when you consider that his first love is guitar.

When Alter Bridge released the critically acclaimed Fortress last year, I couldn’t help but wonder if Kennedy would still be motivated to pull double-duty with Slash.  Clearly, that is not an issue, given that he found the time to write enough material with Slash for nearly two albums, while still doing select dates with Alter Bridge.  The voice of this generation of hard rock has a seemingly endless supply of energy and brilliant songs to go around for both bands.

Although it is less common nowadays, there were a number of singers back in the 80s who could hit soaring high notes, just like Kennedy does, but usually not with the same musicality.  For Kennedy, the song is more important than showing off with vocal acrobatics.  His range is impressive, but what really makes him special is his ability to effortlessly blend numerous styles into one song and make it fit the mood perfectly.  He has an uncanny knack for melody that somehow manages to make even the most moody, melancholic, brooding moments on the album feel uplifting.

From the dark, haunting low notes to the powerful and soaring high notes, Kennedy puts on a vocal clinic throughout the entire album.  And, just when you think that you’ve heard it all, Kennedy somehow manages to take it to another level on the final track – “The Unholy,” where he theatrically mixes rage with beauty, similar to the way that Geoff Tate did on Queensryche’s epic Operation Mindcrime album.

Of course, no musical masterpiece would be possible without a great supporting cast, and The Conspirators are that (and then some).  In fact, with Kerns’ singing ability, The Conspirators would be a formidable power trio if they performed without Slash and Kennedy (hypothetically speaking, of course).

 

BEYOND GNR

Two decades ago, it was hard to find a silver lining to the breakup of GNR, the apparent heirs to the hard rock throne.  The formation of this band, and the release of this epic album (and Apocalyptic Love for that matter) is, without question, that silver lining.

Slash, Kennedy & The Conspirators are an energetic, melodic, hard rock tour de force that epitomize everything that rock and roll should be about.  Their chemistry, both on stage and on record, is readily apparent in every song that they play.  From the obvious brilliant vocal harmonies to the more subtle accents and breaks, this band is a cohesive unit that excels on every level.

 

THE BENEFIT OF EXPERIENCE

At the age of 49, Slash is at the top of his game, and like fine wine, he continues to get better with age.  Clearly, there is something to be said for experience, because with the exception of Sidoris, the entire band is in their 40s.

Everything that made Slash’s playing with Guns N’ Roses special is still a big part of his repertoire, and pairing with Kennedy has definitely expanded his horizons and brought out the best in him.

 

AN INSTANT CLASSIC

World On Fire is an outstanding album from the first note to the last, on par with Appetite For Destruction and even better than Use Your Illusion I and II.  With 17 outstanding tracks, it’s like buying a double-album for the price of one.  You really couldn’t ask for more, and yet, it still feels like this album ends too soon!

Charm City Devils ROCK Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in CT

Charm City Devils Fox Theater CT

It isn’t often that concert reviews are done for opening acts, but then again, Charm City Devils are not your typical opening act.  The boys from Baltimore rocked the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in CT this past weekend as the openers for Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators.  Because they deliver headliner-worthy live performances, it would have been an injustice to just give them a mention in the Slash review that will be featured later in the week.

Anyone who listens to SiriusXM’s Octane is certainly familiar with CCD’s hit singles “Man Of Constant Sorrow” and “Devil Is A Woman,” and possibly Shots (the first single off of their upcoming album – Battles).  These singles are all strong studio tracks that come to life and reach an entirely different level when performed live by this underrated, high-energy, hard rock quintet.

Opening acts, for the most part, face the challenge of trying to win over a crowd – that has come to see the headliner – with a limited set, and virtually no stage show.  These bands spend countless hours traveling by van from show to show, and then spend the day waiting to perform a set that is typically shorter than their sound check.

After a cool, pre-recorded introduction, Charm City Devils launched into “Spite” with the room more than half-empty.  Although the audience lacked any real energy, the band brought a ton of their own to the stage.  A kickass version of “Devil Is A Woman” followed, but the room still felt kind of flat.

One of the reasons that I traveled over three hours to see this show was because I had seen Charm City Devils earlier in the summer as the opener for The Winery Dogs, and their performance in a fairly intimate setting blew me away.  I loved the way that frontman, John Allen, worked the crowd to perfection during “True Love (Hell Yeah)” the first time that I saw them, so  I was disappointed to see that, despite his best efforts, this crowd wasn’t as responsive to the interactive element of the song this time around.

The band put forth a tremendous amount of energy during the first half of their set, but the crowd still remained somewhat lethargic, so I didn’t have high expectations that they would suddenly come to life when the band launched into “I Got Mine” (a Zeppelin-esque blues rocker), but thankfully, I was wrong!

The energy in the room started to build as the riff from Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” was played in the middle of the song.  When the band briefly broke into Led Zeppelin’s “Bring It On Home,” the crowd started showing signs of life.

The bluesy guitars, the fat bass sound, the powerful drums, the cool talk box and Allen’s soulful, soaring vocals definitely woke up the crowd.  With the band grooving in unison in Red Hot Chili Peppers fashion, there was a palpable energy in the room, and the crowd finally erupted.

With a captive audience, Allen discussed the reality of traveling the country as an opening act.  He told the crowd that each CD sold puts two gallons of gas in the van, and that he would be at the merch table as soon as their set ended to meet anyone who was interested in talking to him.

Social media has broken down the walls between fans and artists nowadays, albeit in a fairly anonymous way.  In contrast to social media, getting face-to-face with the fans without requiring a backstage pass added a very intriguing human element to the show.

After addressing the crowd, the band broke into “Man Of Constant Sorrow.”  The gritty vocals and impassioned delivery of this brooding song showcased an entirely different dimension than the studio version, and inspired a whole new appreciation for what Charm City Devils have to offer.

The band finished their set with “Shots,” a rock anthem in the vein of Guns ‘N Roses and Buckcherry that promises to be a show closer for many years to come.

The six-song set left the electrified crowd wanting more.  And though they didn’t get more music, many of them took the opportunity to purchase CDs and other merchandise from the energetic frontman right after the set.

During hard rock music’s pinnacle, only those with a meet and greet pass would have had the opportunity to talk to an artist after the show, and those meetings were usually very brief.  To his credit, Allen not only took the time to meet people, but also to engage them in meaningful conversation, take pictures with them and sign any items that were requested of him.

The fact that the line at CCD’s merch table was longer than the line at Slash’s table showed that the band made a strong impression with their set.  That was no surprise at all.  What was a surprise was that the same thing happened right after Slash’s set ended.  By that time, the entire band was there meeting people, posing for photos and signing everything that was put in front of them.

As I stood by listening to the conversations, I heard a number of fans tell the band that they had just seen them at a recent show in the area, and had to see them again.  Everyone waited in line patiently to meet the band, who never rushed anyone away.  They engaged in conversations and made real connections that transcend music appreciation.

Charm City Devils are the kind of band that you want to see succeed.  They leave it all on the stage as they deliver a memorable live show that makes you want to come and see them again.  But more importantly, they are truly grateful to the fans that spend their hard-earned money to support the band.  Personally speaking, I cannot wait to see them as headliners.

The band’s third studio album, Battles, hits the streets on September 23rdClick here to take advantage of the incredible pre-order deal that the band is offering, and make sure to like them on Facebook so you don’t miss them when they are playing in your area!

 

Sahaj Ticotin Covers Queensryche’s “The Mission”

Sahaj Ticotin - The Mission - Queensryche Cover
The timing of the release of Sahaj Ticotin’s acoustic cover version of “The Mission,” – from Queensryche’s epic masterpiece, Operation Mindcrime – couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, at least when it comes to Hard Rock Daddy.

One of the realizations that we came to when we launched our new weekly feature – the HRD Radio Report – last Tuesday, is the fact that so much great hard rock music doesn’t get the attention that it deserves on Active Rock radio.  Even SiriusXM’s Octane, which isn’t bound by the constraints of commercial radio, has a relatively tight playlist, which is why their recent “Music Discovery Week” was such a refreshing change of pace.

Rather than complain about the lack of available avenues to showcase artists that fly below the radar, Hard Rock Daddy is going on “a mission to change the world” (of hard rock music), and taking it upon ourselves to expose our audience to music that isn’t found on the charts.

Neither Ticotin, nor his band (Ra), are household names, but it certainly isn’t because of a lack of talent. Although they have gotten some radio exposure, for the most part, Ra has inexplicably flown beneath the radar of many hard rock fans.

Covering any Queensryche song takes balls; pulling off an acoustic cover of a lesser-known song, from arguably the greatest concept album of all-time, requires a rare combination of confidence and talent (which Ticotin has).

While many acoustic versions of hard rock songs are merely unplugged, Ticotin nailed “The Mission” with only his voice and two acoustic guitars (the other one played by his studio engineer – Brooke Villanyi).  Considering the fact that Queensryche songs are layered with texture beneath Geoff Tate’s soaring vocals, bringing the song to life in this fashion is more than a little impressive.

Will this amazing cover version of “The Mission” find a place on radio (satellite or otherwise)?  Not likely.  Should it?  Absolutely!

Ra may never get the recognition that they deserve at radio, but they will always have a place on Hard Rock Daddy.  Long before we declared it our “mission” to give bands like Ra more attention, we reviewed “Supermegadubstep” and featured it as the #10 song in the Top 52 Hard Rock Songs of 2013.

If you haven’t yet discovered Ra (and Ticotin), check out “The Mission” and the rest of their catalog to see what you’ve been missing!

Longreef – “Battle Plan”: Hard Rock Daddy Video Review

Longreef Battle Plan

Aussie rockers, Longreef, broke onto the hard rock music scene last year on SiriusXM Octane’s When Worlds Collide spotlight with their catchy, lighthearted song, “She Likes The Ladies.”  This time around, the boys from down under are back with a much more serious message with their anti-bullying song entitled “Battle Plan.”

In an effort to help raise awareness for bullying prevention, Longreef has partnered up with Friend Movement, a national organization that was created to help spread anti-bullying images through art and media, and inspire people to prevent bullying by enabling them to be a better friend.

The powerful video was filmed during the band’s U.S. tour to help raise awareness for an ongoing problem.  It features the band members, and kids from all walks of life, holding up signs with sobering statistics about bullying and the effect that it has on so many innocent lives.

When asked about the inspiration for the song, guitarist Nick Miller, replied “Josh (Barker) had told me that he wanted to write a song about this issue for some time.  It was going to be a motivational song about standing up for yourself and believing in yourself, but as it progressed, he said that we should make it about bullying and having a battle plan to confront it when it happens.  It’s really a message for the kids out there who are getting bullied and feel like they are alone and don’t know who to turn to for help.”  Miller continued, “Josh was bullied in junior high and for a few years in high school, so the song is really coming from his heart.”

Although it ended up becoming an anti-bullying song, at its core, it is still a motivational song about standing up for yourself.  Unlike traditional hard rock anthems that inspire rage, “Battle Plan” is more introspective, melodic and uplifting.  Barker’s passionate, soulful delivery really brings this song of hope to life.

The goal for “Battle Plan” is simply to offer hope to those in need, and raise awareness of a problem that is much more widespread than most people realize.

Longreef and Friend Movement are doing their part to raise bullying awareness by providing a free download of “Battle Plan.”  They are asking people to pay it forward, share the song with others and ask them to do the same.  The only cost is a few seconds of your time…a small price to pay to help others.

The poignant lyrics to “Battle Plan” are listed below the video…

“Battle Plan” Lyrics

Take what you got, what you know

What you feel inside

And never move across your line

Make every day what you want, what you need

And never let it just be ok

Don’t ever think twice, don’t ever play the fool

Believe what you learnt, make it count

Never settle for less than what you know you’re worth

Say what you feel, speak your mind

You decide the wrong or right

Don’t ever think twice, don’t ever play the fool

Some of us fall, but we rise against

The fate it was we met

When it hurts, we stand

And guess what matters when the world ain’t fair

We’ll rise above and tell you that the hurt won’t last

If we got a battle plan

We got a battle plan

Break down the walls, take command

And just smile for a little while

Stand up and make the call

Now’s the time

There’s more to life than keeping score

Don’t ever think twice, don’t ever play the fool

Some of us fall, but we rise against

The fate it was we met

When it hurts, we stand

And guess what matters when the world ain’t fair

We’ll rise above and tell you that the hurt won’t last

If we got a battle plan

We got a battle plan

We are the battle plan

Some of us fall, but we rise against

The fate it was we met

When it hurts, we stand

And guess what matters when the world ain’t fair

We’ll rise above and tell you that the hurt won’t last

If we got a battle plan

We are the battle plan

We are the battle plan

We are the battle plan

Bobaflex – “I’m Glad You’re Dead”:  Hard Rock Daddy Video Review

Bobaflex

After just one listen, the infectious melody of Bobaflex’s “I’m Glad You’re Dead” gets stuck in your head for hours, if not days.  My initial instinct when I heard this song for the first time on SiriusXM’s Octane awhile back, was to feature an immediate review on Hard Rock Daddy, but the macabre lyrics gave me pause. Having grown up on hard rock and heavy metal, I am not easily shocked, but these lyrics seemed so dark that I wanted to wait until I got some clarity behind the song’s meaning before featuring it.

Casual Bobaflex fans may not realize that the band was started by two brothers (Shaun and Martin McCoy) with ancestral ties to the most infamous family feud in American History – the Hatfields and the McCoys.  Given their history, it wouldn’t have been shocking if “I’m Glad You’re Dead” was related to this family feud.  However, the song was actually inspired by a fan who shared with the band that his father had recently passed away.  When they tried to offer their condolences, they were told by the fan not to be sorry because his father was “an abusive creep.”

With this inspiration and a dark sense of humor, the highly motivated and creative brothers set out to make a video that people would not soon forget.  The McCoy brothers, who run their own label, have learned how to bootstrap to get things done, a necessary skill to produce the video for “I’m Glad You’re Dead” on a tight budget.

Producing the video on their own was not nearly as challenging as finding a location to shoot it.  Even without knowing the lyrics to the song, churches were not exactly opening their doors to a rock band planning to perform a mock funeral.  After 59 rejections, one church finally agreed to let the band use their facility to shoot the video.  Driven to make it something special, the McCoy brothers went so far as to dig a six-foot grave themselves to complement the mock funeral.

It may sound ironic, but the video for “I’m Glad You’re Dead” really brought the lyrics of the song to life.  While it is visually disturbing to see how the corpse is treated – (imagine Weekend at Bernie’s without the humor) – once you know that the song is about an abusive father, all sympathy is lost, and you find yourself reveling in the madness that the McCoy brothers have created.

Even without the brilliant video, “I’m Glad You’re Dead” stands out as one of the best hard rock anthems in recent memory.  The lyrics are dark, but the song is melodic and catchy, with a great groove and impassioned vocals that are seductively sinister and powerful.

Despite working with a limited budget, Bobaflex has delivered a hard rock video for the ages.  Check out the lyrics below the video for “I’m Glad You’re Dead.”

I’m Glad You’re Dead Lyrics

Sitting at your funeral, I’d have to say it’s overdue

Our family cries, the preacher really tries…

To make your life sound meaningful

I fight to keep a straight face

My heart it glows, as you decompose

 

And I wonder…

Can you hear me laughing cause I’m dancing on your grave?

I’m glad you’re dead

All the pain you spread

It dissipates away, that’s why I gotta say…

I’m glad you’re dead, but something in my head

Won’t let me forget, all the things you did

And I wonder…

Can you hear me laughing cause I’m dancing on your grave?

 

Goodbye to misery, and all the things you took from me

Beloved sister, how you tricked her

The love was pain, we fought to get away

And for my mother, I hope you suffer

 

And I wonder…

Can you hear me laughing cause I’m dancing on your grave?

I’m glad you’re dead, all the pain you spread

It dissipates away, that’s why I gotta say…

I’m glad you’re dead, but something in my head

Won’t let me forget, all the things you did

And I wonder…

Can you hear me laughing cause I’m dancing on your grave?

 

I feel it, I’m gonna have a party

And I’m happy, because you’re gone

I feel it, I’m the life of the party

And we’re so happy, because you’re gone

 

I hope you burn in hell

I hope you burn in hell

 

I’m glad you’re dead, all the pain you spread

It dissipates away, that’s why I gotta say…

I’m glad you’re dead, but something in my head

Won’t let me forget, all the things you did

And I wonder…

Can you hear me laughing cause I’m dancing on your grave?

I’m glad you’re dead