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.
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’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.
By Adam Waldman
Jeff Scott Soto is one of the most talented singers in hard rock, and has been for some time. Yet somehow, he still flies under the radar of many. If there is any justice, his latest project will open the eyes (and ears) of the masses. Like Van Halen, DIO and Dokken, SOTO is a band that bears the name of its founder. What makes SOTO so special is the talent that JSS has surrounded himself with at this point in his career.
Although JSS is far from a household name, his resume alone would lead you to believe that he would have some semblance of a road crew on his current tour. However, the man that owns the stage and the crowd once the lights go down, works tirelessly to keep the show on the road (so to speak) during his “off hours.”
JSS and I have gotten to know each other through the features that I’ve done on Hard Rock Daddy, but never got the chance to meet face-to-face until this past week when SOTO rolled through town. To say that the night of the concert was frigid would be an understatement. It was the type of bitter cold winter night where many choose to stay home rather than braving the elements, but for SOTO, the show must go on.
In speaking to JSS before the show, I asked if the setlist was going to exclusively feature songs from the two SOTO albums, to which he replied (with a smile on his face)…“I can’t tell you that…you would lose the element of surprise.” He was right. I was guilty of exhibiting the instant gratification mentality that has become all too common these days. It is that same mindset that will cause some of you to skim this article looking for the Top 10 Reasons Why You MUST Go See SOTO Live.
So, here goes…
- Inside The Vertigo
- Brazil / Spain
- Steel Dragon
- 5-Part Vocal Harmonies
- Steel Panther
The above list is cryptic by design. If I learned anything from my conversation with JSS, it is that it is better to forgo instant gratification and embrace the element of surprise. Those who are truly interested in the journey (and not just the destination) should read on to find out why you MUST go see SOTO in a live setting.
One of the true signs of a professional is playing with the same passion and intensity for a club crowd as you would for an arena or stadium show. It didn’t take long to see that SOTO is a band of true professionals. From the first song to the last, SOTO delivered a night of pure entertainment, despite the fact that they were playing on a tight stage with limited lighting and no soundcheck prior to performing.
While many frontmen with JSS’s resume would have felt slighted, he owned the moment by joking about the situation to the intimate (but passionate) crowd. Though the setting was the equivalent of being part of a group of friends watching a private show, the brilliant performance was the stuff that legends are made of.
The entire performance was as diverse as the career of JSS, ranging from heavy rockers to melodic ballads to cool grooves to acapella. All of the songs and styles worked equally well, which is a true testament to the players that JSS has assembled around him from different parts of the world.
As you watch the lead guitar work of Spain’s Jorge Salán, you can’t help but wonder how he (like JSS) has managed to fly below the radar of the masses. With Salán, it goes well beyond shredding (which he can do with the best of them). It’s the Slash-like musicality that really sets him apart from many others.
Although JSS calls California his home now, he is originally from Brooklyn, which happens to be the hometown of bassist David Z. Often times, bass players don’t get much of the glory, but because Z. is such a showman, he shared the spotlight with JSS and Salán. This was no easy feat given the cramped quarters on a stage with a limited spotlight. You can see why JSS tapped Z. for this band. The duo’s personalities play off of each other perfectly, and his incredible 6-string bass playing adds another layer to an already deep band.
Out of the spotlight (both figuratively and literally) were the Brazilian duo of BJ (keys/guitars) and Edu Cominato (drums). Like the rest of SOTO, this duo not only added to the incredible chemistry of the band musically, but vocally as well. In fact, it’s hard to recall seeing another band with five singers as talented as the members of SOTO.
If you took a time machine back to Sunset Strip in the mid-‘80s to see SOTO perform in a club, you would swear that you were witnessing a band about to break out to the next level to do arena shows. In 2016, arena shows barely exist in the hard rock and metal genres, but if you are lucky enough to catch SOTO perform live, you will be treated to an arena-like concert in an intimate setting.
Because JSS was right about the element of surprise being something that you should look forward to, I will not share the setlist here. The truth of the matter is that you don’t need to know one song to enjoy SOTO live. All you need is an appreciation for outstanding musicianship. Suffice it to say that the band performs a wide variety of songs and styles from different time periods of JSS’s career, all of which are equally entertaining. Simply stated, this is one of the best club shows that I’ve seen in many years. When you get the chance to experience this kind of band in an intimate setting, grab it! You will NOT be disappointed!
CLICK HERE for SOTO tour dates.
HRD RADIO REPORT
The HRD Radio Report showcases the weekly Active Rock Mediabase Charts (compiled by AllAccess.com), and appears every Tuesday on HardRockDaddy.com. The HRD Radio Report digs deeper into the weekly Active Rock charts, providing commentary, reviews, recommendations and predictions. It also features opinion pieces on chart action and the music business in general.
Many of the artists featured on the Active Rock charts have already been reviewed on HardRockDaddy.com.
Click on the hyperlinked song titles to read song reviews, and the hyperlinked artist names to read album reviews.
The following is the Active Rock Mediabase Chart for the week ending 2/6/16. All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:
|THIS WEEK||LAST WEEK||THIS WEEK|
|1||1||SHINEDOWN||“State Of My Head”||2163|
|2||3||POP EVIL||“Ways To Get High”||1732|
|3||6||FOO FIGHTERS||“Saint Cecilia”||1415|
|4||2||FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH||“Wash It Away”||1382|
|6||7||NOTHING MORE||“Here’s To The Heartache”||1333|
|10||9||3 DOORS DOWN||“In The Dark”||1062|
|11||11||CAGE THE ELEPHANT||“Mess Around”||997|
|12||12||TRIVIUM||“Until The World Goes Cold”||926|
|13||24||DISTURBED||“The Sound Of Silence”||811|
|14||15||BRING ME THE HORIZON||“Happy Song”||800|
|15||14||SAINT ASONIA||“Let Me Live My Life”||740|
|16||17||FROM ASHES TO NEW||“Through It All”||653|
|17||22||PAPA ROACH||“Falling Apart”||614|
|18||18||PARKWAY DRIVE||“Vice Grip”||566|
|19||20||SHAMAN’S HARVEST||“In Chains”||564|
|20||19||RED SUN RISING||“Emotionless”||564|
|21||21||ARANDA||“We Are The Enemy”||460|
|22||16||THEORY OF A DEADMAN||“Blow”||435|
|23||27||ADELITA’S WAY||“Bad Reputation”||391|
|24||23||ALL THAT REMAINS||“Victory Lap”||385|
|25||26||THE STRUTS||“Kiss This”||380|
|26||25||ESCAPE THE FATE||“Alive”||361|
|28||30||STITCHED UP HEART||“Finally Free”||325|
|31||31||DROWNING POOL||“By The Blood”||258|
|32||32||ANDREW WATT||“Ghost In My Head”||255|
|35||51||ROB ZOMBIE||“Well, Everybody’s…in a UFO”||233|
|36||41||DEVOUR THE DAY||“Lightning In The Sky”||194|
|37||36||NATHANIEL RATELIFF / NIGHTSWEATS||“S.O.B.”||186|
|38||35||TYLER BRYANT & THE SHAKEDOWN||“Loaded Dice & Buried Money”||167|
|39||37||TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA||“Forget About The Blame”||159|
|41||43||FOALS||“Mountain At My Gates”||125|
|43||78||KILLSWITCH ENGAGE||“Hate By Design”||114|
|47||49||BLACK STONE CHERRY||“In Our Dreams”||99|
|50||0||FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH||“My Nemesis”||77|
PUBLISHER’S PICK OF THE WEEK (by Adam Waldman)
SOTO – “FreakShow”
Whether you’re familiar with the vocal powerhouse that is Jeff Scott Soto or not, it’s not likely that you’ve experienced his previous work on an Active Rock radio station. With his latest band, SOTO, which features “a union of hotshot young musicians,” JSS has dialed it up a notch. Fulfilling a desire to return to his heavier roots (after playing with the likes of Journey and Yngwie Malmsteen), JSS has put together a band that is as formidable as any on the Active Rock music scene today. Following up SOTO’s debut album (Inside The Vertigo), the band is set to release their sophomore album (Divak) in April. Ahead of the album release, SOTO has dropped “FreakShow,” a powerful single that features a heavy groove, intense rhythm, and of course, the stellar vocals of JSS. Active Rock may not be the sandbox that Soto is known for playing in, but with this killer track, that should change. Don’t be mislead by a background that is decidedly more mainstream. “FreakShow” is in the wheelhouse of format heavyweights Sevendust. In fact, if Sevendust recorded this song, there’s no doubt that it would shoot up the charts. It’s time for the Active Rock world to discover what many others already know…JSS is a force to be reckoned with, and so are the rest of the musicians that make up SOTO.
HRD SPIN CONTROL (by Adam Waldman and Jon Loveless)
Each week, we will share the songs that we think should be added to rotations, alongside the songs that we feel should be dropped from rotations, either because they are a bad fit for the format, or because they have run their course and it’s time for a new single from the artist.
SOTO – “FreakShow”
EVANS BLUE – “iGod”
SMASHING SATELLITES – “Gamblin Man”
BOBAFLEX – “A Spider In The Dark”
VEER UNION – “Defying Gravity”
HANDS LIKE HOUSES – “New Romantics”
UGLY KID JOE – “Bad Seed”
Foals – “Mountain At My Gates”
Twenty One Pilots – “Stressed Out”
Nate Rateliff & The Nightsweats – “S.O.B.”
Cage The Elephant – “Mess Around”
The Struts – “Kiss This”
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – “Forget About The Blame”
Pucifier – “The Remedy”
THE BREAKDOWN by Jon Loveless
KING OF THE HILL
Shinedown retains in the top spot on this week’s Mediabase Active Rock airplay chart, and looks as though they may be safe for at least another week or two. Pop Evil made a small dent in the sizable gap between themselves and #1, but still lags nearly 20% behind the frontrunner in spins. Foo Fighters’ “Saint Cecilia” enjoyed a three-spot climb on more than 10% increased airplay, but still remains well behind the top two.
NOTABLE CHART MOVEMENT
No new arrivals in the Top 10 this week, just some shuffling of the order, but that seems likely to change next week with three of the songs now falling…
Format powerhouses Disturbed and Papa Roach both reach the Top 20 with their latest singles…
Breaking into the Top 30 for the first time is “Impossible,” from Lacey Sturm’s solo effort…
Two songs are newly arrived in the Top 40, led by the debut of a NSFW (not safe for work) title from Rob Zombie that nearly quadrupled its total spins from the week before…
New to the Top 50 (compared to last week’s published chart) are four additional songs, the highest debut being “Hate By Design,” the latest from Killswitch Engage.
THREE UP & THREE DOWN
Foo Fighters – “Ways To Get High”
Disturbed – “The Sound Of Silence”
Rob Zombie – “Well, Everybody’s…in a UFO”
Five Finger Death Punch – “Wash It All Away”
Disturbed – “The Light”
Theory Of A Deadman – “Blow”
TRENDS AND OBSERVATIONS
A small bit of “inside radio” to consider. The “Going For Adds” date is when labels and artists start to push for stations to add a particular song to their respective playlists. Coordinating the airplay creates the best opportunity for songs to achieve a critical mass of spins, which in turn produces the highest possible chart position. This also conveniently serves the real purpose for singles to exist – sales of albums and/or tickets.
In some respects, stations jumping the gun (and disregarding the “Going For Adds” date) is a plus for listeners, who get new music sooner because of the decision. On the other hand, it can turn into a drag if stations are reluctant to move on from a song because it remains on the chart or “keeps its bullet” (the terminology which indicates that a song is still climbing the chart/gaining airplay).
This week’s chart includes around a half dozen songs that first showed signs of U.S. airplay back in August of 2015. There are simply too many menu options for listeners to be fed the same lunch day after day after day. The “early adopters” need to realize that they should also be the first ones to move on from any song that they jump the gun on so that the songs don’t become “stale” to their listening audience, which ultimately hurts the artist more than it helps.
That’s all for this week. Tune in to HardRockDaddy.com every Tuesday for the HRD Radio Report. \m/