Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quick Movie Review

Blood: The Last Vampire (2009, Japan) | Rating: 2.5/5

Even though I haven't seen the anime, it seemed like a promising movie if you look at all angles of the box. Well, I must say I was rather bored with the story and hardly even remember nor understand what was going on half the time. I don't even if it was just me half pay attention as I was multi-tasking or it really was kinda "meh". I thought the visuals were intriguing, but they overused a lot of the special effects during the fighting sequences.

Casshern (2004, Japan) | Rating: 3.5/5

This movie was sent to me by an awesome friend that has great taste in movies and this one was a pretty good one. I wasn't completely amazed overall, but it is worth taking a look at. It has some cliché conflict issues of love, father/son relationships, and the government trying to fix things but only screwing things up even more. The cinematography is stunning! I love the colors and action sequences a lot. The story dragged along a little, but still managed to keep my interesting all the way to the end. Although, I was a little upset with the conclusion.

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (2008, Japan) | Rating: 3/5

I've tried to watch the original '95 version, but sleep deprivation and deep thinking movies do not go together very well. So, I noticed we had the enhanced CGI version at my workplace and I had the pleasure of being the first to view it. I'm already on the Ghost in the Shell bandwagon. I played the game and adored the show that aired on Adult Swim, so I was looking forward to finally seeing the movie. I was...a little disappointed. It was an alright storyline, but the art lost me. I'm glad the Major got off those steroids before jumping on ship for the Stand Alone Complex series.

Psycho Ward (2007, Canada) | Rating: 1/5

I watched this movie somewhere in October on a whim from work. The cover art is deceiving and the summary on the back seemed interesting. Unfortunately, there was little to desire from this low budget Canadian slasher. The camera angles are very amateur, the storyline is weak, and the acting worse than a kindergarten play. I would avoid this movie like a plague.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Live: Black Veil Brides & The Birthday Massacre

Black Veil Brides & The Birthday Massacre
[2010.11.08] Warehouse Live in Houston, TX
featuring: Aural Vampire, Dommin, Black Veil Brides, & The Birthday Massacre

Aural Vampire

Exo-Chika: vocals
Raveman: keyboard/synths

The Japanese duo were the first to open up for the evening. Raveman came out on the stage first to get us all hyped up and started off the music for Exo-Chika to make her entrance. She was gorgeous and seductive and mysterious beneath her mask for the little moment she had it on. They played a few of my favorites and I wished the energy was a little higher and their set was a little longer, but hopefully I'll be able to see them again in the near future. They did interact with the audience a lot, even though I'm pretty sure not a lot of people have heard of them before. Raveman let the crowd push a few buttons on his remote to distort the sound a little and Exo-Chika talked to us some in English. She's so cute~ Toward the middle of their set, more people got into the music and I think the electronic duo felt the energy. During "muriarizumu", they played with each other. Raveman had balloons and Exo-Chika had a little pistol to shoot them within the breaks in the music. It was very entertaining! My friend and I danced a lot and people around us didn't understand until the setlist was coming to a close. Here's my attempt at a setlist for you guys:

Vampire Ecstasy
Shonan Zoku -Cannibal Coast-
69 Balloons
Darkwave Surfer


Kristofer Dommin: vocals & guitar
Billy James: bass
Konstantine: keyboard
Cameron: drums

I checked out their stuff on YouTube and it was decent. I saw a comment referring them as a gothic Elvis style. I suppose I can agree with that. Their style is definitely for the older folk. The crew adjusted things on the stage and flipped the screen around to a rose and the name "Dommin". They walked past our right side in the gated area leading up to the stage and prepared to perform. They had decent energy. More mature than Aural Vampire's and Kristofer talked to us a few times. It was entertaining watch Konstantine rock out on the keyboard and set the mood for each song with Billy's strong bass. Since I'm not that familiar with their music, I do know they played "Dark Holiday", "My Heart, Your Hands", "Tonight", and Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Dying in Your Arms Tonight".

Black Veil Brides

Andy Sixx: vocals
Jake Pitts: guitar
Jinxx: guitar/violin
Ashley Purdy: bass
Christian “CC” Coma: drums

In the beginning, I thought they were totally jrock influenced or something, but according to this interview with Lacarmina they had never heard of it until people pointed it out. I think Andy (and possibly the other boys) are starting to like it, but let's hope that doesn't happen. ^^; So, they get their visual influence from Montley Crue and make a lot of their costumes. Fine, fine. I thought they'd be okay like Dommin, but looking them up beforehand...totally not my style. My friend and I decided to move from our wonderful spots to save us from the rabidness of the "Bridesmaids". Thank God we did! Insanity. Pure insanity! The crowd went crazy before the long stretch of fabric across the stage was removed and pumped it 10 times over when they started performing. Now I can respect musicians for having that "I don't give a fuck" attitude, but it irks my nerves when that musician is also super cocky and sucks ass at what he does. I'm sorry, BVB fans, I'm not joining you guys on this one. I couldn't tell when one song ended and the other began. Everything sounded the same with the same harsh intensity. It was annoying when Andy kept asking the audience to sing and he'd pull the mic away to sing himself. I'm surprised he didn't get raped when he stage dove too! So, my friend and I commented on their appearance. Joked about how they had fun with Sharpies on Andy's body to make him look hardxcore. I will admit that they had the most over the top performance out of everyone, but I would never see them live again. Too scarring. x_x Obviously, I'm no expert on their music either [and it'll probably stay that way for a very long time], but I know they performed "Knives and Pens" and "Perfect Weapon".

The Birthday Massacre

Chibi: vocals
Rainbow: guitar
Michael Falcore: guitar
O.E.: bass
Owen: keyboard
Rhim: drums

My friend and I moved back to our spots on stage right and awaited TBM to approach the stage. They opened up with "In the Dark", getting the crowd super pumped and the energy just escalated from there. Chibi was all over the place and had this devilish, playful vibe about how she moved and sung. Everything sounded 10 times better in person than a recording, which I didn't think was possible. I felt everything flow inside and out. Deep connection was made, but nothing life changing. Rainbow was an interesting fella to watch spaz about with his guitar and step in occasionally for back-up vocals. Chibi dedicated songs to each band that performed before them and I think they grew closer to Aural Vampire throughout the whole tour, which is awesome! Japan and Canada unite!! So, here's my crazy attempt at a setlist:

In the Dark
Shallow Grave
Pins And Needles
Lovers End
Looking Glass
Red Star
Horror Show
Video Kid
Falling Down
To Die For

Overall, I had a lot of fun and we didn't get injured by the rabid Bridesmaids! I hope to see Aural Vampire make another appearance in the great state of Texas, especially if they time up with The Birthday Massacre again. As we were leaving, I got a chance to snag a pic with Exo-Chika [and Raveman is hanging out in the background] and my friend got to tell Chibi that she was awesome while she was taking a smoke break outside by the buses. Hope you guys enjoyed my review!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

AYABIE's Virgin Snow Color -2nd season-

AYABIE will be releasing their first album, Virgin Snow Color -2nd season- on December 1. It looks like Yumehito will be taking over the part of vocalist. I think it's pretty decent, but with the similar sound...I'm so used to hearing Aoi's lovely, unique vocals. What do you guys think? Will you be supporting AYABIE?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Live: The Vultures Unite Tour

The Vultures Unite Tour
[2010.10.19] Shadowplay Lounge in The Woodlands, TX
featuring: Conditions, Dangerous Summer, Anarbar, & VersaEmerge

The concert was held in a fairly new club called the Shadowplay Lounge. Originally it was suppose to be held at the Meridian in Houston, but another lesser known band that I enjoy (Nancy Silva Project) was holding a concert there on the same date. I claimed my spot and tried not to get too close to anyone because it was hella hot in that place. I guess they forgot about body heat and the place is located in Texas, so AC is a necessity.

Unfortunately, due to my friend and I being lost in the dark depths of the Woodlands, we missed Conditions and Dangerous Summer. We also got hungry and decided to skip out on Anarbar to eat at a pizza place next door. ^^;

After tuning the instruments and whatnot, the drummer stepped up first, then Blake [guitarist/vocalist] and Devin [bassist] joined him...followed by front woman Sierra. They opened up with "Fixed At Zero" which everyone, including myself, knew all the words to. The energy was very high, just like the temperature, but I could tell this would be a great show. Here's my shot-y setlist:

Figure It Out
Mind Reader
Fixed At Zero
You'll Never Know
Your Own LoV.E
Clocks (acoustic)
Moments Between Sleep
Fire (Aim Your Arrows High)
Past Praying For

Pretty sure I might be missing some. Sierra and Blake's voices were beautiful and everything was flawless. Although, the sound sucked and didn't really give Sierra's lovely voice justice through the speakers like Blake's. She made lots of fan contact and banged on the cymbols on one of the songs. She even stage dived, which made me worry because everyone just kinda backed away and got all nervous like they've never seen that before. It was also comforting knowing that we weren't the only ones who were hot, because Sierra commented on it a few times as well. Their last song was an older one done in acoustic style called "Clocks" and Sierra requested for some fans to get on stage and gather around her. I didn't know what to expect, but when I heard those first few notes, I was very pleased.

I hope next time I see that I don't have to ride/drive all the way to the Woodlands, have some decent air circulating in the building, the sound is better, and that I actually get to make the meet and greet beforehand. Aside from those club problems, I had a lot of fun and I was happy with the song choices and the energy everyone delivered between each other. Oh yeah, Sierra is a very beautiful woman.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Live: Escape to the Plastic Beach World Tour

Escape to the Plastic Beach World Tour
[2010.10.19] Toyota Center in Houston, TX
featuring: N.E.R.D & Gorillaz


I haven't listened to N.E.R.D in ages. I think the latest song I heard was "She Wants to Move". I knew a couple or so of their older songs and some collaboration pieces that Pharrell had done with other artists, but nothing I could sing/rap word for word. Nonetheless, I still enjoy their music and apparently one of my friends that went with me is a bit of a fan of theirs as well. They mostly did songs from their latest album, Nothing, and plugged it a few times, but they did perform "She Wants to Move", "Maybe", "Rockstar", and "Lapdance". They had a ton of energy and more people were willing to get up and move. When they didn't, Pharrell commanded them to get up on their feet and let the music flow through their body. He made us have a little jumping contest from section to section too.

"She Wants to Move (live)" by N.E.R.D


One of my friends and I returned just in time, from the merch table, for the opening with 2-D, Noodle, and Murdoc preparing for the show, then the orchestra played in the background and big glowing letters spelling out "Gorillaz" above them. Slowly people stood up and stared at the big screen above the band's name, the members entered the darkened stage along with a marching band from Chicago, and watched the island appear before us and soon Snoop Dogg in a fancy, gangsta pirate outfit on the screen. He did the first track vocal track of the album to start the show, "Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach". It was very smooth and perfect. Before I go any further, I have to throw in my imperfect setlist:
Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach
Feel Good Inc.
Last Living Souls
White Flag
Dirty Harry
El Manana
Demon Days(?)
Tomorrow Comes Today
Clint Eastwood
Rock the House
Orchestral Intro
Rhinestone Eyes
Superfast Jellyfish
Empire Ants
Glitter Freeze
On Melancholy Hill
To Binge
Cloud of Unknowing

Now I guess I'll go down the list of songs and comment on them from what I remember. There were a lot of songs I was happy and a bit surprised they played. They mixed it up from every album they released and we just kept moving and yelling to everything they threw at us. I didn't think the legendary Bobby Womack was gonna show up for "Stylo", but he did and he got down with it! He also did "Cloud of Unknowing". He gave credits to Damon for writing the song and that it was one of his favorites. Someone brought out a stool for him to sit on and he preached it to us. There were a couple people in the back yelling his name. It was great! There were a lot of special little guests that got to be part of their own songs. An Arab-American orchestra did the intro to "White Flag" and immediately the rappers ran out and got us pumped. Damon brought out a giant white flag for the fans up front to hold and wave it around. They kinda failed and it got wrapped up around the pole. Once they got it open, they had a good swaying motion down for the rest of the song. The adorable Miss Yumiki Nagano of Little Dragon came out and performed a couple songs with Damon, "To Binge" and "Empire Ants". I think she's super cute and I love her voice! "Superfast Jellyfish" had an interesting little video in the background with various fast foods and snacks and of course a goofy little jellyfish. The "Last Living Souls" video ended with the two last men that have been wandering in the desert being zombies, which was an interesting concept. Fell in love with "Dirty Harry", especially with the video they played with the demented Gorillaz-esque kids swaying to the music. Classics like "Dare" was exciting and I couldn't help not dancing like Noodle in the screen and I adored the vocalist who sung for her. "Feel Good Inc." and "19-2000" had high energy as well and people were excited. The rappers had a lot of fun with the first song and everyone went wild when the guy did his signature laugh for all of us. "Clint Eastwood" was very "wow"! The rappers got us extra pumped for the song and it was great way to close out the show.

"Stylo" by Gorillaz feat. Bobby Womack (and one of the rappers I don't quite know the name ^^;;)

The show can only be described as EPIC! I never expected it to be that spectacular, but I'm so happy I went and I hope to see them live again.