Tag Archives: magna carta records

Liquid Tension Experiment @ B.B. King Blues Club (6/23/2008)

Logo - Liquid Tension Experiment

Artist: Liquid Tension Experiment
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: none
Date: 6/23/2008
Label: Magna Carta Records

What do you get if you remove James LaBrie’s vocals from the Dream Theater equation and then swap an already magnificent bass player with an even more awe-inspiring legend? Well, the answer is very simply stated as Liquid Tension Experiment. The powerhouse Progressive Metal project came to fruition back in 1997 and was founded by Dream Theater’s drummer Mike Portnoy and when his original choices for the group’s guitarist were unavailable he opened the spot to his band mate John Petrucci. Jordan Rudess of the Dixie Dregs came on as keyboardist and Tony Levin of the legendary King Crimson handled bass and Chapman stick. Two albums would be recorded by the project and each would be met with considerable approval. This came from not only Dream Theater fans, but those who enjoyed King Crimson, the Dixie Dregs and any other number of the Prog-Metal/Rock mainstays of the time. The music was close to but not exactly like that of Dream Theater and of course all of it would remain instrumental. With the talents that all of these guys possessed there was really no need for a vocal to be introduced at all. Fast forwarding through time up to the present day finds us celebrating the bands 10th Anniversary Reunion and not only would select shows be performed around the country, but the band had also just headlined the prestigious NEAR Fest only two days prior to this performance. I found it interesting when I realized that the Fish show we attended the week before had found him headlining one of the festival nights and here we are bearing witness to the other main act on that bill after it had all happened. Another interesting fact about the Liquid Tension Experiment is that Jordan Rudess had become a fulltime member of Dream Theater and he has been in the role since 1998 or so which made seeing these guys doing material outside of the DT scope really something to be fascinated by. News of the bands reunion appearance at the legendary B.B. King Blues Club would find the performance selling out in a couple of days. The response was so great that the band decided to add a later evening performance to avoid any disappointment in their fans. I made sure to get in place for the early show and since I had never really followed them I was very excited to be a part of the goings on tonight. Here is how is happened.
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“Slave To None” by Totalisti

Artist: Totalisti
Title: “Slave To None”
Label: Magna Carta Records
Release Date: 8/16/2005
Genre: Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

Totalisti debut disk “Slave To None” combines elements of Nu-Metal’s heavy down tuned guitars with the progressive aspects of complex time signatures into an interesting blend which may appeal to fans of Slipknot, Tool, and Metallica. Tool’s strong influence is evident to me on the tracks “Severed Ties”, “Slave to None”, “ETA” and “House Of Mirrors”.
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David Lee Roth @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (7/13/2006)

Logo - David Lee Roth

Artist: David Lee Roth
Venue: Nokia Theatre Times Square (New York, NY)
Opener: n/a
Date: 7/13/2006
Label: Magna Carta Records

David Lee Roth set the world of Hard Rock music on fire with the debut of Van Halen’s self-titled album back in 1978. Since that time he has proven over and over to be one of the most exciting personalities in the Music business and showed very early what a Rock Star truly was. After his well publicized split from Van Halen, Roth went on a solo career that while it had its ups and downs – you could always count on Dave bringing the goods to the table when the shows were on. Recently, Dave was more in the news for his failed attempt at replacing radio host Howard Stern than for his music so it was a treat to find him getting back to business on stage. The last time I recall Dave playing in our vicinity was for his “Sam and Dave” tour, which was a several week adventure with then former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar. The pair delivered a night of classic Van Halen, Sammy Hagar and DLR material and was truly one of the best concerts I had seen that year. Sadly, it was a short run and not a lot of people caught onto the special nature of the appearances. It was their loss, not mine. Dave’s last full solo album was “Diamond Dave”, a Magna Carta Records release and for any folks looking for new Dave they would have to pick up a copy of “Strummin’ With The Devil”. The CD is an album of Van Halen classics being given the Country and Bluegrass treatment and Dave does two tracks on the record. Since I don’t own a copy I am not too sure about what else is on it to comment further.
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“Subdivisions: A Tribute To Rush” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Subdivisions: A Tribute To Rush”
Label: Magna Carta Records
Release Date: 3/15/2005
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 4/5

Magna Carta Records follows up their Rush tribute “Working Man” with “Subdivisions” and while there is nothing quite like the original, this album continues to showcase the other side of some Progressive and Rock greats it makes for a nice companion to the first release. The original “Working Man” found Mike Portnoy on most of the drumming, and he is clearly a monster talent capable of all things Peart; his adventures in Dream Theater have allowed him to take drumming to the next level. “Subdivisions” however lets all the drumming be handled by Steve Vai and Annihilator skin basher Mike Mangini. Mike is a killer player who does the album justice. Vinny Moore and Stu Hamm handle the rhythm guitars and bass on the whole recording as well and that makes the key focus be on the vocal talent this time around. Sebastian Bach is once again present on the album and he does a great considering his level of expertise. As a result “Tom Sawyer” and “Lakeside Park” have a new heaviness to them. Yet despite Bach’s presence I was more interested this time around in the contributions of the other singers and I feel many listeners could enjoy this as well. Joining the talented folks who put this together is Randy Jackson (Zebra), Kip Winger (Winger) and Jani Lane (Warrant).
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Ozric Tentacles @ B.B. King Blues Club (6/21/2006)

Logo - Ozric Tentacles

Artist: Ozric Tentacles
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: unknown
Date: 6/21/2006
Label: Magna Carta Records

I was really looking forward to checking them out in a live setting. For years they had developed a strong underground following in the UK and in recent years have found themselves establishing more of a fanbase in the US with their genre-bending music. It’s tough to categorize the Ozric’s music as they are a unique blend of Psychedelic/Progressive mixed with Techno and a Jam band. Yet even that is not a proper description for as while some will probably think “that’s not Metal!” the Ozrics quickly will show you that being heavy is more about attitude than the now cliché down-tuned guitars chugging away. I admit to being a newbie to the band, with the first album I ever got my hands on being “Spirals In Hyperspace”; Based on this my enthusiasm for the show and interest are perfect for other new fans, here are some of my impressions on the event. The show was at B.B. King Blues Club in NYC, and while there was a decent turnout when they performed I expected more people to be present. The group would be headlining the 2006 NEARFest in Bethlehem PA this coming weekend, so perhaps this was why it wasn’t packed to the doors. Personally, I love seeing a group in a comfortable setting more than a giant place so I felt others had missed out on this shows intmacy Here are my impressions.
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