Monday, June 10, 2013

Orion Music and More 2013 - Day 2

A superb day and an outstanding weekend.

The day kicked off with our self-guided tour of downtown Detroit, then we were on the first bus to Belle Isle for day 2 of Orion Music and More. All the transportation and entrance problems that plagued many yesterday seemed to be cleared up today.
Our first stop was the Metallica Museum, which is full of old gear, artwork, stage props and some handwritten lyrics. Then it was music time as I managed to see 10 different bands today. 

I caught All Shall Perish, a very heavy, hardcore band who got a serious mosh pit going right from the start, then Cauldron who looked and sounded like Kill ‘em All era Metallica. After those more traditional metal acts things got really interesting. The Dirtbombs are a 6 piece band with two bassists, three drummers and a guitarist - but wait there's more! They alternate. A drummer swaps with a bassist and vice versa. They covered INXS’ Need You Tonight with a drummer taking lead vocals into the crowd then taking a drum into the crowd for their final song. Sick and fun. But the funniest band of the weekend is Fidlar, a 4 piece punk band (who introduced themselves as Metallica, LOL) with such classic 2 minute sing along choruses as; “I drink cheap beer, so what, F you!” “I sit home and drink alone, you are such a whore!” and the power ballad “I didn’t know I was so good at making you feel awkward.” Plus all these songs were signed by women at side of stage for some hearing impaired fans. It was hilarious! If these guys show up at a dive near you, go see them.

Then Metallic’s own Rob Trujillo jammed with the unrelated yet similarly named skate board husband and wife Trujillos for a jam know as Trujillo Trio. They were straight ahead thrash who were then joined by Mike and Rocky from Suicidal Tendencies for a raging version of Institutionalized. 

I saw a few songs by the drums and guitar duo, Japandroids. They didn’t do it for more so I wandered over for a couple songs by Vista Chino until Fu Manchu started. I dug them a lot as they were pretty straight ahead hard rock and did a great cover of Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult.

Up next, I dove back into the EDM tent to see Destroid, and I've never seen anything like it before. Three cyborg, Cylon-like creatures playing drums and synth guitars and commanding people to dance and obey them in evil robot voices. Fun as shit! They got a serious pit going and I was totally energized for the main attraction.

Metallica. After the surprise set yesterday, we all knew more surprises would come. They did. I had no idea what song might show up next. At least two songs were premieres for me. Another 6 probably haven’t been heard by me live in over ten years. They sounded tight and looked so amazingly happy. They are really at the top of the world.

The more songs you don’t recognize, the more excited I was.
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Disposable Heroes
Harvester of Sorrow
The Day That Never Comes
Carpe Diem Baby
I Disappear
Sad But True
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Master of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
- encore-
Turn The Page
Creeping Death
Seek & Destroy 

Make a Wish kids join Metallica on stage
Detroit is the new home for Orion. While last year's show at Atlantic City was certainly easier for us to attend, if I had to decide right now - I think I'll be visiting Detroit again.

Here is all the official Orion photos, broken down by band.

UPDATE: 6/11/13
Last night I finally figured out the significance of "Dehaan" the fake name Metallica performed under on Saturday. Their upcoming Imax 3D concert film, Through The Never, is more than a concert film, it has a narrative and actors too. The lead actor is Dane DeHaan. So if you recognized that from the get go (which I did not), you might have been in the front row for the big surprise.

Final numbers: Came back with 5 new Metallica t-shirts, 1 new pick, and shows #31 and #32 under my belt. In all, I saw 16 bands over the weekend. And for first time in my life, I got to hold one of James' guitars in my very own shaky hands! And Lori got to sit at Lars' drum set. Sick!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Orion Music and More, Day 1

We started off the morning exploring Detroit and the Renaissance Center. Lori and I hopped on the People Mover and took 15 minute ride on this monorail thing which is only two cars long and had a total of 3 other passengers. All we could do was think of the legendary Simpsons monorail episode and laugh. But Detroit has some really cool, unique architecture and some quite beautiful spots downtown - it was surely worth the 75 cents the 15 minute tour took. Met one guy who is a local and said he was going to Orion later too.

Then we roamed the river walk and bizarrely futuristic hotel/GM HQ/mall thing. Took a lot of Larry pictures then hopped on first bus to get to Orion. 

Globe of Death!
After about half the attendees entrance was rejected by malfunctioning scanner systems, we got in, bought 3 new Metallica shirts and entered Kirk’s Crypt since we spotted a very short line. The crypt is a showcase for all of Kirk Hammett’s horror movie memorabilia. It was bigger than last year and more freaking people dressed up inside and turning it into a haunted house. We watched a demo with a makeup pro turning a girl into a zombie too.

Then we had killer food from Detroit’s world famous Slows Bar-B-Q; Triple Threat on a Stick and Mac & Cheese.

After that it was time for the first bands to start. Caught The Bronx and liked them a lot. Then we moved on to local band Battlecross who were the heaviest of heavy with tremendous in sync head banging and a great cover of Slayer’s “War Ensemble.” After that we roamed in the Met Club tent and got to pose with Metallica’s gear, check out the new Metallica pinball machine and cavort with a whole lot of other Metalli-crap, followed by the car show and Globe of Death - a cool motorcycle stunt show, which was also something done by The Simpsons.
Dropkick Murphys

The next band was Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys and I must admit I had no idea these guys were big anywhere outside of New England, but they got a big crowd and rocked hard. They also represented Boston in a major way, thanking everyone for support after the marathon bombing, playing their Red Sox, Bruins and Mickey Ward inspired songs, plus Shipping Up To Boston and a cover of AC/DC’s T.N.T. - just when I thought that was the highlight they told us Metallica was playing a surprise set of old shit - we bolted and I got there as The Four Horsemen was starting and I quickly realized they were playing Kill ‘Em All from start to finish. Heaven! This surprise was cool beyond words. I’d only recently accepted they’d play only once, then they pull this out. I love this band. Needless to say, they kicked ass and then it tool a little bit to find Lori again. With her full permission, I left her behind as I raced to see the mighty Metallica. She got there too, but by then there were thousands of bodies between us.
Secret Metallica Gig!
Kill 'em All, start to finish.
We eventually found eachother and headed to the EDM tent for Bassnectar. Lori didn’t last long, but I had a blast. He played some Hendrix, Nirvana, Beatles and even Motorhead all remixed, sampled and dancified with an insane amount of bass. The kids loved it. It was the next generation mosh pit, everyone going off in sync but without the violence.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers closed the night. Most of the hits are a bit slow, for my taste, to follow Kill ‘Em All and Bassnector, but once they cranked into Higher Ground I was rejuvenated. Man, I forgot how many radio hits RHCPs have had over the years. Much like last year, the bus ride home was a blast with the whole bus singing Creeping Death, and one out his mind fan trying to choreograph different verses for front and back of the bus, and then even calling for the elderly bus driver to take a verse. The driver responded by turning up the volume. Smart dude.

Great day. And tomorrow is the REAL Metallica show - can’t wait to see what tricks they pull out next. 

Friday, June 07, 2013


I'm writing this at 35,000 feet above the ground flying to Detroit for Metallica's Orion Music & More festival. 

This next Met show is my first show since the last show which was the best show ever. Last June at the inaugural Orion in Atlantic City, I won snake pit passes and was in the 2nd row as Metallica played their Black Album in its entirety. I'd be lying to say I'm not disappointed they are only playing one night as opposed to two this year, but I am psyched to see what surprises the band might have in store for me, plus discovering a slew of new bands to become a fan of (last year I fell for Ghost and Volbeat), and I'm really excited to dive into the EDM tent (Electronic Dance Music). I don't know squat about it but every now and then I hear a hard rocking bass-heavy track that makes me think I'm ready for an all night rave. 

Sunday night will be my 31st Metallica show. This is the fifth time I've flown to see them, and the trip gives me a new city and state not just for concerts but for visiting at all. The goal is to visit all 50 states, this puts me at 29 I believe. 

My Metallica t-shirt count is now at 102 with more to be purchased this weekend. And one of the coolest things about these festivals is meeting people who put my numbers to shame. In Atlantic City, the tiny woman in front of me in the front row was at her 50th show. And she lives in Japan!

Larry The Lizard picks up his Orion pass
GM Renaissance Center, Detroit