Bio Paints Complex Portrait of AC/DC's Mighty Youngs

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columbiarecords.com
The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC
By Jesse Fink, 320 pp., $25.99.

The mere mention of AC/DC to even the most casual of fans will bring up one image: the short, frenetic guitarist Angus Young dressed as a schoolboy and running around the stage like a maniac -- even while pushing 60 years of age, and sometimes making his own devil horns. He may not be the lead singer, but when the crowd chants "AN-GUS! AN-GUS!" during "Thunderstruck," there's no doubt as to who the real front man is for the group.

Diehard fans and writers who know a bit more about the band dynamics might tell you that it's quiet rhythm guitarist Malcolm who really calls the shots, while overlooking them both is older brother George.

George was never in the group, but was a crucial developer of the band's sound (especially in the early days) and the whiz in the studio, utilizing knowledge first learned as a member of the Easybeats, who had a worldwide hit in 1966 with "Friday on My Mind."

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Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at The Woodlands, 8/10/2014

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Photos by Francisco Montes
Avenged Sevenfold
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
Feat. Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, Trivium, Suicide SIlence, etc.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 10, 2014

August 10 was a date Houston headbangers had circled on their calendars. The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, North America's largest, loudest traveling menagerie of metal, promised to destroy the Woodlands Pavilion on the last day of the tour.

While many were miffed that the carnival's full coterie of bands wouldn't make the trip -- acts like Body Count, King 810 and Ill Nino couldn't be squeezed into the venue's silly two-stage configuration -- it was still more than enough heavy metal for anybody. The day started early and ended late, and the summer sun seemed bound and determined to helpfully redefine "brutality" for every tatted-up freak in attendance.


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Four Reasons Not to Miss Rockstar Mayhem Festival

Categories: Metalocalypse

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This year's metal festival season is in full swing, and you might be feeling a little overwhelmed what with All Stars Tour, Warped Tour and Summer Slaughter Tour already having passed through Houston. Maybe you're burnt out, but it's time to get ready for one more: Mayhem Festival.

This year's might be the best of all four of the aforementioned metal fests, and there's a lot of reasons you probably shouldn't skip it, even if it means slamming yet another ten Red Bulls. However, we've narrowed it down to five damn good reasons to go for it.


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Wo Fat Meet Their Doom at Fitz on Saturday

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Photos courtesy of Kent Stump
Dallas' Wo Fat
Have you heard the news? Fitzgerald's, that creaky old live music haunt in the Heights where your favorite band became your favorite band, is doomed.

Not next year, not after graduation, but Saturday. This Saturday. Doomed.

Whoa, hey, calm down for a second! This isn't about Pegstar abandoning the old club to build a slick, new townhouse of a concert venue on North Main (not that there's anything wrong with that). That's still quite a ways off, and there's a lot of life left in Fitz yet. Case in point: both stages of the club will be piled high with every heavy guitar riff imaginable tomorrow when the second annual Bayou Doom Fest returns to Sabbath the place up a bit. And for rock fans who like it slow, deep and hard, that's very good news, indeed.


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Ice-T & Body Count Come Blasting Back

Categories: Metalocalypse

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Photos courtesy of Sumerian Records
Note: sad to say, Body Count has dropped off the Woodlands date of the Mayhem tour. Sorry, y'all.

Crank up the volume, load up the shotty and make damn sure your bandanna is the right color, because Ice-T and Body Count are back, and they still shoot to kill. More than 20 years after the West Coast crossover thrash band scared the shit out of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas with "Cop Killer," Body Count hit the streets once again this year, undiminished by advancing age, changing trends or the group's tragic mortality rate. Now they're ready to jump another generation of kids into the joys of violently heavy rock and roll madness.

That's the plan, anyway. While Body Count shifted a lot of units back in the early '90s, the current pop landscape is practically unrecognizable from the world in which the band debuted. After all, the government ain't exactly trying to censor Drake. Is there a place for Body Count in a 21st-century metal pantheon ruled by the likes of Mastodon? Are there any cultural sacred cows left for the group to mow down with gunfire?

Typically self-assured, rapper-turned-rock-star-turned-actor Ice-T didn't bother considering such questions when the opportunity to resurrect Body Count arrived after eight years of silence. In Ice's world, if it feels good, you do it. Simple.


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Why "Scene Festivals" Are Really Bad for Bands

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It's that season again. It's time for Houston to be inundated with touring metal, punk and hardcore festivals, from Warped Tour to the All-Stars Tour to the upcoming Summer Slaughter Tour. It's an opportunity for kids to see all their favorite bands from those scenes all crammed together on one massive bill.

I, however, have a bone to pick with these festivals. While the lineups can range from amazing to spotty, they all have one problem in common: their focus. Sure, it's great for some fans to see all their favorites in one place, but what of outsiders? I personally feel this could be a hindrance for the bands themselves, and here's why.


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Lost '93 Show Reveals "Dio of the Future"

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Photo by Diego Torres Silvestre via Flickr
Note: the above Dio show is not the one depicted in the review.
Dio
Live in London -- Hammersmith Apollo 1993
Eagle Rock Entertainment, 114 min., $14.98 DVD/$19.98 Blu-Ray


This concert film will be something of a lost treasure to Dio fans. Not only has it never actually been released, but it showcases the group's lesser-celebrated mid-to-late-'90s lineup as well as a lot of material from the Strange Highways record, which was something of a departure in Dio's sound.

Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinny Appice had just finished their second stint with Black Sabbath, recording and touring 1982's Dehumanizer, when Dio decided to put his self-named group back together. The pair added guitarist Tracy G, bassist Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken, currently of Foreigner) and keyboardist Scott Warren for their 1993 European tour, of which this show at London's famous Hammersmith Apollo was the last stop.

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Rock Survivor Glenn Hughes: "The Kids Went Apeshit!"

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MSO PR
The heavy-hitting California Breed is Jason Bonham (drums), Glenn Hughes (vocals/bass), and Andrew Watt (guitar).
Legendary rocker Glenn Hughes is on the phone, ostensibly to talk about California Breed. It's the new band he has with drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Andrew Watt and who have just released a loud, crunchy, self-titled debut CD. But before he gets to that his rapid-fire mouth has something he wants Rocks Off to know.

"Look, man, you need to know this off the bat. Houston, and the reaction the city has given to my music, is the reason I'm probably talking to you now!" he offers. "Talking to anyone from Houston brings back all the love, and I'll never forget it."

As Hughes tells it over the phone, as well as in his autobiography, his band Trapeze had finished a tour in 1970 opening for the Moody Blues. But nowhere did they get the frenzied reaction they did during their set as at the Sam Houston Coliseum.


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Glenn Hughes's California Breed Redefines the Power Trio

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MSO PR
California Breed: Jason Bonham (drums), Glenn Hughes (vocals/bass) and Andrew Watt (guitar)
It was the late summer of 2012, and hard rockers Black Country Communion had just released their third album. But the co-singer/bassist of the very successful group, the legendary Glenn Hughes, was pissed.

That's because the very future of the band featuring Hughes, co-singer/guitarist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham and keyboardist Derek Sherinian was in doubt. Hughes wanted to tour, but Bonamassa's thriving solo career limited their opportunities. The two traded barbs in the press and on Twitter, and a planned big concert was cancelled.

Cut to spring 2013, when Bonamassa announced his departure, officially ending the band.


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deadhorse Cock Their Latest Loaded Gun

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Photos courtesy of deadhorse
Fittingly enough for a date on the calendar mostly set aside for loud, colorful explosions, today marks the release of the first new deadhorse music to be unleashed in 18 years or so. Following through on a threat they made nearly two years ago, the Houston thrash idols have delivered a new EP, Loaded Gun, that arrives fully cocked and ready to go off.

Longtime (and oftentimes long-suffering) fans will be pleased to know that the four new tracks on this record are a conscious return to the band's skate-tastic Horsecore era. Short, straightforward and speedy, the fresh material is characterized by the same head-banging riffs and whiplash-inducing tempo changes that kept hair flying and pits circling back in the day.

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