I don’t have to tell you about 2020 – you were there, too. Usually, at the end of the year, I spend December choosing some photos to repost for good vibes and great memories, but this year I didn’t take a single photograph of a live show. Yeah. So, I am going to post a few photos from 2019 that did not see that light of day then, just for fun. I am keeping the cameras warm for 2021 because hope springs eternal.
There was a lot of excellent music released this year. We published 188 reviews in 2020, a lot more than we thought we would. There are so many “Best of 2020” lists out there that I decided not to do one for FFMB. Instead, I am throwing up a couple of covers from albums we didn’t review this year that were really good – just couldn’t get to everything. We’ll try to do better in 2021.
Thanks to everybody involved with Flying Fiddlesticks Music Blog and the Shardik Media Cabal. Deep gratitude and thanks to all the bands, record labels, venues, publicists, and promoters keeping music alive for all of us.
We’re still here and we are carrying on in 2021. See you out there.
rock fans gather every October in Sacramento at Discovery Park for a late
season festival that, for many fans, marks the end of the festival year. This
year’s lineup had the usual big draws like Tool, Slipknot, Rob Zombie, and
Marilyn Manson, and interesting bands you don’t see all the time like The Hu
and Babymetal. For me though, the band I most wanted to see was Deadland
Ritual has been flying under the radar for the year or two it has been in
existence and is known primarily for its bass player, the heavy metal icon
Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath. The band’s singer is Franky Perez
(Apocalyptica), Steve Stevens (long time Billy Idol collaborator) is on guitar,
and the drummer is Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver). They do not play
live very often, especially in the US, and so it was a significant event when
they showed up in Sacramento for the Aftershock festival. The band played on
the third stage at Aftershock, which was set up in the far corner of Discovery
Park. There was less room around the third stage (naturally) than the two main
stages, and when the crowd filed in they ended up tightly packed together.
Nobody seemed to mind the crush and, judging by the chatter, most people seemed
to be there to see Geezer.
live set was a barrage of familiarity and innovation. It started off with a
Black Sabbath cover, “Symptom of the Universe.” That was a smart move, picking a
song to draw the fans in, and it really worked because the crowd fell
immediately in line singing and nodding along. They move on to alternate
between Deadland Ritual tunes and covers of Black Sabbath songs, with the
occasional Billy Idol (“Rebel Yell”) or Velvet Revolver (“Slither”) title
included as well. There are only two officially released Deadland Ritual songs,
“Down In Flames” and “Broken and Bruised,” which they played, and they also
included a couple of new songs I had never heard before.
Stevens put on a blistering performance and was perfectly at home with the
classic Black Sabbath material. I had never seen Franky Perez live before and I
was blown over by his voice and stage presence – he injected a high level of
energy into the performance. His sound is ideal for this kind of music as it
both powerful and melodic. Geezer Butler and Matt Sorum were comfortable and
methodical, very much being themselves and letting the music flow in heavy
Ritual performed at a few dates in Europe this summer and at Aftershock, but
that was about it. According to their website, the do not have any upcoming
dates scheduled, but they do plan to be out on some dates next year. If you see
them pop up anywhere near you, jump on the chance to see them because there is
no telling when they might be back.