Soulfly/The Gramercy Theatre/April 19, 2018
Max Cavalera is best known as the founder, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of pioneering thrash band Sepultura from 1984 to 1996. Born in Brazil, Cavalera relocated in 1992 and raised a family in Phoenix, Arizona. Since leaving Sepultura, he has led heavy metal bands Nailbomb, Soulfly, Killer Be Killed and the Cavalera Conspiracy. Soulfly is the most enduring of these bands, formed in 1997 and releasing 10 studio albums so far. The band has gone through numerous line-up changes, with Cavalera being the only constant member. The current line-up consists of Cavalera, lead guitarist Marc Rizzo, bassist Mike Leon and drummer Zyon Cavalera (Max’s son). Soulfly’s most recent album is 2015’s Archangel, but reportedly a new album will be released soon.
Up until only a few weeks ago, Soulfly was on tour performing Nailbomb’s sole album in its entirety. With hardly a break, Soulfly returned to many of the same venues to perform a retrospective on many of the band’s early work. This included a stop at the Gramercy Theatre, where Soulfly curiously performed songs from the band’s first seven albums but none from the three most recent albums. While Sepultura’s metal might have been more head-banging, Soulfly’s set was possibly more crude and brutal, with a sparse but smashing rhythm section propelling grunting vocals and torrid guitar leads. This was not metal for metal’s sake, however, as Soulfly’s groove emphasized coarse riffs instead of rumbling thunder and also incorporated elements from tribal rhythms, industrial metal, and even rapcore. Soulfly’s music al output was creative while remaining firmly cemented in extreme metal.
David Duchovny/Public Arts/April 22, 2018
New York City native David Duchovny is best known for acting on television series, particularly The X-Files and Californication, both of which have earned him Golden Globe awards, but he has appeared in movies and television programs since 1988. In recent years, he has directed and produced features as well. Less known is that he earned advanced degrees in English literature from both Princeton University and Yale University; he has written three books, the most recent, Miss Subways, was published on May 1, 2018. In addition, Duchovny is a singer/songwriter and released his second album, Every Third Thought, on Feb. 9, 2018.
As part of the festivities for the TriBeCa Film Festival, David Duchovny and his band performed live at New York’s newest hot spot, Public Arts. Had not Duchovny achieved success as an actor, he might have been a professor of English literature, and this bent was vivid in his lyrics and phrasing. The songs were performed as soft rock, chock full of pensive reflections squeezed into metered cadences. Duchovny’s casual vocals were backed by simple arrangements from his band, and all seemed to revel in the musical experience they were unraveling before the live audience below them. Duchovny added a touch of personality by sharing anecdotes between some songs. Overall, Duchovny provided a pleasant evening of music.
Devon Allman Project/Sony Hall/April 24, 2018
Devon Allman was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, just as his father’s band was becoming popular. Devon is the son of Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. Devon’s parents divorced when he was an infant, and he raised by his mother in Corpus Christi and in St. Louis, Mo. The father and son reunited when Devon was in his teens, by which time Devon was already playing guitar and keyboards. In the early 1990s, Devon Allman led a St. Louis-based band called the Dark Horses. He then led Honeytribe from 1999 to 2001, and again from 2005 to 2011. In 2011, he discontinued that band to begin playing in Royal Southern Brotherhood in New Orleans. His most recent effort, the Devon Allman Project, launched in 2018 and consists of Allman, guitarist Jackson Stokes, bassist Justin Corgan, organist Nicholas David, and drummers John Lum and R. Scott Bryan. The band has yet to record.
For the current tour, which stopped into the new Sony Hall, the Devon Allman Project added a guest guitarist, Duane Betts, the son Allman Brothers Band’s Dickey Betts. Duane opened with a 30-minute opening set using his guitarist, Johnny Stachela, and the Devon Allman Project’s rhythm section. After intermission, the Project performed a one-hour set which consisted of songs from Honeytribe, Royal Southern Brotherhood, the Devon Allman Band, and a few covers. The set started with an electric set, then stools were brought on stage and the musicians sat for an acoustic mini-set that included the Grateful Dead‘s “Friend of the Devil,’ before returning to electric blues. The encore featured all eight musicians, and included two Allman Brothers Band songs, with Betts singing his dad’s “Blue Skies” and Allman singing his dad’s “One Way Out.” The set overall was an agreeable mix of earthy blues and rock, but the audience roared louder when those covers were performed. While the band attempted to stand alone in its fine musicianship, songs and arrangements, it may take a while for the audiences to crave that individuality over an Allman Brothers Band redux.
Hatebreed/The Harbor Lights/April 25, 2018
Jamey Jasta (born James Shanahan) was an adolescent when his mother took a night job and he joined the hardcore punk scene in New Haven, Conn. His first band, Dreadnaught, became Jasta 14 and played locally, but then he found international success when he co-founded Hatebreed in 1994 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Hatebreed straddled the hardcore, heavy metal and metalcore genres and sold 1.2 million records. The band’s seventh and most recent album of original material is 2016’s The Concrete Confessional. Hatebreed presently consists of Jasta and two original members, guitarist Wayne Lozinak and bassist Chris Beattie, plus guitarist Frank Novinec and drummer Matt Byrne.
Summer started early and Rocks Off began its concert cruises around lower Manhattan. Hatebreed headlined a concert aboard the Harbor Lights on a mist-filled night when at times the waters were rocking even harder than the bands. On this tour, Hatebreed is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut album and 15 years since the breakthrough album, so tonight’s set list was heavy on those two albums, including songs the band normally does not perform live. The repertoire brought the band back to basics. Jasta spit lyrics with his gutteral growl, backed by thrashing guitarwork and pounding rhythms. While the boat tottered from side to side, Hatebreed bludgeoned its seafaring fans with a heavy beatdown. The activated audience responded forcefully, but with no stage on the boat, the only barrier between the band and the audience was a row of fence stanchions that a team of security guards held firm against the hard-moshing fans. Despite restlessness both on the waters and in the boat, the end result was a successful interactive concert event.