GIG REVIEW: MARTY FRIEDMAN ‘Inferno’ North American Tour Live At Dallas, TX
If there are a handful people on the planet that hold the title of guitar virtuosos, Marty Friedman would most certainly be right up in that club. The amount of respect, admiration and inspiration I hold for him was clearly noticeable in my anticipation to see him perform live for the first time ever, at the legendary local venue, The Trees in Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX on the evening of February 13th, 2016.
We all know about Marty and his body of work in Megadeth. In my personal opinion, the solo on “Tornado of Souls” is by far the best solo ever played. So it was a matter of mere hours before I would witness the solo, played live; one more thing to cross off the checklist. My friend and I reached the venue on time and immediately struck up a conversation with a fellow metal head who told us about his experiences watching Megadeth live during the ‘Countdown To Extinction’ era and that set up some sort of an expectation for the show we were about to watch.
To start things off, we saw the first three piece lineup of the evening; The Adam Nanez Band from Rowlett, Texas. It featured Adam Nanez on lead guitars, Danny Peeples on bass and Ian Flannigan on drums. They played with a lot of feel and fervor. An interesting interplay between rhythms and leads with many effect pedals in use. The band themselves were very humble and approachable. They handed me a disc to listen to and I highly recommend them.
Second to play on the bill was Neil Swanson. He had a very gorgeous Fender Stratocaster and the way he played it reminded me of Steve Vai. It turns out that he did indeed open for Vai on his ‘Story of Light Tour’. He’s one of those guitar players who love doing what they do and he does it very well. His music was a mixed bag of classic hard rock tunes with a modern touch. His supporting band members were very proficient as well and held the sound together splendidly.
Third to play were Holy Grail from Pasadena, California. They were the thrashers of the evening, belting out fast paced 80’s thrash metal and dual guitar lead shreds. The vocalist James Paul Luna reminded me of Bobby Ellsworth from Overkill. The guitar shreds were offered courtesy Eli Santana and Alex Lee with Blake Mount on Bass and Tyler Meahl on drums. They reminded me of the early thrash bands that came out of the San Francisco scene.
Before I start drooling over Marty’s awesome playing, let me take a few sentences to introduce his very important and influential group of live musicians. Chargeeee is one of the most stand-out character out of the quartet. He looked like hybrid of someone from a 80s sunset strip movie and the visual kie artists in Japan. His tricks and expressions throughout the show matched the energy with which he played. He’s been very influential to me. Joining Marty on his shred-a-thon, is guitarist Jordan Ziff who sported a 7-stringer and displayed more than his fair share of virtuosity, and at one point he played very quick arpeggios while chugging beer offered by Marty. Last but certainly not the least, I want throw a huge shout out the bass player, Kiyoshi Manii. She’s ridiculously talented, and her bass solo was one of the most prominent sections in the show. Her slap-pop technique is something to be envious about.
Marty’s set opened with “Hyper Doom” followed quickly by “Amagigoe” and “Street Demon”. The show was also peppered with slow ballads like “Tibet/Angel”, “Devil Take Tomorrow”, “Ballad of the Barbie Bandits” and sections on the title track off his latest album “Inferno”. I was impressed a lot by the spectrum of sound that showed his inherent ability to mix western and eastern music flawlessly. Kiyoshi’s Bass Solo and Jordan Ziff’s Guitar solo that featured a snippet of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” were some other highlights of the evening.
Marty introduced his band on the song “Dragon Mistress” and ended the show with a cover of Ikimonogakari’s song “Kaeritakunattayo”. The evening featured a lot of fast shredding, soulful solos, heavy rhythms and beautiful passages. It was the complete sonic experience with a brilliant stage show and wonderful musical ideas translated into sound by very competent and talented bunch of musicians. This was one of the most important evenings of my life because I saw Marty play the solo to “Tornado of Souls” and dived into the crowd to catch his guitar pick.