May 1, 2015 Sixx:A.M. & Apocalyptica rattle Best Buy Theater NYC 4-27-15
A good number of Americans dislike Monday: leaving their homes after a fun-filled, relaxing weekend to head back to the daily grind of the working world. Fortunately Monday, April 27th, would be an enjoyable, musically-oriented one, at least for ticketholders of the Sixx:A.M. and Apocalyptica performance at Best Buy Theater in Times Square, NYC. Both bands were touring in support of their latest records – Sixx: A.M. released their third studio album, Modern Vintage, in October of 2014, and Apocalyptica released their eighth, Shadow Maker, on April 21st. Fitting dubbed The Modern Vintage Tour, upon its announcement back in October there was a storm of excitement swirling on the internet with fans tweeting and facebook posting how much they could not wait to see this tour come to town. Finally for The Big Apple that wait was over and fans piled into the twenty-one hundred seat venue, expecting a unbelievable rock show from both bands. By the end of the night, they got what they had come for.
Opening up the show was New York City’s own Honor Among Thieves. Made up of Moe on vocals, E Z on guitar, Sebastian on bass, and Dave of Thrones on drums, the band came out ready to Rock-n-Roll. Pumping out their straight up guitar driven original Rock tunes Moe lead the way on the microphone singing loud, clear, and full of energy to the hometown crowd. Ecstatic for the chance to open such a massive show the band made the most of their time on stage and had everyone praising their set. The band will be performing two New York areas shows in June so be sure to check them out.
Apocalyptica hails from Helsinki, Finland, and began their career as a cover band for the Metal monsters, Metallica. Making their start in 1993, they released their debut album in 1996, simply titled, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, but have forged their own musical way since. Made up of cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Perttu Kivilaakso, drummer Mikko Sirén and new vocalist Franky Perez, they combine Classical, Neoclassical Metal, Speed Metal, Alt Metal, Grunge, Hard and Prog Rock, as well as some Folk and Middle Eastern sounds, into their genre-bending music. In the nineteen years since their debut, Apocalyptica has released six original albums, with Shadow Maker being their first in five years.
As they made their way out onstage this Monday night, this five piece captivated the audience as Perez’s singing of “Cold Blood” flooded the speakers. The set continued with Perez leaving during the instrumental track “Grace” from Worlds Collide (2007). Toppinen stopped to ask the crowd, “Any Metal fans in the audience? Are you ready for some fucking Metal?!?” getting a wild response. They then moved into their Sepultura cover of “Inquisition Symphony” where the music sped up and hair was twirling. Taking a seat after that fast paced action, they continued with their next cover, “Nothing Else Matters,” with a cello lead from Kivilaakso and plucking of the strings from Toppinen and Lötjönen. Perez emerged once more for the two vocal-influenced tracks – “Shadow Maker,” the title track of their album, and then “I Don’t Care.” Finalizing their set was “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” where Lötjönen got the crowd revved up once again. After this run, Apocalyptica will be headlining their own tour US/Canadian with a couple of festivals mixed in, starting May 16th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ending in Montreal, Quebec, on June 10th before going straight into their European run.
Twenty minutes after Apocalyptica exited the stage, it was Sixx: A.M.’s turn. The last time Sixx:A.M. performed anywhere close to New York City was when they were one of the opening bands on Crüe Fest 1 in 2008, performing in Wantagh, New York at Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre. Many have been waiting for this tour from Sixx: A.M., not having had the chance to see them on their first and only tour seven years prior. The band consists of Motley Crüe’s bassist Nikki Sixx on both the bass and keyboards, lead guitarist DJ Ashba and lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist/keyboardist/drummer James Michael. In case some are curious as the origins of the band name, rather then make assumptions, it is a combination of each member’s names: Sixx, Ashba, Michael. Joining Sixx, Ashba and Michael was Canadian drummer Dustin Steinke of Bleeker Ridge and back-up singers Melissa Harding and Amber VanBuskirk. The show began with the “X-mas in Hell” intro from the Heroin Diaries and went straight into “Let’s Go” from Modern Vintage, with Ashba and Sixx running out from each side of the stage. “Give Me a Love” and “Relief,” were from their most recent album, but then they mixed up their set list with a good number of songs, giving each album the respect it deserved in the ninety minute performance.
Sixx:A.M. were fast and furious, moving into “This is Gonna Hurt” and “Pray for Me,” two more heavy, quick tunes, and then slowed down the pace with “Dead Man’s Ballet” and “Accidents Can Happen.” They got back into their new album by performing the groove-filled track, “Miracle,” where Ashba brought out the most beautiful, glimmering guitar made out of Swarovski crystals that shone brightly under the perfect lighting. The band then went into “Live Forever,” a song that is very high and vocally straining for Michael. Harding belted out passionately in the chorus with James, trading off with their two immaculate voices. “Gotta Get It Right” and then the Cars cover of “Drive” came next. Many fans did not like the track on the album, stating the band ruined a classic tune, but during this live performance, the song sounded beautifully. After pulling a piano out to the middle of the stage, Michael kicked off the song and then band came in during the first chorus. The guys then went into three songs from 2011’s This is Gonna Hurt:” Help Is On the Way,” “Goodbye My Friends” and then “Lies Of the Beautiful People.” They ended this segment of the show with “Stars,” and towards the end of the guitar solo from Ashba, the audience was showered with thin, papered black stars raining down on them. The encore of the show consisted of two very important songs in the Sixx:A.M. repertoire. First was “Skin,” a song that has had a powerful impact on many youths with its message of finding someone’s inner beauty and not judging them by the skin on the outside that others see, and then the overall show finale, “Life Is Beautiful,” the song that started it all for Sixx:A.M.
This sold-out tour is over now, but no worries. Sixx and Michael have both mentioned on stage and through social media that the band will record and tour again, as soon as 2016. Both bands, Apocalyptica and Sixx:A.M., put their all into their stage shows and rocked it for crowds in selected cities. Some fans traveled far and wide for this tour. There were people in attendance from Japan, Argentina and all across the United States, and more than a few mentioned that they should have rented an RV to follow the entire run; time consuming but so worth it, being able to see a fantastic show night after night.