Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Concert Review: Marty Friedman At Fubar

Marty Friedman
As it so happens, this blogger, his friends, and his crew all tend to attend shows at Fubar on Locust St. in St. Louis on a pretty regular basis.

For the past nearly 4 years, Fubar has been some what of a second home to me and mine, though we are not recognized at the bar.

Precious, they should recognizes us's.

After all these shows, The Fubar has become rather comfortable. In fact, there are at least three more shows to attend this year....but that aside...

One thing that's rare at Fubar, is a line.

Upon depositing the Death Metal Prius at a meter, we walked towards the door...and there was something a bit different. There was this line...and it was drawn of people.

In fact, the last time I'd seen anything of this sort at this Midtown St. Louis Club was for MC Chris, and that wasn't even reviewed. This may sound like there's never any quality shows at this little venue, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Normally, it's disheartening to see how few St. Louisans can turn out for a great show.

Marty Friedman (right)
On 8/13/17, the denziens of Fubar were entreated to a showing of guitar that rivaled Phoebus Apollo's playing of the lyre.

Starting the show was a little band from Madison, WI. It may sound a bit demeaning to refer to them as such, but this trio, A Fine Constant, may have weighed 345lbs soaking wet, but I doubt it.

Three members, two guitarists (both playing headless 8 string axes), and a drummer controlling the ambient sounds, i.e. the triggers. Watching them play was something akin to seeing the new generation leave the primordial ooze.

The Lessons of Felix Martin and Animals As Leaders were not lost on our new friends. It's clear Dunlop Picks won't be sponsoring our new friends. The vast majority of their songs were played via eight finger tapping. Melodies, harmonies, and riffs.

If Eddie Van Halen, as he put it, was telling a story via his version of tapping, A Fine Constant was writing plays with their tapping. If you're catching this tour, don't miss a minute of A Fine Constant. The last song...you'll find out.

After their set, Scale The Summit featuring Killian Duarte (of The Felix Martin Band) took the stage. Seeing Duarte last night excused his absence with Tengger Cavalry last month.

Scale The Summit was more in the vein of Steve Vai than Animals As Leaders. Their vibe wasn't nearly as metal or thunderous as the preceding group. Consider them the segue unto the old. They were able to use both traditional and modern techniques to make their point....and they readied the assembled crowd for Marty Friedman.

If there was anything I was expecting, it wasn't a band peopled with Japanese. After typing this out, part of me wishes to delete it, but that's the honest truth. Even though Friedman has lived in Tokyo for years. It didn't occur to me.

The drummer looked like a youkai, straight out of Japanese folklore started talking to the band, in a circle, in Japanese to begin their cheer to begin the show. Sadly, I could only catch a word here and there, so there's no translation I can offer.

The bassist, Kiyoshi, was one of the most talented women I've seen playing on a stage. Her ability to switch between funk, metal, and even pop made her the MVP of the night. She's the kind of person everybody wants on bass guitar. She knew when to push forward and when to pull back.

Friedman, the man of the hour, late of Megadeth, frankly, was the least talented guitarist to appear on the stage that evening. In this case, we're speaking specifically of what he's able to accomplish on the guitar.

What he has the other bands did not created a gulf that was impregnable. The band was able to not only interact with the audience, but create an atmosphere. Too many instrumental guitar bands, which is all there was on the stage that night, do not connect with the audience.

They simply play...

The Marty Friedman band, for lack of a proper term, was nothing of the sort. Yes, there were shredding solos, crushing riffs, and grooves the likes of which mortal man can never know.

Even though, there was little in the way of eight fingered tapping in harmony, sonic soundscapes, or show offy melodies. What Friedman has is the ability create dynamic songs where the listener gets punched in the gut when he heads off into a solo.

What he lacks in sweep picked arpeggios, he makes up for in awesome.

This was the rare show where the youngers can actually out play their elders, but the elders show everybody how it's done.

Check out the remaining dates HERE.

Friedman's latest solo effort, Wall of Sound, was released on Prosthetic Records on August 4th.

*Update 8/17/17 Photos by Danny Nichols added

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