Videos reviewed: Chickenfoot – Get Your Buzz On, Judas Priest – British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition, Guitar Player Wanted, Vocals a Plus
Recently, supergroups have been springing up like it’s the late ’70s again. Them Crooked Vultures (Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and John Paul Jones) and Black Country Communion (Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Derek Sherinian, and Joe Bonamassa) have been garnering headlines lately, but Chickenfoot was one of the biggest to spring up in the last couple of years.
Formed unofficially in February 2008 when former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist Joe Satriani met at a Hagar concert in Las Vegas. In the words of Anthony, "It was just too much fun to pass up." That attitude drove both their self-titled debut album and this live DVD. Chickenfoot is about having fun and putting on a great show. Even though the members have a whopping 46 platinum albums between them, they manage to put their successes behind them and put on a good show by simply rocking. It’s not pretentious art rock, and there’s nothing too sophisticated about the music. It feels and sounds like four friends just jamming in their garage—even when they’re playing in front of a giant crowd.
The main drawback to this DVD is that Chickenfoot has only one album, so there’s not a lot here that isn’t on the CD. The only exceptions are the band’s show-closing covers of Montrose’s "Bad Motor Scooter" and the Who’s "My Generation" (Hagar plays slide on the former). If you’re looking for a great rock concert, check this one out, but if you’re looking for new music you might be better off waiting for their next album. Chickenfoot doesn’t cover a lot of new ground on this DVD, but they do show that the road forward is already paved—and it looks like a great trip. —BB
Judas Priest – British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition
If you’re a metal fan, you probably can’t count how many times you’ve sat through arguments over whether Megadeth is better than Metallica, who was the best shredder of the ’80s, or what is the greatest heavy metal album of all time. For a lot of people, that album is Judas Priest’s 1980 monsterwork, British Steel. The incredibly influential album still rings in the skulls of metalheads everywhere, and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its release the band has rereleased the record with a bonus DVD containing a very special treat for fans: video of the band performing the entire British Steel record—from start to finish—for the first time ever.
The recording is of the August 17, 2009, show in Hollywood, Florida—the concert that kicked off Priest’s 30th-anniversary tour. It’s pretty incredible watching a band in which most members are nearing 60 but they still rock harder than most bands today. And they played the album perfectly, with fluid ease. Vocalist Rob Halford proves he is still one of the greatest singers in rock ’n’ roll by consistently hitting every falsetto note with precision and hair-raising emotion. The sound and video quality is extremely clear, without any visual artifacts from transfer or conversion processes, too.
After watching this DVD over and over, I can only hope that I can be this cool when I finally reach that age. What’s funny is that, even with a track list that’s 30 years old—Judas Priest can still bring out your 16-year-old metalhead. An absolute must for the hardcore Judas Priest fan. —JW
Guitar Player Wanted, Vocals a Plus
Karan Andrea is a guitarist, songwriter, and singer who has distilled several years of vocal training into a two-disc set (DVD and CD) that covers things like vocal anatomy, breath control, vocal exercise, and warm-ups for use in singing a multitude of musical styles. She states right at the beginning that she’s teaching only technique, exercise, and control—not style—so that you can apply your own style to your vocal instrument.
Andrea cleverly takes what we already know as guitar players—melody, chord structure, harmonization, pitch, time, and tone—and helps us apply that knowledge to the instrument that we haven’t spent years mastering. The DVD starts out a little slow, but soon digs into the heart of the matter. Using detailed drawings of the entire vocal system, she offers easy visualizations that help you understand the system you’re learning to control. Breaking it down to two simple concepts—the vocal cord "zipper" and the "low or relaxed larynx"—Andrea offers a set of exercises designed to help people who think they can’t sing become real singers.
I think we can all agree that vocal exercises are incredibly silly things that make you feel ridiculous, embarrassed, strange, goofy, and all kinds of uncomfortable. But once you get past the embarrassment and get to the incredible improvements that can come about with training and exercise, you’ll gladly look a little silly. The initial exercises are pretty elementary, but even experienced singers who have no actual training will find insight and improvement here.
The CD with has the same 25 exercises as the DVD, so you can use it in your car or in your home. Fantastically helpful for anyone wanting to improve their vocals at any point during the day. —GDP
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.