No genre is safe from Kill the Precedent

A thin blonde woman in a flowing, multicolored gown stands tall. Her eyes squint shut as a man pours red corn syrup into his palm, and begins to splatter her face, neck and chest area before he finishes with a glob on the side of her head. A  group of friends at a nearby table bare witness over beers and laugh at the scenario. “What? I have to make it look exactly like yesterday,” Kill the Precedent vocalist Twig VonWussow said, cracking a sinister grin, his hand dripping with fake blood. This kind of theatrical kitsch was the norm at the Hideaway Bar & Grill on a recent hot Sunday afternoon for day three of Kill the Precedent’s music video shoot for their single, “Goodbye Lullaby,” set for release on Vimeo and YouTube later this September. This song, along with 11 others, is found on their new, full-length album “Dialogues with the Dead,” released through Minus Head Records. It’s difficult to describe Kill the Precedent’s sound in one word. Sure, the guys took home a 2011 Sacramento Area Music Award, or “SAMMIE,” in the industrial-progressive rock category, and many writers often label them as metal or punk. Instead, their sound swallows all these genres, then spits out hints of thrash, hardcore and heavy electro-rock. KTP are built with members of longtime Sacramento bands like Hoods, […]

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Local business profile: the Duncan Family of J&W Auto Wreckers

"Local business owner profile" is a regular column highlighting local business owners, the backbone of our community and economy. Each column explores the personal stories of the owners and the businesses they built. Jack Duncan says that the auto wrecking and dismantling business is in his blood. His grandparents owned a car dismantling business in the 1920s and 30s. Jack spent many hours there as a kid and wrecked his first car there too. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a car meant for wrecking, but his grandparents’ own Studebaker. The car was parked on the top of a hill where little Jack clambered into it and pretended to drive. Somehow, he released the emergency brake and the car zipped down the hill and into a tree. He wasn’t hurt but the car was totaled. So began his long career in the wrecker business. At age 19, Jack married 16-year-old Jean and began working for a dismantling business managed by his uncle. Later he worked for C&C Auto Wreckers, where he became a part owner in the 1970s. Meanwhile, Jean was building a skill set that would become invaluable when the Duncans opened their own business. Jean worked for a towing service and a boatyard and for twelve years was employed in the accounting department of Suburban Ford. Mark Duncan, Jean and Jack’s son, also has the business […]

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Artists’ Collaborative Gallery: ‘Natural Wonders of Sacramento’ Exhibit

Artist Betty Thompson seems like a quiet and introspective person. Her paintings on display at the Artists’ Collaborative Gallery are gentle watercolors of Sacramento landscapes and wildlife. Who would have guessed that underneath her affable surface, Betty is a perpetrator in an underground movement that surreptitiously commits random acts of art in public places? Although sounding like anarchy, the Random Acts of Art movement is an effort to spread good cheer through art. Started by Betty’s friend in Nevada City, artists in the movement leave small and anonymous works in random places for people to pick up, keep and enjoy. Betty places small watercolor cards (with haiku poems she composed) at the river, in grocery stores and in Old Sacramento tunnels and alleys. This open and friendly approach to art comes through in Betty’s watercolors and encaustic wax paintings. In the “Natural Wonders of Sacramento” exhibit, she features her most recent wildlife and landscape works. Her paintings of cranes, egrets, magpies and cows shimmer with a soft, gauzy light. Each work is accompanied by a card describing the symbolism and personality of the animal featured. Encaustic paintings are created by heating beeswax and applying it to the canvas to give the work texture and glossiness. As a former beekeeper in the Capay Valley, Betty has an affinity for beeswax and its properties. She says that […]

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Mastodon brings the mosh pit to Ace of Spades

The decibel level at Ace of Spades was raised to an ear-splitting high as prog-metal band Mastodon took the stage Wednesday, along with guests The Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Fang. A sea of shaggy-haired metal heads packed the small venue to the brim, and the smell of spilled beer and old leather permeated the crowd. Portland-based band Red Fang took the stage first, to an astonishing large following despite only recently debuting in the music scene two years ago. The band delivered an impressive set, with a heavy sludge metal sound reminiscent of The Melvins mixed with the bluesy riffs of Kyuss. The band got the crowd energized immediately upon opening, headbanging between growled vocals and riff-heavy breakdowns. Red Fang is also scheduled to play the Blue Lamp on Dec. 8, which, after seeing them live, promises to be just as intense. Find out all of their tour dates and newest releases at http://www.redfang.net/. As the lights dimmed for mathcore outfit The Dillinger Escape Plan, the crowd swelled as people made their way to the front to form a sizable mosh pit. With their complex rhythms and constant tempo switches, it was hard to follow the band’s songs, which they made up for with a spastic stage presence. To call their performance “wild” would be an understatement, as guitarists Ben Weinman and Jeff Tuttle […]

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Tesla Resonates at Thunder Valley

In the late 1800s, a guy by the name of Nikola Tesla was busy inventing a new kind of transformer, not realizing the level of energy his name would carry into the future. I’m not going to go into a lot of history since Tesla is a Sacramento band and most readers know who the hell these guys are. They started in the ’80s and, for the most part, were labeled a hair, metal, or glam band. As history has proven, those labels didn’t come close to describing their mix of soulful blues and metal. While many “hair” bands of the ’80s are balding, gray and pretty much forgotten, Tesla remains one of the few ’80s bands still producing great music, both collectively and as solo artists. Yes, they’ve aged as we all have (thanks to radio personality Don Geronimo for pointing this out, but more on that later), but they’ve never sounded better, and Saturday night at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort was no exception. Just before the show, the audience was treated to an appearance of the latest member of the Tesla family, Joe Bob Jeffrey Keith. It was kind of a family-album moment, and you could tell lead singer and father Jeff Keith was in his dad element. When he introduced the newest member his daughter Courtney handed off Joe Bob to […]

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Recycling Right Can Pay Off in Sacramento

The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities will launch the 2011 Recycling Incentive Awards, sponsored by AT&T Real Yellow Pages and the Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station on May 2, 2011. Each week through June 27, the City will randomly select recycling containers in a selected Council District and check it for proper recycling. If the container holds only clean recyclables, the City will award owners of clean recycling bins with $100 and the chance to win an iPad2. “Recycling right is the right thing to do. Clean, dry and usable recyclables limits waste going to the landfills and is a win for the environment,” said Marty Hanneman, Director of the Department of Utilities. "So make sure your blue bin is filled with recyclables only and put it out on the week we are coming your neighborhood and you could win too!" The City of Sacramento accepts clean, dry and usable items in its blue recycling containers. These items include: • Bottles and Cans • Paper • Phone Books • Cardboard • Glass Jars • Plastic Containers • Newspaper • Metal Cans and Containers • And more! For more information, please visit www.cityofsacramento.org/recycle. Common items that are not permitted for collection in blue recycle containers include: • Items with food waste on them • Garden hoses • Clothing • Foam plastic (Styrofoam) • Light bulbs • PVC Piping • Batteries The […]

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‘Welcome to Hell’ tour at Ace of Spades

Music venue Ace of Spades hosted another sold-out show on Friday, the "Welcome to Hell Tour" featuring performances by metal/hardcore bands Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, I Declare War, The Acacia Strain and Veil of Maya. I Declare War and Chelsea Grin started things off with lots of growling, screaming and calls for the crowd to get violent. The circle pits were large and constant the entire night, with sweaty, aggressive men running around in the open space formed in the middle of the crowd, using their flailing body parts to punch and kick whatever happened to be in front of them as hard as they could. It’s the norm at these types of shows, but if you’re there to enjoy the music it’s annoying having to worry about being punched in the back of the head or side-kicked in the back. Veil of Maya was third on the bill and continued the heavy guitar assault. There were more melodic flourishes in the guitar playing than in the first two bands, which was nice (although the guitarists from the first two bands were very talented).  In this genre of music a sound that sets you apart is a breath of fresh air. The band really got things going when vocalist Brandon Butler announced, "Our bass player says the first person to get on stage gets a free […]

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Godsmack plays Arco, eardrums stand no chance

For those wanting to release some stress after a rough day of voting on Tuesday, Arco Arena was apparently the place to do it. Four-time Grammy-nominated band Godsmack was in town, delivering the hard rock and splitting the eardrums of a crowd that struggled to fill the lower level of the arena. After energetic warmup sets by bands Drowning Pool and Five Finger Death Punch, the marketing machine was in full swing as the anxious crowd was shown a promotional video touting Godsmack frontman Sully Erna’s solo album, “Avalon,” which we were reminded was available at the merchandise booth. Next, we were treated to a dated documentary clip connecting hard rock/metal music with devil worshipping, with bands like Twisted Sister presented as supporting evidence. With the crowd now feeling sufficiently rebellious, a huge, glowing red orb rotated to reveal drummer Shannon Larkin, frozen in pose with drumsticks held in front of his face. Several amps on both sides of him were raised off the stage with cables and suspended in the air, and Godsmack was off with “Cryin’ Like a Bitch,” the first single from its fifth studio album, “The Oracle.” The alternative rock hits that dominated the airwaves in the early 2000s came fast and loud: “Awake,” “Keep Away” and “Voodoo.” Interspersed with those radio staples were a healthy dose of tracks from the […]

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TOOL Time Has Expired

On Tuesday night, the Tool concert was nothing short of amazing. With the band’s unique and eye-catching lasers and visual arts in the background, the awesome display of musical talent with the long instrumental break downs and the hair-raising vocals of Maynard James Keenan, the concert was a spectacle. Drummer Danny Carey was first on stage, followed by guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor. Maynard walked onto the stage shortly after, sporting a postal worker’s uniform with big bold letters across the front reading, “POSTAL,” and drinking one of his signature bottles of wine from Caduceus Cellars. They proceeded to put on a phenomenal performance that put me in a state of euphoria. Tool played most of its biggest hits, including “Eulogy,” “The Patient” and “Vicarious” – just to name a few. The musicians did not play any new songs, so that means we will have to wait and see if they are planning on recording a fifth album. Whenever Tool comes to town, it’s always to put on a rockin’ show musically as well as visually. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the show this time around, I would highly recommend going next time they come this way – it’s well worth the price of the ticket.

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Classic Rock Lives! . . . in bed by 11.

 Heart and Sammy Hagar. Between them they have sold nearly 100 million albums, not one of which was sold to me.    I knew Heart was from Seattle, and was famous for such hits as "Barracuda," and "that one song" and "you know that other song, the one, with the singer."   Hagar, "The Red Rocker," I knew from Van Halen, of course, but I have always been more of a Metallica guy. I can honestly say that I liked the Hagar incarnation of VH more than the David Lee Roth incarnation, but that isn’t really saying much.    Sammy seems like he’d be a lot of fun to hang out with. Diamond Dave seems like he’d do all your drugs then leave with your girlfriend.    Heart and Sammy "co-headlined" a benefit show at Raley Field on Sunday night, and I decided to check out these two rock icons firsthand, and to see who’s been buying all these albums.   I got to the show around 7 p.m. and surveyed the scene. And what a scene it was. I’d say the demographic was 85 percent 40 to 60 years old, all dressed as they would have been 25 years ago. Maybe the highlight was being on hand to witness a Sammy Hagar look-alike meeting a Brett Michaels look-alike. It was a powerful moment. Like […]

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