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Photo by Donna Winchester

If you were lucky enough to see any or all of the Marcus King “Four of A Kind” live stream shows that ran every Monday from July 13 through August 3 – congratulations, I know you saw some fine music and exceptional guitar playing from one of the most talented young guitar slingers around and a full host of special guests. Due to the Corona virus and the resulting global fallout, we have been starved for live entertainment and our musicians have struggled to find ways to share their passion and creations with fans in a meaningful way. When Marcus and his management approached us here at Orange Amplification with the idea of creating live streaming from a fully equipped soundstage directly to music lovers around the world, we jumped in. These were full production shows with everything except the cheering audience on site. Of course, there were a few of us lucky loiterers, special guests and crew in attendance (and in masks) to witness the exceptional entertainment taking
place before us. I’m pleased and proud to say that Orange took the lead as “presenting sponsor” to help underwrite the events which had the added benefit of raising money for “MusiCares” the charity established in 1989 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to support musicians with health care and currently to directly support their COVID Relief Fund. The shows were broken down as:

Night 1, Monday July 13

Photo by Michael Weintrob

The full presentation of The Marcus King’s recent solo album, the Dan Auerbach produced “El Dorado” along with highlights from 2018’s “Carolina Confessions” album and others including Marcus’ trademark cover of BB King’s classic “Sweet Little Angel”.

Night 2, Monday July 20
“Marcus King and Friends”

Billy Strings
Marcus King Band Bassist Stephen Campbell, by Donna Winchester

A partly acoustic performance with special guests Billy Strings and Maggie Rose. The set started with 3 songs performed by Marcus by himself from “Carolina Confessions” and 2016’s Marcus King Band LP. The second half of the show belonged to Marcus and fellow Nashville guitarist Billy Strings performing thrilling covers of classics including Jimi Hendrix “Highway Child” and a glorious version of the Allman Brothers’ “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”. This show laid down the marker for what was to come

Night 3, Monday July 27

Brent Hinds by Donna Winchester

“The Marcus King Trio w/ special guest (and fellow Orange Ambassador) Brent Hinds of Mastodon” This was the show I had been waiting to see. Anyone who has witnessed Marcus King live knows he has an incredibly wide-ranging talent in his singing, guitar playing and writing. His shows are usually somewhat restrained affairs as far as really tearing it up on guitar, but we have always known that he can cut loose and play blues, soul, jazz and shred with the best of them. On this night he unleashed a ferocity rarely seen from this extremely tasteful interpreter of song. I was not disappointed. This show was an hour and forty minutes of unrestrained top level guitar power. Marcus seemed possessed by the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Terry Kath and all the guitar heroes of a childhood spent listening to his father play covers of the 60’s and 70’s rock guitar greats. To close out night 3 Marcus called to the stage his “new friend” Brent Hinds to play 2 songs finishing with a face melting version of Black Sabbaths “Electric Funeral”.

Night 4, Monday, August 3

Photo by Michael Weintrob

The grand finale was an incredible night of music with numerous talented guest artists performing with the band. As Rolling Stone online did a much better review than I could ever hope to put together I’ll let then take it from here….

Marcus King and Friends Give ‘The Last Waltz’ a Timely Update
With a cast of Nashville musicians like Devon Gilfillian and Early James, the singer-guitarist breathes new life into the Band’s warhorse. The Last Waltz is one of the greatest concert movies of all time. It’s also one of the most over-tributed. But Marcus King and a cast of Nashville’s finest breathed new life into the Band’s storied farewell show on Monday night with fresh arrangements and, in some cases, even new lyrics. The leader of the Marcus King Band wrapped up his Four of Kind: Live From Nashville virtual concert series by playing 15 songs from the landmark 1976 gig, along with a group of friendly musicians.

Opening with a slowed-down, especially greasy take on “Up on Cripple Creek,” King and his eight-piece band, including two horn players and background vocalists Maggie Rose and Kate Barnette, made it clear that this wouldn’t be a note-for-note recreation. While some songs were delivered faithfully — Elizabeth Cook’s “Ophelia” was just as twangy and exuberant as Levon Helm’s — many were recast with the performers’ own stories and talents in mind. When King sang “Helpless,” he nodded to his own formative years in Asheville, subbing “North Carolina” for Neil Young’s original “North Ontario.” He shuffled the set list around, too. An angelic reading of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” traditionally an all-star, show-closing sing-along at Last Waltz tributes, came early in the concert, with King’s voice echoing through the cavernous empty rehearsal space. “We’re coming at you from Middle Tennessee, from a nondisclosed location,” King quipped at the start, aware of the unconventional nature of a pandemic concert.

But the most dramatic — and timely — change was to “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” Robbie Robertson’s bitter-Southerner account of the end of the Civil War. Alabama country singer Early James performed it, beginning with a warning that his version would be markedly different, with key lyrics changed to reflect the U.S.’s ongoing reckoning with its Confederate mistake. “I hope we piss off the right people,” he said. “Tonight,” James emphasized in the chorus, “we drive old Dixie down” — a final rebuke of the South’s Lost Cause mythology. In the last verse, he sang
about how Confederate statues and monuments will fall: “Depraved and powered to enslave, I think it’s time we laid hate in its grave/I swear by the earth beneath my feet, monument won’t stand no matter how much concrete.” Joseph Hudak for Rolling Stone Magazine

Write up by Orange’s Pat Foley.

It’s October and ‘Voice of Metal’, this might get heavy – which we do well, really well. This one doesn’t really need an introduction, so without further ado, let’s get to it.

Sleep and High on Fire, Matt Pike

Rockerverb100 MKIII
Crush Mini
PPC412

You’re probably not surprised we started this list with Matt Pike, are you? Our favourite shirtless hero and alien expert, singer of songs and player of electric guitars. Whenever Matt Pike comes to town we clear out our backline suppliers within a 50 mile radius before his crew gets given the most exhausting job any road crew has had since the days of Terry Bozzio touring with Frank Zappa, a heavy load (in – and out..). Matt Pike has pioneered doom and metal with his bands Sleep and High on Fire, and has become sort of a legend while still alive. His average Sleep set up, which is bigger than the High on Fire one, normally contains of nine heads, mostly Rockerverbs and Dual Darks, and twelve cabs. Haters will say they ain’t all plugged in, but haters are wrong. For those of you who’s ever been lucky enough to attend a Sleep show and have had the same religious out of body experience as oh so many others while watching Matt Pike tear shit up, you know they’re plugged in and turned up to 11.

Slipknot, Jim Root

Rockerverb100 MKIII
Signature #4 Jim Root Terror Head
Signature #4 Jim Root PPC212
PPC412

Shock rockers Slipknot have been twisting stomachs, turning heads and upsetting parents since the 90s, and Jim Root has been on the front of it all since ’99. Jim, who’s also known by his number #4 is a massive Orange fan, so much that we developed a head and cab for him, the Signature #4 Jim Root Terror Head and Signature #4 Jim Root PPC212. 

“I really like the creamy mid-range, big headroom, and ‘less is more’ philosophy of Orange amps. And all I have to do is plug straight into it with my guitar. That’s my tone.”
-Jim Root, Slipknot

Mastodon, Brent Hinds

Brent Hinds Terror
PPC412

Mastodon’s Brent Hinds might just have one of the most famous face tattoos out there, alongside Mike Tyson, a feature we included on his signature Brent Hinds Terror. Orange and Brent have a longstanding relationship of working together, we’re good to Brent, and Brent’s good to us – just look at all the stupid shit he agrees to do for us!

KoЯn, Brian ‘Head’ Welch

Rockerverb 100 MKIII

KoЯn were one of the first bands to pioneer nu metal and bring it to the masses, with guitarist Brian Welch playing a key role in how the bands sound developed, defining the nu metal sound of the early 90s.

“KoRn has always been in the game of matching different amp tones and blending them together in the studio. And Orange has always been right there in the mix! One of the reasons I started using Orange amps live is because I was able to get such a smooth tone for my clean channel on classic KoRn songs like “Falling Away From Me” and “Here to Stay.”
– Brian ‘Head’ Welch

Sepultura, Andreas Kisser

Rockerverb 100 MKIII
PPC412

The year was 1983 when Andreas Kisser attended his first gig, seeing one of his all-time favourite bands in his hometown playing his football team’s stadium. The band was KISS on their ‘Creatures of the Night’ tour, and that night changed everything for him. Picking up guitar, his initial goal was to be able to play ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Starting out with acoustic Brazilian music, Andreas swiftly found Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Jimi Hendrix who’s vintage sound influenced him massively. When given the opportunity to play Orange, he instantly took it; 

“You can watch Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ video where both Iommi and Geezer Butler are using Orange, so when I was given the opportunity to try it for myself I took it straight away – Orange always just had that ‘aura of the masters’. Orange offered more of an organic sound then what I was used to, because what I really love is when I’m able to just plug in and play. There is a lot of demand for distortion and heaviness with Sepultura, and I was very surprised that the Rockerverb II had all of that. A warm, and heavy guitar sound that kind of seemed to expand a bit more.“
– Andreas Kisser, Sepultura

Back in late 2017 I was tasked with creating an interview video for the, at the time, soon-to-be-released Brent Hinds Terror amp. I’d sit down with Brent, guitarist and co-vocalist for the Grammy-winning metal band Mastodon, and we’d have a chat about the work that went into creating his first signature guitar head. I’ve worked with Brent for almost a decade and quite frankly I’m one of the only people that seems capable of getting him to sit down for an hour to capture an interview.

When it comes to Brent, very little is ever scripted. He just doesn’t operate that way. In fact, most of the time he shows contempt when you give him too much input. Instead, you give him a vague idea and he does the rest, even if “the rest” doesn’t result in usable content. Editing is definitely important in these situations.

About 30 minutes into the official interview it dawned on me that we weren’t going in the right direction. That’s when Brent threw out the idea of having me “get mad” at him on camera. I’d be telling him exactly what to say, he’d say it the wrong way, and then I’d get upset and scream his line back at him. It resulted in a hilarious back and forth that actually resulted in Brent giving us MORE usable content than ever before. Breaking from the standard interview format relaxed him enough that we were able to delve deeper into his psyche. Many people told me that we got one of the best, most serious interviews out of Brent they’ve ever seen (despite the fact it starts off so fake and kooky).

With that said, I wanted to show you the outtakes from that day of filming. This is all unscripted and it’s very “classic Brent.” We only used about 1 second of this footage in the final cut, out of roughly 20 minutes of Brent doing random stuff on camera. Enjoy!

Oh look! Another “best of 2017” list. Awesome! And its several days late? Even better.

Wait, this is a list made by a bunch of dorks who work at a guitar amp company? I bet their tastes are SUPER great. That must be why they work at an amp company instead of managing bands or doing A&R for a major record label.
I’m sure everyone is going to read this list in depth and with lots of attention to detail.

Charlie Cooper (Marketing Director – UK)

Band: Clutch

www.pro-rock.com

Venue: Indigo at O2, London

Why It Was Rad: Pretty amazing gig, Clutch played a full Orange back-line and just nailed it. At the end of the night, Neil joined Mastodon for a song – which you can see here (forward to 30 minutes in)

 

Alex Auxier (International Artist Relations Manager  – USA)

Band: Mastodon with Eagles of Death Metal

www.mastodonrocks.com   eaglesofdeathmetal.com

Venue: The Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA

Why It Was Rad: Mastodon playing one of the biggest theaters in their hometown? Yes please. The energy was insane. Speaking to the band afterwards it was clear they thought it was one of the best performances they’d ever put on. Afterwards Jesse Hughes from EODM played a few songs at an unofficial aftershow. All in all it was a hell of a night!

 

Rory Riley (Regional Sales Manager – USA)

Band: Allout Helter

allouthelter.bandcamp.com

Venue: Durty Nelly’s  Pub – The Fest 16, Gainesville, GA

Why It Was Rad: I was eager to catch these guys after I heard their new album on Bird Attack Records that was produced by Trevor Reilly (A Wilhelm Scream) and they sure didn’t dissapoint this fan of melodic skatepunk with heavy riffage.  Allout Helter brought the pain with plenty of noodly guitar harmonies and cool palm mutes, (guitarists using a Rockerverb and a Tiny Terror) all over cut time drums that any appreciation of the genre should dig.

 

Neil Mitchell (AR and Marketing Coordinator – UK)

Band: Metallica www.metallica.com

Venue: O2 Arena, London

Why It Was Rad: This was the first time I’d ever seen Metallica live despite having been a fan for the better part of 25 years. I had high expectations but they absolutely smashed it, 2 hours of chest shatteringly loud awesomeness!

Image courtesy of Metal Injection

 

Dan Darby (European Artist Relations and Marketing)

Band: HO99O9

www.ho99o9.com

Venue: Underworld, Camden, UK

Why It Was Rad: Utter chaos in a small venue, sound was great and band were ace.

 

 

Derron Nuhfer (Customer Service Manager – USA)

Band: Mutoid Man

mutoidman.com

Venue: The Masquerade -Atlanta, GA

Why It Was Rad: Three insanely super-talented dudes from other bands that are just having the best time in the world shredding riffs, smashing drums, and melting faces.  Sometimes you see a band that inspires you to go home and pick up your instrument to practice more, well this band is so freakin’ good that it makes me want to never touch an instrument again.  Bonus points for them using an Orange Bass Terror.

 

Ella Stormark (Content Creation/Artist Relations – UK)

Band: Radio Moscow

radiomoscow.net

Venue: Desertfest, Antwerp, Belgium

Why It Was Rad: 2017’s been a fantastic year for gigs, but the band that had my gut wrenched in excitement the most was Radio Moscow. I was lucky enough to tag along on tour with them in August and had my brain melt every night for a week. Still, the highlight was a few months later when they headlined Desertfest Antwerp in October. To see them on such a big scale and have them blow absolutely everyone’s mind was just spectacular. Give their song ‘Dreams’ a go and you’ll get my drift, it’s like a 21st century Jimi Hendrix Experience. Earthless straight from the airport after 18 hours of travel was also pretty god damn incredible, and the thought of the two bands having joined forces in Alpine Fuzz Society is just beyond me.

copyright JT Rhoads