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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...5/12/16

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 05/13/2016
Generation Axe has perhaps been the best kept secret in the rock world; playing to sold out or nearly sold out venues while flying seemingly under the radar. 
Comprised of five of the world's greatest shredders,Generation Axe is the stuff one may only think possible in a fantasy music world; where Jimi Hendrix and Randy Rhoads ride pimped out Harley Davidsons and welcome you, usher you in and perform within feet of your front row seat. 
Tosin Abasi, Nuno Bettencourt, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai makeup Generation Axe and their recent May 9 show at Red Bank's Count Basie Theater, their last on the current tour; was epic. Mixing cover tunes with original compositions; these rockers blew the roof off of "The Basie," first together, then individually and lastly all together again in a raucous encore that had the audience on their feet and rushing the stage front. 
The time was 8:04 p.m. EST when the wizards of six strings took to the stage backed by their road tested band of Pete Griffin, Nick Marinovich and "Chickpea." A rip roaring version of Boston's "Foreplay" ensued and immediately brought the capacity crowd to its feet; where it stayed the entire evening. 
One by one the "Axe Men" left the stage, eventually ceding the spotlight to Tosin Abasi and the night was off and running as the first wave of intense musicianship washed over the venue like a tsunami. Abasi tore through his approximate 20 minute set with precision licks, punctuated by his finger tapping, percussive style and ended by bringing his "New friend" Nuno Bettencourt out for the final offering; "Physical Ed."  Abasi challenged Bettencourt a bit with the song's odd timing, off beat breaks and driving rhythms which led a smiling Nuno to joke, "Does Tosin ever know where the "1" is in that song?" 
Nuno started his portion of the shred-fest at 8:30 p.m. by asking the band what they "Had for him" and as the rhythm section got down and dirty, Bettencourt took no prisoners as he led an onslaught of screeching highs and ear piercing mid-range licks that were both mesmerizing and intoxicating. A brief comedic moment came during the middle of the set when he sat down and told the story of how a then 15 year old Nuno and a his friend went to see Yngwie Malmsteen and how "Cool"  he was.  Nuno then began to play the opening bars of Extreme's, "More Than Words," and said, "Not Tonight," as he tossed the guitar aside with a huge laugh and as he readied himself for the next volley; the band broke into a great melodic piece best described as having a Middle Eastern flair. Once again, at songs completion, Nuno took to the mic.and waxed poetic about his youth, "When I was a 13 year old kid, I prayed to the "You Tube" gods" and when he was done he brought up the man, "Whose heart is the only thing bigger than his biceps;" enter Zakk Wylde. Nuno apparently prayed for moments such as this and the You Tube gods rewarded his pleas. 
Upon completion of their duet, Wylde started his set at 9:05 p.m. and gave an already frenzied crowd the best set of the evening. Saying something about making a larger impact than finding the cures for "Herpes, crabs, syphilis and gonorrhea;" he launched head first into Black Sabbath's "N. I. B." During this sizzling opener, Wylde repeatedly walked the stage like a caged tiger, stopping on its edges to let his fingers pulverize his fret board; even paying a slight tribute to Hendrix by playing with his guitar over his head and with his teeth and tongue. Prior to the end of this 17 minute homage to Sabbath; Wylde broke into Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused," emoting a huge roar from the "Zakk Nation." Pausing only long enough for a breath, he coaxed the first notes of "Little Wing" out of his white hot guitar and then cemented his place in the hearts of his fans by climbing down from the stage and walking the aisles as his hair covered his face; playing the first of several rides that had cell phones and cameras working overtime to capture the moment. 
Stopping to relate a story about how the quintet picked their drummer; Wylde brought Yngwie into the mix by introducing him and the band and then having the bassist lead the way as they did an approximate 15 minute version of "Whipping Post," that would've made the Allman Brothers Band blush. During this, Malmsteen began his unique performance, starting with him doing his patented guitar spin-o-rama move; the one where he moves the instrument completely around his body while seemingly not missing a note and then tosses it off stage to an awaiting member of the crew. Reloading, the man known as Yngwie J. Malmsteen tore up his neck in a display of skill and technique that has made him a legend among generations of guitarists worldwide. A quick little tip of the hat to Hendrix followed as "YJM" broke into the "Star Spangled Banner," something which was very well received and after several instrument changes and multiple pick refills; Malmsteen took a moment from his dizzying tactics and invited Steve Vai to the stage. 
Vai wasted no time putting his stamp on the evening and at 10:33 p.m, now a full two and one half hours into this non-stop show began a call and answer with the audience that ended with the mood slowing down into a ballad; the first time there was something other than full throttle all evening. 
That didn't last long as Vai turned up the heat with blistering lick after blistering lick and with the band following suit, he did what he does best; showed why he's one of the best ever. Vai's set lasted approximately an hour and was segued into the finale by tribal drum rhythms as he brought each of his tour mates back out onto the stage. Once the cast was assembled, they broke into Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" featuring Bettencourt on Timbales as well as guitar. 
Taking turns lighting up the stage and pushing the audience even further towards pandemonium; the united cast seemed genuinely sad that the tour was coming to an end but still had one more up their proverbial sleeves as Yngwie took charge and led the men in a version of Deep Purple's'Highway Star" which was rife with smiles, laughs, everyone taking turns being featured, beers being passed around with Vai bringing his camera out to take pics of the party on stage. 
Then as is the case, all good things must come to an end and at 11:45 p.m. the show and the tour were over. The players in this production exchanged high-fives, hugged and then worked those who could get close enough to the stage with the same. Wylde and Bettencourt stayed and worked their faithful, chatting and thanking them for coming to the show until many had dispersed; prompting Wylde fan Michele Alfo of Edison, NJ to say, "Zakk was amazing as always; the Viking mad man! They were all amazing they really were but Zakk is my favorite, he's such a sweetheart; look at him." 
Many of those filtering out were heard saying the same and some, like Deedee Montanero of the Jersey Shore summed it up also; "They rendered me speechless." 
No matter how you say it, this was a show for the ages and to get Generation Axe on your radar; please go to
Photo Credit: Tom Callan
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!

This week's event listings

Amalfi's Restaurant
146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Rd. Lawrenceville
(609) 912-1599
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Jessica's Revenge
Sat. 8:30 p.m. (TBA)
Amarones Windsor Inn
29 Church St. Windsor
(609) 448-7144
 Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Ottmar
Fri. 8 p.m. Rick & Kenny
Sat. 8 p.m. Tony Malandro
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Simply Piano" feat. Carla Gaiser
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33, Hamilton
(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam 
Backstage at Championship Bar 
931 Chambers St. Trenton
Fri. 7 p.m. Synergi, (TBA). All ages, $10
Sat. 5 p.m. "Rise As Allies ll: Chrissy's Birthday Rager" feat. Prosper Or Perish, Another Vendetta, Assayer, Since the Fire, Dark Waters End, Kill The Stigmatic, Burial Mound. All ages, $10
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. Landom Brothers Sax/Drums Quartet. $10 (cover charge)
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia
Dempster's Pub
437 Pine Street Mount Holly
(609) 261-0500
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. DJ DNIAL
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Chris
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Gypsy Mother
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. Visoon (9 p.m.) Faraway Guys
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. Michael Leggerie (9 p.m.) The Mix
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Joe Robinson Brunch Jam (3 p.m.) Soul Custody Trio
Wed. 8 p.m. Dick Gratton
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main St. New Hope, PA.
Mon. 8 p.m. Open Blues Jam
All shows 21+
Glory Days Tavern
1200 Hornberger Ave. Roebling
(609) 499-0896
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Karaoke
Halo Pub
4617 Nottingham Way, Hamilton
(609) 586-1811
Sat. 7 p.m. John & Carm
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street. New Hope, PA. 
(215) 862-9897
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Se7en
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Coast 2 Coast
Sun. (1 p.m.) 15th School Of Rock "Best Of Season" Concert. (5 p.m.) Rocky & Friends
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 8 p.m. "Live, Local, Unplugged" Hosted by Pat Foran
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. Keith Franklin
Fri. 6 p.m. John & Carm
Sat. 6 p.m. Ron Kraemer Duo
Sun. (2 p.m.)"Jazzy Sundays" feat. Sergio & Lars (5:30 p.m.) Bryan Hill
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Rd., Columbus
(732) 306-9111
Fri. 6 p.m. Joe Vadala
Sat. 2 p.m. Ed Wilson
Sun. 2 p.m. Jerry Steele
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 10 p.m. Polish Nannies
Sat. 10 p.m. El Ka Bong
Tues. 7 p.m. Teddy Z Jam
All shows 21+
Jake's Pub
869 Bustleton Pike, Richboro, PA
(215) 322-6787
Fri./Sat. 9 p.m. Joey Leone
Tues. 5 p.m. Bill Shannon
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Fri. 9 p.m. Spitune
Sat. (3 p.m.) Sean Faust & Robert Fulton (9 p.m.) All Winter Long / The Mayflys
Sun. (3 p.m.)Dirty Soap Blues Band (9 p.m.) Hark realm w/ David Haught
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Justin
Wed. 9:30 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+

JoJo's Tavern
2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-2678
Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke
Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road, New Egypt
(609) 752-0200
Fri. 7 p.m. Country Line Dancing
Sat. 1 p.m. Rick Winow
Sun. 1 p.m. Tymes 2
Wed. 6 p.m. "Girls Night Out"
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Rd Levittown, PA
(215) 949-9570
Thurs. 10:30 p.m."Beer Pong" w/ DJ Codie
Fri. 10 p.m. Last Call
Sat. 9 p.m. "Saturday Night Dance Party" w/ DJ RV and DJ OXX
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Tues. 10 p.m. "Local Artist" Hip Hop, Experimental EDM and Bass Music Showcase
New Hope Winery
6123 Lower York Road, New Hope, PA
(215) 794-2331
Sat. 8 p.m. Eagles Tribute w/ Eaglemania. Doors at 7 p.m., $30
Sun. 6 p.m. Eagles Tribute w/ Eaglemania. Doors at 5 p.m., $30
O'Connor's American Bar & Grille
1383 Monmouth Road, Easthampton Mt. Holly
(609) 261-1555
Fri. 9:30 p.m. The Williamsboy
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Dave J. Duo
Olde Liberty Tavern
2114 Liberty Street, Trenton
(609) 396-2262
Sat. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21+ 
Patriot's Crossing
1339 River Rd. Titusville
(609) 737-2780
Fri. 8 p.m. Steve Bross
Sat. 8 p.m. Receptor
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Deep Release
Sat. 9:30 p.m. The Drunk Monkeys
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Fri. (7:30 p.m.) Adam Realman Direct From Coney Island "Feats Of the Body & Power Of the Mind." All ages, $10 (9 p.m.) Adam Realman Direct From Coney Island "Feats Of the Body & Power Of the Mind." (Adult Show) $10
RHO Waterfront
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 10 p.m. "College Night" w/ DJ Paul Desisto. Doors at 9 p.m. Ages 21+
Fri. (4:30 p.m.) Happy Hour Buffet. $10 (8:30 p.m.) Good Company
Tara's Tavern 
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Party Hardy
Sat. 10 p.m. Ned Ryerson & The Groundhogs
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Sneak Attack
Sat. 9 p.m. 80's Night
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street
(609) 291-7020
Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Wed. 8 p.m. John & Maggs
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau St. Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. Diablo Sandwich Band
Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Darius The First
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Record Collector 
358 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Fri. 8 p.m. Deb Callahan Band / April Mae & the June Bugs (CD Release Party). All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $12 (advance)
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050 
Fri. 9 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Sat. 9 p.m. John & Maggs
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Fri. 9 p.m. Deb & the Sons of RoCK
Sat. 9 p.m. Einstein Bridge
The Sun National Bank Center 
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog 
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Fri. 9 p.m. Mike Brill
Sat. 9 p.m. Successful Failures
Sun. 3 p.m. "Irish Sessions" w/ Diarmuid MacS
Wed. 9 p.m. Paul Wiese
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine St. Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic. 
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Fri. (4 p.m.) First Friday (9 p.m.) Dan Galvano
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia
Fri. 10 p.m. Chelsea Mitchell / Jake Lewis & the Clergy ($5 cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. No Good Sister ($5 cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night (Sign-ups at 6:30 p.m.)
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock 
All shows 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.

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