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Rockbar Theater, San Jose, California
April 3rd 2015

tony conley
Tony Conley

dio disciples

A nearly three hour drive into the bay area for a gig on a Friday night - that's the kind of assignment you give yourself when you're a full time rock n' roll junky. However, my success had been so great the week before at RippleFest 2015 that a drive to the bay seemed like a small price for the dope my soul requires, and I was right.

Dio Disciples brought it like they always do, and it's a good thing that I'm scrupulously (some would say neurotically) early to any event, as it meant I got to see a scorching hot set of rock from The Quart Of Blood Technique, who got the night off to a raging start.

Some of you will remember Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) from the 1983 film, Trading Places, in which the comedian enthralled a jail cell audience with his mysterious kung fu "quart of blood technique", and I gotta think that it's the perfect name for this four piece. The Quart Of Blood Technique was formed in 2012, and they've released their first long player, The Greatest Kicks, and it's a solid sender from start to finish, but where this bunch really shines is on the stage.

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Shaun Bivens formed the band after he had made some noise as a guitarist with black metal band, A Band Called Pain, and now he's the frontman and storyteller (while still playing some sharp guitar). I don't have any information on the other band members, but I will say that if Cheap Trick had come from Oakland instead of Rockford, they may have sounded something like The Quart Of Blood Technique. Big guitars, great melodies, a solid rhythm section, and a subtle sense of humour informs everything they play.

Hooks galore seem to pop out of every nook and cranny and I see a very bright future for these very hard working lads. They're off to a great start, they carry themselves with an exceptional air of professionalism and they rock like crazy - please do check them out.

dio disciples

Dio Disciples were the main attraction, and as always, they completely shatter the myth that tribute bands can't be great bands. Tonight was special in that it was the debut of new co-lead vocalist Joe Retta (Heaven And Earth, The Sweet) and you'd never have guessed that it was his first gig. He came on like gangbusters and had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the minute they took the stage. He interacted tremendously well with vocal mainstay Oni Logan, and together they gave the crowd exactly what they came to see, hear and feel.

If you've never been to a Dio Disciples show, I'll tell you this. It's a lot like going to the Church Of Ronnie James Dio, and there is never any question but that they are preaching to the converted. Every song is sung by not just the band, but half the crowd, and they sing it loud. This is a tribute done for all the right reasons, and they work as hard as a band as any.

dio disciples

Craig Goldy brings his excellent six string work to the table, and he has become the master of covering Blackmore, Iommi and the guitarists who came before and after him in Dio. I had just seen him a month or so back with Black Knights Rising (another pseudo tribute band he's formed with Vinnie Appice and Elliott "Dean" Rubinson that takes on Rainbow, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Dio) and the guy is getting better every time I see him.

He plays just enough of the masters' notes to please the crowd, but he also brings a wicked bluesy vibrato to everything he plays that is uniquely his own, and he runs this band like a field commander storming across the desert riding a metallic panzer. While I was more than willing to accept a bit of rustiness from a band that hadn't been in a room together in a few months, Mr Goldy was not, and on an occasion or two he shot some daggers towards the direction of a missed cue or arrangement slip.

Oni Logan is a guy who has faced a lot of criticism at times in his career (deserved or undeserved is often not important in these matters - a reputation is a hell of a thing), but he's now been on fire for several years and the whole world should celebrate that this great voice is back in the saddle with his partner George Lynch in the Lynch Mob as well as fronting Dio Disciples.

Logan told me just before the show that the new Lynch Mob album is ready for mastering and a fall release on Frontiers Music srl. I first met Oni a while back at a NAMM show in Los Angeles, and he owned 'When The Levee Breaks' at The Bonzo Bash. He's in fantastic voice and he stalks the stage with the cool confidence that says he's back and in it for the long haul. Watch this career, it's going straight up.

If you haven't seen Dio Disciples, definitely check them out when they are in your neck of the woods - no, it isn't Ronnie James Dio, but the man is smiling down upon it. These guys put on a great show, and it's always a great night of rock.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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