Powerhouse group, Sons Of Apollo drop in at Marquee Theater

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Sons of Apollo

Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Lucky Man
Venue: Marquee Theater
Date: Saturday May 5th, 2018

Mike Portnoy, drummer for Sons of Apollo

It is amazing these days to get a new band that is made up of 2 or possibly 3 well known and extremely talented members from other bands.  In the 60s, we called a band like this a “Super-group”.  Probably the best-known super-group from the 60s was Cream.  Well we can add another band to this super-group category, Sons Of Apollo.  It is made up of dynamic drummer Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater and The Winery Dogs fame, bassists extraordinaire Billy Sheehan from Mr. Big and The Winery Dogs and the amazing lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal from Guns N’ Roses.  Joining this outstanding trio of musicians are lead singer and dynamic front man Jeff Scott Soto from Journey and Rising Force and keyboardist Derek Sherinian who played with Mike for Dream Theater.

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, guitarist for Sons of Apollo

This is the debut tour for the band used to promote their first album, Psychotic Symphony.  In the tradition of progressive metal, most of their song exceed 5 minutes in length with some topping 11 minutes.  They started the show with the first song, “God of the Sun” from their album.  It is an 11-minute song that consists of multiple tempo changes, which some people believe makes it sound like multiple songs.  The majority of the songs were from their only album, but they played a couple of Dream Theater songs that Mike helped to create and promote including “Just Let Me Breathe” and “lines in the Sand”.

Billy Sheehan, bassist for Sons of Apollo

It was a night of strange guitars.  It started with Felix Martin’s guitar (see later review).  Bumblefoot added to the uniqueness by playing a dual neck guitar with a fretted lower neck and a fretless upper neck.  In his lively style, he was all over the stage drawing sounds from his guitar that another guitarist could only dream of.  To add to the multi-neck guitars, Billy Sheehan played a dual neck bass.  Billy is one of those bass player that is in a class of his own.  I have only seen 1 other bassist as talented as Billy, and that was John Entwistle of The Who.  And what can you say about Mike Portnoy, one of the most talented and dynamic drummers today.  The team of Billy and Mike laid down the powerful rhythm for the group while Jeff Scott Soto, being the consummate front man, drew the crowd into the band’s web of symphonic sound.  Probably the strangest moment in the night was when they played Henry Mancini’s classic “Theme from the Pink Panther” where Bumblefoot played multiple leading solo parts.  Typical for a supergroup, each of the members got to displayed their unique talents by performing a solo.  Mike Portnoy was the only member not to do a solo.

Mike Portnoy, drummer for Sons of Apollo

At the end of the show for the encore the band came back on stage and started to play, except Jeff.  All of a sudden, Jeff appeared at the back of the venue and started singing as he walked through the crowd.  By this time, I was in the middle of the crowd.  Jeff came next to me and grabbed the cell phone from another person and photographed the 2 of them as he continued to sing.  Jeff continued through the crowd singing as the crowd took pictures.  Eventually he emerged on stage and finished the song.

Derek Sherinian,m keyboardist for Sons of Apollo

For some strange reason, Phoenix is not a great town for progressive music.  We draw smaller crowds then other cities where the venues are larger and sell out.  It is a real shame because some of these bands have the most talented musicians around today.  Please check out Sons Of Apollo at their website: https://www.sonsofapollo.com/ .

Photo © Fred Kuhlman 2018, All Rights Reserved

Sons Of Apollo Setlist:               (Album/Cover)
God of the Sun                             (Psychotic Symphony)
Signs of the Time                          (Psychotic Symphony)
Divine Addiction                             (Psychotic Symphony)
Just Let Me Breathe                       (Dream Theater cover)
Labyrinth                                       (Psychotic Symphony)
Bass Solo
Lost in Oblivion                              (Psychotic Symphony)
The Prophet’s Song / Save Me        (Queen cover)
Alive                                              (Psychotic Symphony)
The Pink Panther Theme                 (Henry Mancini cover)
Opus Maximus                               (Psychotic Symphony)
Figaro’s Whore                               (Psychotic Symphony)
Keyboard Solo
Lines in the Sand                            (Dream Theater cover)
Encore:
And the Cradle Will Rock…              (Van Halen cover)
Coming Home                                (Psychotic Symphony)



Sifting

SifTing

SifTing is a Progressive Metal band from California.  It is fronted by Eduardo Osuna Gil as lead singer and guitarist with Richard Garcia on guitar, Winston Jarquin on bass and Joey Aguirre on drums.  As progressive metal bands go, they seem to drift more to the metal side so hopefully they will get the metal crowd to embrace them.  Eduardo is a powerful singer and very dynamic as the lead singer.  Along with fellow guitarist Richard Garcia, they make up a powerhouse guitar dual.  Add in the driving rhythms of Winston on bass and Joey on drums and you get a high octane kickass performance.  This is a fairly new group that hopefully we will be hearing great things from them in the future.  They have the talent, they have the drive, now hopefully they will get the following to match.  You can get a sample of SifTing on YouTube and from their website:  https://www.siftingofficial.com/ .  Check them out, I think you will like them.

Photo © Fred Kuhlman 2018, All Rights Reserved

SifTing Setlist:               (Album)
Sifting Overture
Alone                              (Not From Here)
Lone Dimension               (All The Hated)
Not From Here                (Not From Here)
A Critical Affair                 (Unreleased Song)



Felix Martin Band

Felix Martin Band

If you look up the definition of Progressive music it states it’s a “expansion of stylistic boundaries”.  This is truly a great definition of Felix Martin and his musical style.  Felix was born in Venezuelan where he learned to play guitar at age 13.  At 17, he received a scholarship at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston.  He uses custom built guitars that support dual neck and consist of 14 and 16 strings.  He simultaneously plays both necks providing the audience a unique stereo effect.  Unlike traditional guitarists, Felix utilizes a “tapping” style for his playing skills.  Felix’s music is a fusion of Jazz, Progressive and Latin styles with a little metal thrown in.  Probably the closest musicians I could compare him to is a combination of Shawn Phillips and Pat Metheny.  For this tour he is supported by Javier Sepulveda on bass guitar and Victor Carracedo on drums.

Felix’s style might not be for everyone, but no one can say he is not an extremely talented guitarist and song writer.  Given the other outstanding musicians I have compared him with, Felix will probably have a long career but will play to a very niche but loyal fan base.  I can also see one of his guitars being displayed at the Musical Instrument Museum here in Phoenix, Arizona in the future.  If you get a chance, check out his website (https://www.felixmartin.net/ ) and introduce yourself to his unique style of music.  Personally, I like it, but I have a tendency to like more nontraditional music produced by extremely talented musicians.

Photo © Fred Kuhlman 2018, All Rights Reserved

Felix Martin Setlist:        (Album)
Intro
Bom                                 (Mechanical Nations)
Bom continues                  (Mechanical Nations)
Quitapesares
Canaima                           (Mechanical Nations)
Carnatt                             (Mechanical Nations)
La Vaca Mariposa               (Simón Díaz cover)
8 Moon Headdress            (Mechanical Nations)

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