Sons of Apollo – The Belasco Theater – Los Angeles, CA – 5/3/18
This is my second time seeing Sons of Apollo. I was lucky enough to catch their very first performance as a band at the Ultimate Jam Night Tribute to late Adrenaline Mob bassist, David Z. (Coverage Here). This was before their debut album, “Psychotic Symphony” was released and quite possibly before pen had hit paper on any (or many) new tunes. That night the band jammed together on a couple of covers; Van Halen’s, “The Cradle Will Rock” and an amazing shred-fest version of Deep Purple’s “Burn“. Although quite unpolished that evening, the potential for greatness was very apparent. I mean come on…there isn’t a lapse in talent at any inch of the stage.
Fast forward almost 9 months later to a critically acclaimed album and several shows under their belts and the Sons of Apollo are a band sent directly from the Gods! (HA! Ok, maybe not…but they kick ass)
I’m not going to claim to be a Prog rock fanatic, but I really dig SOA’s, “Psychotic Symphony“, a LOT. Amazing Grooves, the shorter songs are catchy, the longer tunes keep you hooked at every turn. Musicianship at it’s finest. That said…what is on that album does NOT do this band justice. You HAVE to catch them live to really experience the full force of what each of these individuals is able to release.
Jeff Scott Soto is a showman through and through with an incredible set of pipes to boot. He doesn’t let long musical breaks get in the way of him remaining a piece of the action. Constantly interacting with his band mates and fans; he genuinely looks like he’s digging his fellow Sons as much as anyone. Even the deafening mic sound issues that plagued the start and end of the set didn’t put a damper on his day.
I’ve seen Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy perform together in bands and apart on several occasions and I’m never not left in awe at what they can do with their instruments. Not sure if I’ve heard a Billy bass solo sound the same way twice. And Mike’s spirit and ability to make what he does look effortless behind the kit begs for your enthusiasm when watching him.
Derek Shirinian‘s performance could be considered understated as far as instrumental theatrics are concerned, But only because the keyboards don’t lend as much to a physical impression. His solo was hypnotic and showed an artist who has mastered his craft.
I wanted to watch and listen to Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal all damn night. He has to be considered one of the most underrated guitarists around. I actually checked out a few lists after I just wrote that sentence and either he was not listed or was way too far down for my liking. Well fuck that! Bumblefoot would be worth the price of admission by himself, let alone being cast as part of this Avengers-like group of musicians.
The whole of “Psychotic Symphony” is played with the setlist designed to allow each member to showcase their talents. Solos abound as Billy, Bumblefoot, Derek and Mike each get a shot in the spotlight. The visual alone of Billy and Bumblefoot side by side with their double neck guitars is impressive.
Even Jeff gets to perform some Freddie Mercury style, vocal Olympics during his acoustic (guitar courtesy of Bumblefoot) interlude of a portion of Queen’s, “The Prophet Song” which flowed into “Save Me“. Also thrown into the mix are a few Dream Theater numbers (“Just Let Me Breathe” and “Lines In The Sand“) as well as the song that started it all off at the Jam in October, VH’s, “The Cradle Will Rock” (Which Jeff sang while walking back from the bar though the crowd after getting a well deserved shot).
Those that have tickets for upcoming shows are in for a real treat, and those who have just seen them are already ready for round 2 of what this SUPER Group have in store!
Full Sons Of Apollo Picture Gallery
Opening Sets by:
Eduardo O Gil – Guitar & Vocals / Richard Garcia – Lead Guitar / Joey Aguirre – Drums / Wins Jarquin – bass