Review: Steve Hackett (Riviera Theater, Tonawanda NY. September 12, 2019)

It took me a long, long time to catch up with Steve Hackett.

Forty-two years, 7 months, and 22 days to be exact. Continue reading

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Review: Iron Maiden (KeyBank Center, Buffalo NY. August 13, 2019)

The last time I saw the Mighty Maiden, in Toronto on their 2017 Book of Souls tour, I marveled at the energy they still generated on stage after delivering almost 40 years of uncompromising in-your-face metal to the masses.

This time, though, catching up with Eddie and the boys wasn’t quite so satisfying.

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#runstreak day 475: The End of the Streak and a European Runcation (Photoessay)

On April 20, at around 5:30 in the evening, I finished a lazy two-mile run around the neighborhood.

It was an unremarkable way to end a remarkable sequence. A 475-day #runstreak, encompassing 2,285.52 total running miles, had come to an end.

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Review: Coheed & Cambria/Mastodon (Stone Pony Summer Stage, Asbury Park NJ. June 4, 2019)

As any runner will tell you, catching up always brings its own set of problems.

Especially when you’re really behind. Continue reading

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CD Review: THE COFFIN TRAIN – Diamond Head (Silver Lining, 2019)

Make no mistake. The Coffin Train isn’t your father’s Diamond Head album.

This eighth album by the Stourbridge metal warriors may feature plenty of nods to the bands’ now forty-year-old roots. But at the same time, it points toward an altogether different future — hard rocking, of course, but also more progressive and complex than its forebears.

Which is in no way a bad thing. Continue reading

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Catching up with Diamond Head

It’s been a while since The Guv’nor caught up with Diamond Head — almost two years, in fact, since he waved goodbye to the band after their show at Sharkey’s in Liverpool, NY.

Since then, the rollercoaster ride that is DH has continued unabated. Problems with management companies, record labels, and tour promoters have gone hand-in-hand with a difficult yet ultimately triumphant tour of Europe and a groundbreaking new album, The Coffin Train.

To find out everything that has happened to the band since September 2017,  The Guv’nor caught up with guitarist Andy “Abbz” Abberley, bassist Dean Ashton, and vocalist Rasmus Bom Anderson.

Here’s what they had to say.

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Review: Bruce Cockburn (Asbury Hall, Buffalo NY. May 8, 2019)

If the concerts I am attending this year have a collective theme, it would have to be Catching Up.

With Bruce Cockburn, it’s been almost a decade since last I saw him (May 2011 at The Egg in Albany to be exact). That was the year the normally prolific Canadian singer-songwriter released Small Source of Comfort; since then, the rest of the world and I have had to wait for the follow up, 2017’s Bone on Bone.

Now nearly two years’ old, the album has become a worthy addition to the Cockburn canon, as the night’s set opener, “States I’m In,” perfectly illustrated. If there was anyone in attendance who was unfamiliar with his work — which is hard to believe considering Cockburn’s career is now well into its sixth decade — it was the best possible introduction.

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#runstreak Day 441. Almost Déjà Vu: The 2019 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon

There are some advantages to running a race more than once. At least you know what you’re in for. You know every twist and turn of the course. You know how to train for it. You know your strategy by heart.

But repeat appearances also have their share of problems, and my second New York City Half Marathon was a combination of both. Continue reading

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Review: Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt (Kodak Center, Rochester NY. February 27, 2019)

2019 is shaping up to be quite a year for concerts. From old school metal to folk, and from contemporary prog to classic rock, The Guv’nor’s calendar is already pretty full.

First up was this little gem:

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#runstreak Day 420: That Was the Week That Was

I’ve had to endure some tough weeks on the #runstreak. But they haven’t been much tougher than this one.

Monday I faced snow, the traditional Northeast runners’ winter adversary. Sure, it was only four inches, and I was armed with my cleats and my usual winter wardrobe. But as always, it limited my route and slowed my pace. I managed a measly 3.3 miles at a sluggish 9:45 min/mile.

“Oh well,” I said to myself. “There’s always tomorrow.”

Tuesday, the foe was within me. Tessa and I were hosting her daughter and two adorable granddaughters, one of whom had brought with her a nasty little downstate norovirus, which had attacked everyone in the house one by one.

I was the last to be picked off. Diarrhea. Light fever. A brief episode of vomiting. Not the worse thing I’ve ever endured, but enough to wipe me out for a day and leave me with just enough energy for the bare minimum #runstreak mileage of 1.1 miles, again at a glacial 9:49 min/mile.

“There’s always tomorrow,” I said again.

Wednesday, I felt much better and challenged myself to seven miles with hills. The norovirus had other ideas. On the fourth and last hill, my body went on strike and all thought of finishing the run died right there. The net mileage for the run, 4.5, and the pace, 10 min/miles, weren’t horrible. But my mind was full of dread on the long last mile home. With the New York Half Marathon now just three-and-a-half weeks away, 25 days to finish training for it just didn’t seem enough.

“There’s always tomorrow,” I said once more.

On Thursday, for once, that mantra seemed to hold true. Five miles at an 8:45 pace restored a little faith. Better still, the left glute/hamstring problems seemed to now be a thing of the past — all the core work I am now doing on a regular basis seems to be paying off. Now, I thought, a longish eight/ten mile run would end the week on a positive note.

But tomorrow never came.

Friday bought the start of another energy-draining illness in the form of a virulent head cold that stretched into Saturday. I suspect the same granddaughter that had the norovirus had generously given it to me as well, but I’ll be a good grandpa and won’t say anything.

2.5 on Friday. 3.6 on Saturday. Both at an exhausting 9:11 pace.

A healthy tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.

Sunday, it almost did, but not quite. Mother Nature had one last trick up her sleeve in the guise of 40 mph wind gusts that arrived with the ferocity of a runaway train four miles into a proposed seven miler. Every time I turned into the wind, it was like I was running in place. Maybe on another day when I was in full health, the energy might have been there to fight the conditions and finish what I had set out to accomplish. But after six, I just did not have the energy to struggle any more, though I could take some small comfort in the fact that I had at least managed to finish the hills that had defeated me on Wednesday.

Just 26 lousy miles for the week.

This time last year, I was up to 45, with an 11-miler at 8:45 under my belt.

I was well on the way to what turned out to be my third fastest half marathon ever.

There’s still still enough time. There’s still some very realistic hope that I can do as well this year.  But I can’t afford any more weeks like this one.

Tomorrow better come. And soon.

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