By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
The month of May has been a busy one for Matt and I. We have covered so many shows all over Southern California; from the 4th Annual Ride for Ronnie event to Slayer’s last Orange County performance, it is fair to say that I am feeling wiped out. It all started on May 4th when my favorite current supergroup stopped on by the House of Blues in Anaheim. I am talking about Mike Portnoy’s latest undertaking, Sons of Apollo. When I first heard their debut album last year, Psychotic Symphony, I was mesmerized by the collective talents of every musician in this band. It was as if the Greek Gods teamed up with the Rock Gods, and handpicked each member for Sons of Apollo. They have finally embarked on their first tour, with progressive metal instrumentalist Felix Martin traveling with them.
Matt and I got to the venue just in time to catch Felix Martin. This man is immensely talented, merging 2 guitars together to create this impressive sound. They way he plays and taps on the frets are unheard of. He almost makes Eddie Van Halen look like a high school guitar teacher. Along with his band, bassist Javier Sepulveda and drummer Victor A. Carracedo, Martin performs progressive metal while fusing it with jazz, Latin, and World music. I did not get a chance to catch the name of the songs they performed, but I believe one of them was “Flashback.” If there ever was the need for a new guitar hero, then look no further than Felix Martin.
Full Felix Martin slide show below:
After about a 20 minute intermission, the venue went dark, and Van Halen’s “Intruder” starts to play over the PA. Then out walks Sons of Apollo, kicking things into high gear with “God of the Sun.” I loved the energy the band was giving off throughout the entire evening, especially from frontman Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Journey) and his powerful voice. Every time a new lyric came out of his mouth, his body language would go along with each verse. Guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses, Art of Anarchy) was very versatile on his double neck axe. He had such swiftness and style with his craft, especially on my favorite Sons of Apollo track, “Divine Addiction.” Drumming legend Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs) brought in awesome precision and aggression to the kit, while bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs) dazzled us with his righteous strumming. He is arguably one of the best modern rock bass players today, next to Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Rounding off the band is their cool keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion), who sizzled on the ivories.
The entire set was utterly stunning. Sons of Apollo came to Anaheim to give the fans what they wanted that night; pure metal adrenaline. Every song, from “Divine Addiction” to “Lost in Oblivion,” “Signs of the Time,” “Alive,” and “Labyrinth,” was played to perfection. Whenever Soto stepped aside, that was when they hit us with their instrumental masterpieces, “Figaro’s Whore” and “Opus Maximus.” Right after “Labyrinth,” Sheehan took to center stage and wowed us with a breathtaking bass solo. He was lighting fast on his double neck bass. I was like “Damn!” If that was not cool enough, Sherinian performed his own magnum opus of a solo. The band even threw in some covers, including 2 Dream Theater tunes during Sherinian’s time with them, “Lines in the Sand” and “Just Let Them Breathe.” They also did their own version of the Pink Panther theme.
After a quick break, Sons of Apollo returned for a 2 song encore. While performing Van Halen’s “And the Cradle Will Rock,” Soto got down to the fans and performed duets with them, while also taking some selfies. Not many frontmen do that, so that was pretty awesome to watch. After ending the night with “Coming Home,” the band introduced themselves, and bid the crowd of Anaheim a good evening.
Full Sons of Apollo slide show below:
It was an excellent night for rock ‘n’ roll. It was so awesome to see all those musical talents come together and bring the House of Blues down. Felix Martin was an excellent choice to open for them, given the nature of their music. I love Sons of Apollo on record, but they are even better live. I was thrilled to see them in the flesh, and I cannot to see what they have in store for us fans in the future. To Sons of Apollo and Felix Martin, I salute you. Horns up!!!