Hard Rock’s new Joint fizzles in 1st big show

Avenged Sevenfold brings the noise but new venue can’t hold its own

Avenged Sevenfold wrapped up a 19-month tour Saturday with an explosive show at the Hard Rock. It only seemed fitting that these masters of excess should be the first “heavy” act to headline the new Joint. They did not disappoint.

In our post-80s concert world, it’s not often that one will see pyrotechnics or walls upon walls of amps stacked on the stage, but Avenged Sevenfold brought all of this and more.
The group took the stage around 10 p.m. with a bang. Fire erupted from the mountains of stacked speakers as the boys from Huntington Beach launched into a blistering version of “Critical Acclaim.”

Even though the group drew heavily from the most disappointing disc of their career thus far, 2007’s self-titled album, the songs took on a new life in the live setting and became balls-to-the-walls rock worthy of some severe headbanging. Nice surprises included a trip back to the older, and much better, material of the group with performances of “Eternal Rest” and “Chapter Four,” both from the group’s most solid effort, “Waking The Fallen.” Surprisingly, much of the crowd knew the words to these older tracks, a feat which even surprised the band itself.
In fact, the only weak point of the set was the extremely slow and moody “Dear God.” As they launched into the first notes of the song, it seemed at first like they were playing the Guns N Roses version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” but it was slowly revealed that they were playing a song that sounded just like it, although not nearly as good.

Opening act Atreyu worked as direct support to Avenged Sevenfold and also put on a highly energetic performance, although devoid of the bells and whistles of the headliner’s set. The group worked the crowd up with a short set comprised of nearly all of the group’s most successful singles, latest album, “Lead Sails Paper Anchor.” Although sound issues prevailed throughout their set, it didn’t stop the band from delivering a performance worthy of headliner-status.

In direct contrast to the bands, the venue itself was a severe disappointment and actually a regression from the original Joint. The layout of the ground floor of the space was exactly the same as the previous only expanded to cram in even more people as uncomfortably as possible.
To make matters worse, the sole entrance of the new Joint is actually smaller than the previous, and with double the capacity this makes entering and exiting the venue an absolute nightmare.
The worst strike against the space though, is the sound system, an issue which seems to have carried over from the previous space.

During Atreyu’s opening set, all of the instruments were mixed at glaringly different levels, with the vocals too high and the guitars set to a point where any sound emitting from them sounded like pure static.

The acoustics of the room are also horrible. All one has to do for confirmation of this is step into the bathroom and listen to how great the sound quality is of the music being played over the speakers in there.

It’s not clear whether these issues are from sound board roadies who can’t figure out the Joint’s setup, or if the Hard Rock spent money to have better sound quality in the bathroom than in the actual concert hall. Either way, the concert-goer suffers.

Overall, this was a wonderful show marred only by the shortcomings of the venue. One can only hope that the new Joint is just suffering a case of opening weekend jitters, but if the way the Hard Rock has declined since its opening in 1996 is any indicator, Vegas music fans are in for a venue lacking even more than its predecessor.


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