Hammerfall/Havok/Ignitor/Versperian Sorrow Concert Review 040810
Was it really 25 years ago when Yngwie Malmsteen’s Marching Out album came out? It doesn’t seem that long ago nor do I feel old enough for it to have been 25 years since. But whatever. It did and I am. I remember hearing it for the first time and I think we were at Kelz’ house. Simply blown away by the whole album and everything about it…the guitars, the vocals and especially the drums. See, I was a relatively new drummer at the time and after hearing this guy, this Anders Johansson fella, I wanted to play like that…and like Nicko McBrain…and like Kirk Arrington…etc.
I followed Anders through most of his career, especially with Yngwie. I saw the Trilogy and Odyssey tours and got to witness his badassedness live. It was pretty special for me getting to see him play back then, especially with Yngwie of whom I am still a big fan of.
Through the years I picked up Anders’ non-Yngwie stuff as well like Silver Mountain, Johansson Brothers with Jens, Jonas Helborg, Shining Path, Shawn Lane etc. He always amazed me with his style. I am a fanboy, I admit it.
When I found out that Hammerfall was coming to town, I bought my ticket immediately as he has been playing with them over the last several years. I saw Hammerfall’s very first USA show at Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, VA when they were opening for Death (RIP Chuck). I love Hammerfall’s debut album, Glory To the Brave but never really got into anything after that one. Sure they were consistent and I was pretty excited when I found out that Anders had joined them…but it still didn’t get me too excited to buy the stuff.
So anyway, I bought the meet and greet ticket which was $55. Much cheaper than the Testament one plus this one would be a little more special because I’d finally get to meet one of my musical idols. Sure I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many of them, but some are a little more special than others. Last night ranked up there with meeting Nicko McBrain in 1988.
So the M&G was to begin at 8pm and I got there around 7:30ish. There are a few folks hanging out but none were part of the M&G. I didn’t expect there to be many and ultimately there weren’t.
The tour bus was parked in front of us and Anders and Pontus Norgren come off the boss. After a few minutes I walked over to them and asked Anders to sign my CD covers and the book. I had a big stack and just in case there were a lot of people there for the M&G, I wouldn’t hold them up…of course I guess I was holding him up by asking him to sign my shit. He graciously accepted and signed it all. We stood in the street in front of the bus and talked for a while and Joacim Cans comes out…”We have 35 minutes to eat before the meeting.” I told them of a few places up the street with
some good food and they asked me to come along…Sweet! I had Cans sign my Warlord CD. I sort of felt bad for not having any Hammerfall to sign but oh well. He didn’t seem to bothered by it.
So we went to Jackalope but the music was loud and Cans didn’t want to strain his voice trying to have a conversation so we went next door to Chupacabra. We sat and ordered quickly. Unfortunately it didn’t come too quickly but they didn’t seem to mind being late to the M&G. Pontus, Can and I all had the steak tacos and Anders had a 1lb burger. I’m sure he could have eaten 2. He’s a big dude.
Conversation was cool. Anders spoke about how he spent some months here in Austin while Yngwie was recording the Odyssey album. He told me some pretty funny and crazy stories that I am not comfortable sharing here. He also gave me some cool insight on Yngwie and Joe Lynn Turner. We talked drums for a while and the other 2 guys asked about Austin and the area. I told Cans about seeing their first US show. “Wow! You were there?!” Yep. Rocked. I need to find my photos from that night.
Service was pretty slow and we were all done eating and waited on the check. I offered to buy their meals but they instead bought mine. I told them to go ahead and I’d settle up the bill. Boom. Done.
Get back to Emo’s and the handful of people went to the back for the M&G. I ran into Jason McMaster who is a close friend and plays guitar in my Motorhead tribute and he was getting his gear together for his performance with Ignitor. During and before dinner, Anders reminisced about hanging out with Jason and Dangerous Toys back in 1987 and the
fun times they had. So I grabbed Jason and told him that Anders was in back. It was cool seeing them hanging out and talking about the old times.
All of Hammerfall were there for the M&G except for Oscar Dronjak, who apparently was having a bad case of Montezuma’s Revenge. Poor dude. They weren’t sure if he would even be alright for the show.
After the M&G I walked back to my apartment to dump off my swag. As I got back to the club, local band Vesperian Sorrow was playing. They’re a death black metal band. I’m not so into them but they played a fine show. Their drummer is a badass.
Ignitor came on next and rocked it. I still say McMaster is the best front man around, no matter what band he is fronting. Ignitor only had a 30 minute set so they were on and done in the blink of an eye. Always good to see Batlord and Co. do their thing.
Next up was Havok from Denver, CO. Nice kids. They were a mix of Slayer, Metallica, Death Angel, Megadeth, Exodus etc. Nothing new in their sound but they had fun and the crowd really dug them. But please, guys…change your name. There have been too many bands called Havoc/Havok over the years. They closed with a medley of songs from Reign In Blood. Not too bad but the drummer totally cheesed the drums in Raining Blood. If you can’t play the song properly, just don’t play the song. Usually an unknown band will throw covers in to get the crowd into it. These guys already had the crowd into them so I thought closing with the covers was a bit daft, but hey, not my band, eh? The bassplayer was really good. Both guitarists had good riffs but weren’t very tight in the solo department.
Next up came Hammerfall. As stated earlier I haven’t been into Hammerfall in a long time but was excited to see
Anders play. Not too much stuff from the first 2 albums unfortunately for me. It was a very lightly attended show. Maybe 120? Weak. I thought the San Antonio crowd would come up for this since there were no dates down there. I thought wrong.
Oscar did play although he left the stage a few times mid-song. Damned Montezuma! The whole band was tight and
everyone there was into it. It was good to see some of their real fans there to support. Pontus Norgren played most of the leads and that dude is a really good guitarist. I was quite impressed. Anders was great on drums. Duh. He played with headphone to a click track. As expected he did some really great stuff when it was necessary. That’s one thing I always liked about his style. He never seems to play cool licks just to do them.
Everything seems very calculated, but proper and with feel. Impressive.
I spoke to a few dudes before the show who had never heard of Anders or Yngwie (WHAT THE HELL?). I told them that if you like the drum work you hear tonight, go buy those early Yngwie albums. Do it!
It was a great time and the experience with Anders, Pontus and Joacim was priceless. I’ll never forget it it. I’m a lucky guy, really. And a music nerd. And a doofus.
Written by The Metal Files
April 8, 2010 at 6:31 pm
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