The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Posts Tagged ‘pentagram

SxSW 2011 Music and Film Festival

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I’m pretty fortunate to live in a town that holds a festival like this one every year.  Austin is dubbed The Live Music Capital of the World and while it’s a great place to see bands, it’s not the greatest place to be in a band.  But that’s neither here nor there for this article.

This will be the 4th SxSW festival in a row that I am attending and I always see some good bands.  For the music that I’m into, it’s only a small percentage of the 1,000 or so bands that come here from all over the world to play.  I wasn’t here for the early days of this fest where bands were really playing for their shot at a record deal, but I do find it enjoyable.

It is unfortunate, however, that many who visit Austin for SxSW treat the town like their own toilet and/or trash dump.  Sure, those who bought their passes/badges paid a lot of money for them, but that’s no excuse for poor manners and behavior.  Just my 2 cents on that.

In SxSWs past, I’ve seen Motorhead, the Lemmy movie, VoiVod (3 times last year!), and dozens of other bands of all genres just by walking the streets of downtown.  It’s pretty cool overall.

This year’s music lineup is pretty tasty for “official” shows.  It includes The Rods, Pentagram, X Japan, Saint Vitus, Christian Mistress, Agollach, Alex Skolnick Trio, Zoroaster, Naam and a slew of others.  I also always end up seeing some other good bands that I have never heard of before.  Not to mention it’s a big fun party.

I’m not the biggest moviegoer in the world, but I will make time to see Last Days Here which is a documentary about the life of legendary Pentagram singer Bobby Liebling.  I met and had dinner with Bobby and Pentagram last year and he is a really nice guy.

I’ll be posting reviews of the shows and the movie for sure.  I’m pretty excited already.

Pentagram – Concert Review 052610

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PENTAGRAM – BLACK TUSK – RWAKE – MALA SUERTE – STRIDER

So let’s back up to July of 2009.  Looking at my review I don’t remember liking the show as much as I wrote about.  No matter.  This is May 2010 and a different day.

As some of my faithful readers may know I recently moved in downtown Austin to be closer to all of my favorite music venues to make things a bit more accessible.  Mission accomplished.  Last month I was able to hang out with some of the guys from Hammerfall and do dinner with them.  More or less this happened because I live 3 blocks from this particular venue.

Last night my luck struck again.  I left my apartment to hit a local burger joint to meet up with Amelia and have a burger and some beers before we both went our separate ways to see different shows.  As I am crossing the street I see this group of longhairs and noticeably I see Bobby Liebling and Victor Griffin from Pentagram.  I also recognized the drummer Gary from the previous Pentagram show and from a show where he drummed for Valkyrie a few years back.

Basically the first words out of my mouth when we were face to face, and I am sure I stuttered, were, “holy crap…you’re Pentagram!”  I meet tons of bands, some big some small…but this is Pentagram.  The band that

Greg, Bobby, happy fat dude, Victor, Gary...PENTAGRAM!

did Day Of Reckoning!   To me one of the greatest doom albums of all time.  So, as I am totally trying not to be a fanboy, I ask for a picture with the band.  One of their old friends lives here in Austin and he snapped a few shots with my camera and then some with his.  As we’re doing pictures and standing in the street, I asked if they were going to hear Burning Savior from Day of Reckoning.  Victor said no.  Then I asked about Living in a Ram’s Head and Bobby quickly said, “We’ll never fucking play that song again.  I never really liked it!”  Damn!  Then he says to me, “Didn’t Burning Savior scare you?”  I replied with, “It probably scared my mom back in the 80s but never phased me.”  “Right on,” he replied.   So I ask them where they were heading and they pointed to the restaurant that was right behind us.  I told them that they would be making an intestinal mistake if they ate there and they asked for my recommendation.  I took them to Chupa Cabra, the same place I took Hammerfall.  They loved it.  Conversations were pretty funny at the table.  Everyone in the band kept giving the new bassist a hard time.  As we were walking to dinner, Victor and I talked about the upcoming Place of Skulls album.  September!  He asked if I liked it and I said, “If you’re on it, I’m a fan.”  Which is true.

Bobby was great to be around and he seemed clean of drugs.  Sure, he’s a bit burned out but he was pretty funny and had some really cool stories to share.  He seemed like a “sweet old man”, and I say that with the highest respect and regard for what this man has meant for metal.  It was a pleasure to spend that kind of time with the band, especially with him and Victor.  I mentioned to them that I had a book that I would like both he and Victor to sign.  I mentioned that I had a spare copy for sale and Bobby asked if I’d trade a t-shirt for it.   In the grand scheme I lost a little money in the deal but how often does anyone get to give a legend a cool gift and have said legend give you a cool shirt and a poster in return?  After the transaction, they went back to their hotel to rest.

Gary Rosas and Mala Suerte

There were 4 other bands on the bill and I wanted to catch a few of them.  Since I obviously dissed Amelia to hang out with Pentagram I met her up the street for a beer with our friend Natalia.  I caught the last 3 songs of Strider (Austin, TX) and liked what little bit that I heard.  After their set we all just hung outside on the Emo’s patio and jibber jabbered.  Lots of familiar faces, of course.  Mala Suerte was up next and this was the first time I had seem them with their new guitarist.  Seamless transition.  They were good, they always are.  Consistently.  Their singer is one of the first people I met when I moved here and one of my favorite people in this town.  Great dude.  He was wearing an awesome original DIO Last In Line shirt as well.  They finished their set and it was back to the patio.

Next up was Rwake (Arkansas).  They’ve played here several times in the last few years and I always miss them.  I caught a few of their songs last night and will likely never see them again.  Just not my thing.  More patio!

Black Tusk

Black Tusk hit the stage and are a very energetic 3pc stoner rock band.  Their drummer was fantastic.  Seriously.  Fantastic.  The band was fun to watch.  Don’t know that I’d buy their album but I’ll surely go see them live again when given the chance.

The crowd had increased and tonight’s show was on the inside stage as opposed to the outside stage from last year’s show.  I staked my claim at the front of the stage as Pentagram was setting up so I could at least get a few decent photos.  Pentagram his the stage and opened up with the song Day of Reckoning.  They sounded great.  The band was tight, the sound was good and most importantly Bobby’s voice sounded much better.  I had a huge smile on my face for the whole show.  They were great.  I was totally elated.

I am one of the luckiest people I know sometimes.

The setlist was as follows:

  1. Day of Reckoning
  2. Forever My Queen
  3. Ask No More
  4. Run My Course
  5. Frustration
  6. You’re Lost, I’m Free
  7. Review Your Choices
  8. Petrified
  9. Relentless
  10. All Your Sins
  11. 20 Buck Spin
  12. Pentagram (Sign of the Wolf)
  13. When the Screams Come

Setlist...love how they coded it.

Bobby Liebling

Victor Griffin

Pentagram

Greg, Bobby, happy fat dude, Victory, Gary...PENTAGRAM!

Victor Griffin Back In Pentagram?!?!?!?!

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I’m seeing Pentagram again here in Austin May 26th.  I just read today that Griffin is back in the band temporarily.  That means that we should get a better setlist than the last show.  Man, I really hope they play Burning Saviour.

I so hope this is true.

Written by The Metal Files

May 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Pentagram Concert Review – Emo’s, Austin, TX – 070609

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Pentagram, Outlaw Order, Nachtmystium, Wolves in the Throne Room, Minsk, The Roller – Emo’s, Austin, TX 070609

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I’m pretty sure it was Daniel who turned me on to Pentagram In 1987 when he bought Day of Reckoning on cassette.  It had a cool cover of a mausoleum.  I had seen it advertised in the ‘zines but never bothered with it.  As stated a zillion times before, my parents weren’t so keen on the whole metal thing and this one would have surely gotten mom’s attention just by the name of the band.  I had Daniel dub it for me and I just had it titled “Day of Reckoning” on the cassette with no song titles or anything else.  Hey, we had to play it safe.  I simply adore this album.  Very Sabbathy without some of the heaviness of Iommi’s tone.  Although Victor Griffin really lifted a lot from Iommi, he took that style to another level.  They only other comparable band from that era that was pulling this off was Trouble.

I wanted to see Pentagram live and tried a few times in the mid-to-late 90’s but it seemed that every time I wanted to go up to the Baltimore/DC area to see them, they cancelled.  Typically because of Liebling’s drug and alcohol abuse coupled with his frail mental and physical states.  Sad but I have no sympathy.

In 2000 I went to Jaxx in Springfield, VA to see Raven/UDO.  Joe Hasselvander was drumming for Raven and we talked Pentagram for a while.  He told me some trippy stories about playing with Bobby.

Flash forward to about 2 months ago.  I heard Pentagram was doing a handful of shows in the US and that the final one was in Austin.  Seriously?  Pentagram?  Here?  I got my ticket the day they went on sale as I expected it to sell out.  My friend Jasmine had seen them a few months prior in NYC and she said they were great so I was really excited to finally see them.  In recent years they have used the drummer from Spirit Caravan, Gary Isom and a good guitar player named Russ Strahan.  Not sure who he and the player may have played with before but they sounded fine.

So for the last 6 weeks or so I have been super excited.  I finally (hopefully) get to see a band I have wanted to see for 22 years!

I head downtown around 730 or so and go to the Jackalope for a burger (the best!) and a few beers.  Gary from Mala Suerte and Noah stop in and hang out for a bit.  After we finish, we head over to Emo’s for the show.  I go in and check out the Pentagram merch booth.  Talking to the girl who works it, Nancy, we had a few friends in common from the east coast.  I end up buying both styles of the Pentagram shirts as they don’t sell the XXL versions on the website.  Yea!  Just what I needed, more black t-shirts!

Local doom/sludge band The Roller opens the show on the outside stage.  I’ve seen them several times and they do their thing well.  Halfway through their set I go inside to get a beer and some A/C and check out Minsk from Chicago.  Not really my thing but I guess they are alright.  I liked that sound better when Tiamat was doing it 15 years ago.  Haha.  Just kidding guys…sorta.  Now let’s take into account that I have been up since 530AM and it’s around 10PM.  I’m a little tired.  So I go outside and sit for a while and see some friends, shoot the shit, check out some nice asses…you know, the usual.  Outlaw Order (EYEHATEGOD) were setting up and I found a place in the back of the venue and sat down for their set.  It wasn’t too bad, a little better than their EYEHATEGOD stuff.  I was comfortable on the bench and didn’t go back in to check out Wolves In The Throne Room.  Noah said they were good and he bought the 12” of their latest.  Shortly after Wolves finished inside, Nachtmystium took the stage outside.  Death metal, upbeat, double bass, fist pounding type stuff.  Not bad, nothing groundbreaking.

Then Pentagram sets up.  Pretty decent crowd.  I estimated about 400 or so but definitely not a sellout.  I expected more.  So Pentagram hits the stage.  Bobby looks old.  Well, Bobby is old.  His voice sounded like shit in the first song.  Absolutely awful.  I wonder how it was for the other shows?  It got a little better towards the middle of the set but he was obviously hurting.  I understand it.  Singers can’t always be 100% and with Bobby Liebling I imagine you never know what you’ll get.  He looked really frail but was very mobile.  He seemed to get all the words right.  When he spoke between songs, though, he sounded like Keith Richards.  Couldn’t understand much of what he was saying except when he said “I fucking love you guys!”  He said that about 10 times.  Right on, Bobby.  The band was tight and Russ’ guitar playing was good.  Nice tone, good licks…a fitting guitarist for Pentagram.

But I do have to say I was a little disappointed overall.  I guess maybe because of the setlist.  Having never seen them live, I don’t know what they would usually play, but I expected more stuff from Day of Reckoning.  As previously stated, I love that album.  At minimum I wanted to hear Burning Savior.  The only thing we got from that one was When The Screams Come.  Great song, sure, but it’s no Burning Savior.  They played 3 from Relentless:  All Your Sins, Sign of the Wolf (Pentagram) and 20 Buck Spin.  I never cared for 20 Buck Spin but love the other 2 tracks.  They also played Petrified from Be Forewarned.  There were a few new songs from an upcoming album called Last Rites but I can’t say they were very memorable.  There were a few others in the set that I didn’t recognize as well.  But where was “Living In a Ram’s Head”?  I think in total we only got about 10 or 11 songs.  It seemed as if they wanted to play more during their encore but he stated “They said this has to be our last song of the night.”   The crowd near the front seemed pretty into it.  A lot of people singing along and such.  When I didn’t like was seeing all of the beer cans being thrown around.  I’ve been hit while playing and it sucks.  Also, WTF was with the crowd surfing?  Stupid kids.

The merch girl told me that Bobby usually comes out to sign stuff after the show and as always, I came armed and ready with CD covers…but at the end of the show, I just wanted to go home.  I was tired, hot, sweaty, disappointed and deflated.  One guy I know said “You should be happy that you got to see a legend.  What did you expect?”  I guess I expected a better setlist, but that is my fault, not Pentagram’s.  The sound in there was pretty shitty too which didn’t help much.  Bobby complained several times at the beginning of the set to turn his monitors up.  Like I said, his vocals got a little better as the show progressed but he just sounded beat and tired.  Decades of self-abuse with drugs etc have taken their toll.  In a way I sort of wish I would have stuck around to see if Bobby was signing stuff as I’ll likely not get that chance again.  Oh well.

I was going to write this review last night when I got home but my emotions were still high.  I think I gave a better and more level-headed review by waiting.  I am glad I got to see them even if my expectations weren’t met.

I have attached a setlist from one of the Chicago shows.  I assume this is what we got last night with the encore songs being reversed.

pentagram setlist

Enjoy the vids too!

Written by The Metal Files

July 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Tear down the walls! 66 Crush!

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Fall of 1986.  Rob Saunders and I were out running around town on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and saw that Trick or Treat was playing at the Suffolk Plaza Theater in downtown Suffolk.  We got there just in time to see the previews and such before the movie started.  I knew the guy who was the weekend manager and he gave us free popcorn and drinks which was very cool.

The only thing I really knew about this movie was that it was a horror flick and that it had a heavy metal soundtrack.  That was enough for me to want to see it.  So the movie starts and I see Skippy Handelman from Family Ties as “the metalhead”.  OK, not very fitting but whatever.  I was tripping out in the movie because of the various posters and albums he had.  Great stuff!  Lizzy Borden!

Gene Simmons played a good role as a DJ who gets killed by Sammi Curr.  Ozzy played a TV preacher and gets killed too.  I really do love this movie.  The guy who played Sammi Curr, Tony Fields, died on my birthday in 1995.  Up until recently most websites said it was complications due to AIDS, but now I see on the IMDB site that it’s listed as “cancer secondary to the AIDS virus”.  The dude was a Solid Gold dancer before doing this movie.  Apparently he was in the Thriller video and Lionel Richie’s Running With The Night.  So yeah, AIDS most likely.  Whatever, he did a fine job in this movie.

Sure, the acting is pretty bad but the story line always hit home for me a little bit.  Being practically the only metalhead in my school for a few years, I suffered some of the same silly taunting from the jocks and preppies like Eddie Weinbauer (Skippy!) did in the movie.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a dead rock star to conjure up and reak my revenge during a school dance.  hahahaha…lucky bastards!

Oh…the soundtrack.  Fastway.   Not their greatest effort but listenable just the same.

I bought it on DVD a few years back but it is not a quality version.  I’ll have to check to see if a better version was ever put out.  One can only hope.  I think I’ll watch this movie again tonight.  It’s been about a year or so.

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