The Metal Files

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Raven, Riot Act, Crimson Devils, Austin, TX, September 24, 2022

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So many shows recently and upcoming, it’s making me tired. Last week my good friends Savage Master were in town and I hosted them and made breakfast for them. It’s always great having them at the house.

This week Raven came through and I offered up my house to them after their Saturday show at the Lost Well in Austin and he accepted. I really do like hosting bands and I’ve met John and Mark several times since 2000 and they’re great guys and total road dogs.

On with the show…

Crimson Devils started promptly at 9PM to an unfortunately super small crowd but they sounded great. Jake and Curtis and the drummer (who I don’t know) are well-rehearsed and super tight and it’s always a pleasure to see Curtis on bass. He’s a beast. There were several shows happening this night (Scorpions, Moxy, Warbringer/Heathen etc) and it looks like the draw was going to be small. A few more people started trickling in by the end of their set.

Riot Act features ex-Riot guitarist Rick Ventura who played on Narita, Fire Down Under, Restless Breed, and Born in America. LA Kouvaris was in Riot Act and unfortunately passed away from complications related to COVID in 2020. RIP. The band also features Don Chaffin who I recognized but couldn’t quite place. He sang for Dan Spitz’s Red Lamb who I saw play to a tiny crowd several years ago. The band opened with Rock City and went straight into Road Racin’. The crowd size was starting to grow and everyone was loving the classic Riot tunes. The band sounded great and Don’s vocals were a perfect fit. They played 2 originals which sounded like they could’ve been on any classic Riot album, good stuff. They closed the set with Altar of the King and Warrior, two of my favorites and they crowd was very boisterous and had grown a little more as people were getting there after seeing some of the aforementioned shows that night.

Riot Act setlist: https://www.setlist.fm/…/the-lost-well-austin-tx…

Quick set change and the crowd had grown to about 50 folks or so, which was pretty decent all things considered.

Raven was touring for the 40th anniversary of their legendary Wiped Out album. Many of the old Austin Raven fans who saw them with Metallica in 1983 were in attendance and it was great seeing them all up front with fists in the air and singing every song.

Raven opened with Take Control and Hell Patrol and the crowd was all about it. John and Mark never stay on one spot on stage and getting good photos of them is hard. haha. They are one of the best live bands out there and always put on a great show. They rolled through the Wiped Out set like butter and closed the show with Wiped Out from their first 1980 7″ entitled Don’t Need Your Money. Mike Heller on drums is a perfect with them and really brings a new dynamic to them live and is a super nice guy as well.

Raven setlist: https://www.setlist.fm/…/the-lost-well-austin-tx…

After the show, the band chilled out with fans, signed stuff, took pics and then we loaded up their trailer and headed back to my place along with their tour companion Joey. Once settled in at the house, I cranked the AC to super cold and everyone crashed out pretty quickly.

The next morning around 9ish, we all started coming back to life and I made breakfast tacos for everyone…it’s a tradition now for bands that I host. Nothing fancy but it always seems appreciated. It was fun talking with the guys and hearing old tour stories and just random conversations. “Johnny Action” will never be forgotten! 😉

After breakfast and loading up their RV, we snapped a photo, hugged it out and said our goodbyes.

The Gallagher brothers are truly nice guys and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with them.

This is also a good time to mention Jason McMaster and Metal Dave Glessner’s Talk Louder Podcast interview with John: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBx_8zhEK94

Written by The Metal Files

September 26, 2022 at 9:50 am

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Iron Maiden, Austin, TX, September 13, 2022

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Iron Maiden twice in seven days? Why not? Especially when they’re in my own back yard.

Triumph said it best: What’s another day of rock and roll?

Last night was the second date of the US leg of Maiden’s Legacy of the Beast Tour and they did not disappoint. While it was the same setlist as last week, this was a bit more enjoyable as it was in a smaller venue. The Moody Center is brand new and just opened up a couple of months ago. It’s a really nice venue.

One of my best friends, Marco, came into town from Vegas to catch the show and we met up with Lisa and Matt at my house to catch a ride together for the show.

It was like a family reunion last night. I saw so many people that I hadn’t seen in forever and it was quite nice. Comforting even. We hung out in the outer ring during Trivium, I just can’t care about that band at all. As they wrapped up, we made our way to the floor, grabbed some drinks and took our spots waiting for UFO’s Doctor, Doctor to start and when it did, it sent chills up our spines.

No need to talk about the set, it was what it was. And while I’m less annoyed by Gers than I used to be, it still pains me to see him playing H’s solos. Bruce did sound a little better last night than he did in Mexico City last week. The sound in the venue was really good, too.

I will say that the energy in Mexico City was way bigger than last night. Totally a different vibe altogether. While the crowd was into Fear of the Dark, it didn’t compare to last week’s show.

It was a great night and even better sharing it with some of my favorite people. ❤️

I also brought my old vest out of retirement. I’ve had that and The 2 Minutes To Midnight back patch since 86/87 and with my recent weight loss, I can fit into it a little better, but back to the closet it goes. I also broke my own rule of not wearing the shirt of the band that I’m seeing and sported my 2008 Texas shirt from the San Antonio show.

After the show we trekked over to the Texas Chili Parlor for a quick bite then off to Lost Well and ran into some friends there as well. ‘Twas a late night but Twas a great night, too.

Up the Irons! 🤘🏼

Written by The Metal Files

September 15, 2022 at 8:36 am

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Iron Maiden, Mexico City, MX, September 7, 2022

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It’s no secret that I love Mexico City and have been down there 8 times in the last 5 years, 3 of those times this year. I’ve made some very good friends there and there’s just something special about the place that I can’t explain.

I saw Iron Maiden there in September 2019 and had a blast so when Maiden announced another show for this year, I instantly grabbed 2 tickets on the presale. This time the show was to be held at Foro Sol, one of Mexico City’s sports stadiums and the location of the F1 track.

Two weeks ago I was at a conference in Mississippi and when I returned to the office on Thursday, I asked my boss if he cared if I was gone the following week. We were already off on that Monday for a holiday. He said, “As long as you have everything taken care of that you need to, enjoy your trip.” Typically when I’m gone like that, I still handle calls and emails so it’s not that big of a deal. So I booked the trip that Thursday and was slated to leave on Monday, Labor Day. I had thought about just flying in and flying out for a quick trip to save some PTO but the guys in Night Demon were going to be in town. They played the Candelabrum Fest in Leon the previous weekend, so I moved my trip up to that Monday so we could hang out on their last night in town before heading to Germany on Tuesday.

Monday September 5, 2022

The trip down was standard; I was on the same time/route as the previous 2 times and got through customs without incident or delays. Once I got to my hotel, Armand and Dustin showed up and we headed off to find some tacos and beers. It took forever for us to get a ride as traffic was utterly ridiculous that day. We went to one of my favorite spots for some al pastor and it was delicious then wandered off to Bizarro Bar for some beers and tequila. My dear friend Soledad showed up and Jarvis arrive shortly after. We did a couple more beers and then headed off to a little party at Jimena and Pepito’s place. That night was absolutely perfect. We were on their rooftop patio and the weather was great. Our good friend Jaime showed up and Jimena’s friends Lucy and Lao arrived as well as Soledad’s boyfriend Alonso. We were knocking back some beers, more tequila and snacks and just having some of the greatest conversations. It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a while. As always, it was great to see my Night Demon brothers. Fortunately I will see them again in a couple of weeks when they come through Texas and I’ll go with them to do 2 Cleveland shows. They had an early flight out to Germany the next morning, so we ended the party and got our respective rides back to our places.

Tuesday September 6, 2022

I got up Tuesday needing some caffeine and headed out to find the nearest OXXO for a Sugar Free Red Bull. One of the things I needed to do that day was fine a raincoat as the weather predictions called for heavy rains for the show. I walked about a mile to a local mall that had a Wal-Mart and some other shops and not a single raincoat was to be found. Bummer. I did a quick search on Google maps for raincoats and found a shop that specialized in them. Off I went to the raincoat district! Once there, the lady instantly looked at me, smiled and said, “No hablo Ingles.” I responded with, “No te preocupes, hablo muy bien espanol.” I must say their variety of raincoats was impressive. I bought a standard poncho style one in black made of heavy PVC. It was $5! Unfortunately, Maryanne did not get in the raincoat with me (extra points if you get that reference).

I went back to my hotel, dropped off the coat and walked to Zocalo to a department store that had a Ticketmaster station in it. I needed to print my tickets and the hotel printer was down. There was a line of folks already there and most of them were wearing Maiden shirts. Once it was my turn I sat down with the attendant and asked her if she spoke English. “No.” She asked me for my order number and I showed it to her on my phone. She looks it up on her computer and I see her frown a little. She doesn’t say anything but grabs her phone and starts typing away on it. At first I thought she was maybe just texting a friend or something then I realized that she was typing stuff in to translate back to me. I asked to let me know what was happening and that I’d understand her Spanish. She looked relieved and proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t issue tickets because of the “print only” option that I had mistakenly chosen when buying the tickets. I told her that I understood, thanked her for her time and headed out. Luckily Soledad’s neighbor had a working printer and was able to take care of it. After that, I just bounded around Zocalo for a while. Mexico is preparing for its upcoming Independence Day and decorations were going up everywhere.

I was getting pretty hungry and Soledad had sent a couple of recommendations, one of which was a BBQ place. I grabbed a ride, got to the location only to find out that it had been shut down by the City just a week before. Oops. So I got another ride, went back to my favorite taco spot and chowed down on more al pastor. I hadn’t eaten yet that day and was getting pretty hungry after all of the walking and such. After my late lunch/early dinner, I had a work call that I needed to be on, so I sat in a nearby park and handled that.

In 2019, Netflix released a movie called Roma which is now a favorite of mine. The house that they filmed much of it in was a 15 minute walk south into Roma Sur. I was about 5pm and I headed down through some beautiful neighborhoods and found the house. I took a couple of photos and decided to walk around the neighborhood a little more. As I was walking past some restaurants and bars that were opening up, I heard Celtic Frost coming out of one and I stopped in. Revolver Bar. It was a cool little spot and the owner is a great guy. We had some friends in common and I drank a couple of local beers. It was just the two of us in there as he had just opened up and some rain had started. After that, I just went back to my hotel to rest up.

Wednesday September 7, 2022

Show day! I didn’t do much at all as I wanted to be well-rested for the evening. I had a late breakfast in the hotel that was pretty bland then walked around the neighborhood for a little while. I took a good nap and then made plans on meeting with Soledad and Jaime to ride to the show together. Traffic was total shit getting there and once the uber got us close, we just got out and walked with the crowd. It was quite a long trek to actually get inside. Lots of vendors selling bootleg merch and unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to buy any. Once inside Foro Sol, I checked out the official vendor spots and Maiden wasn’t selling the event shirt in my size. I was hoping they’d do like the last tour and have them available online after (they did!). We had general admission on floor in Section B and stayed about ¾ of the way back. We missed all of Mastodon’s set (not sad about it) and came in during Maiden’s opening song, Senjutsu. I don’t care for the new album and they were opening with 3 songs from it. We grabbed a beer from a nearby vendor and just enjoyed the show. The weather stayed clear except for a few minutes of sprinkling. They moon was out for much of the set. When they went into Revelations, chills ran up my spine. Overall, Maiden’s song selection is pretty weak. One song each from X Factor and Virtual XI? Blood Brothers? Gross. My disdain for Fear of the Dark is no secret to anyone, but it is pretty special being in a crowd of 64,999 other people who are all singing along together. That song went over better than any other songs in the set. Blows my mind. But overall, it’s Iron Maiden, my favorite band of all time and I will continue to go see them no matter the setlist.

After the show ended, we tried waiting it out a bit to let the crowd thin out. Once we started walking out, it finally started raining and I got to use my new poncho for a about 15 minutes before the rain let up. As we got to the actual exit gate, the crowd was tight and there was no way out of it. If someone had fallen, they probably would have been trampled to death. It was a little nerve-wracking but we finally got through and started making our way to where Alonso was to pick us up. It felt good to finally get there and sit down for a bit. We ended up going to a taqueria called Av Sonora Tortas El Fuego. I got el pastor, bistec and costilla tacos which were all delicious. Everyone except me had to work the next morning and Alonso was nice enough to drive me back to my place. Once in my room, I crashed out pretty quickly. It was a great night.

Thursday September 8, 2022

No real plans for the day and I probably should have booked my trip to leave on this day, but oh well. I lounged around in bed until about 1030AM and finally got up, showered and made my way out for a bit. I wasn’t that hungry so I just grabbed a protein bar and a Red Bull from 7-11 and walked around for a while. I grabbed a ride and headed off to Dejalo Ser Records to see the owner Elia and see if there were any records I needed/wanted. She keeps a pretty decent metal selection and lots of Japanese pressings. As always she greeted me with a big hug and then I went digging. I ended up buying more stuff that friends were looking for than for myself but I did pick up a Luzbel album that I had been wanting. After leaving the store, I went back to my hotel as I was feeling a little tired. Soledad, Jaime and I were going to meet for dinner later and I just chilled out for a bit. We had planned to meet up at an Asian place called Koku. Unfortunately I went to the wrong one first. Haha. Once I met up with them, we had some hot sake, beer and a nice sushi dinner. They both had ramen which was delicious, too. We sat outside and it was a perfect night and a great ending to another wonderful week in CDMX.

Friday September 9, 2022

I was having trouble checking in online with Aerobus so I decided to get to the airport a little earlier than normal to make sure there wasn’t a problem. Once there, I breezed through the check in and through security and had too many hours to kill in the airport. I went to my usual breakfast spot and had a nice meal waiting for them to announce which gate the flight was going to be. Then we got notification of a delay. It was almost 2 hours. Ugh. This was going to get me back to San Antonio airport in perfect time for rush hour. Oh well. Once we finally landed, it took about 2 minutes to get through customs where the agent told me he processed Iron Maiden the night before! I asked him if he was a fan and he replied, “I’m from San Antonio, of course I’m a fan!” haha. Once back in my car, nothing but traffic all the way home. Plus I took care of some work phone calls.

As always, Mexico City treated me well, I saw some new parts I hadn’t seen before and I made some more new friends. It was a great trip. I was planning to go back in October to see Unto Others, but the promotor canceled the show, so now it looks like it’ll be sometime after the new year.

Salud!

Written by The Metal Files

September 15, 2022 at 8:31 am

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Tom Keifer, LA Guns, Faster Pussycat. Cedar Park, TX, June 24, 2022

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What a fun night in general. When this tour first got announced, I had no real intentions of seeing this show, mainly because of location, I’m not much of a Cinderella fan and I’ve seen Guns and Pussycat several times. Then Shawn Duncan (Odin/DC4) joined Guns on drums and my decision to attend was made. I’ve been friends with Shawn for a long time and hadn’t seen him in several years.

I got to the venue pretty early to try and hang out with him. He said the bands have been pretty strict on COVID protocols but he’d figure it out. Fortunately was outside when I rolled up and we hung out for a bit and got to catch up. Love that dude.

As we were standing outside their bus, my friend Kurt walked up who is a manager at the venue. I had no idea. We first met at a Drivin’ ‘n Cryin’ show years ago. We also got to catch up, I introduced him to Shawn and we hung out for a bit and drank a beer in the parking lot. He handed me a VIP wristband, too. SWEET!

Shawn needed to get ready for the show and I needed to get to will call for my ticket (Thanks Shawn!). My old friend Robyn was working the guest list table, saw the wristband and just walked me into the venue ahead of the line. Feeling like a true VIP at this point. She showed me around the venue and let me know what access the wristband gave me, which was pretty much side stage view, but that also gave me a spot to sit if needed. It was great to see her, too.

BFF Lisa and her husband Matt get in and we’re all seeing friends all around. I got to see several folks I hadn’t seen in years which was nice.

Pussycat comes on and sound pretty good, maybe better than I have heard in years. The 2 newer guitarists were smashing the backup vocals perfectly. Taime’s voice sounded good, too. Clean living has helped him a lot.

Guns came on and I went to the side stage area so I could watch Shawn play. The whole band sounded great and he’s a perfect fit with them on drums. Tracii is such a great player, too. I’ve always felt he deserved more recognition. Great set overall.

I went back out and found Lisa and Matt. Kurt had hooked me up with another VIP wristband when I told him that she was a huge Cinderella fan. “I got you, no worries.” So off we went to side stage to watch Keifer. He put on a solid set and his backing band was great. The drummer is a beast. Tom’s a talented guy, can seemingly play anything well, but I’ve always hated his voice. I was surprised that he’s been able to maintain that screech so well, though. Lisa really enjoyed the set, so that’s all I cared about.

After the show, said goodbyes to some friends and the 3 of us went to bus area to say goodbye to Shawn. Security tried to give me some guff but we didn’t go anywhere. haha. Shawn came out, I introduced him to Matt and Lisa, gave him a hug and we left.

It was a great night overall. The Haute Spot is a great venue overall. Even tho it was so hot out, the trees, fans and misters kept it comfortable enough.

Written by The Metal Files

June 28, 2022 at 8:43 am

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Max & Iggor Cavalera Review, Austin, TX, June 21, 2022

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When I saw that Max and Iggor Cavalera were doing a reboot tour of Beneath the Remains and Arise, I knew I had to go. I was already out of high school when Beneath came out and instantly fell in love with it. I had heard the previous albums and they didn’t do anything for me but I really dig Schizophrenia these days, too. My best friend from my high school went to Brooklyn to see the Beneath tour but I couldn’t afford that kind of trip back in those days, but he did bring me back a tour shirt that my guitarist borrowed and never returned. I didn’t care much for Arise or Chaos AD outside of a few tracks here and there but did finally catch them on the Chaos tour in 1994 and got to hang out with them.

The goal for last night, outside of seeing them do Beneath, was to get Max and Iggor in the book. A few years back I met Paulo and Andreas and got them in there.

The show was packed and I stayed outside through all of the opening bands. None of them appealed to me at all. We went upstairs and got let into the VIP room overlooking the stage and I watched the Beneath portion of the set from there. IT WAS BADASS. It really took me back in time for a bit and it was great to watch Iggor play from up above. He’s got a cool style.

As the Arise set started, I made my way downstairs and took in part of the set then made it back outside. While I like the venue a lot, it’s not comfortable at all when there’s a huge crowd.

I actually got to the venue super early hoping to get The Book signed but with it being so hot out, 100+ degrees, they had already been in and sound checked so I walked to a local establishment and hung out in the AC for a while. After the show, a few of us went to the backstage door and both Max and Iggor came out and said they’d be right back. A few of us waited for over an hour and they never returned. That was a bit of a let down, but those let downs build character. haha. Oh well, maybe someday I’ll finish the Sepultura entry in The Book.

It was a great show and I got to see a lot of friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Written by The Metal Files

June 22, 2022 at 8:33 am