The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Queensryche & Armored Saint Concert Review, San Antonio, November 22, 2016

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I’ve been working in Houston during the week lately and have missed some shows that I wanted to see lately as I cross paths with the bands while traveling between Austin and Houston.  Missing Diamond Head hurt a little.  Even though I’m not a huge fan, I have always wanted to see them live.  Such is life.

I picked up tix for Leanne, Rodney and myself and headed to Alamo City Music Hall.  I don’t like this venue at all.  The sound is horrible and stage lighting for the bands just sucks, but they get quality shows so that’ll keep me coming back.  As we arrived I got in touch with Armored Saint guitarist, Jeff Duncan, who I’ve known for some years.  We hung outside at their bus for a little while while the opening band played.  Great dude, killer guitarist.

We caught the last few songs of Midnight Eternal.  They were listenable keyboard-heavy metal.  After a quick set change, Saint came out an executed their short set flawlessly.  Bush’s voice was squarely in tact and the whole band was on fire.  I just wish the sound in that place wasn’t so shitty.  I really like Saint’s latest album, Win Hands Down, and they opened with that track.  They mixed the set up from some of the other shows so we didn’t get Last Train Home or Nervous Man, two of my favorites, but it didn’t detract from their performance.

Queensryche was up next and I hadn’t seen them with Todd yet.  Overall I’m not a huge fan of anything of theirs post-Rage for Order.  I know I’m in the metal minority when I say I don’t care much for Operation Mindcrime.  While the band played perfectly and Todd sounded absolutely amazing, we were both pretty bored and left during their 4th song.  I did get to hear Best I Can, which I do like a lot.  Again, sound is such a huge issue with this place.

Looked like about 400ish people were there which is a good showing for a Tuesday night.

Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 10, 2016

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I’ve been a big YES fan since childhood mainly because of my brother’s influence.  Fragile and Close to the Edge stayed in steady rotation with him.  As the 80s rolled around, YES got super big with 90125.  You couldn’t get away from it.  Not necessarily a bad thing but Owner of a Lonely Heart got a little old.

I bought two tickets some months back on the presale and one of them ended up going unused.  The show crept up on me and I didn’t get proper time to find a date for the show.  Oh well.

Prior to the show I grabbed a quick dinner then met up with my friend, Armando, for a couple of beers.  Good drummer and good dude.  Show was slated to start at 8PM so we went to the venue, I bought a shirt and we parted ways to our seats.  It was actually a bit nice to have some space next to me.

The band came on stage and opened with Cinema and Perpetual Change.  Rick Wakeman was wearing a huge cape, of course.  The overall show was fantastic and I was really surprised that this older crowd stood for most of it.  They played a good cross section of YES material while definitely touching on the Rabin era often.  They even played an ABWH song, The Meeting.  Jon’s voice sounded absolutely amazing and it was great to finally see/hear Wakeman live.

During The Fish (I think), Wakeman and Rabin came out into the crowd and walked around the venue.  That was pretty cool.  Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the show but as in the 80s, I can’t stand Rabin’s hyper-sonic guitar tone.  He’s a great player though and his voice still sounds great.  The lefty bassist primarily played Rickenbackers the whole night and a Fender for 1 song.  Both he and the drummer were spot on.

Too bad that these guys, Howe and White can’t settle differences and do one more reunion tour.

Written by The Metal Files

November 15, 2016 at 9:40 am

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Black Sabbath Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, November 12, 2016

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Black Sabbath played what they say is their final show in the USA last night.  The setlist wasn’t much different than the show we got 3 years ago in Austin except they only played classic material.

I had purchased floor seats right next to the soundboard and my friend Pablo came with.  They opened with Black Sabbath and the crowd was pretty animated and most everyone on the floor had their phones over their head through much of that song.  Luckily that subsided as the night wore on.  Fairies Wear Boots came next then three of my faves, After Forever, Into the Void and SnowblindHand of Doom had been played at all other shows except this one and I’m not sure why, but whatever.

Geezer and Tony were perfect as expected and Tommy Clufetos was as solid as anyone could be.  And then our old friend, Ozzy.  Other than some timing issues (couldn’t follow the bouncing ball on the teleprompter?), I thought Ozzy sounded really good.  Way better than 3 years ago.  As expected, he stayed strapped to his mic stand and teleprompter.  He spoke a little between songs and I think he may have been reading those cues as well.  It’s a little sad to see.  But again, I was surprised as to how he sounded.  The only song he seemed to struggle on to my ears was Dirty Women.  He just couldn’t keep up and get his pitch right, no issues in the rest of the set.

We rolled out right as the encore, Paranoid, had started to beat the rush and traffic.  We times it perfectly.

Written by The Metal Files

November 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm

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Catching Up With Metal Church’s Craig Wells…Again

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Hard to believe that it’s been 6 years since I did a little email interview with the shredder Craig Wells of Metal Church.  I had seen that he moved to Houston within the last year and we couldn’t make a connection to meet until this week, as I’m working here weekly for a while.  He works nights in the TV engineering business and rarely gets a free evening.  Tonight I got lucky.

We went to a nice little Mexican place called El Tiempo Cantina.  Once inside I was given all kinds of great stories about the history of Metal Church.  One awesome tidbit he gave me was that Mark Baker of Strychnine played live for them on the first 2 tours when Vanderhoof wasn’t in the band.  Also that David Wayne (RIP) recorded the vocals for Highway Star in one take!  It was pretty mind numbing taking it all in and even realizing the fact that I’m sitting across the table from the guitar player that played on some of my all time favorite albums.

After dinner, he graciously signed The Book and some of my CD covers.  I couldn’t find my copy of Human Factor and had forgotten to bring my Operation Rock and Roll CD.  There’s also a foto of us from 1989 that I’d like to get signed.  He assured me that he’d take care of that next time.  Craig is an absolutely awesome guy and I look forward to seeing him again.

This was a perfect Halloween!

Written by The Metal Files

October 31, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Satan, Cauldron & BAT Concert Review, Richmond, VA, October 23, 2016

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Upon waking up Sunday morning, totally parched and tired, Kelz and I got our stuff together and headed South towards Richmond.  He was a little slower than me that morning so I drove us to Vienna, VA to stop at Vienna Music Exchange.  I had met the owner, Mike, the night before and had been wanting to stop in there for quite some time.  After some traffic snags headed down that way, we finally got to the store and I scored some cool stuff.

From there it was down to Richmond to Petey’s and Amy’s house.  By that time, I was starting to fade a bit.  I didn’t sleep that well and was quite tired by the time we got to Richmond.  Petey was ready to party by the time we got there and I succumbed to doing a shot, which helped immensely even though it was tough to get down.   After a couple of hours of catching up, we decided to head towards the venue and grab some quick grub at the restaurant next to The Broadberry.  Our other friend, Danile, was supposed to come up for this one but unfortunately had to back out.

Upon arrival in the venue, I see Ryan and Felix from BAT.  Good dudes.  Richmond locals, Humungus, opened the show and musically and vocally I thought they were great.  Petey said they had a bit of a Heathen vibe and I don’t disagree.  Both the singer and guitarist did great harmony falsetto work and the bassist and drummer held the rhythm down just fine.  The only thing I didn’t like about them was their lyrical content.  Pretty silly for the some of what I could make out.  Shark CastleDrinkin’ Beer.  Solid band overall and I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

BAT was up next and delivered their Venom-esque set flawlessly as they always do.  I love watching Felix Griffin play drums as he’s just a mean machine back there.  I was getting pretty tired so I sat for part of their set.  As I was at the table in the back of the venue, got to hang out with Mr. Ross a bit more.  Sorry again, Brian, but no more Jager mixers for me!

I didn’t go up front for Cauldron.  I just can’t get into them.  As I mentioned in a previous review, their sound is just too thin.

And then…Satan.  They had a bigger stage this time and could move around a bit.  Since Danile couldn’t make it, Petey drew his face on a plastic cup and we set it at the end of the stage so he could be there in spirit.  Satan got a couple of songs in and then Steve blew his head.  During the change out, Russ and Sean just did a little Voodoo Child rendition and then it was right back into the set.  We got a full set that night as they were shortened by a curfew or anything.  Again, they were awesome.  The crowd had thinned out a bit as it was a Sunday night but we remained up front for the whole set.  Much like the Philly show, I had to get barraged by a person who smelled like hell.  This guy smelled like a chicken house.  It was fucking gross, especially when he started swinging his dreadlocks around.  Luckily he only stayed up for a couple of songs, but goddamn, bathe please.

And just like that, it was over.  I could already feel that little bit of sadness coming on.  But it was a wonderful weekend overall with 2 of my lifelong closest friends.  I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

I called for a Lyft ride to get us back to Petey’s and NWOBHM legend, John Gallagher of Raven, was our fucking driver!  I saw him at the show as he’s old chums with the Satan guys.  We were totally surprised and happy to have a familiar face take us home.  I’ve met John several times and he’s always a gentleman.  I think it was a fitting ending to the night.

Back at Petey’s house, we sat up and hatted for a bit longer and finished off his wife’s homemade beef jerky.  Delicious!   Then off to bed.  Kelz had to get up and be on the road to Raleigh by 830, Petey had to work and Amy, Petey’s wife, had an appt, so not much sleeping in time.  Amy took me the airport and that was that.  Mitchfest over.  I had a lengthy layover in Atlanta and my flight got delayed.  Part of me was hoping for a cancellation as Satan was in town that night, too.  It would have been great to catch a third show, but alas, no luck.

Long live Satan.  Hope they come back in 2017.  I’m hoping to catch Graeme and Steve in the Slyclad reunion in Germany and will definitely see Brian’s Alice Cooper tribute next fall in Newcastle.

Satan and Cauldron Concert Review, Philadelphia, PA, October 22, 2016

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Another road trip?  Sure, why not?  This fall has been very busy concert-wise.  Kelz and I started making plans for seeing Satan on this east coast jaunt several months ago when we first caught wind of the tour.  Once I got the dates, Philadelphia and Richmond made the most sense and I booked my trip.

I flew into Raleigh Friday night after work and we left for Philly Saturday morning.  It was a fun drive up as expected.  Talking trash and eating Utz Red Hot Chips.  I can’t find them in Texas and they’re my favorite.  We made a quick stop in VA for a pork BBQ sandwich and continued our way north to PA.  Delaware has great roads.  Best I’ve ever seen.

We finally got to our hotel around 5:30PM or so and for whatever reason our room wasn’t ready?  They gave us a different type of room than what we asked for and I didn’t have to spoon up with Kelz, so that was a plus.  ha.

I called Lyft to get us over to either Pat’s or Geno’s for a cheesesteak before the show.  Our driver couldn’t figure out how to get into the hotel entrance.  She was pretty much the worst driver ever.  Couldn’t follow the navigation properly, didn’t wear her seatbelt and was generally just an idiot.  Once we finally got to the cheesesteak places, lines were around the block so we took the decision to just walk over to the venue, Boot & Saddle, and grab something there.  As we turned the corner, Sean and Steve were getting a few things from the trailer and we spoke to them briefly as Graeme showed up.  He needed some wine so they went to a liquor store to take care of business.  We went inside and grabbed 2 seats at the bar and ordered some food.  Perogis and a corn dog it is!

Ran into some friends there and as we were finishing up dinner, Brian Ross from Satan walks by and I said, “Hey Brian, how’s it going?”  He was surprised to see us and hung out with us for quite a while.  The venue door was open during Horrendous’ set and I didn’t care.  We just stayed where we were and hung with Brian and Russ and whoever else came up.  Brian was telling us of his favorite drink, equal parts Jagermeister and Fireball, dubbed The Firemeister.  It sounded gross but we did a round of them anyhow.  It was gross.  I hate Jager.  I also got a full download on Brian’s Alive Cooper tribute band that he does.  He was showing us photos of his stage show.  It’s a full on reproduction of Alice’s live show.  I’m planning on attending the show in Newcastle in 2017.  With only a few songs left of Cauldron, who we also only heard through the venue door from the bar, Brian scooted off to get his make up for the show.  As people shuffled out of the gig for drinks or whatever, we shuffled in to secure spots near the stage.

Satan hit the stage and opened with Trial By Fire and Blades of Steel.  The small room was packed and the band was slightly cramped on the small stage.  Not a lot of room for moving around for a 5pc band.  They sounded great as always.  Brian’s voice was brilliant.  If you have ever seen them live, you know how good they are.  Still amazed that a band that has only been rejuvenated in recent years can still bring it about as hard as any newer band.  As expected, the set was a good mix of all three of the Ross-era studio albums.

After the show we go back into the bar area and hang out with friends and the Satan guys came right out after to take photos with fans (like us) and sign stuff.  A couple more of those gross Firemeisters were had and neither Kelz nor myself were feeling much pain.  haha.  It was starting to get late and we were both hungry and needed to soak up the buzz a bit, so we got some Chinese food to go from the place next to the venue and got a quick Lyft ride back to the hotel.  This guy was a much better driver.  Back at the hotel, were were just eating and laughing and having a grand time.  Then the fade hit.  We needed to get to sleep so we could head south to Richmond for Sunday’s show.

Quite a wonderful night.  Met some great people.  If there was anything negative to say about the evening it would be that the dude standing in front of me for the Satan set had body odor that smelled like a litter box.  That sucked.

 

Written by The Metal Files

October 25, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Heart Concert Review, Austin, TX, October 16, 2016

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Heart played to a sold out crowd last night in Austin at my favorite venue, The Moody Theater at ACL Live.

It was a good set but seemed to be over as fast as it had begun.  The Wilson sisters sounded great and the backing band was flawless.  It was a nice surprise to hear Mistral Wind from Dog and Butterfly.  Easily the highlight of the show for me.  Having seen the setlist from a few nights before, I knew that they were going to play 3 Led Zeppelin songs as their encore and I had no interest in that, so we left just as No Quarter had started.

Throughout the show I couldn’t help but think about my Aunt Dianne who died earlier this year.  She and her sister, my Aunt Debbie, were big Heart fans and the trips to Pennsylvania sitting in Grandma’s listening to their Heart records with my cousins are some really special memories.

Short set for that price and I’m not sure I’d go see them again to be honest unless they started doing full album shows.  I’d love to see them do all of Dog and Butterfly or Dreamboat Annie.

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Written by The Metal Files

October 17, 2016 at 10:12 am