Nevermore – Concert Review – Austin, TX – October 11, 2010
I was fortunate, very fortunate to see Sanctuary on the Refuge Denied Tour in May 1987 while they were touring with Megadeth and Warlock. Sanctuary is definitely one of my favorite bands from that era and were very unique. Unfortunately I missed them on the Into The Mirror Black Tour with Fates Warning.
When I read that Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard had formed a new band I was pretty excited. Nevermore, eh? OK, I’m in. I really only cared about hearing that patented screech of Dane’s. But it wasn’t there. I didn’t really dig the debut album or follow-up but did enjoy Dreaming Neon Black quite a bit. The last one that I really gave a chance to was Dead Heart In A Dead World, but still couldn’t get into it.
In 1997 I did go see them at Twisters in Richmond, VA on the Politics of Ecstasy Tour. They were great live and Jeff Loomis’ and Van Williams’ playing stood out more than anything in the band, even over Warrel’s
vocals. I hung out with them a bit before and after the show and they were very nice laid back dudes. I went to see them again in June 1999 at the same venue while they were touring for Dreaming Neon Black. I believe Iced Earth and Destinys End were also on the bill. It was a really cool night in general. I had just started Acacia Music (online music store) and both Century media and Metal Blade gave me free access to all of their bands who came through, including interviews and filming of the shows when possible. I was doing a dorky little cable access show that only aired in my hometown and filmed all 3 bands that night to be included on the show. I need to find the interview that I did with Warrel as it’s pretty humorous. I was such a doofus. haha.
For the next few years, when Nevermore came to the Washington, DC area, I’d film their show and bring them VHS cassettes of the previous shows that I filmed. We became pretty good pals for a few years and it was always a pleasure seeing them and hanging out. The last show I did with them was in 2001 at the930 Club in DC (I think) and hadn’t seen them since. I had lost interest in the band, I closed my music business and was just into other things for a while so I lost contact with those guys.
So now, 400 words later we get to present day. When I saw that they were playing 2 blocks from my apartment I had to go and reconnect. I bought the VIP meet and greet pass to ensure that I’d get to say hi.
They had about 20 folks there for the meet and greet. I was fortunate enough to be able to go into the club early thanks to some folks I know that work there and just hung out at the bar and chatted with some pals. Once they started signing and stuff, I hung out until the line was done and just sat down with them and reintroduced myself. Warrel said, “Dude, that was a long time ago. I’ve still got those tapes.” and blah blah blah. So I offered to take the band to dinner before their set and they obliged. Jim Sheppard was nowhere to be found and they said he was “sick” on the bus.
Dinner ended up being Van Williams, Jeff Loomis, Attila Vörös, their road manager, their 2 roadies and myself. Warrel had an interview commitment and missed dinner and as stated, Jim was “sick”. I asked Loomis about the whole Sanctuary reunion and who exactly was a part of it. He said everyone but Biosl. Sweet! But…there will likely be no tour. So far they are only booked for Power Prog Festival and the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise. Dinner was a blast and it was the
first official meeting of the Gentlemen’s League of Extraordinary Margaritas, or G.L.E.M. (pronounced gleem) for short. It was a funny conversation and the Austin chapter is now taking applications. haha. The guys were talking about Jim’s recent antics. Seems that the dude has gone off the edge a bit and it was apparent during the show.
After dinner and drinks I walked them back to their bus and headed back to Jackalope for a beer with Angela and Laura. It was Metal Monday and T.A. and Sarah Kay were playing the goods for sure. Attacker, Agent Steel, Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Krokus etc. Seeing Laura sing along to Nuns Have No Fun is priceless!
It was drawing near time for Nevermore to go on (1145 start time) and we headed back to Emo’s. I missed every opening band as I am just not a fan of any of them. Locals Vesperian Sorrow opened followed by Blackguard, Hatesphere and Warbringer. Sorry, just not interested.
Nevermore hits the stage and do their thing. Jim Sheppard looked terrible. Emaciated, run down, tired, sick, drunk, etc. I almost didn’t recognize him. It was sad to see. Warrel looked pretty worn out as well. During the set the 2 of them were having words. It was pretty wacky to see. A few shoves, middle fingers and words and Jim ended up standing behind the mains for much of the set, just hiding and acting like a little kid. He was obviously out of his head for the show. It was sad. At one point as a song ended he walked off stage and went to the bar after asking people in the crowd to buy him a drink. It was pretty pathetic to watch,
especially coming from a band that I always regarded as being pretty professional. In the final song Jim just stopped playing halfway though, handed his bass to someone in the crowd and walked off stage, out the door and onto the bus. A few times during the set, Warrel was trying to make nice with him to at least get through the set. The whole thing was pretty surreal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jim out of the band soon if he doesn’t get his act together. You can’t let stuff like that happen during a show.
As always, Loomis and Williams were on top of their game. I consider Van Williams to be metal’s best kept drumming secret. The guy is absolutely incredible and has a unique style to his playing. The new guy, Attila, did a fine job playing rhythm guitar and the few solos he did were good. Super nice guy as well, very funny. Warrel’s voice sounded a little tired to me but not bad. I will say that I’ve heard him sound better, but again I haven’t seen him live in 9 years. I’m sure it was difficult for him to perform as well with Jim’s antics. Jim threatened a few times to push Warrel into the crowd. Everyone could hear the ridiculous banter between songs.
Seems that most other recent shows got to hear Sanctuary’s Taste Revenge. We didn’t get it. Damn!
After the final song finished, they came straight off the stage and onto the bus. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sheppard got his ass beat last night. He was certainly asking for it. The attendance was pretty light. I figure maybe 100 people were there with the majority of them being under 30 years old. Lots of minors as well. But that’s cool. Everyone seemed to like the show and everyone just shook their heads over the nonsensical stage antics. Here’s hoping that they got everything worked out. It would be a shame for it not to.