Satan Concert Review, Richmond, VA 04/15/2014
What a whirlwind of shows I have been though in the last couple of weeks. I’m tired. So tired. But it’s a good tired and my music fetish is being well served lately.
So ‘back in the day’ cerca 1984, my friend Daniel (Danile) bought Satan’s Court in the Act and shared it with Kelz, Petey and me and the rest is metal history. I’ve loved this album since it first hit my ears. Brian Ross’ vocals mixed with those awesome NWOBHM styled riffs made for a perfect album. The 4 of us have always been close friends, played in bands together and never lost touch over the years. We’re bound by metal, friendship, life events (good and bad) and have always been there for one another as needed.
Flash forward 30 years and the 4 of us still adore this album. When Satan announced a small US tour, there was no way I was going to miss it. I knew that I’d have to travel somewhere and luckily Richmond, VA was on the list…surprisingly so. So we started planning the trip. Kelz and Danile have kids and going out of town on a weeknight was going to be a little more difficult because of family and work obligations but they made it happen. I’m sure there was some sort of bribery or Jedi mind tricks with their wives. And that was that. Another MitchFest was in the works, this time with all 4 of us. I flew into Raleigh and stayed Monday night with Kelz and the fambly. Always great hospitality at their house. Tuesday morning we headed to Suffolk, VA to grab Danile and quickly headed up ti Petey’s house in Richmond. Unfortunately the wife and kids were out on errands so I didn’t get to see them this time. The car ride was as expected. Mama jokes, old stories of our younger years, gushing about metal etc. Before getting to Richmond, we decided to stop and grab a bite to eat at a BBQ place in Chester, VA. I love the NC/VA style of pork BBQ. I can’t get it in Texas. My sandwich was perfect, exactly what I needed.
We get to Petey’s and are greeted by his awesome wife, Amy. He gets home shortly after and after some adult conversation and life and things that matter, the roundtable of silliness begins again. We’re perpetually 13 years old when we’re all together and it’s a great time. Now it’s time to get ready for the show.
Satan are playing Strange Matter in Richmond which used to be Twisters and then later Nancy Raygun. I’ve seen a handful of shows there since the mid-90s and always like the place. It used to be a bit of a dump, but it had its charm. It’s been cleaned up quite a bit and I’m glad that location is still doing shows. Before going in, we park then grub at a pub on the next block. Just a good time having a meal and a couple of beers with my best friends.
We walk back over to the venue, get our swag out of the car and go in. I see my pal Tony “Dio” from NC who I’ve known since about 1997 when we met at a Judas Priest show in Norfolk. I had just seen him the week before at Rangarokkr. As we’re standing around jibber jabbering, I see John Gallagher from Raven walk in. How cool is that? I’ve never been a fan of the band but I did have lunch with him and his brother and their families in 2000 before their show at Jaxx in Springfield, VA. Nicest guy. I check out the merch table to hopefully get a Satan shirt, but no luck in my size. The cool thing was seeing my band’s 7″ on the merch table. Our label was managing the Satan tour so it was great to meet those guys.
The first band to go on is Salvacion, a band from NC which has the drummer for Volture. They were OK. I couldn’t quite gauge exactly what they were going for. The did a very uncomfortable version of Dokken’s Unchain The Night. I think I would have enjoyed them more if it wasn’t for the drummer. I get into that a little bit more when I talk about Volture.
Next up was BAT which features Felix Griffin (DRI) on drums and Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste/Volture) on vocals/bass and Volture’s Nick Poulos on guitar. They come on and run through a blistering set of thrash/speed metal songs that were all about 3 minutes long. Old school style. They were solid and Felix really ripped it up in single bass style on a 4 pc drumset. I enjoyed it and would love to see them again.
Right after BAT played, I feel a hand on my shoulder and hear a voice say my name. I turn around and it was a girl that I had dated briefly in 1991 and that I hadn’t seen since right around that time. She had seen on Facebook that I was in town and just stopped in to say hello. She couldn’t stay as her husband and kid were outside in the car. I swear she was only there for about 3 minutes and even paid to get in. I was floored by the gesture. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. That’s the type of person she always was. Very thoughtful. It was a special moment for sure. I’m still a bit “wow’d” by the whole thing.
Volture comes on next and I hadn’t really paid much attention to them in the past. There’s just so much out there that I can’t keep up any more. The members are a mishmash of members from Municipal Waste, Immortal Avenger, Twisted Tower Dire, BAT etc. I really liked the vocals. The guy has some great pipes and the guitarists are perfect. But the drummer…I just can’t take it. He was doing way too many Rikki Rokkett type moves instead of worrying about keeping good time. I’m a drummer as well. I’m hyper critical of other drummers that I see. When he was just playing the beat and not doing dumb stick tricks, his timing was fine. But when he’d go into circus mode, the timing would fluctuate, he wasn’t hitting the snare cleanly and it would drop out of the mix and he tended to keep time on his bass drum to where he’s hitting the bass and snare at the same time. Sorry, it just annoyed me to no end. Obviously his band has no issue with it, but I would for sure. :) But again, overall they sounded killer.
And then…Satan…SATAN. I never ever thought in my lifetime that I’d get to see them live. Right as Volture ended we made our way to the front of the stage. Danile and I were right on the barricade and Kelz and Petey were right behind us. Satan opens up with Trial By Fire and Ross’ vocals are on point. He skipped the first scream in the song and I though ‘uh oh, he can’t do it any more.’ And then there it was. His patented high notes came on cue everywhere else in the song and the rest of the set. I was completely in awe as to how well he still sings. He sounded perfect. They ran though a mix of songs from Court in the Act, Life Sentence, a couple of early demos and one from Into the Future of which Brian wasn’t the singer. They added No Turning Back mid-set which was a nice surprise. Of course we were hoping to hear the whole Court album but I have no complaints whatsoever about the set. They were incredible. Ramsey/Tippins are still a formidable guitar duo and the songs on their latest album prove that. It was just such a powerful set. Still blown away as to how good Ross’ vocals are.
After the show, most people leave and we stick around to meet the Satan guys. Success! They all come out after a little break and sign swag, take pictures with us nerds etc. It was especially nice to be sitting between Sean Taylor and John Gallagher listening to them talk about gifts they’ve sent to each others kids and some “back in the day” kinds of things.
It’s been a week since the show and I am still buzzing about it. Really a once in a lifetime show. Even more, I got to spend some quality time with my three best friends. That was as important as the show. It’s really nice knowing that even if we don’t see each other that often these days, we can always pick up right where we left off. Love those guys.
Written by The Metal Files
April 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm
Posted in 2014, bat, concert reviews, concerts, dri, eternal champion, heavy metal, north carolina, nwobhm, raleigh, richmond, salvacion, satan, strange matter, the metal files, twisters, virginia, volture
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