Riot V & Helstar Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, September 26, 2015
I will start out by saying that Riot V is pretty much one of the best live bands out there right now along with Satan. Last time I saw them was last year in Chicago at the Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse and was completely blown away. Prior to that I had only seen them one other time at Scout Bar in San Antonio which was Mark Reale’s last USA show before his death.
A couple of friends and I headed down to 210 Kapone’s last in the afternoon, get parked and head in. As always at a show like this one, we ran into a lot of friends from both San Antone and Austin and elsewhere.
There were 5 local openers for this show. FIVE. As seems to be pretty typical in San Antone and I imagine some or all of them paid to play. Helstar was also a later addition to the show. That’s 6 bands before Riot if you’re keeping track here. The schedule was set as follows and was a recipe for disaster:
METALRISER 6:50 – 7:15
SA TERRITORIES 730 – 7:55
JESSIKILL. 8:10 – 8:40
SEANCE. 8:55- 9:25
LOS WICKED WAYS. 9:40 – 10:10
HELSTAR. 10:25 – 11:10
RIOT. 11:30 – END
The show ran late I’m told because Riot’s soundcheck started late. We didn’t get there until right before Jessikill was going on.
Helstar came on about 30 minutes later than their scheduled time and delivered a solid set as usual that I think was cut short, or at least during Run With the Pack their sound got cut and they finished it with just their stage sound. Rivera was spot on with his vocals and I always enjoy watching Larry play guitar. I’m not sure who the bassist is, but he’s good. Unfortunately, they seemed to be getting hit with poor sound as I couldn’t hear the drums that well at all through the PA.
Riot finally hits the stage a few minutes after midnight opening with the instrumental Narita and then Ride Hard Live Free from their latest album. Up next were two songs from Thundersteel and the crowd roared for Fight or Fall and Johnny’s Back, a personal favorite. The rest of the set was mixed up with songs from all eras of of the band but didn’t touch the last Tony Moore album which was really good. I guess they can’t play everything.
Former guitarist, Rick Ventura, who played in the band from 1979 to 1982 sat in for a handful of songs and it was really cool to see one of the almost originals on the stage. He rocked it alongside Mike Flyntz and Nick Lee and looked like he was having a good time. Don Van Stavern is from SA so he’s got an automatic contingent in the house when he plays shows. Frank Gilchriest laid down a powerhouse set of drum work as he always does. And finally, vocalist Todd Michael Hall. Dude looks 25, turned 46 last night and sings like a lark. Pretty much the best singer out there right now in my opinion. The only thing missing last night was Tammy’s backing vocals. She’s in another band with Flyntz and sometimes provides live backing vocals. Look up the Bloodstreets video from this year’s Keep It True festival. They’re perfect.
All in all it was a great show and I can’t wait to see them again…again. RIP Mark Reale. Riot V is keeping your spirit alive.
Because of shitty lighting, I couldn’t get a decent picture of Helstar.