Pentagram Concert Review, Houston, TX, March 18, 2016
I like traveling out of Austin for shows and seeing Pentagram in another city was surely going to be fun. I first met them in 2010 on the street in Austin and became pals with them over the years since.
I got to Houston around 4PM and a little before the band arrived to load in and sound check. I noticed a line of people at the venue that seemed pretty young, too young to be Pentagram fans in general. There was a show in the main room at Warehouse Live from some mall metal/mall core/emo core band called blessthefall.
When Pentagram arrived, I helped them load in during a heavy rain storm. That was fun(?). Also loading in were Detroit’s Against the Grain and Oakland’s Mondo Drag. Once everything got set up, the band ran through sound check with a couple of Pentagram songs and KISS’ Cold Gin, all with Victor on vocals. After the check, I ran Greg and Victor to Guitar Center to get a fog machine. Let me tell you, the customer service there was total shit. The guy working there just seemed annoyed that we had questions and that he needed to get the ladder to get what the band needed from the top shelf. Sorry that you had to provide customer service in your customer service job, dude. We grabbed a quick dinner across the street and then headed back in the venue.
When we got back, they set the machine up in the dressing room to test it out. Bobby had come in from the bus and was on the couch next to the machine and they blasted him with it twice. His reaction was pretty funny. I guess you had to be there. The band also decided to prank blessthefall as their dressing room was connected by a sealed doorway that had enough of a crack in it to shoot fog into their dressing room. During blessthefall’s last song, they got their room filled with fog. Oddly enough, they got pissed off about it as did the promoter and security guy. What a bunch of pussies.
I missed Against the Grain’s set while we were buying the fog machine. However, I did catch most of Mondo Drag’s set and completely loved it. If I had to classify it, it’s Uriah Heep meets some Yes meets early 70s jazz/fusion. In general I detest the 70s psychedelic revival as most of the bands sound the same to me, offering nothing different than any others. But these guys had a little something different. Maybe just the Heep styled heavy keyboards and cool jazz riffs here and there, but it set them apart from just about all of the other bands I’ve seen that fall in the sub genre. The crowd seemed into it as well.
Pentagram hit the stage with about 150ish in the crowd. It seemed pretty lightly attended overall. I’ve not attended many Houston shows so can’t really gauge what it should have been. They opened up with Death Row and All Your Sins and much of the crowd was singing along. Bobby’s voice sounded great, probably better than any other time I’ve heard them. The band was energetic and extremely tight. New drummer, Peter Campbell, has the perfect combination of keeping perfect time and having feel in his playing. They mixed the setlist up with a lot of classics and 5 from the latest album, Curious Volume. The album is awesome and I highly recommend it. It’s easily in my top 5 Pentagram albums. The crowd went crazy during Forever My Queen. For me Broken Vows and When the Screams Come are two of the major highlights and come from my favorite album of theirs, Day of Reckoning. They played 7 total from Pentagram (aka Relentless). The encore also had Be Forewarned, which was the favorite song by my old pal, Sergio. RIP. It was a great show overall and the Pentagram band and crew are really all great guys. Thanks for the hospitality as always!
After the show, I went back to the dressing room and hung out for a bit. Bobby was worn out and about to fall asleep. He asked me what I thought of the show and I mentioned that I’ve seen 3 classic singers recently who all blew me away. Those being Liebling, Mogg and Meniketti. He perked up when heard Mogg mentioned. Apparently UFO is his favorite band. Based on the conversation we had, his knowledge of the band has few rivals. And I’ll say this, for a guy who’s done the drugs and lived like Bobby has, I’m always impressed that he can get on stage and not miss a lyric ever that I’ve seen. No teleprompter, just incredible memory. It’s quite impressive. Greg mentioned that at rehearsals they’ll start playing a random old Pentagram song and Bobby will come right in and sing it perfectly.
After some quick goodbyes, I headed to my hotel. I was wiped out.