The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

King Diamond, Exodus & Strike Master Concert Review, Mexico City, Mexico, May 6, 2017

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This could also be titled “Monkey Boy Goes to Mexico.”

After a lifetime of being too lazy to get a passport, I finally got it late last year.  Originally my first out of country trip was going to be to Germany to hang out with Marco and see the RockHard Fest but work got in the way.  Right around that time this show got announced for Mexico City and I asked my friend Soledad if she was going and could be my guia (guide) if I came down.  She obliged, I sent her money for my ticket, booked my flight and that was that.  Other than Puerto Rico a couple of years ago with Rodney, I’ve never been off of US soil.  I have several friends in Mexico City (DF) that I’d previously met at metal fests here in the US and was looking forward to seeing them again.  It was going to be a quick trip…fly out Friday morning and come home Sunday night.

My flight was from Austin to Houston, Houston to DF.  The flight to DF was slated to be full and I sat with a nice older lady from Dallas who was headed down to see her dad.  We ended up being the only row with the middle seat left open.  Fortunately I speak pretty good Spanish although I don’t get to use it enough these days.  Having it spoken to me at normal conversational speed is my weakness, especially if there’s a lot of other noise going on, but I did well with the passport agent and final security guy.  Soledad met me outside of the terminal and we walked a ways to get to the subway.  Lots of damned stairs which wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t have my suitcase with me.  But I managed it and needed the exercise anyhow.  We hopped on the subway and headed to La Zona Rosa part of DF where my hotel was and where she lives.  All eyes were on the big white guy with the grey beard on the subway, that’s for sure.  But I never felt uncomfortable once.  We arrived at the first hotel, I checked in and we went up to the room.  NOPE.  What a piece of shit, to be honest.  We ended up going back down and she got it refunded minus a small fee.  It wasn’t that expensive to start with, but still.  Her mom suggested another right around the corner and it was perfect.  Inexpensive, clean and secure.  That was that.  Once I got settled for a few minutes, we headed out to grab a bite to eat before meeting up with Sara.  You might remember her from such concert reviews as Spring Bash 2017.  We went to a nice quaint restaurant nearby called Las Chalupitas.    I wasn’t super hungry but we had an appetizer and I just ordered a pibil taco and she got something that was on masa with mole, chicken, and cheese.  I tried one and am still not sure whether I liked it or not.  I’ve had several different types of mole in the last ten years, but this was really different.  My taco was great, too.  With the 4 beers we had, the total was about $15USD.  What?  Orale!

From there we went over to McCarthy’s Irish Pub.  Unfortunately they were out of many of the local beers, so I just went for German beers that they had.  Sara showed up shortly after and started ordering Cubanas, which is sort of like a michelada.  They were pretty good.  I got a message from a friend from Monterrey, Marco, who was in town just doing some recording with a band, not going to the show.  He’s the bassist for the killer band Maligno.  We hit the beers pretty hard then decided to go to El Deposito…for more beer.  I really liked that place a lot.  Another friend, Fernando, from Monterrey was also in town and he met us there for a few minutes before heading to meet up with other friends.  Soledad’s friend, Alonso, showed up as well and we had a great time.  Sara went hope after McCarthy’s.  After we decided that we had had enough to drink, we hit this little taco shop that was really good.  After eating, we said our goodbyes and Soledad and I walked a few blocks back to our respective habitats.  Again, never felt uncomfortable at all.  SLEEP.  I was wiped out.  The bed was hard as a rock and didn’t do so well with my ongoing back problems.  I didn’t sleep that well at all.  The room had shades that blocked all outside light, so one of the times that I woke up, I checked my phone for the time and it was almost 9AM.  I opened the shade and it was sunny out.  I threw on some clothes and went down to and had breakfast in the hotel.  It wasn’t good.  Whatever.  I walked down the street and hit the 7-Eleven for a red bull.  I contacted Soledad to see if she was moving yet.

After a shower and some chilling out, we met up and headed to El Chopo.  This is a huge flea market type thing that is filled with art, bootleg band shirts, CDs, DVDs, food etc…and records.  Very important.  The records.  It was part of the reason I wanted to go to DF.  We got there a little later than I had hoped but no big deal.  Next to El Chopo is the library, which was pretty neat.  We walked in and looked around.  It was set up pretty well.  Once at El Chopo it was a sea of black…meaning a shit ton of metalheads everywhere.  It was awesome.  We met up with friends Peter and Mau who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.  Great guys.  They introduced me to a lot of their friends, all who were super cool.  I bought 9 records, but could have easily bought 50 more had I taken more time.  I didn’t want to bore Soledad too much but she was great help if I couldn’t understand someone very well.   Next time I go, I will be better prepared to at least try and haggle.  I didn’t try that with anyone but was happy with all of my purchases.  I also ran into my friend Sarai who was hanging out with Olaf from Ambush and his girlfriend.  That was a pleasant surprise.  After El Chopo we went over to El Espanol, which is a bar with no AC that sells 40oz bottles of Leon beer at 100 pesos for 2.  What a deal!  Decent beer, too.  It was great being in the middle of all that.  Soledad’s lovely friend, Alba, met up with us at El Español as well.  After killing that 40oz together, we took the bus back to La Zona Rosa.  I needed to drop off my records and wanted to get a quick siesta.   We stopped for some quick food and I got some al pastor tacos that were absolute perfection.  I got about 25 minutes of sleep which was perfect.

I met them in front of Soledad’s building and we all rode with Alonso to El Palacio del Deportes for the concert.  Riding with anyone on the highways in DF is pretty terrifying but he got us there safely.  It was nice seeing other parts of the city, even if they weren’t the best parts of town.  We get to the venue and park quickly.  Along the sidewalk area there were 20+ vendors selling all bootlegged King Diamond and Mercyful Fate shirts and related stuff.  This show was a bit of a big deal there as it was King’s first appearance ever in Mexico.  I didn’t buy a bootleg shirt in hopes that official merch would be available inside.  They had some official shirts but didn’t have any in my size, which was a bummer.  Oh well.  Once inside the only beer they sold was Corona.  Gross.  I had one and couldn’t stomach a second one.  Luckily I found a bar serving whisky and cokes.  After seeing a few more friends, we ventured inside for the first band.

I didn’t realize until we arrived that locals Strike Master were opening.  I had been wanting to see them so this worked out…sort of.   They got shafted on the sound.  Absolutely horrible, but they played their asses off.  Up next was Exodus.  While I loved the Pleasures and Fabulous albums back in the day, they don’t do anything for me now.  We watched most of the set from the back and ended up back in the lounge area until it was time for King.  Right as Exodus was going on, I sent a message to King’s bassist, Pontus, to see if he had time to say hello.  He said to meet him at the gate at stage left so I did.  I had first met him a couple of years ago when King played Austin.  I got to tag a long for dinner with him and King’s usual sound man, also named Pontus, who I also knew from a few years prior seeing Hammerfall.  It was nice to catch up with him for a few minutes.  He said he had been ill for a few days and I asked if he had drank the water.  The look on his face said everything.  Haha.  Moctezuma 1, Pontus 0.

Exodus played fine, I guess, I just couldn’t get into them at all.  Sound was pretty bad for them, too.  I think the venue is know for its terrible sound.  I recognized much of the set, but really just didn’t care.  If I never heard Toxic Waltz again, that would be ok.  I guess I should be glad they didn’t play Cajun Hell, eh?

A curtain with King’s logo was raised in front of the stage and after a quick removal of Exodus’ gear, the lights go down and Uriah Heep’s The Wizard started.  It sounded like everyone one of us there were singing it together.  It gave me chills a couple of times.  Lots of positive energy.  The curtain came down and then came the intro from the album Them, Out of the Asylum.  Fists and horns were in the air and unfortunately a bunch of camera phones.  The band whips in to Welcome Home, Sleepless Nights and Halloween all sounding superb.  King’s voice sounded great and he doesn’t hide the fact that he uses 2 background singers now.  You could easily hear his voice along with theirs in the higher notes.  He introduced the band and they played Eye of the Witch, Melissa and Come to the Sabbath.  King and the band were excellent and the crowd loved it.  And then Funeral started launching the Abigail part of the set.  It’s my favorite album that King has done, solo or with Mercyful Fate.  It’s perfect front to back.  We were all having a blast.  It was a bit funny though that the band messed up the order of the set and flipped Abigail and The Possession.  King made a little joke about it and moved on.  Then Black Horsemen started, which made me a bit sad all of a sudden.  It meant that the show was almost over.  But it meant the an incredible show was almost over.  I was waiting for the ending solo/reprise part of the song and then finally pulled my phone out to catch the last 45 seconds.  For me that is the greatest and most powerful ending of any album that I have ever heard.  The way it builds up, the solo, the double bass drums and the ride cymbal and the crescendo at the end…then the acoustic outro.  Then a heavy sigh from seemingly everyone there.  That was it.  Done.  El fin.  Joder tio.

After saying goodbye to some folks we piled back into Alonzo’s car, dropped off Alba near her place then went for some late night food.  The wanted Pozole and I just needed a taco or two (hundred).  We went to this very busy 24hr place and I ended up getting a quesadilla which was very different than what you get on this side of the border.  It was fried, but perfect.  The chips with crema and salsas that they give as an appetizer were absolutely incredible. I had never had them with the crema but will ask for it at some local places.  From there it was back to the hotel.  It wasn’t really that late but we were tired.  I slept a lot better this time.

After waking up the next morning, I threw on some clothes and took a walk down to El Angel de la Indepencia.  It was only about a half mile from the hotel and it was a clear, cool and gorgeous morning.  I walked into the 7-Eleven and grabbed a Red Bull and started walking.  Almost every person I met along the way said, “Buenos dias” as I walked by.  The little food stops were cooking and people were eating, reading the paper and just hanging out along the way.  It was very nice to see.  Once I got to the Paseo de la Reforma, it was filled with people skating, running and cycling.  The roundabout at The Angel is huge and was closed off to cars for what appeared to be some sort of marathon.  The whole scene was really nice.  I crossed the roundabout over to the monument and snapped some photos.  It was pretty neat and really pretty.  The sun was shining and there was a nice cool breeze.  I contacted Soledad on my way back to the hotel to see about a late breakfast before leaving.  My flight was at 4pm and it was recommended to be at the airport 3 hours before takeoff.  I went back, packed up, showered, checked out and met her out front.  We went to the little café next to my hotel called Quo and had chilaquiles rojos con crema y queso.  They were delicious and I couldn’t finish them even with her help.  The waitress asked if it was too spicy and Soledad replied to her in Spanish with, “Not at all, he loves spicy food.”  Most food there wasn’t spicy although some of the salsas were perfectly hot.  After closing the check we walked out front and said our goodbyes.  I was feeling really sad, to be honest.  I had the best time in such a short time and just didn’t want it to end.  Soledad was the perfect guia (guide) and just a wonderful persona all around.  I called for an Uber ride to the airport and she waited with me until he arrived.  Then our hugs goodbye and a photo and I was off to the airport.  The driver was super nice and didn’t speak any English.  We had a nice conversation about the City and I told him how much I loved it there and that I wanted to come back soon.

Once at the airport, I breezed through check in and security.  I checked my main bag and kept my records with me just in case something happened to my bag.  Once at the gate, I ran into my new friend from the flight in and we caught up about our weekends.  We ended up sitting together again and kept our middle seat open.  The flight out of DF was delayed about 45 minutes and I almost didn’t make my connection in Houston due to the customs and bag retrieval/re-check process and in the insanely long line through security.  I had an “A” group boarding pass and the “B” group was halfway through when I walked to the front of the line and handed my boarding pass to the agent.  “There you are!”  I grabbed a seat and we were off to Austin shortly after.

I was pretty wiped out when I got home.  Tired and a little sad, too.  But also extremely happy.  This was a perfect trip to make as my first one out of the states.  No problems really to speak minus the first hotel and the delay upon leaving.  Everything worked out just fine.

Tengo que regresar pronto!  Gracias a mis amigos en DF y estoy muy agradecido por mi amiguita Soledad.  Gracias por todo, gueya!  :P


Written by The Metal Files

May 9, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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