The Metal Files

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Archive for June 2018

Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth & Testament Concert Review, Austin, TX, June 20, 2018

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Slayer said they were calling it quits and that this would be their final tour, so why not go?  No need to get too misty-eyed with Slayer memories, but I first saw them on the Seasons tour with Testament on the Souls of Black tour.  My nose got slightly rearranged in a pit that night.  Good times.

Personally this was too many bands on the bill but whatever.  The show was at the Austin360 Amphitheater which isn’t my favorite place to see shows.  It’s not far from where I live but it’s historically a pain in the ass to get in and out of.  The parking lots opened at 3, gates at 4 and the first band started at 5.  We left my house at 330 and were in the parking lot by 345 and I had a VIP parking pass from the fan club presale, so we were right at the gate.  Easy peasy!  We walked in, met up with some other friends, grabbed a drink and a quick bite of crappy food and went to our seats.  On with the show.

This was my 8th time seeing Testament since 1987 and while I really only like the first two albums and The Gathering, I do enjoy them live, especially with Gene Hoglan on drums.  He makes it look easy.  Last night’s list was rather boring, though, and obviously too short since they were the opener.  At this point they’re just going through the motions…a theme for the whole night.

Before Behemoth came on, we grabbed another drink, found more friends and then went back for their set.  I thought I had seen them before but my page says otherwise.  They were solid and enjoyable even though the whole satan thing makes me laugh.  Hoglan played one track with them.

Same between-set action before Anthrax.  I saw a lot of folks I hadn’t seen in a while last night, which was great.  This was also my 8th Anthrax show since 87 (with Testament coincidentally).  I know Anthrax loves playing covers and they do a good job at it, but why make them a part of your set, especially when it’s a short set?  Why not some deep cuts?  Anthrax is another band just going through the motions, really.  Yes, they are tight and played perfectly, but everything is just completely controlled.  Like most older bands, they have no fire beneath their feet.  Energetic, but it seemed feigned.  Benante had missed some shows on the tour for health reasons and Hoglan filled in as needed, but he played last night and he was on his game.  Beast drummer.  It was cool that Anthrax used the drum intro from Slayer’s Criminally Insane to intro a song.  Not sure how many people caught that.

Lamb of God was up next.  I can’t care about this band.  I detest metal-core.  I hung out with friends through most of their set.

Slayer came out and opened with Repentless.  Assuredly the crowd was there to primarily see Slayer.  While the band has slowed down a little over the years, they are still viable in a live setting.  I could have done without all of the post-Seasons era songs, but whatever.  Hell Awaits, Chemical Warfare, Black Magic, South of Heaven and Mandatory Suicide were definitely my highlight tracks for the night.  Sure, Reign In Blood is a beast of an album but they usually play the same ones.  The pyros were pretty insane.  The heat from the flames where we were sitting was intense at times, I can’t imagine how it was on stage.  The band was solid, albeit a little slower as I mentioned.  Holt is a killer player and does Hanneman justice.  I really do miss Lombardo behind the kit, though.  He’s got an intensity about his playing that Bostaph can’t capture, and that’s no slag against him, but it’s just not there.

At the end of the show, Kerry and Gary stood at the edge of the stage and threw a ton of picks out after the band had already exited.  It was nice seeing Kerry “hang out” a bit with the fans.

Overall it was a great night filled with great friends.  It had been raining (not blood) most of the week and while there were some ominous clouds hanging over the venue for a while, it never rained.  The humidity was outrageous though.  I felt like I was back in Virginia for an outdoor summer show.  We were front row of section 102, just up from the pit area and it was great not having to stare into everyone’s cellphones for the whole concert.  After the show we went to the Al Pastor taco trailer and it was awesome as always.  Lots of other show attendees were there as well.

Long live Slayer.


Written by The Metal Files

June 21, 2018 at 9:13 am

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Hammerfall & Flotsam and Jetsam Concert Review, San Antonio, June 19, 2018

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At the last minute, my buddy and I decided to head down to San Antonio to catch Flotsam and Hammerfall.  It was a relatively early show so we grabbed Rodney and headed into town after a quick dinner.

I had just seen Flotsam on their tour opener as headline a few weeks back but was stoked to see them live again and especially to see Ken Mary on drums again.  Since they were the opener they didn’t have the full set but still laid it down hard and heavy and were super solid.  They’ve only got a handful of dates left on the tour, one more with Hammerfall then the rest with them as headliners again.

After a quick amp and minor drum change out, Hammerfall came on and played a solid set.  At least solid for what I stayed to see.  I really only like the first 2 albums and they weren’t playing anything from the debut and only a medley from the second.  So that was a killer for me.  During much of their set, I hung outside with Ken and heard some of the stories from this current tour.

Fun night overall and worth the trip and late drive home.  Slayer tonight!

Written by The Metal Files

June 20, 2018 at 10:27 am

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Dennis DeYoung & Night Ranger Concert Review, Austin, TX, June 1, 2018

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For many of us, Styx has been unavoidable since the mid-70s.  Their music was everywhere…radio, roller rink, pool parties etc.  But they seem to always have 2 sides, you like ’em or you don’t.  Never saw much middle ground and it seems most people can’t stand Dennis DeYoung’s voice.  I’m in the “like ’em” camp although I’m not a fanatic and I’ve never seen them play with Dennis in the band, so I decided to go see the voice that was a huge part of my youth, good or bad.

I had sort of forgotten about the show until just a few days prior and invited a friend at the last minute to go.

Night Ranger was the opener and I hadn’t seen them before, either.  They rolled through their greatest hits with ease and with pure energy.  To be precise, they were completely badass.  I was really blown away by 2 main things, Jack Blades’ voice and Brad Gillis’ guitar playing.  Jack’s voice was sharp and he had no problem getting high in the vocal range.  Kelly Keagy and Gillis were no slouches in the vocal department either.  Overall it was a killer set and good to see Keri Kelli again.  Highlights were Don’t Tell Me You Love Me and When You Close Your Eyes.

Dennis DeYoung had recently been playing 2 sets containing all of the Grand Illusion album but last night it was just one set of basically Styx’s greatest hits.  As expected, the whole band was on point, musically and vocally including Dennis.  He’s a very spry 71 but his voice is still strong.  Lots of memories from middle school flooded in.  It was quite an enjoyable show and the highlights for me were Best of Times, Lorelei and Suite Madame Blue.

Dennis DeYoung Setlist

Night Ranger Setlist

Written by The Metal Files

June 2, 2018 at 3:22 pm