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Archive for May 2019

Keep It True XXII Concert Review, Lauda K√∂nigshofen, Germany, April 26-27, 2019

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Before last week I had never been to Europe. Just around the USA, Mexico City and Puerto Rico. I’m 49 and after this whole trip, I slightly regret not having traveled overseas before. But now I have the bug.

Let’s talk metal now.

The Keep It True festival has been on my radar for many years because they always book the best of the classic metal and up and coming true metal bands. This year in particular made it a no-brainer to attend because 1) I helped get one of my all time favorite bands get booked SACRED RITE and 2) my good friends in the TEXAS METAL LEGION also got booked. I’m sort of their manager? I’ve never had to do anything for them but whatever.

Let’s begin at the beginning. I left Austin April 24 to connect in Detroit for my flight to Frankfurt. As we were about to pull out of the gate in Detroit the pilot announced that there was a valve problem in one of the engines. We had to de-board the plane and it seemed that the flight was going to get canceled. Luckily they had a spare plane nearby and we finally left about 4 hours late. The flight over was pretty easy. I didn’t really sleep much. Even with an upgraded comfort seat, I never got fully relaxed.

April 25. Marco, one of my best friends, met me at the Frankfurt airport. He’s been living in Germany for the last few years. I booked all of our flights/hotels and he managed the ground transportation. I was pretty tired when I got there. My friend Nicole who also lives in Austin was on that flight as well as Megan from Detroit. Once we got through customs, we connected with Marco who greeted me with a hug and a German beer (Prost!) and got on our series of trains down to the town we were staying in near the festival called Bad Mergentheim. Quaint little town that apparently has a lot of spas. We were all pretty hungry so we walked around and found a nice little German food restaurant and I got a damn good wiener schnitzel. And of course more German beer, which happens to be my favorite. We were all pretty tired but made our way up to the pre-party two towns north thanks to a free ride there from the event organizer, Ollie. Great guy that I’ve been getting to know in recent years through other fests. We hung there for a bit then got a can ride back to our town by a crazy driver named Eddie. He yelled at everyone that was going too slow. It was awesome. After getting back to the room, we crashed out pretty hard.

April 26. Got up, jet lagged, and grabbed some breakfast in the hotel. A quick shower later we walked to the train station and hopped it up to the next stop near the venue. We just followed the sea of black shirts until we got to the venue, Tauberfrankenhalle. I’d only seen it in pictures and vids from previous fests. The line to get in was pretty long but we got in, grabbed another beer and I went out to the merch tent. Holy fuck. I spend a lot of money on records and could have easily dropped $1000 in there pretty quickly but I didn’t want to hassle with shipping it or carrying it to our next destination, Dublin. So I bought none. NONE!

Thankfully, my dear friend Kiri upgraded our wristbands which gave us a place to sit and watch bands out of the crowd. Shortly after I ran into Jason McMaster from the Texas Metal Legion who upgraded us to all access. Sweet. Now we could go backstage and have a nice bathroom to use as needed.

I’ll go through the bands now…

Sabire opened up and I wasn’t familiar with them at all. They didn’t really catch my ear but the crowd loved them and I saw a lot of people carrying their merch around.

Traveler was up next and features my buddy JP on vocals. He’s also in Gatekeeper (CA) and did some time in Borrowed Time. Great guy. The band was stellar all the way around. Definitely the NWOTHM sound that I dig.

Texas legends Juggernaut were up and laid down a solid set of classics. They sounded great and I was excited to finally see them play a full set. The crowd was into it and the band was having a blast.

Cities hit the stage and just laid it down. The singer sounded great as did the band who I believe were all last minute replacements. I couldn’t have been more pleased in their set and performance.

Japan’s Anthem was up next and I’ve always liked their first 3-4 albums. Somehow I only caught their last song. They sounded great and I wish I had seen more. Everyone raved about them.

Around this time I got word that. Candlemass canceled. They were to be the day 2 headliner. We kept it to ourselves. Swedish airlines went on strike and all flights were negated.

Agent Steel was up next. Or were they? Singer John Cyriis has the reputation of being difficult to work with, which sucks for a band that never made it that big. But I am a huge fan of his era of the band. The whole band was there ready to go on but no John. Apparently he was just being a princess asshole and decided to show up an hour late. When they did hit the stage, they delivered a solid 6 song set and his voice sounded pretty good. The crowd was getting restless before their set and started chanting “Aria! Aria!” That was pretty funny and well-deserved. I nicknamed them Delaygent Steel. Candlemass also got nicknamed by someone else as Cancelmass.

Russian metal legends Aria were next and delivered a solid set. I’m only a moderate fan so I just hung out for a few songs. They had a huge fan base there.

The headline act was a tribute to Mark “the shark” Shelton of Manilla Road who passed away suddenly last year. The band consisted of previous members and also Leif from Cancelmass, Jarvis from Night Demon, Jake from Visigoth and others. It was a touching tribute of 20 plus songs. Mark’s mom and other family members were on hand as well, which was great.

We didn’t stay for the entire set. I was still pretty wiped out so we snagged a cab. It was Eddie again! Weird coincidence. Marco and I hit the hotel bar for another round then off to bed.

April 26. It was a little harder getting up this time. After standing around most of the day, my feet and legs were not happy. We lounged around too long to get breakfast and ended up getting a cab to the venue. I needed to see the early bands. I downed a sugar free Red Bull and felt a lot better. On to the bands.

Idle Hands is a newer band from Portland that has a couple of ex-Spellcaster members in it. I’ve lied then since hearing their first ep. They have a nice combination of vocals, lyrical content, open riffs and a darkness/sadness around them to make them really click with me. Hard to explain. They were awesome and will do well down the road.

My friends in Sacred Rite came on next. I’m obviously a huge fan and was excited to get them on the bill. Having not played out in forever, last year’s small show in Phoenix notwithstanding, I didn’t know how well received they were going to be. All doubts got erased quickly. They used a replacement bassist as Pete couldn’t make the trip. Both he and the drummer did just fine. They were well-rehearsed and the crowd loved them. I was up front with some crazy SR fans from Holland. Super cool guys. Sacred Rite were awesome.

Witherfall was next. I heard a little of the beginning and end of their set. Not my thing although the singer channels the voice of Midnight from Crimson Glory pretty well.

Solstice (UK) was next and I only saw one or two songs. Again, not my thing but they were tight and the crowd loved them. Hung out with the replacement singer and the bassist afterwards and they were good dudes.

Now it was time for the Texas Metal Legion (aka South Texas Legion). I found a spot up front to see my boys. Holy shit they tore it up. They played songs from Militia, Karion, SA Slayer and most importantly for me, two Watchtower songs. This was my first time seeing McMaster perform any of those classics and it was made even better with such a badass backing band. They closed the set out with Breaker by Accept and had flags representing Texas, Germany and the Texas Metal Legion. Harlan from Juggernaut joined them for the finale. The set was perfect and the crowd was going nuts.

Midnight came on next and ran through their set with terrifying ease. As always the crowd was going crazy and singer/bassist Athenar had the crowd throw cups at the stage. It was fun.

Culprit was up and I always felt they should have been bigger. They only did one album back in the day and it’s damned good. The lineup at KIT only featured one original member, the bassist. I thought they sounded great but talking to them backstage, they weren’t pleased. Oh well.

This was my third time seeing Vicious Rumors in the last year or so so I wasn’t that excited to see them. For this show, they had original singer Carl Albert’s son on vocals. The kid had the gift like his dad. Sounded great.

Hail Satan. I don’t tire of this band. I’d see them every week if I could. They hit the stage and delivered a solid set. Not much hang time with them as they basically did a fly in/fly out show. But it was great to get a few drinks with Brian and the gang. Hail Satan. They really are the best dudes out there.

French band Sortilege was on next. I checked out a little bit of their set but was never a huge fan. They were solid as expected.

Marco and I left before the end of their set and hit a kebap place for another drink. It was our waitresses’ birthday and she did a shot with us. “I’m not supposed to drink while working, but fuck it, it’s my birthday! Prost! Danke!”

Back to the hotel bar, one more beer and off to bed.

KIT was a pretty incredible experience for me. It was great seeing friends from around the world, meeting new folks and seeing a lineup of killer bands. Again I can’t thank Ollie, Kiri, Texas Metal Legion, Sacred Rite and Satan enough for their hospitality and friendship.

Next year’s lineup is already shaping up to be a killer with Loudness, Visigoth and Friday/Saturday headlining sets from Cirith Ungol!

After KIT we headed to Dublin for a few days then to Berlin, but those trips are for another day.

Setlists here.

Written by The Metal Files

May 3, 2019 at 1:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized