Archive for the ‘armored saint’ Category
I’ve been working in Houston during the week lately and have missed some shows that I wanted to see lately as I cross paths with the bands while traveling between Austin and Houston. Missing Diamond Head hurt a little. Even though I’m not a huge fan, I have always wanted to see them live. Such is life.
I picked up tix for Leanne, Rodney and myself and headed to Alamo City Music Hall. I don’t like this venue at all. The sound is horrible and stage lighting for the bands just sucks, but they get quality shows so that’ll keep me coming back. As we arrived I got in touch with Armored Saint guitarist, Jeff Duncan, who I’ve known for some years. We hung outside at their bus for a little while while the opening band played. Great dude, killer guitarist.
We caught the last few songs of Midnight Eternal. They were listenable keyboard-heavy metal. After a quick set change, Saint came out an executed their short set flawlessly. Bush’s voice was squarely in tact and the whole band was on fire. I just wish the sound in that place wasn’t so shitty. I really like Saint’s latest album, Win Hands Down, and they opened with that track. They mixed the set up from some of the other shows so we didn’t get Last Train Home or Nervous Man, two of my favorites, but it didn’t detract from their performance.
Queensryche was up next and I hadn’t seen them with Todd yet. Overall I’m not a huge fan of anything of theirs post-Rage for Order. I know I’m in the metal minority when I say I don’t care much for Operation Mindcrime. While the band played perfectly and Todd sounded absolutely amazing, we were both pretty bored and left during their 4th song. I did get to hear Best I Can, which I do like a lot. Again, sound is such a huge issue with this place.
Looked like about 400ish people were there which is a good showing for a Tuesday night.
Three things in San Antonio have stood the test of time: Saxon, Armored Saint and Jason McMaster. Let’s just face facts, Saxon’s biggest USA fanbase is in Texas with the majority in the San Antonio area. Last night proved that.
The weather was bad all day but I drove down and arrived at the venue pretty early to meet up Armored Saint/DC4/Odin guitarist, Jeff Duncan, who I hadn’t seen since the Odin reunion show in LA a few years back. We met when his band DC4 was in town for SxSW about 5 years ago. His brother, Shawn, and I have been friends for a few years prior and I helped them out when they were in town. Jeff and Jason met me at the back door of 210 Kapone’s and walked me in. While sound checking Armored Saint, I got to meet John Bush and the Sandoval brothers. I had previously met Joey Vera at the Arch/Matheos show a few years back.
The Saint guys went back to their hotel after signing The Book (thanks, Jeff!) to rest and clean up and Jason and I hung out while some of the local openers were playing on the second stage. The crowd was starting to build around 730 and lots of friends were showing up. Jason’s thrash band, Evil United was scheduled to go on at 8PM. Thanks to Jeff, Jason and Saint’s manager I got an all access pass that was good though the end of the Saint set.
Evil United hit the stage and opened with Dead Can See from their new album, Honored By Fire, followed up by three more from that album. They went back to their self-titled debut for Dawn of Armageddon. The 30ish minute set was capped by a brutal cover of Judas Priest’s Tyrant. The crowd was into the set from the first note to the last. Jason is highly regarded in San Antonio because of his work with Watchtower and Dangerous Toys. He’s consistently flown the metal flag in Texas for 30+ years. Evil United sounded great. Don Van Stavern’s bass was crushing through the mains. I especially like EU’s drummer. That dude is pretty much a badass. The band was tight and the set was too short, but such is life. Jason has a long history with Armored Saint dating back to the early 80s and had remained friends with them since then. It was great seeing them hang out together.
Armored Saint was using EU’s backline so there wasn’t much of a changeover between bands beyond changing cymbals out and switching guitar pedal boards. They hit the stage around 855 with the title track from their new album, Win Hands Down. I like this song a lot and have listened to it several times since the single was released. They totally got the crowd going with March of the Saint and Nervous Man. Bush’s vocals were spot on and Jeff’s backing vocals sounded great. The guitar tandem of Jeff and Phil Sandoval is pretty crushing. The whole band was extremely tight and their setlist spanned every album. Symbol of Salvation is my favorite album and their played Reign of Fire and Last Train Home. The increasingly growing crowd was totally into their 11 song set that closed with Mad House from March of the Saint. Of course Can U Deliver elicited the greatest response. I had never seen Saint before and last night’s show was great. Just what I needed! After their set I went back to Saint’s dressing room for a bit to hang with Jeff and Jason. I didn’t want to be all up in their business as it was pretty humid in there last night and those guys put on an intense set so I knew they were a bit worn out. Bobby Jarzombek was up there and was having a discussion with John Bush about whose Mexican food was better, LA or San Antonio. It was pretty humorous.
Saxon was up next and it’s well known around here that I am not a fan beyond 3 songs or so. I just could never get into Biff’s voice, their lyrics and their riffs. Believe me, I have owned several of their album to no avail. They hit the stage to a seemingly capacity crowd opening with Motorcycle Man. They ran through what most would consider their most popular songs. I watched one song and went back to the room where the second stage was to sit for a while as it was vacant and I sit down. Ran into other friends out there and listened to the remainder of the show from a distance. I heard Dallas 1PM, Princess of the Night and the closers Strong Arm of the Law and Denim and Leather, and that was plenty for me. I was just bored and couldn’t wait for the show to end so that my friends and I could grab a late meal and hang out for a while at one of their houses. Saxon, however, did sound tight and the crowd was completely into it from beginning to end. That will likely be my first and last Saxon show.
Written by The Metal Files
May 25, 2015 at 11:18 am
What a weekend! As has been discussed on this site ad nauseum, I am a huge Odin fan. I love their debut Don’t Take No For An Answer and the subsequent albums all had some killer tunes on them. When I found out in the Spring that Odin was doing a show, I had to go. I’ve wanted to see them since 1986. I had a chance to see them 3 or 4 years ago but stuff came up and I couldn’t go. It almost happened again this time too. I had purchased my concert ticket right as they went on sale but waited on buying my plane tickets as right around the time of the show announcement, I was told that I’d be getting laid off soon. So I held off as I didn’t want to spend the extra money. Fortunately I was only out of work for a month and was living on the severance pay that my former company had given me. As soon as I got a new job I booked my flight to LA.
Twenty-five years is a long wait to see a band. Sit tight, this post may take a while. Maybe not.
The original plan was to stay with a good friend out there but with my flight getting delayed because of Hurricane Irene and some other unavoidable happenstances, I just decided to get a hotel in Hollywood. Good move. As soon as I landed in Burbank, I got my rental car and headed straight to Hollywood and my hotel on Santa Monica Blvd. I checked in, freshened up a bit and headed out for the night. It was about 10:15PM or so when I hailed a cab and headed straight for the Rainbow Bar and Grill. Again, good move. As I was having a few drinks at the inside bar, the guy next to me was talking to the bartender about Hurricane playing at Key Club just a few doors down. Hurricane! I always liked the song Hurricane and a few others of theirs. While they were a pretty boy type of band, they were definitely a cut above bands like Poison, Warrant and much of the other terrible glammy sleaze that plagued LA (and the world) in the late 80s.
I used to own Take Want You Want and one shaped EP on vinyl. In the late 1990s I started selling off my record collection. They were listed on eBay and Kelly Hansen, the singer for Hurricane, had gotten in touch with me to work a trade for those records. Of course I
was skeptical, but after he called me and we talked, I knew it was legit. In trade, he sent me some unopened tapes and CDs and signed one of them for me. Hard to believe that some bands don’t have their own material…same thing happened one other time with Frankie Banali. I had a WASP EP that he didn’t have from the Headless Children album. I had 2 so I gave him one.
OK, let’s get back on track here. The dude at the bar was the show promoter. He gave me his card and told me to hand it to the door guy and I’d get in for free. I offered to pay my way in but he insisted. Cool! I finished my drink and went right over to Key Club as Hurricane was getting ready to go on. I go in with no troubles, grab a beer and hit the floor. Hurricane comes on and they open with Hurricane. Sarzo and Cavazo were still in the band and I think Kelly’s brother was on drums. Of course Kelly sings for Foreigner now. The new singer is Andrew Freeman who used to play guitar for theOffspring. He sounded great and played some guitar as well. I was really impressed with them overall. I caught a little more than half of the set and then made my way back over to the Rainbow. Luckily for me Lemmy was there (of course). I got to say hi again. He remembered me from Austin. We only spoke for a minute as he was only taking a short break from the video game machine. I love the Rainbow. Such a cool place with so much history.
Being almost 2AM California time, it was almost 4AM my time, so I was pretty worn out. I grabbed a cab and went back to the hotel. I watched the weather channel’s coverage of the hurricane until I fell asleep.
After only about 4 or maybe 5 hours of sleep, I got up and muddled around town for a bit before driving out to San Bernardino to meet an old friend for lunch. It was great to see her and the Thai food was tasty. From there I headed back into Hollywood to catch Odin’s soundcheck and to get Randy O and Aaron Samson to sign the book. I got to watch them do 2 or three songs, got my signatures and hung out with Shawn and Jeff Duncan for a little bit before they left to go back home. I became friends with them a few years back when their band DC4 played here in Austin. What a band and a great bunch of guys! I really wanted to have dinner with Shawn and his fiance but I was so wiped out and just wanted to go take a nap. So we parted ways and I headed back for an all-too-short nap.
When I originally bought my ticket, I went ahead and bought a spare as I figured a friend from Austin or someone I know in LA would want to go. Luckily I happened to meet Regina in Austin a few weeks prior to the show through some good friends of mine and I mentioned that I’d be out there for the show. I asked her to go and she graciously said yes. So after waking up from my nap, I took a quick shower and grabbed a cab for the Rainbow again. I wanted some of their pizza. It’s my favorite ever. I get there and the door guy remembered me from the night before. He waived the cover and gave me 2 drink tickets. SCORE! It was still a little early so seating was pretty wide open. I sat at the outside bar as it was a nice evening. The bartender remembered me and even what I had been drinking the night before and automatically poured one for me. Peroni on draft by the way. I ordered a small pizza and it came out pretty quickly. The small is huge. I met a few people while waiting for my food and we were having a great time talking shit. They were super fun and luckily helped me eat the pizza. After the beers and pizza were done, I paid out and headed over to The Whisky to see the reason I made this trip…ODIN. Regina met up with me shortly after and we went in. I ran into some folks that I knew, mainly the other DC4 guys, Matt Duncan and Rowan Robertson. I love Rowan. He’s such a nice guy and we always have a great time hanging out. (Your arrow, siiiir.) Saw a few other folks that I knew and we hung out upstairs until Odin was about to come on. Luckily Regina didn’t mind getting in the crowd. We were about 2 or 3 people from the stage in the center.
The lights go down and Odin comes out to a loud roar from fans, including me. This show definitely brought out something in me that doesn’t happen that often. I see a lot of shows…A LOT. But very few bands actually get me “juiced”. Iron Maiden, Testament, Motorhead and a few others do. Odin did. The music nerd in me came out completely. Poor Regina. haha. Odin opened with 12 O’Clock High. It was great. Their setlist was great and Randy’s voice was in good shape. A lot of the guys who used to hit those high notes back in the old days can’t do it now. Randy hit a lot of his. And the ones he knew he couldn’t hit, he didn’t try. While they played most of the EP, The Writer and Solar Eye weren’t played. Well, a piece of Solar Eye was played which gave Jeff some solo time.
I love California, or at least SoCal. Never been that far north, but the LA/Hollywood area sets me right every time I am there. It’s beautiful. I almost moved there in 1997 and still do the “what if…” game sometimes.
After the show, Regina and I head back over to the Rainbow for a final drink. It was fun closing it down. The valet brought her car around and we drove around and foraged for food around town. We grabbed some fast food and headed back to my hotel. She dropped me off, I went to my room and went straight to bed, completely wiped out again.
The next morning was checkout, a drive around Hollywood for a bit and then off to the airport. Absolutely one of the best weekends I have had in a long time thanks to Odin, DC4, Hollywood, and my LA friends, new and old. Good times. If/when Odin plays again, I’ll try to be there for sure.
Lots of great shows coming to the area. So many that I have to pick and choose a little more carefully to be able to afford the ones that I really want to see.
Tomorrow night I am heading to San Antonio to see Loudness. Saw them back in 2006 and they were great. RIP Munetaka Higuchi.
Next Friday is Orange Goblin and Naam(!!!). I’m not a huge OG fan but I’ve never seen them. Naam, however, has become one of my favorite bands. This is part of the Chaos in Tejas music festival.
There’s also the M.O.D. reunion show in late June that I am fortunate enough to be a part of as Milano asked my Motorhead tribute band to open up.
I just bought tickets earlier this week to see Armored Saint and Hirax at the Key Club in Hollywood. Should be a fun show. I’ve never seen Armored Saint and saw Hirax for the first time 2 years ago. I’m really excited to see Saint.
Odin is doing a reunion show in August at The Whisky and I’ll be heading out there for that one as well. I love Odin. Always have. Do a search for them on this blog site, you’ll see my inner fanboy. haha
September sees Return To Forever coming back to Austin. I got to see the first of their reunion shows a few years ago and it was quite mind-numbing. Unfortunately Al Di Meola isn’t on the tour, but Frank Gambale is a competent enough player to handle the duties. We get Jean Luc-Ponty this time as well!
Written by The Metal Files
May 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm
I remember stopping in Unicorn Records on Saturday afternoon in 1986 and perusing Drew’s used cassettes. he had Spreading The Disease in there for $3.99 and I bought it based on a few reviews I had read in some metal magazines. Needless to say I was blown away and became an Anthrax fan instantly. I went through several copies of that cassette between 86 and the time it came out on CD. I always had a copy handy in my car between 86 and 88. It was a great album to listen to on the way to school.
Fistful of Metal – 1984
I heard this album shortly after hearing Spreading the Disease, I believe from Daniel’s older brother if memory serves me correctly. I’ve always liked this album a lot. Very raw. Very heavy. Coincidentally, my current guitarist played with Neil Turbin for about 3 years after his exit from Anthrax. (Note the drummer).
Armed and Dangerous EP – 1985
Exit Turbin, enter Belladonna. It’s a great EP. Listened to it today while in the shower. Raise hell! Not much of a fan of their cover of God Save the Queen but the album showed Belladonna’s range. His versions of the Turbin songs were pretty damned good.
Spreading the Disease – 1985
I think I have this ranked as my 6th favorite metal album ever. Gung-Ho is a bit goofy, but it showcased Charlie Benante’s incredible double bass stamina. The Enemy, Lone Justice, Medusa, A.I.R. are my faves but I never skip any tracks when it’s in the player.
Among the Living – 1987
Hmmm. Well, they got better production but something had changed. Seeing them in the magazines looking like goofballs with TMNT stuff on everything sort of knocked them down a notch or 2 in my eyes. The title track, Skeletons in the Closet, Indians, NFL and Caught in a Mosh were the best tracks but they got a bit silly in their lyrics. I did see this tour with Testament opening (Legacy Tour) and was simply blown away by both bands. Charlie Benante was worth the price of admission alone. Then they played I’m the Man. Ugh. What a let down. I’ve hated that song since I first heard it.
State of Euphoria – 1988
C’mon guys. They really started slipping on this one. I think my favorite song is their cover of Trust’s Antisocial. I guess it’s not a bad overall but it’s far from great. I saw this tour when they opened for Ozzy. They rocked it.
Persistence of Time – 1990
Ugh. The album hurts my ears in general. Again, their cover song is the best song. They did a version of Joe Jackson’s Got the Time. Belly of the Beast is alright. Saw this tour when they opened for Maiden in 1991. They were alright.
Sound of White Noise – 1993
Exit Belladonna, enter John Bush. I was a bit thrilled that Bush was in the band…until I heard the album. Only is the only song I like. The rest sucked. Really.
Stomp 442 – 1995
I stopped caring. Thanks for reading.