The Metal Files

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Goodbye to The Boathouse – RIP

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These hallowed walls scream…and the walls of The Boathouse at Bessie’s Place in Norfolk, VA were certainly hallowed.  Like just about anyone from that area will tell you, The Boathouse was THE place to see shows.  I’ve lamented more than once on the website about how much I loved that place and some of the great shows I saw there.  The national/international 80s metal scene flourished there for us kids.  Megadeth, Overkill, Yngwie, Lita, Testament, Anthrax, Obsession, Sanctuary, Warlock, Metal Church, At War, Dianno’s Battlezone, Winger, Black Sabbath, King Diamond, Don Dokken, etc.  Even into the 90s and 2000s I saw some great shows there like Sepultura and Motorhead.  Pretty much any band that wasn’t big enough at the time to play the Hampton Coliseum or Norfolk Scope ended up at the Boathouse.
The Boathouse was finally torn down this week.  Hurricane Isabel ruined it in 2003 and it never reopened.  It was pretty obvious when Harbor Park was built next to it, nothing would happen there again. Pity.
Back in 2005 (or maybe 2006…whenever Gigantour played Portsmouth), I got the chance to meet Dave Mustaine at a charity softball

photo by L. Todd Spencer, Virginian Pilot

The Boathouse. It used to be red. Photo by L. Todd Spencer

game.  I saw Megadeth there twice: Peace Sells and So Far, So Good.  Great shows.  We were standing on the ball field at Harbor Park and I asked Dave if he remembered playing the Boathouse in the 80s.  “That fucking dump!  I hated that place!”  I told him to look over the left field wall and he’d see the roof.  “Good riddance!”  Funny.

And really one important thing about The Boathouse for me…I saw my very first metal show there in 1985.  Stryper.  I was 15, my first time there and it was great.  Definitely my favorite place to see shows back in those days.  I think the last show I saw there was Motorhead/Supersuckers/Nashville Pussy in 2000.

RIP…and thanks for the memories, all of them were awesome.

Written by The Metal Files

November 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Posted in boathouse, norfolk, obituaries

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Anthrax, Testament & Death Angel Concert Review 092911

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It’s really amazing what music can stir up in a person. You know how it is.  You hear a song on the radio/iPod/etc that just shoots you back in time.  Last night’s show at the new Emo’s East did just that.  It was a high school flashback for sure.

I first saw Anthrax and Testament together in 1987 at the now defunct Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  To this day that hails as one of the greatest shows I have ever seen.  Anthrax was on their Among the Living Tour and Testament was promoting their debut album, The Legacy.  Just an awesome show.

Death Angel opened the show and I’ll readily admit that I am not a fan.  Not for lack of trying, mind you.  About every 10 years I’ll listen to their first 3 albums to see if they sound any different to me and they never do.  I just couldn’t get into them minus a few songs like Mistress of Pain and Room With A View.  My friends here kept saying that I had to see them live and it would change my mind.  Well, it didn’t.  I went in open-minded (no, really, I swear I did!).  They just didn’t do it for me.  Sure, they were solid but their brand of thrash just doesn’t settle with me.  Rob Cavestany is a fine guitarist, though.  He was shredding it up last night.  I did get to meet Mark Osegueda at my favorite bar a while later after the show.  Fun guy for sure.  Super nice.  Shots!

I’ve lamented for years that Testament is the greatest live band ever.  They never disappoint and last night they surely didn’t.  They had Gene Hoglan behind the kit and as always he was perfect with ever hit, every beat.  The guy is the greatest metal drummer alive and certainly the most versatile in my opinion.  I was hoping to catch up with him and say hi but it wasn’t in the cards, unfortunately.  Testament’s set was really strong.  They played a good mix of their back catalogue.  Chuck was in fine form.  Skolnick, while playing great, seemed a light bit bored, like he was going through the motions.  I know he is really into his jazz trio these days and maybe playing the metal is taking a back seat, but again, he shredded it perfectly.  The whole band was on it, as always.

Anthrax…I’ve been a fan since I first bought a used copy of Spreading the Disease on cassette for $3.99 at Unicorn Records in 1986.  They were a band that I had read about but not heard yet and Spreading is still my favorite album of theirs to this day.  Thanks to the Internet, setlists of previous shows get posted instantly and I was able to see what they had been playing on this tour recently.  Great list!  The main part of their set had been consistent for most of their shows with the closer changing up a little.  Only and Medusa had been played recently and I was really hoping to not hear Only and hear Medusa.  You see, they didn’t play Medusa when they were in San Antonio within the last year and I was a little disappointed.  Last night, instead of Medusa, they gave us Be All, End All.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Seriously?  Man, I really wanted to hear that one badly.  But alas, no dice.  I will admit that I left when they started their encore.  The went into N.F.L. and I was out.  My feet were killing me. Anthrax kills me, though.  With a band whose Belladonna era has some really great material, they continue to throw in Antisocial and Got The Time in their set.  I would’ve been happy with Belly of the Beast from Persistence of Time and something else a little more obscure like Raise Hell (yeah right, I know I’m dreaming) or even A.I.R.

There were a few times during Anthrax’s set that I really felt like it was 1987 all over again.  It was a great feeling, albeit a strange one.  Stirred up all kinds of stuff.  So glad I got to see this show and so glad I got to see most of my favorite Austin folks there.  It was quite refreshing.

I need more shows like this.  NEED!

Death Angel setlist:

I Chose the Sky
Evil Priest
Claws In So Deep
Relentless Revolution
Seemingly Endless Time
The Ultra-Violence
Thrown to the Wolves

Testament Setlist:

The Preacher
The New Order
The Persecuted Won’t Forget
Envy Life
Over the Wall
Souls of Black
Into the Pit
Electric Crown
Henchmen Ride
More Than Meets the Eye
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days in Darkness
Disciples of the Watch

Anthrax Setlist:

Earth on Hell
Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
Caught in a Mosh
Madhouse
Antisocial
(Trust cover)
I’m Alive
The Devil You Know
Indians
In the End
Got the Time
(Joe Jackson cover)
Be All, End All
Encore:
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Metal Thrashing Mad
I Am The Law

Chuck Billy...THRASH!

Gene Hoglan. (Photo by Brooks M)

Yours truly, Mark Osegueda, T.A.

Written by The Metal Files

October 30, 2011 at 9:56 am

Slayer – Seasons In The Abyss Concert Ticket And More…

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Since today is the International Day of Slayer, I thought I’d post this Slayer memory.

February 17, 1991, 10 days prior to my 21st birthday.  Slayer and Testament invaded The Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  Slayer was promoting Seasons In The Abyss and testament was on The Souls of Black Tour.  I had seen testament at least once before and they were awesome.  To this day they are one of the best bands I have ever seen and I try to catch them every chance I get.  I had never seen Slayer before this night and I wasn’t much of a fan of the Seasons album but liked everything before it.  I remember going to buy my ticket and complaining that it was $15.  Hell, I was only making about $6.50/hr or so at the time.

It was an awesome show though.  Both bands delivered.  Testament was phenomenal and Slayer was probably more intense than any band I had ever seen.  There were mosh pits everywhere during Slayer.  Like a fool I decided to get into one at the back of the venue.  I may have gone around the circle once or twice when I fell over some dude who hit the floor in front of me.  My face lands square on his back and I thought I broke my nose.  Luckily there was no blood but my nose has been slightly off center ever since.  Damn that hurt.

On the wall in various parts of the venue were printouts as seen below with the band’s photocopied autographs.  I snagged one immediately when we walked in.  After the show the staff was trying to clear the parking lot and a few of use were trying to ditch them and see if we could meet some of Slayer.  I was able to get about 30 seconds with Kerry King who walked out with a towel around his neck.  I asked him to sign the back of this piece of paper and he asked what I thought of the show.  I told him I thought it was great.  He signed it, shook my hand, thanked me and got on the bus after a few other folks got to talk with him for a moment.  Total class act that night.  Jeff Hanneman came out and had a group of guards around him.  No one got close so we bailed.

It was a pretty cool night and overall an awesome show.  I got to meet Lombardo several years later and will talk about that meeting some other time.

Slayer sign (click to enlarge)

Kerry King's autograph

Written by The Metal Files

June 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Your sudden faith is all in vain…

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Spring 1988. I was a senior in high school and one of only 2 metalheads in that school. It was a small private Catholic school in Portsmouth, VA. I really hated that school and 90% of the people in it. My 9th and 10th grade years were pretty fucking brutal. New kid in a school in which most of them had known each other since kindergarten. I had nothing in common with them. I was an outcast. It was probably partially self-imposed.

To cope with all the bullshit that comes with being an awkward teenager, I immersed myself in music even more than I normally did from just being a huge music fan at a young age. Music was my life. Music is my life.

Back to 1988. I remember reading in one of the metal mags about a band coming out called Sanctuary and that their debut was being produced by Dave Mustaine. I was a big Megadeth fan at the time so this sparked my interest even more. I went to the Music Man on Friday night which was a pretty regular routine for me and my friends. We’d get our allowances and go blow it on music.

We put it in and sat silently while riding in my ’66 Nova 4-door. We were blown away. This voice. This high shrill that was cutting through everything. Warrell Dane. Who? Exactly.

We all got super excited when we found out that they were coming in concert as the opener for Megadeth and Warlock. We were right up front for the whole show. Dane hit every note perfectly. All 3 bands were great that night. Of course the majority of the crowd was there to see Megadeth, but I was mostly there for Sanctuary and Warlock. I got blown away.

This is one album that I wish would get remastered. It sounds like Peace Sells (Megadeth), which is to say that it’s very muddy, the drums sounds like shit and I think there may be a bass guitar in there somewhere. Their follow-up disc sounded much better. So please…someone re-release this with a remix/remaster!

Die For My Sins is definitely my favorite song. The whole album is badass except for their version of White Rabbit. I detested the original and this version. After getting to know Warrell Dane several years later, it made sense why he loved the song so much. I still think it sucks.

Poor production and one silly cover song aside, this album gets a 9/10. With it coming out in 1988 in the height of the pretty boy LA metal scene, it stands heads and tails above most other albums from that year.

Written by The Metal Files

October 12, 2008 at 2:08 pm

So bang ’em…

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Bang them till they bleed!

Take the context of that any way you want. :)

If you read the Megadeth post below then you saw me mention Obsession’s “Scarred For Life”. This was a very unique band and another one that I found via a former friend from high school. They had such a unique sound and style. Total fist banging type stuff, mostly upbeat and a lot of cymbal catch type stuff. I don’t know a better way to put it.

Anyhoo, it was 1986 and there was a small group of us in our area that were really into these guys. Kelz and I were all about them but I don’t remember Danile really being into them so much. My other crew of friends loved Obsession.

“Scarred for Life” was just one of those albums for me. I spun it incessantly. Practiced drums to it as much as possible and tried to get all the cymbal catches in the right spots. Easier said than done, they had a lot!

When their second full length album came out, they were starting to get some MTV exposure and a few of their videos were getting played which gave them the opportunity to tour the USA with Paul Dianno’s Battlezone and this tour rolled through Norfolk at The Boathouse.

Now realize that were we all under 21 and for some shows at the Boathouse, they’d put up a barricade that kept us kids from being able to get right in front of the stage. This show was set up like that.  My old friend and I made some banners on cardboard and were freaking out during every song. I think we were the only people there who even knew who Obsession was. His banner had “Bang Them Till They Bleed!” written on it and halfway through the set, the singer told the crowd that they were going to play it even though it wasn’t on the setlist just because he had it on his banner. How freaking cool was that? I have my original autographed copy of that setlist and that song was definitely not listed.

Before their set ended, a few of the guys ran backstage really quickly and came out with cameras in their hands. They took a few pictures of the 4 of us, their true fans. We flipped out. I’ve never seen a band do that. After their set, they came out into the crowd and found us and we ended up hanging out with them the whole time Battlezone was on the stage. They were the nicest guys and very grateful that they had some fans. It was an awesome night all the way around and one of my fondest concert memories.

A few years later, Obsession’s singer Mike Vescera ended up singing for Yngwie on 2 albums. When that tour rolled through, I got to the venue early and saw the tour bus. It was mid afternoon at the oceanfront and no one was hanging around…I think it was early winter/late fall. I knocked on the tour bus door and johnny toolbag opens the door and says in an assholish manner, “Yngwie’s not seeing anyone today!” I told the guy I was there to see Vescera. “He’s not seeing anyone either, now go away.” I started yelling out “Obsession! Loudness!” as Mike sang for both bands. Next thing I know Mike pushes the dude out of the way saying, “Get the fuck out of here, I’ll talk to this guy.”

So Mikey comes off of the bus and we chit chat for a bit. He signs my Obsession records (yes, records) and my Loudness stuff and I tell him I saw Obsession back in the day at the Boathouse and how me and my group of friends made banners for them. He started getting all excited and said, “Dude, we took pictures of you guys! That was our favorite stop on the whole tour because someone actually knew who we were!” You could really see and hear his sincerity. It was awesome and he was thankful for my fanboyness. They rocked that night too.

I was in touch with Obsessions drummer, Jay Mezias, for a while but haven’t spoken to him in about a year. Not sure what happened to the rest of them. I think one was in jail in the late 80s for drugs. No matter, those Obsession albums stand the test of time. The latest one is pretty good too, but without the original 2 guitarists, it just didn’t sound like Obsession to me.

Good times.

Written by The Metal Files

September 5, 2008 at 1:38 pm

A click comes from the hammer that couldn’t drive a nail…

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I remember it like it was yesterday. My parents were out on a cruise in the early summer of ’87 and I was left home alone with a freezer full of frozen pizzas and Perdue Chicken Nuggets, all by my request. I was 16 and my parents trusted me enough to leave me alone for a week. Hell, we lived out in the middle of nowhere and none of my friends from town would come out if I tried having a party. haha.
Anyhoo, I decided to use my mom’s car (Silver Subaru 4dr) to go to Portsmouth and hang out with a former friend from high school for the day. Got to his house and he let me hear Obsessions’ “Scarred for Life.” I freaked! “Let’s go to Tracks (record store)!” So we hop in the Subaru and drive over to Norfolk to hit one of the only cool chain record stores in the area. I went in and grabbed the Obsession cassette and saw Megadeth’s “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying” on the rack. I had seen some ads in Circus and Hit Parader about it and decided to buy that tape as well. of course my mom’s car didn’t have a cassette player (shoulda drove my Nova!) so we had to wait until we got back to my buddy’s before we could hear it.
We popped the tape into his stereo…holy shit. ‘Wake Up Dead’ started and we just looked at each other with wide-eyed gazes and our mouths open, trying to pick our jaws up off of the floor. What the hell was this? Heavy. Dark. Evil. Sense a theme in what I liked about much of the 80s true metal? We were both just sitting there quietly as each song played. It’s one of my fondest memories of that era of music. Each song came on and we were just floored by the massiveness of it all. Then…’I Ain’t Superstitious’ came on. I think he and I simultaneously said, “What the fuck is this?” Seriously. What the fuck was that? OK, we know Dave was a drunk and a heroin addict, but c’mon. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised since he did do a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots” on their debut…that sucked too.
“Peace Sells…” was my introduction to Megadeth. I adore this album, that one song not withstanding. The main drawback was the production. It was terrible. Were there any hihats or cymbals on it? Everything was so muddy. In the grand scheme it didn’t matter. This album was massive…rephrase…IS massive. I was fortunate to see this tour with Overkill opening. May 23, 1987. It’s the only concert date I think I’ll ever remember. The show was perfect. It was also the night of my junior prom. Screw the prom…Megadeth!
My favorites on this one are ‘Bad Omen’, ‘The Conjuring’, ‘Black Friday’ and especially ‘My Last Words’. I love it all except ‘…Superstitious.’ Weak.
I finally got to meet Mustaine 2 summers ago during Gigantour when they were doing a charity softball game at Harbor Park. I asked him if he remembered playing at The Boathouse. “Ugh. Yes. What a fucking dump!” I told him to look over the left field wall and he could see the roof of the place (RIP). I also mentioned that I skipped prom to see the Peace Sells tour. In typical Dave fashion he replied, “Don’t blame the fact that you couldn’t get a date for your prom on me!”
Good one. Dave.

Written by The Metal Files

September 4, 2008 at 5:33 pm