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Night Demon & Visigoth Concert Review, Austin, TX, April 12, 2016

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Round 2 of the Night Demon and Visigoth tour takes us to Austin’s Beerland.  At the request of Beerland’s booking manager, I was asked to find some opening acts for this show.  That proved to be a little more difficult than I had anticipated but my friends in Think Lizzy, a local Thin Lizzy tribute, stepped up and were the only local presence for the show.  Both Night Demon and Visigoth are huge Lizzy fans and were excited to have the tribute as an opener.

Think Lizzy hit the stage and played their good mix of Lizzy classics.  The band is really good and the singer is from Dublin and does a great job vocally and on bass.  Armand John Lizzy from Night Demon plays in a Lizzy tribute back in Ventura and got up and played Emerald with the band.  It was pretty sweet.  Somewhere mid-set, Steve asked me to join them for Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.  He asked me if I’d do it a few days before the show and I said it’s not Thin Lizzy but apparently they’ve had it in their set for a while.  Since I occasionally do a Motorhead tribute in Austin, he wanted me up there so it happened.  I strapped on his Ibanez bass on and we went into a pretty loose but good version.  The crowd seemed to like it.

Visigoth was up next and everyone was looking a lot healthier.  The energy in their show was a lot better than the San Antonio show from the night before.  I think it helped that they had a good opening act and that there was a better crowd.  The played the same set as the night before with Demon’s The Spell added in.  For the folks there who weren’t familiar with Visigoth I think they gained some new fans.

Night Demon’s set was also the same from the night before and like Visigoth, the energy was up.  The crowd was into it and the majority of the folks in the venue stayed near the front and rocked out.  Night Demon has gained a many fans in Austin since they first came here with Raven.  The band was so solid and as I’ve stated before, the addition of Armand adds a new vibe to the band’s live show.

There were a lot more folks in attendance and I think both bands have a lot of new fans.

By the end of the show I was pretty wiped out.  This was my third show in a row this week and I flying out at 6AM to Denver to see Iron Maiden.  I decided to just stay up the whole night with the bands back at my house before heading to the airport.

It was great having both bands stay with me and I’m glad I was able to help them out.  They’re always welcome.  Also, they stayed at my place until Thursday while I was away and took great care of the house and my cat, Taco. In the group show below, right as Andrew was taking the picture, Taco had jumped into a paper bag.  It was a perfect candid moment where instead of trying to be super tough metalheads, we were just cracking up over my silly cat.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 15, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Night Demon & Visigoth Concert Review,San Antonio, TX, April 11, 2016

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This is a busy week for shows and I’m a little further behind in my reviews, so trying to catch them all up today.

Night Demon and Visigoth have teamed up for a North American tour and booked some Texas dates.  Per usual when Night Demon is in town, I put them up at my place and Visigoth got shared space as well.  I didn’t originally plan on hitting the San Antonio show but last minute decided to drive down to Korova for the show.  On the way there I was notified that it would be an early show since the venue neglected to find an opening band.  Typically in San Antonio, these shows would have a handful of openers.

Rodney, Leanne and I enjoyed a great dinner at The Palm before heading over to Korova.  When we walked in, the place was practically dead.  The show was in the basement and I don’t think more than 25 total people were there. Didn’t help that it was a Monday night, but still, that’s pretty week.  At least if there were some local openers, it would have likely provided some additional promotion.

The singer and bassist for Visigoth have been pretty sick with some sort of flu-ish type bug but once hitting the stage, Jake put on a powerful vocal performance to the tiny crowd.  This was only the second date with the touring lineup as the main drummer and lead players for Visigoth were unable to make the tour.  While not perfect, they put on a great show all things considered and the few of us that were there were into it.  The sound in the basement was pretty awful, too, but they made do.  Of their short set, Iron Brotherhood is my favorite.

Night Demon came on and played like there was a packed crowd.  They’re already touring veterans and didn’t let up just because no one was there.  They opened with Ritual and their version of Riot’s Road Racin’.  Want to make friends in San Antonio?  Play a Riot song.  The band was tight and played all of their 2015 release Curse of the Damned and 4 tracks from their debut EP.  Solid set.

After the show I needed to get back home and try to get some sleep as I was going to do this all over again at the Austin show.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Satan & Night Demon Concert Review, West Hollywood, CA, March 26, 2016

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What a weekend!  I’m completely wiped out this morning but here goes…

I go see Satan any chance I get.  I love Satan!  Unfortunately they aren’t doing any Texas dates this year so I took the opportunity to go see them at the famous Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood.  Even more, my good friends in Night Demon were playing direct support.  It was slated to be a win-win!

I had a super early flight from Austin to LAX and didn’t sleep well the night before.  Bummer.  Anyhow, I arrived in LA at 830AM Pacific time and there was some sort of weird mix up with the rental car.  Let’s just say that I’ll never try and use Payless Rentals again.  I ended up at Enterprise having to try and book something on the spot.  That’s never easy to do in LA as I’ve found out before.  The only available cars that they had were classified as exotics and there were only a few to choose from.  They handed me a rate sheet with the car selection and the cheapest one on there was a 2016 white Camaro SS convertible.  I gave a bit of a sob story to the guy that was helping me and he gave me some discounts.  It was still more than I had planned to pay but whatever.  I figured that the weather was nice, I’m in LA for just a short time, I might as well enjoy it as much as I can.  So off I went with the top down, the 80s metal cranked up and two suitcases full of Cirith Ungol and Night Demon shirts in the back seat that I was delivering for a friend.  I cruised around LA a bit, ate at Pinches Tacos on Santa Monica Blvd then went to the hotel to check in.  I was pretty tired and with the long night ahead and the 2 hour time difference, I was going to need all the rest I could get.  Unfortunately that rest only lasted about 30-45 minutes.  Too much noise around.  Oh well.  I went to do some exploring and ended up at Amoeba Music.  The place is huge and I couldn’t find a thing that appealed to me.

It was getting close to load in time so I called for a Lyft ride and took the aforementioned shirts along with me.  Night Demon had just started loading in and a good friend from Mexico was already there so we chatted while the bands worked.  Satan hadn’t arrived yet as they had some issues in San Francisco the night before and had to get some things worked out.  After Night Demon finished their load in, Jarvis and new Night Demon guitarist, Armand, Sarai and I went over to the Rainbow for dinner.  This was my first time back at the Rainbow since Lemmy died.  Lemmy died.  That’s still not easy to write or think about.  The group secured a table and I went to the outside bar to the corner and just spent a moment there in reflection.  It was good.  Back to the table and Armand and I ordered a Jack and Coke in honor of the man and we ordered a pizza for the group.  I love their pizza.  As we were eating, Sebastian Bach and his family/a family came in.  I just said hello as he walked by and it was returned with a “hey man”.  San Antonio Rodney showed up as did Night Demon’s drummer, Dustin, and we hung out for a little longer before heading back to The Whisky.

Once inside we made our way upstairs to the dressing rooms where Sean Taylor, Brian Ross and Steve Ramsey of Satan were hanging out.  Sean and I caught up for a bit while Brian and Steve were being interviewed.  After their interview, Russ Tippins and Graeme English arrived.  I really do love these guys.  All class and super kind and all very funny.  They were obviously still a bit worn out from the night before and their drive so I went downstairs to meet up with some other friends.  Some of the opening acts had already played and locals Resistance were just coming on when we got downstairs.  I couldn’t get into them at all although one of the guitarists had some good lead breaks.

Up next was Night Demon.  As I mentioned before, Armand was now in the band replacing Brent Woodward.  I love Brent.  All around solid guy and loved my tacos when he and Night Demon were in town.  I’ve known Armand for several years as his old band, New Liberty, played Austin several times during SxSW in 2011 or 2012.  Dustin from Night Demon was also in that band and it was through him that I got introduced to Night Demon when my old band played with them in Chicago at Ragnarokkr in 2014.  As much as I hated to see Brent gone, I’m elated to see that his replacement was Armand.  He’s a killer guitarist.  and was also recently in Gygax and I highly recommend their latest album, Critical Hits.  Night Demon opened up with Screams in the Night and blasted right into Full Speed Ahead, which is one of my faves.  Armand sounded great with them and brings a bit of a different vibe to their live show.  They played 7 tracks overall and were right on point as always.  I’ll see them again in a couple of weeks in San Antonio and Austin with the mighty Visigoth.

Up next came NWOBHM legends Satan.  I can’t say enough about this band on a personal level and on a performance level.  The band is practically perfect live and I’d go see them every chance I could.  They opened with Siege Mentality, Incantations, The Devil’s Infantry and Twenty Twenty-Five.  That’s the same four they opened with the night before but then they changed it up and played Break Free from Court in the Act.  That album is so good.  All told they played 5 from their great latest album, Atom by Atom, 8 from Life Sentence and 4 from Court in the Act.  I’m still utterly amazed at Brian Ross’ vocal abilities.  The whole band was awesome and it was especially nice to hear them on a quality PA system.  I was a bit surprised that the show didn’t sell out but it was good to see people singing along to Night Demon’s and Satan’s sets.

I ran into Tim Baker from Cirith Ungol.  What a nice guy.  He gave me some stickers.   I saw Robert Garven as well but we didn’t get to speak much as he was on his way out the door.  I also got to see my friend from Austin, Allie.  Quite the pleasure seeing her again as well.

After the show we headed back to the dressing rooms.  The band was packing their stuff as they had an early flight out for their next show in Portland.  We said our goodbyes and I told them I’d see them on one of their east coast dates in October.  Right before walking out of the dressing room, I was recognized by a girl I had met at the Cathouse Live show at Irvine Meadows last year.  She was wearing a killer Toxik shirt, too, so that’s major points with me!  It was great making that connection with her again.  Said my “see you later” to her, Satan and the Night Demon guys and headed back to the restaurant by the hotel for a late night bite to eat.  Service was slow and Rodney bailed.  My LA friend, Sabrina, and I stuck it out, ate and she took a ride back to get her car by the Rainbow and I was fading fast.  I went back into my room and pretty much passed out as I hadn’t been to sleep, real sleep, in almost 24 hours.  Unfortunately I was only able to sleep for about 3 hours as I have a hard time sleeping while the sun is out.

After checking out, I spent some time just driving around LA.  Made a quick trip into Venice to see Cameron and Rell.  She and I have been friends for a long time from when we both lived in Norfolk. She moved to Austin after me, met Cameron, moved to Venice and then got married.  Always great seeing them.

After that I headed up to Studio City to meet with someone whom I’ve loved since first hearing her music…Betsy from Bitch!  We had been in contact a few times in the last 15 years or so and I asked her if she had time to meet up as I’d love to get her signature in The Book.  She agreed and we met in town for about an hour.  It was really awesome to be sitting there with her.  We spent about an hour together, she told me some stories about the band, her current drummer showed up, she signed the book, snapped a few fotos with me and then we were both on our separate ways.  I can’t thank her enough for that time.  She’s pretty damned cool.

I was slated to turn my car in by 5 as I had a 7PM flight home.  I got notice that my flight was delayed for 2 hours but went ahead and turned it in as I was getting charged an hourly rate.  I couldn’t have asked for a better 2 days of 78 degrees and clear skies to be driving around with the top down, though.

Once at the airport, I just waited it out at Gene and Paul’s “Rock N Brews” for a beer and some tacos that weren’t that good.  I tried catching a few z’s on the plane but couldn’t as I couldn’t get comfortable, even with the whole row to myself.  I finally got to bed around 230 Central time, extremely tired by extremely pleased with the whole fast weekend in LA.  California always sets me right, even with the fakeness and the deplorable traffic.  Something in the air for sure.  BUT…I’m always ready to get back to Texas.

 

 

Holy Grail & Night Demon Concert Review, Austin, TX, December 7, 2015

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My good friends in Night Demon rolled back into Austin this week as direct support for LA’s Holy Grail.  With it being a Monday night I was a little concerned as to how well attended this show would be, but it did better than I expected.

The ND guys got to my house around 4:30PM after a long drive from Albuquerque and promptly unloaded their bags and started taking showers and just relaxing a bit before we head to the show for load in.  This is the 3rd time they’ve stayed here and they now have their own key to my house.  Great guys.

The show had 4 openers going on before ND.  Fortunately I liked two of them already, Blood for Master and Widower.  Both bands put on solid sets as usual.  Blood for Master played some new stuff from their latest disc.  Widower pretty much destroyed everything in their path.  Love seeing both bands.  I went elsewhere during the other 2 bands.  A few seconds into each of their sets and I knew I didn’t need to be there.

Night Demon comes on shortly after 10PM with their Conan the Barbarian intro and bust right into Screams in the Night and Full Speed Ahead.  The crowd of about 75 or so was very into it.  They played 7 more songs closing with Night Demon.  Great set as always and it seems like they picked up some new fans.

After about a 20 minute break, Holy Grail comes on and while the crowd thinned out a little, the faithful remained and stayed right up front.  They were really solid and I like their guitarists a lot.  The only thing I don’t lik.e it the occasional death metal growls.  They don’t need it but I guess it’s what the kids want these days.  They also played a decent cover of King Diamond’s No Presents for Christmas.  Solid set.

After load out and coming back to my house, I made tacos…again.  Night Demon loves my tacos.  haha

 

Raven & Night Demon Concert Review, Austin, TX, October 11, 2014

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As far as NWOBHM goes, much of it is hit and miss for me.  Raven was always the miss.  I could never really put a finger exactly what but I think it started with their look and the lyrics.  It was just a bit too goofy for me.  I had seen them live previously in 2000 and was able to have lunch with the Gallagher brothers and their families that day as we shared a common close friend.  That was a great day and those guys are really fun to hang out with.

I ran into John again earlier this year when I was in Richmond, VA for the Satan show there.  Always polite.  Flash forward 14 years and Raven is doing a 2 month long tour across the USA with my pals in Night Demon (Ventura, CA).  I had met those guys in Chicago earlier this year when Eternal Champion played the Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalyspe.  I had known the drummer for a couple of years prior from his other band that used to come through Austin on the regular.  Great guys.  I was excited that they were coming to town and offered up my house for them to stay after the show.

The night before the show I was downtown in my favorite bar and there was a couple sitting next to me.  The guy was wearing a venom shirt so I struck up conversation.  They were from Chile.  Victor spoke perfect English but Javiera didn’t really speak any.  I speak Spanish pretty well so we all had a nice talk.  She had won a VIP contest to ACL, all expense paid.  Pretty cool.  Neither of them really cared for much of the music at the fest but weren’t going to turn down a free trip.  I asked him if he liked Raven and he said, “Hell yes!  One of my favorites!”  I let him know about the show the next night and they were excited.

On to the show.  Sweat Lodge opened and I’m just not into the hippie stoner rock stuff that much.  I guess they’re good at what they do, I’m just not into it.  Night Demon comes on and blaze through their set efficiently.  Their brand up upbeat NWOBHM inspired metal went over well with the crowd that was there.  They especially got everyone’s ear by playing a cover of Road Racin’ by Riot.  Riot is a big deal in Texas and it was only coincidence that Night Demon played it.  The metal faithfuls loved it.  They gained a lot of new fans that night.

Raven comes on and the crowd loved it.  There were about 10-15 people right up front who all first saw Raven and Metallica in 1983 in Austin and this show was a bit of a reunion for them.  That was pretty cool to see all of them right up front singing every word.  As stated above, I’m not into Raven but they are energetic live and John can still hit the high notes pretty well.

Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse 2014 in Review

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Holy crap!  What an incredible weekend I just had in Chicago April 3-6 at the Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse 2014 fest.  I was planning to attend the show this year but then my band, Eternal Champion, got added to the bill, so that made it a double bonus.  Having Riot V, Grim Reaper and Picture on the bill was enough to get me out of town.  My best friend of 30+ years, Kelz, got the OK from his wife and we started making plans to meet up there.

I got there Thursday afternoon and was greeted at the hotel by Bob B, one of the festival organizers, and David B who had just traveled from Australia for the fest.  They were waiting on some other folks who were on their way in before we headed off to go get some food.  I checked in, freshened up a little, met the rest of the group and off we went in a few different vehicles to grub.  I took Jeremy and Jamie from Heaven and Hell Records with me and also my buddy Dustin who’s drumming for Night Demon now.  I’ve known him for about 3 or 4 years from when his former band, New Liberty, would come through Austin.  I was pretty excited to see him and to share the bill with his band.  Good kid, good drummer.

We went to a place called Marcello’s Father and Son Pizza.  I ordered calamari and a small pizza with Italian beef and green peppers on it…and no, not Chicago style.  I’m a thin crust guy.  I did try a piece of Dustin’s Chicago style and it was good, just not my thing.  Mine was great as was the squid.  Plus they had Peroni on tap.  mmmmmmmmm…Peroni.  We left dinner and went to a cool little bar called The Mutiny.  There were a few venders set up there selling shirts, patches, records, books and CDs.  I kind of went overboard on patches.  I need a new vest to put them on.  My night there was great.  I got introduced to one of Bob’s friends, Mike and his girl Dahlia.  Such awesome folks.  Mike’s got ties to the San Antonio area and it was great getting to know the two of them a bit.  Classic metal was being played the whole night and it was quite incredible having 30+ people singing Running Wild and Warlock songs in unison.  The bar itself was great.  Just an old dive bar that loves metal and punk.  The guys from Riot V showed up later and we all partied down.  Don Van Stavern and I talked for quite a while as we have a lot of Texans in common.  Mike Flynt was hanging with us for a bit, such a super nice guy.  It was getting late and the long day was wearing on me, so I gathered my group and we headed back to the hotel.  Everyone was a bit wiped out plus we needed our strength for the opening of the fest.

One of my favorite things about The Mutiny was meeting the group of guys from Mexico.  Many of them didn’t speak English and it felt good to be able to speak Spanish with those guys.  I think they appreciated as well.

Friday morning came too early and I needed to pick up Kelz at the airport.  Mitchfest!  We went to the hotel, got him situated then went into downtown to get some food.  We ended up at Portillo’s and got the Italian beef sandwich.  I’m pretty sure they put crack in that thing.  It was tasty.  We went back to the hotel after that and chilled out for a little bit.  Now remember, we’ve known each other for over 30 years, so there’s always a ton of smack talk between us.  Tons of abuse.  Mama jokes galore.  At the hotel, we got our gear together for the night.  Him with CD covers galore and me with The Book.  I had purchased a canvas shoulder bag to carry that in and to house whatever swag I bought.

This fest has 2 stages and I’ll run through the main stage bands first.

MetalUSAfer was the “secret opener” at on the main stage at 5:30.  They weren’t my thing.  I think one or some of the guys from this band are in High Spirits who I haven’t checked out yet.

Chicago’s legendary Amulance came on next and just rocked the place.  While I felt that they should have been on later, the fest apparently has a “policy” of putting locals on early, no matter how big they were.  They were awesome and just super nice guys.  Singer Rick Baez made it a point to sign stuff for everyone after the show and wanted pics with the fans for himself.  Super cool.  Guitarist Bob and bassist Chuck were all super cool.

Night Demon is a SoCal 3 piece that now features my buddy Dustin on drums.  Awesome guys and they played a great set.  I recommend them!

Diamond Rexx was up next and I’ve always loved their album Land of the Damned, even if it was a bit cheesy.  They came on with their original lineup and played a mix of old and newer stuff.  They did alright.  I got to meet the guitarist and bassist who both signed The Book.  The singer didn’t stick around after their set unfortunately.  Oh well.

Canada’s Axxion came on next and their mulleted singer delivered soaring vocals over top of great riffs and drumming.  While they were trying a little too hard to be an 80s retro metal band, they did a good job at it and I’d like to see them again.

The Skull features original Trouble members Eric Wagner, Ron Holzner, Jeff Olson along with Lothar Kellar and Matt Goldsborough who was recently in Pentagram.  They were there to play their new new demos which sounded fine.  I had walked out for a minute to get some air when all of a Sudden I hear Trouble’s The Tempter being played live.  I think I may have knocked over a few people trying to get back in there.  The also played Assassin and End of my Daze.  They sounded great and seeing Matt on guitar was a nice bonus.  I had met him when Pentagram last came to town and he’s a cool guy.  Catching up after their set was great.

Picture came up next and played a damn solid set.  I’m not a huge fan but it was great to see some Euro legends on the stage and for their 2 original members to sign The Book.

Finally came Riot V, the version of the band touring after Mark Reale’s death (RIP).  I’ll just say this.  They ruled.  While having Bobby Jarzombek on drums would have been cooler, the touring drummer did a fine job and Mike Flynt did a wonderful job on guitar.  The new singer is no slouch either.  They were the perfect ending to an awesome night on the main stage.

As far as the second stage bands on the first night, none of them really stood out but I did stop in briefly to see NC’s Dogbane and Dark Design.  I can’t say I’m much of a fan but they were both solid.  To be honest I didn’t see any of the other bands on the second stage as the main stage that night was so ass kickingly good.

After Riot V, we went back to the hotel to pass out and to get some energy stored up for the next days sightseeing and festivities.  We bounced around Chicago a little bit but I didn’t want to get too crazy that day as my band, Eternal Champion, was slated to play at 8PM on the second stage.

I started on the main stage again with Salt Lake City’s Visigoth who just got up there and slayed the crowd.  The singer had trouble talking but was able to power through vocally.  The whole band was killer.  Can’t wait to see them again.

Austin-based Witches Mark came on next and played a solid set.  They’re goods pals of my band and it was cool to have another Texas band representing at the festival.

Because we had to play, I didn’t see Axemaster or Crowhaven but did pop in to see Black Death Resurrected, which was just OK.  I was never a fan.  I did meet Sickie Spacek after the show but didn’t have the book with me that night.

I also missed Argus as I was getting my gear situated after we played.  However, I did catch Mexico’s Voltax and those kids are kick ass!  High energy power metal and a singer with pipes of gold.  Amazing seeing him hit those insane high notes.

Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper closed out the night on the main stage and feature Nick Bowcott on guitar for the first time in about 25 years.  They played an incredible set and I’m so glad that I got to see them live finally and to meet Steve and Nick.  Steve’s voice sound great.

Now on to the second stage.  To be honest, I didn’t much pay attention to anything going on as I was getting mentally and physically psyched up for our slot.  One of the show promoters kept telling me about the hype surrounding us and that a lot of folks were excited to see us.  That being said, Midnight Hellion came on right before us and played an enjoyable set.

Next up was Eternal Champion.  Us.  This was only our third show since our inception in December 2012.  My local pal loaned us a sword.  During Midnight Hellion’s set, I could see a lot of people filing in presumably to get a spot in there to see us.  We get on stage, set up, tune up, get introduced and blasted through our 30 minute set like a hot knife through butter.  I think because of the adrenaline rush and the reactions from the crowd, I don’t really remember much about the set we played other than it was too fast.  Not surprising really, as we don’t rehearse as much as I’d like since some of us don’t live nearby.  But we make it work.  The crowd went nuts between every song and at the end.  It was sheer madness and some of the most fun I’ve had playing live.

I didn’t really catch anyone else on the second stage.

I just want to say that this little festival is the perfect size as far as the venue and crowd size go.  The promoters treated us like gold and I hope we’re able to come back next year and play the main stage.  I met some awesome people in Chicago and look forward to going back to just hang out.  Also, Leather Leone of Chastain fame was an MC for the show and I got to speak with her several times over those 2 days.  She was awesome.  Very sweet and funny.

Great times!