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Saint Vitus & The Skull Concert Review, Austin, TX, September 27, 2016

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Saint Vitus, The Skull and Witch Mountain kicked off their latest tour here in Austin, TX Tuesday night to a moderately sized crowd at one of Austin newest venues, Grizzly Hall.  This place has a great setup and sound system.

Newish Austin locals, LadyKiller opened the show with their brand of what I have seen called “Camaro Rock” to a slowly building crowd.  They seemed to start off a little flat but by the middle of their 30 minute set, they were doing their thing smoothly.

Witch Mountain was up next but I missed their entire set hanging outside on the patio with some friends.  I could hear them but wasn’t interested enough to go in.  I had checked them out before and well, pass.

The Skull was up next.  I’m a huge Trouble fan of everything they released up to and including their 1990 S/T classic.  I’ve seen them 4 times now, including Tuesday’s show and really like the stuff they’re doing now.  They’ve gone through some lineup changes since I first saw them in 2014 in Chicago but Eric Wagner, Ron Holzner and Lothar Keller have remained constant.  Lefty Rob Wrong (Witch Mountain) is handling additional guitar duties now and for this tour in Sean Saley’s absence, they have former Poison Idea drummer Steve “Thee Hippy Slayer” Hanford.  They opened the set with Trapped Inside My Mind from their 2014 release entitled For Those Which Are Asleep.  Three of the next 4 songs were also from that album.  They played “The Longing” from their latest EP as well before going into 4 classic Trouble songs including Pray for the Dead from Trouble’s 1985 album The Skull.  The band sounded fantastic and Wagner’s voice was still as shrill as ever.

Saint Vitus were up next and I’m not much of a fan although I’ve seen them several times.  Their drummer, Henry, is a good pal so I go to support.  He took me to the green room prior to The Skull to get Dave, Mark and Scott to sign The Book.  All were really cool guys and Scott was up front with us watching The Skull.  I watched their first 3 or 4 songs and have to admit that I enjoyed them more than ever.  Having Scott on vocals helps quite a bit as I’m no fan of Wino aside from his Hidden Hand stuff.

After the show I was beat.  It was getting pretty late for a work night so I headed home.  The tour bus that they were going to use was stuck in Dallas broke down so instead of them driving back to Dallas after the show, I had offered my place up to The Skull.  They had to drive back to Dallas the next day for a show, but were happy to be able to sleep before making that drive.  It was a bit surreal knowing that Eric and Ron, dudes from a band I’ve loved for 30 years, were just hanging out in my house with my cat, Taco, while I was crashed out.  haha.  Good dudes.  I did come home for lunch and Ron had just woken up.  “Your cat is awesome.”  True.

Through my pal, Felix Griffin (DRI, BAT), I was introduced to former DRI bassist, Josh Pappe.  I got him added to The Book as well.

SxSW 2011 Music and Film Festival

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I’m pretty fortunate to live in a town that holds a festival like this one every year.  Austin is dubbed The Live Music Capital of the World and while it’s a great place to see bands, it’s not the greatest place to be in a band.  But that’s neither here nor there for this article.

This will be the 4th SxSW festival in a row that I am attending and I always see some good bands.  For the music that I’m into, it’s only a small percentage of the 1,000 or so bands that come here from all over the world to play.  I wasn’t here for the early days of this fest where bands were really playing for their shot at a record deal, but I do find it enjoyable.

It is unfortunate, however, that many who visit Austin for SxSW treat the town like their own toilet and/or trash dump.  Sure, those who bought their passes/badges paid a lot of money for them, but that’s no excuse for poor manners and behavior.  Just my 2 cents on that.

In SxSWs past, I’ve seen Motorhead, the Lemmy movie, VoiVod (3 times last year!), and dozens of other bands of all genres just by walking the streets of downtown.  It’s pretty cool overall.

This year’s music lineup is pretty tasty for “official” shows.  It includes The Rods, Pentagram, X Japan, Saint Vitus, Christian Mistress, Agollach, Alex Skolnick Trio, Zoroaster, Naam and a slew of others.  I also always end up seeing some other good bands that I have never heard of before.  Not to mention it’s a big fun party.

I’m not the biggest moviegoer in the world, but I will make time to see Last Days Here which is a documentary about the life of legendary Pentagram singer Bobby Liebling.  I met and had dinner with Bobby and Pentagram last year and he is a really nice guy.

I’ll be posting reviews of the shows and the movie for sure.  I’m pretty excited already.