The Metal Files

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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 Quick Hits & Misses

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I’ll post reviews of some of my favorite happenings later, but here are some quick posts about some of this year’s SxSW happenings that I found.

  • Flatstock 29 – Flatstock is a poster art show where artists from all around showcase their wares andoffer them to the public for sale.  Since my first year of attending SxSW (2007), there has been a guy there named Brian Mercer who I think is an incredible artist and a helluva a nice dude.  I think I have bought a poster from him every year and got to see him away from the art show in a few clubs during the week.  I highly recommend his work, no matter if you’re a collector or you need some work done.  Check out his site:  Mercer Rock.  There were a lot of other good artists there but most made posters for bands I had no interest in.  Local artist Billy Perkins who sings for Butcherwhite was showing as well.  He has a current collection of works in process called “77”.  I picked up his Ace Frehely poster at FunFunFunFest a few months ago and this week picked up his Alice Cooper poster.  I love his style.  He also does band posters as needed.
  • Wednesday night I wanted to get into the Warbeast/Arson Anthem show at Emo’s.  The line was insanely long and none of the bands on the whole bill were really worth waiting that long for.  I can catch Warbeast again as they play Austin pretty regularly.
  • That same Wednesday I did get to catch Chicago’s Easy Action at the Ale House.  I had seen them a year or 2 prior and enjoy their brand of garage punk rock.  I met up with my friend Diane Kamikaze from WFMU.  We met last year at VoiVod and became fast friends.  She’s awesome and I’m glad I got to see her and her friend every day during the festival.
  • I did get to see quite a few bands throughout the week that just didn’t do a thing for me.  I won’t mention any by name but here’s a photo of one band from France that was pretty terrible except for their drummer.  The caption should read, “My shorts are more FuBu than yours!”  They were a ‘metal’ band, by the way.  Luckily most of the other bands on the bill saved the night.
  • People watching during SxSW is pretty interesting.  The influx of hipsters and gutter punks is crazy.  The hipsters seem to enjoy wearing vintage 80s “fashions” that really don’t fit.  I don’t know…most of what I see on them looked bad back in the 80s and still looks bad now.  I guess everyone’s got their thing, that just isn’t mine.  I’ll stick to my 80s looks of black t-shirt, blue jeans and black boots.   I at least wash my hair and bathe regularly.  It’s also cool meeting some of the foreigners who attend the festival.  After seeing the Bobby Liebling movie “Last Days Here“, I ran into some guys from Japan who were commenting on the patches on my jacket.  I told them I was seeing Loudness pretty soon and one of the guys pulls out his travel case with a 25th anniversary Loudness sticker on it.  He mentioned that their new drummer is a friend of his.  We had a quick discussion about Japanese metal and then parted ways.  The saw me again on the street the following night and handed me a CD of some J-Pop stuff.  Nice guys.
  • Street food/food trailers are a big thing in this town nowadays and even more so during the festivals.  Simms’ BBQ trailer at the corner of 7th and Red River is top notch in my book.  Their pulled-pork sandwich with pickles and onions really tastes like a McRib.  At least this is real pork.  Everything from this place is good.  The other usual suspects did me right as well like The Hot Dog King, Kebabalicious and Jackalope.  I did hit a veggie burger place yesterday that was pretty awful.  I hadn’t eaten since the previous day and there was no line there…I now know why!  I could not add enough pickles, spicy mustard and bbq sauce to drown out the nasty drabness of that burger.  Lesson learned.  Besides eating the street food, I am pretty sure I managed to lose some weight over the last few days.  I did tons of walking and my feet and knees are aching, but it’s a good thing.
  • Saturday morning I was able to catch The Rods at Cheapo Records at 11AM.  While I’ve never been a fan of them, I wanted to go see them for posterity’s sake and to get the book signed.  Mission accomplished.  Their set was lively and some of their true fans were there and that was great to see.  They were solid, I’m just not a big fan of their style of hard rock.  Their bassist, Gary Bordonaro was really good though.  I ended up seeing Gary and Carl Canedy on the street later that night as they were loading in for another gig downtown.  Apparently Wendy Dio was in attendance for that one!  Pretty cool.
  • I got to run into a few folks that I’ve wanted to meet for a while.  On Friday I ran into Wino from St Vitus at Scoot Inn and snapped a quick photo with him.  Dude’s a legend.  I didn’t make the Vitus show that night but heard it was good.  earlier that day I went to the D’Addario showcase and to see The Alex Skolnick Trio.  It was a fun show and Alex is a damned good player.  He was giving out free copies of his latest CD.  Repping for D’Addario was Frank Aresti from Fates Warning.  Oh man.  I’m a freak for early Fates Warning and especially the John Arch era.  A friend of Frank’s told me he was going to be there so when given an oppurtunity I chatted with him a bit, snapped a photo or 2 and got him to sign the book as well.  He told me a little about the upcoming album with John Arch and how John’s vocals still sound the same after 25 years.  I can’t wait for it to come out.  Before leaving I got to snap a show with both Alex and Frank.  That will be a moment cherished forever.
  • The Texas Guitar Show was pretty weak.  Much smaller than last year and I’m sure the economy has a lot to do with that.  Nobody was making deals either.  I did find one 80s Fender Jazz bass that I was interested in and he had it listed at or slightly above book value.  I offered a few hundred less and he said “all prices are what they are.”  Fine, I put my credit card back in my wallet and moved on.

All in all this has been a fun week.  I’m super tired, my feet and knees are killing me, I think my liver stopped working and I think I could go without seeing another band for a good week or 2…but I will make one more trip out this evening when Danava plays again.  They were my highlight of the festival along with spending time with Pentagram, both of which I will post about later.

Written by The Metal Files

March 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm