The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Posts Tagged ‘austin

Y&T Concert Review, Austin, TX, April 14, 2017

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Sorry to all 8 of my faithful readers, I’ve been super slack in keeping up with show reviews lately but trying to get my ass in gear again.

A strange thing happened Friday night in Austin, TX.  A couple of things actually.  Let’s just line these out:

  1. Y&T played in downtown Austin
  2. Y&T played an almost full house
  3. Y&T did not play San Antonio on this current tour

You may not see these things as strange, but San Antonio seemingly has had a lock on many of the classic hard rock and metal bands that still tour.  Y&T has played there at least 6 times in the last decade and hadn’t played Austin since 1987.  As many know, San Antonio had a legendary DJ named Joe Anthony who helped make a lot of bands popular in San Antonio and elsewhere for that matter.  He did a lot for the scene and even years after his death (RIP), San Antonio still holds that era near and dear to their hearts, and rightfully so.

But it’s nice to see that the winds are changing a little bit.  When this show was booked at one of Austin’s newer venues, 3Ten, I was a bit surprised.  It’s in the fancier part of downtown attached to the W Hotel and Austin City Limits Live.  I was really wondering how attendance would be for this location.  To be honest, I imagined about 50-60 would show up.

I’d not been to this venue yet but took a ride into downtown loaded with my Y&T vinyl and ready to rock with Meniketti and Co.  Upon arrival, I ran into some good friends and in we went.  The venue is just basically an open box with the stage at the far end and a bar on the right side.  But it’s a nice place and obviously owned by ACL Live.

There was no opening act and Y&T hit the stage promptly at 9.  As we were getting our spots near the stage, we were all surprised by how many people were filling in.  I was shocked.  I would have expected this show to be booked at Dirty Dog or Grizzly Hall but whatever, this was a good thing.  They hit the stage and dove right into Lipstick and Leather and followed that up with Don’t Stop Runnin’, which is my favorite song by them and easily in my top 20 songs all time by any band.  I had goosebumps through the whole song.  So many great memories of that song from a time long gone.

The band sounded great.  They mix up the setlists every night but keeping most of the hits in there.  Every song was great.  The band have been road warriors since their inception and it shows in how tight they are.  Upon introducing Winds of Change, Dave mentioned the recent deaths of original members Joey Alves and Leonard Haze and of Phil Kennemore in 2011.  That’s got to be hard knowing you’re the only one left.

They totally killed it though.  Their backing vocals are great and Meniketti is an underrated guitar god.

This may sound goofy but I was proud of this town for showing up and it was obvious a lot of long time fans were there as you could hear people singing along all throughout the venue.  Granted one of their biggest cheers came from Summertime Girls, which I understand, but they had so many great songs.  Of course people were just calling out song titles in between songs and Dave asked a girl in a wheelchair down front what she wanted to hear.  She asked for Let Me Go and Dave said they had only played that 10 times or less since it came out…then they nailed it.  Someone else had yelled out “Game Playing Woman!” from the first album.  Dave laughed and started playing the riff.  The other guitarist and drummer fell right in perfectly.  The new bassist didn’t know that one.  They only did a piece of it but it was impressive seeing Dave just whip it out off the cuff and still remember the riffs and words.

After the show, Dave came out to hang with the fans.  It’s always great hearing his stories and he loves to talk about the olden days.  Since I had a stack of stuff to get signed, I hung back to let folks say hi, get photos and such.  He was super gracious signing my 7 LP covers and their 2010 CD cover.  He talked about how extremely happy that they were about the show and that he was a little worried about attendance but that from now on, he’s planning to book Austin instead of San Antonio for future tours.  Score!  He said the last few shows down there weren’t very well attended or as enthusiastic as this one.

One observation:  what’s with dudes my age and up in bedazzled jeans and shirts?

It was a great show all around and I highly recommend seeing them.  If you weren’t a fan before, I guarantee you’ll be one after the show.

Written by The Metal Files

April 16, 2017 at 11:27 am

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.

Holy Grail, Exmortus & Spellcaster Concert Review, Austin, TX, August 3, 2016

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The Fellowship of the Strings Tour rolled in to Grizzly Hall yesterday featuring bands full of really good guitar players.  Having seen all 3 bands before, there were no real surprises here.

Spellcaster hit the stage promptly at 815PM.  Yes, you read that right.  An early show on a weeknight.  What a novel concept!  There was no local opener and set times didn’t get announced until about an hour before the show.  Had this show been downtown, it likely would have been a 10PM start time.  For us day job folks, these early shows are great.  Spellcaster’s slot was only 30 minutes and they blew through their set with ease.  The crowd was at about 60 people by my rough count during their set.  They sounded great.  I can’t recommend their latest album, Night Hides the World, enough.

Immediately after the set I hustled next door to grab a couple of al pastor tacos from Taco More.  Delicious I tell ya!  There was only 15 minutes between sets as all 3 bands were sharing the backline.  Exmortus was already on by the time I got back and I enjoyed their set a little more than I did last time.  The growing crowd was really into it and I think they may have had about 80 people.

Holy Grail rolls through Austin on the regular and the crowd had thinned out a little, but was still very much into the show.  To be honest, this may have been the best of the 4 shows I have seen by them.  James Luna’s voice was pretty much flawless.  They finished around 1115ish and all three bands just hung around and drank with the remainder of the crowd.

I bought a Spellcaster shirt, said a few goodbyes to them and some other friends and went home.  It was a fun early night.

 

Helstar and Omen Concert Review, Austin, TX, July 30, 2016

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I love Metal Blade Records for being one of the first metal labels that were accessible in the mainstream record store market as a kid.  About 90% of their first 80 or so titles were winners.  One of those bands that stood above the fray was Omen.  My first listen came when Danile bought Battle Cry.  From there I was hooked.  Before owning any physical copies of their stuff, we traded dubs of their first 2.  Kelz had a dubbed cassette of those first two that was passed around between our circle of friends.  Would love to see the j-card of that again.  Such great memories.  Those first three albums are essential to any fan of traditional metal.  JD Kimball’s (RIP) vocals are the best.  After he left and their followup albums came out, I admit to losing interest.  I did buy their latest one, Hammer Damage, last week and I like it a lot.  It’s certainly got that old school Omen vibe to it.  They never came through Virginia back in those days and I had missed festival appearances in the last decade so last night I was able to scratch off another band from the list.  To be honest I had a little trouble sleeping the night before like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Come show day, I gathered up my CD covers, marked the spot in The Book, took a nap, showered up and headed to the show.  Doors were at 7PM and the first of the 6 bands was going on at 730.  I grabbed some tacos at the place next door then went in and caught the openers, Metalriser, from San Antonio.  I’ve seen them a few times in San Antonio and I like them a lot.  Very Sepultura-ish with slightly cleaner vocals.  It was a solid 30 minute set.

Locals Force of Rage came on next.  Pass.  Not a fan.  By their second or third song, my date had shown up and she hadn’t had dinner yet, so back to the taco place!  We had missed all of the next band, Death of a Dream.  After listening to their stuff earlier in the day, I was ok with missing their set.  We returned right as Black Thorn Halo came on.  She looked at me when their second song started and said, “Outside?”  Haha.  YES!  I’m not a fan of that band at all, 0%,  although I think their guitarist is excellent.  He also plays in a local Dio tribute.  Fantastic guitarist in general.

As we were outside waiting for them to finish, I let her know about my rabid fandom of Omen and she was understanding.  We went in as Omen was setting up and went right to the front of the stage.  I was utterly surprised how under-attended the show was, especially since Omen rarely plays Texas even though Kenny lives in Dallas and because it was Helstar’s album release party and they generally do well in Austin because of how infrequently they play here.  My guess is that there were maybe 100 total from beginning to end, but the crowd had thinned out by the time Omen came on.  But we were there, at the front of stage when they opened with Death Rider and Dragon’s Breath.  This is right at the beginning of their tour with Helstar and even though things were a little rough, they were still fantastic.  I was just so excited to see them, singing along with everything.  They played the title track from their new album, Hammer Damage, and singer Kevin Goocher forewarned us that it was only their second time playing it live and that it would be a little rough…and it was, but that was ok.  To be honest, it’s my least favorite song on the new album, but it’s not a bad one by any means.  They played 8 songs total and were scheduled to close with Teeth of the Hydra (!!!) but the other bands ran long, so Omen had to pay the price and get cut by one song.  Add to the fact that Helstar had a hard start time.  It’s my favorite song of theirs.  Bummer.  I met up with their singer right after the cleared the stage to sign my CD and he mentioned that Steve Wittig had left already as he had to catch a flight.  So none of my stuff got signed by him, but no biggie, I’ll see them again in California is October for Frost and Fire II and again April 2017 for Spring Bash.  Funny, waited 32 years to see them and now I’ll have seen then 3 times within 8 months or so.

Helstar came on and pretty much just destroyed the place.  They were promoting their new album, Vampiro.  It may have been the best I had ever seen them play.  Currently lineup features on Larry Barrigan as the other remaining original member and he’s a fantastic player.  The remnants of crowd (pun intended) that were left there piled into the floor and were very vocal and animated during the set.  James’ voice was as precise as I have ever heard it.  It was a fun set and the new songs sounded great.  My date enjoyed both bands as well, having never heard them before.

She was patient with me as I spent a few minutes with Kenny Powell to get some CDs and The Book signed.  “I love signing stuff, I appreciate anyone who appreciates us.”  I mentioned how much I liked the new album and he mentioned how much trouble they had in writing and recording it.  I said that it sounded like Omen.  “Perfect,” he said.  “That’s what I needed to hear.  I wanted it to sound like classic Omen.”  Mission accomplished.  He signed the CDs and paused to see the Best of Metal Massacre.  “What’s this?  Never seen this before.  Another comp that I never knew about!”  He signed the book and his wife was enthralled by it, taking a picture of the cover to get one of her own.

It was a great night overall seeing old friends, making new friends and seeing one of my favorite all time bands.

 

 

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ Concert Review, Austin, TX, July 20, 2016

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Night two of DnC’s stand in Austin.  The band went on a little later this time, around 945PM and played until 1215AM.  My friend Molly came, which was quite a pleasant surprise.

What another great night.  DnC mixed up the setlist as they’re apt to do every night and played some more deep cuts.  As an added surprise Cheetah Chrome from The Dead Boys joined the band on stage to sing and play guitar on Sonic Reducer and just guitar Out in the Middle of Nowhere.  That was pretty cool.

It was a bit of a smaller crowd and I saw some of the same folks there from the night before.  It felt hotter in there as well.  Sweatin’ it out!  It felt good, though.  Rock and roll feels good.

Written by The Metal Files

July 21, 2016 at 9:16 am

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ Concert Review, Austin, TX, July 19, 2016

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Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ (DnC) are in town on a 2 day stint and that makes me happy.  A band I was in back in the early-to-mid 90s played a handful of their songs and they became a band that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I didn’t get to see them back in those days and the first time seeing them being only 2 years ago during SxSW.

I was surprised to see that they got booked at The Sahara Lounge in Austin’s far east side.  This is a true dive bar in an area that’s starting to gentrify.  I had only driven by the location before last night.  Nothing was clear online as to when the band would start so I showed up at 8PM and parked.  There were only 2 other cars there and I thought to myself that this was going to be a poorly attended show.

The band rolled in a few minutes after I did and I offered to help them load in along with another guy who had arrived early.  This bar is tiny but has a lot of character and a friendly staff.

DnC took the stage at 930 and played for 2.5 hours straight.  Wow.  It was hot in there, too.  The little wall unit ACs just barely took the edge off of the heat, but I was fine with sweating it out with the band.  The band now features Warner Hodges of Jason and the Scorchers fame and is a top notch guitar player.  The rest of the band, including main man Kevin Kinney, sounded great.  DnC has a lot of material and I’m mostly familiar with some of the earlier stuff, but it all sounds like DnC.  Kevin is a great riff writer and lyricist.

All said and done, I think there may have been 50-60 people there, maybe a little more.  It was a very welcoming crowd as well.  They played everything I would’ve wanted to hear except for Smoke.  It was one of my favorites to cover and I love the riff in that one.  After the show I asked Kevin if we’d hear it at Wednesday’s show.  “We’d have to relearn it, mainly me.  I haven’t played that one in a long time.”  Bummer.  That being said, I’ll be at the Wednesday show as well.

 

Written by The Metal Files

July 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Ted Nugent Concert Review, Austin, TX, July 17, 2017

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Ted Nugent.  Just the mention of his name to some, especially here in Austin, sends people’s triggers through the roof.  When the show was announced on Facebook, the SJWs of Austin took to their keyboards in protest.  “I’ll never go to your venue again!” “Boycott the Scoot Inn!”  “Such and such should be ashamed of themselves for booking this asshole!” and blah blah blah.  It was fun to watch.  That being said, I bought a ticket as I’ve never seen Sweaty Teddy before.

Some history…one of my older brothers, Robert (RIP), was a huge Nugent fan in the 70s and 80s and through his fandom, I became familiar with the first 4 or 5 albums.  Just the sight of those records takes me back to being a kid again.  Oddly, the only album of his that I ever owned was Little Miss Dangerous as I liked the title track.  I went back and re-listened to that one a few weeks ago and it’s pretty horrible.

As a musician, the guy is a guitar beast and severely underrated. As a human being, well, I wouldn’t mind meeting him but I don’t think I’d want to be his neighbor.  One thing I learned over the years was that if I based my fandom of bands on the people in the band and their previous transgressions, I’d probably never be able to listen to any band ever again.  Stones?  Bowie?  Sheesh, there goes a chunk of my music collection right there!

My buddy Jason K went with me and we arrived right around 730PM just after the opening band, who isn’t worth mentioning, had finished.  This was an early show with a hard curfew of 10PM.  I was pleased to see the 5 protesters out front and wish I had taken a photo of their signs, but oh well.  Good for them for exercising their First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.  I applaud that.

Ted hit the stage right at 8PM with his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and went into Gonzo after that.  I expected long-winded political rants speckled between songs but hardly got anything out of him besides, “The world sucks these days, America just sucks a lot less,” and “I’m from Detroit, the murder capital of America, and that’s only because we’re a better shot,” and burped “Obama.”  Pretty much everything else was about his love of Bo Diddley and Texas.  I was a bit surprised.

Up next was Free-For-All, which is one of my favorites.  Ted handled vocals for the whole show except for Stormtroopin’, another favorite.  Bassist, Greg Smith, sang on that one.  Greg has been with everyone it seems including Wendy O Williams.  I met him 2 years ago when he toured with Hellion.  Great bassist.  It was also good to hear Hey Baby and Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine.  Ted’s guitar playing was top notch.  His trio was rounded out by 21yr old drummer, Jason Hartless, who was perfect all night.

I was told that presales on the show were about 450 and I think the overall number was about 700 or so in an outdoor venue that can hold 1200.  I stayed up on the deck in the back with a couple of friends.  It was a nice evening and even better running into my old friend, Robin, whom I hadn’t seen in some years.

This was likely my first and last Nuge show.  It was fun and I got to see what I needed to see.

 

 

Written by The Metal Files

July 18, 2016 at 8:28 am