The Metal Files

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Cleveland Metal Holiday Food Drive Concert Review, Cleveland, OH, December 2, 2017

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A great weekend was had in Cleveland.  I booked my trip last minute (Nov 30!) on Allegiant Air, flew up on Dec 1 and came home on Dec 4.  Allegiant only flies to/from Cleveland on Mondays and Fridays, so I went by the subtle urging of my buddy Steve.  I wanted to go anyway because a lot of bands I liked were playing, notably Night Demon who were to record a live album.

The relatively quick and painless flight landed in Cleveland and Steve and I got our respective rental cars and parted ways for a bit.  I went straight out to start record shopping and found some cool stuff pretty quickly.  After a few hours of shopping I headed to our hotel and got settled in.  We grabbed some dinner then headed over to a club called Maple Grove to watch an Iron Maiden tribute band.  This was the pre-party to the Saturday concert.  Now, Maiden is my favorite band of all time and I am hyper-critical about their cover/tribute bands.  Maiden isn’t that easy to cover, especially vocally, bass-ically and drum-ically(?).  This band, who I have forgotten their name, pretty much nailed it on guitars and bass.  The singer was OK.  The drummer is what killed them for me.  Nicko isn’t that easy to cover, Clive neither for that matter, but there are certain licks that have to be there and many weren’t.  The worst part is that HE USED DOUBLE BASS.  Just NO.  NOPE.  NO!  Fake it until you make it, but don’t use double bass when playing Maiden.  I ended up in the downstairs bar just hanging with Night Demon and some other new pals more most of the set.  Had a great time over all.

Saturday morning I got up early and headed around the outskirts of Cleveland to do some record shopping.  Cuyahoga Falls, Akron, Kent and a few other little towns.  Found some great stuff deals and LPs.  Then back to the hotel.  Was hoping to grab a quick nap before the evening’s festivities but it didn’t happen.  Quick dinner with Steve then off to the famed Beachland Ballroom for this food drive benefit show.  I donated cash and went on it.  Had some other friends there who traveled in for the show as well.  The show was split between two stages in two different rooms.  I didn’t really catch any of the bands in the smaller room except when visiting the bar for a drink.  That was such a slow pain in the ass that I just didn’t really drink hardly at all, which was fine.

In the main room I ran into Athenar from Midnight and hung with him for a bit.  Pittsburgh’s Lady Beast took the stage and delivered a quality set, much better than when I saw them in Chicago a few years ago.  I think I was in a different mindframe at the Chicago show because I was about to play with my ex-band that day.  No matter, they rocked it and I bought their new album.

Shok Paris was up next.  I had never seen them but like stuff from all 3 albums, especially Steel and Starlight.  The singer was having a little trouble in the first 2 songs then his voice kicked in.  They were damn good, too.  Glad to finally see them.

I was tipped off that Jeff Hatrix from Purgatory (my favorite Auburn Records band) was there.  I spotted him between bands and made a quick introduction.  Super nice guy.  He said the unreleased second album was in the works to come out.  Sweet!  He ended up in Mushroomhead, which I can’t care about. :)

Breaker was next and it was their original lineup, which was a big deal.  By this point, the venue was at capacity, stuffy and uncomfortable.  I ended up behind Night Demon’s merch table for the set just to have some space.  Breaker was great!  Hometown heroes.  Everyone in the band nailed it.  Singer sounded great.

After Breaker, a small portion of the crowd left, which made the room just a tad more comfortable.  Night Demon was up and they have a really big Cleveland following thanks to the legendary Bill Peters (Auburn Records) playing them on his 30+ year long radio metal show.  ND’s merch guy had to go run lights so I handled merch during their set.  Night Demon is a well-oiled machine and this show proved it even more.  They moved through their set, which as mentioned before was being recorded for an upcoming live album.  They rolled through 24 songs!  It was killer and I got to hear a few songs that rarely get to see them do live.  This was also my 14th time seeing them.  Love those guys, as a band and as people.

Sunday was a little more record shopping, then off to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Night Demon.  Bill Peters graciously had some VIP passes waiting for us and we had a few drinks and milled around the Hall.  Pretty cool place as far as being a music museum.  After that, Steve and Night Demon went to dinner and I headed to Chagrin Falls to see an old dear friend that I’ve known since 1991 and hadn’t seen since 2000ish.  I met her and hew new husband for dinner and spent a couple of hours with them.  It was quite refreshing and so good to see her.  Afterwards I went to Athenar’s den of evil and listened to Detente demos and just hung out for a few hours.  That was fun.  Back to the hotel.

Monday morning meant a couple more record stops then back to the airport for the flight home.  I slept half the way.  We were back here early enough in the day that I was able to run some errands and such.

The benefit show brought in record amounts of food and cash donation for the food bank.  That was great news.  This was a great trip overall.  Met lots of great people, found some great records, and spent quality time with some great friends.

Setlists here.

Written by The Metal Files

December 16, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Frost and Fire II Concert Review, Ventura, CA, October 7, 8 & 9, 2016

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Last year I attended the one day Frost and Fire Fest and had a wonderful time.  It was a foregone conclusion after that weekend that the mighty Cirith Ungol would be playing this year’s fest.  It was announced several months ago that this year would be a 3 day fest with days 1 and 3 at the Bombay Bar and Grill again and day 2 at the Majestic Ventura Theater.  I bought 4 sets of tickets automatically as I knew Kelz, Rodney would be interested and obviously I’d be able to hold the other set for someone.  So flights and accommodations got booked and it was just a long countdown until the actual time to go.  Ultimately I had to sell the 4th set as one friend who wanted to go had some other issues to take care of.  Our friend JT/Petey was slated to come as well, but unfortunately life happens.  He was severely missed but we’ll see him in Richmond in a few weeks for Satan.

Our 3 flights all arrived at LAX around the same time, we grouped up and took the rental car to Ventura.  Upon arrival and checking into the Clocktower Hotel, we ran into the guys from Midnight.  Their main man, Jamie, is a huge Steelers fan so we chatted about that briefly.  Rodney peeled off with them and Kelz and I hit the Saloon BBQ for some tri tip beef, a shot and some beers.  We had been up since super early to catch our flights so we went back to the hotel for a quick nap.

Doors were at 5PM and we got there right around that time to get in line, get our tix for Friday and Sunday and go in the venue.  Having attended FF previously and the last 3 Ragnarokkr Fests, I knew quite a few people there.  Fans traveled from all over the world to attend and that was great seeing many of them.  Ran into Jerry Hartman from Lethal and his lovely wife, Sue.  He gave me a CD of his latest project (pictured below).  Can’t wait to listen to it.  Tim, Robert and Jim from Ungol were hanging out as well and I got Jim to sign The Book.

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Here’s the Day 1 band rundown:

Livin Alive – Watched a little bit of them but nothing caught my ear
Seax – Had seen them a time or 2 before and enjoyed them much more this time
Vanlade – Watched a couple of songs but couldn’t get too interested.  Solid though.
Salvacion – Listened to them from the patio while hanging with some friends.  All great guys but just can’t get into them
Resistance – Missed their whole set
Widow – Only heard them from the patio
Midnight Chaser – Delivered another solid set comparable to their Ragnarokkr show.  Highly recommended
Blade Killer – Always delivers!  I caught most of their set inside then the last couple from the patio
Thrust – Solid performance.  Met Ron and had him sign The Book.  Super nice guy
Slough Feg – Enjoyably odd band to watch
Omen – Got to catch up with Wittig before their set to get my stuff signed since we didn’t get time at their Austin show.  They delivered a great set to a packed back room and I finally got to hear Teeth of the Hydra.

By the end of Omen’s set, I was starting to feel the drag from the travel and 2 hour time difference.  Totally worth it.  Hung out with some friends for a bit before they emptied the venue and people watched for a bit before heading back to the hotel.  Also had some incredible Al Pastor tacos from the truck outside.  The mom in the truck was cooking up a huge pan of red chili peppers for blending and it was mesmerizing to watch.

Saturday morning.  A little tired and some back issues.  Getting older sucks.  Kelz and I grabbed some breakfast at the hotel and then headed out for a bit to do some record shopping.  We started at Salzer’s Records which I had been to the year prior.  I picked up MSG’s Assault Attack in VG+ condition for a good price.  We then went to American Pie Records.  That is an experience.  Their owner, Dennis, is quite the character.  He has a ton of stuff in there, too much to have gone through in a day but I did find 2 KISS records to add to my collection.  From there we went to Grady’s Records in downtown Ventura.  Small metal section but I found some good rock pieces that I had been looking for.  From there back to the hotel for a 30 minute or so nap.  It helped.  We then walked over to the Majestic Ventura Theater for Day 2.

The theater had a no ins or outs policy so we had to decide if we wanted to try and survive whatever food they served inside or grab a bite nearby and miss an early band or 2.  We chose to go in and ultimately the food was palatable.  Beer prices were steep.  $8 for PBR draft?  $10 for premium beer?  Not that I planned on drinking a lot, but that kept it to a bare minimum.  It is a nice big venue with several tiers for viewing.  It was great running in Attacker’s Mike Sabatini outside and Steel Prophet’s Steve Kachinsky.  Awesome dudes.  Upon entry I jumped right in the merch line for Ungol.  I got a shirt and blinked on getting the limited edition Paradise Lost reissue LP.  When I went back for it, they were all gone.  img_4907

Day 2 band rundown:

Spellcaster – They rocked it although it was a really short set.  Great seeing them again.
Axxion – I had seen Axxion in Chicago in 2014 at Ragnarokkr.  I think they were a little better this year, stage costume selection notwithstanding.  See pic below.
Visigoth – Do I really even need to say anything about them?  Aside from them being the nicest dudes, they are great live and Jake Rogers is the best frontman in metal right now.
High Spirits – This band seems to be a love em or hate em band.  I personally love them.  Great hooks, solid vocals, positive energy.  It’s happy rock for sure.  They were great as always and look forward to seeing them on tour in 2017.  I bought a shirt, LP and 7: from the new album, Motivator.
Night Demon – This is Jarvis’ fest and fitting that Night Demon is on the bill.  They laid down a solid set including a new song, Stranger in the Room.
White Wizzard – At first I thought they were a weird choice for the fest but after seeing them play all of their High Speed GTO EP with James Paul Luna (Holy Grail) on vocals, my mind was changed.  Solid set even though I was never really a fan.  They played Hollywood Tease by Girl and I couldn’t place who wrote it until after their set.  Thanks for clarifying, Rodney.
Mindless Sinner – Probably the biggest surprise of the fest for me.  I had listened to them in the past but still wasn’t huge on them.  Their set was great.  They were absolutely great.
Midnight – While never owning anything they’ve ever done, I always enjoy seeing them live.  Super energetic show with some good tongue in cheek lyrics.  Saturday’s set was on par with previous viewings.
Cirith Ungol – A band that I’ve always liked, but never loved.  They were fringe.  They are fringe.  When they were announced to do the meet and greet last year, I revisited the catalog and grew a new appreciation for them.  By the time they were coming on, we went to the upper balcony and sat.  My knees, back and feet were killing me and this was perfect viewing.  They opened with Join the Legion from Paradise Lost and went right into I’m Alive from Frost and Fire.  They pretty much played everything one would expect to hear at a Cirith Ungol show except for maybe Death of the Sun.  I was absolutely blown away by Tim Baker’s voice.  He still sounded like it was the early 80s.  Mind-fucking-blown.  The whole band was great.  Garven’s enormous drumset with Paiste cymbals and gong looked and sounded fantastic.  Jim Barraza handled most of the leads with ease and Greg Lindstrom handled the rhythm and some leads beautifully.  Jarvis handled the bass lines perfectly and added some great backing vocals.  It was really just a perfect set by them and I couldn’t be happier.

After the show, everyone was ushered out of the venue and just hung around the sidewalk.  Everyone was in high spirits (pun intended) and I got to see a few folks that had come in just for that day’s show.  I was pretty elated but also dog tired and went back to the hotel.  Kelz went across the street to this tiny venue for an after party show with Hessian and Alchemy (MX).  I went back to the room and fell right asleep…happily.

Sunday morning…worn the hell out.  Woke up with only about 5 hours of sleep.  Went down and had breakfast with Rodney and Midnight.  Most of that discussion was about the Steelers.  Perfect!  Back to the room to clean up.  Kelz went down and had breakfast while I did some packing and such.  Luckily I ran into the Mindless Sinner guys in the lobby and got them to sign The Book.  Doors were at 10AM at Bombay.  We stopped in there for a minute to check out the merch and I picked up a few things.  From there we went to Jockomo Records where I found a few more classic rock pieces.  Ashbury wasn’t scheduled until 4:15 so we decided to grab lunch and ate some extremely bland Indian food.  The garlic naan was great, though.  Afterwards it was back to the hotel for a recharge nap.  NAPS!

Back to Bombay where I finally got to talk to their owner, Diego.  We have a mutual friend in common who used to play there a lot but now lives in Austin.  It was way more relaxed on Sunday.  He bought me a shot.  Sweet!  The crowd started flowingimg_4908in common who used to play there a lot but now lives in Austin.  It was way more relaxed on Sunday.  He bought me a shot.  Sweet!  The crowd started flowing in for Ashbury’s set.

Day 3 band rundown:
Ashbury – This band just seems to set me right.  I think it’s a combination of the demeanor of Rob and Randy Davis.  These guys are so laid back and peaceful.  They played a 2 hour set consisting of 8 songs from Endless Skies, 3 songs from Something Funny’s Going On, 5 covers (3 from Jethro Tull, 1 from BOC and 1 from The Who), and two new songs, Out of the Blue and Mean Guitar (Rock and Roll Star).  They were great.  They’re always great.  I love seeing how many metalheads love them as well. They didn’t hang out much after their set, though.  That was too bad.
Black Death Resurrected – I watched a little bit from the back of the room but just wasn’t that interested.
Grim Reaper – Steve and company laid down a solid 17 song set which included several from their new album, Walking in the Shadows.  His current lineup is solid and his voice sounded great.  I’ll see them again this weekend in San Antonio.

After the goodbyes to friends in the club and on the street, we headed over to Dargon’s Irish Pub for a quick bite before heading back to the hotel.  We had to be up at 430AM to drive back to LAX to catch our flights.

I’ve done 3 Ragnarokkr fests, 2 Frost and Fire fests and 1 ProgPower and this past weekend tops them all for the overall experience.  The location is perfect because of everything there is to see and do within walking distance in Ventura, the lineup was superb and just the overall feel of the event from the patrons to the organizers.  No fest is perfect, but this is as close to perfect as I have been to so far.  I can’t wait for FFIII!

Extra special thanks to Jarvis Leatherby (Night Demon/Cirith Ungol), the Night Demon guys, Cheryl and the whole FF crew for making this a success by obviously working their asses off on this.  Also to Oliver Weisenheimer for his generosity and for being so fucking cool.  It’s always great seeing the Visigoth guys as well.  Great bunch of dudes.

To see the setlists played, click here.

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

Bryan Adams Concert Review, Cedar Park, TX, April 10, 2016

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I’ve got Night Demon and Visigoth staying with me for a few days while they’re between shows on their current North American tour.  Night Demon stay with me regularly and even have a key to my house.  Solid dudes.  Their singer and I took the decision yesterday afternoon that we were going to go see Bryan Adams.  I was already planning on going and he was down for it.

The show was at the new-ish Cedar Park Center northwest of Austin and this was my second time seeing Bryan since 2012.  It was scheduled to start at 8PM with no opening act.  I had noticed that there were plenty of seats left when buying our tickets and we opted for the loge area at the back of this small arena.  Easy seating and close to the bar. Bryan took the stage at 815PM and I imagine that they were holding out for some additional people to get in to fill the place up a bit.  There were some sections that were cordoned off in the back as well.  No matter, on with the show.

He opened up with Do What Ya Gotta Do from his latest effort, Get Up.  It was followed up with Can’t Stop This Thing We Started from 1991’s Waking Up the Neighbours. He didn’t waste time getting to any of his hits with Run to You, Heaven and It’s Only Love and Kids Wanna Rock coming right after in the next handful of songs.

He played everything you would have expected to hear including 5 from his new album.  His band was great and the lead guitarist and drummer have been with him for 30+ years.  Their sound was phenomenal.  The mix in the venue was perfect and the guitar tones were great.  Four vintage Marshall half stacks on the back line.

Right before the encore, my friend and security manager for the venue sent a message and moved us up to the section beside the stage.  Sweet upgrade to catch a closer view of the band.  Thanks, Steve (aka Dave, Mike, Tom, John etc)!

Overall the show was fantastic.  If I had one disappointment, it would be that he didn’t play One Night Love Affair, which is my favorite song of his.  He didn’t play it at the 2012 show either.  Oh well.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 11, 2016 at 8:45 am

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