The Metal Files

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Satan, Cauldron & BAT Concert Review, Richmond, VA, October 23, 2016

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Upon waking up Sunday morning, totally parched and tired, Kelz and I got our stuff together and headed South towards Richmond.  He was a little slower than me that morning so I drove us to Vienna, VA to stop at Vienna Music Exchange.  I had met the owner, Mike, the night before and had been wanting to stop in there for quite some time.  After some traffic snags headed down that way, we finally got to the store and I scored some cool stuff.

From there it was down to Richmond to Petey’s and Amy’s house.  By that time, I was starting to fade a bit.  I didn’t sleep that well and was quite tired by the time we got to Richmond.  Petey was ready to party by the time we got there and I succumbed to doing a shot, which helped immensely even though it was tough to get down.   After a couple of hours of catching up, we decided to head towards the venue and grab some quick grub at the restaurant next to The Broadberry.  Our other friend, Danile, was supposed to come up for this one but unfortunately had to back out.

Upon arrival in the venue, I see Ryan and Felix from BAT.  Good dudes.  Richmond locals, Humungus, opened the show and musically and vocally I thought they were great.  Petey said they had a bit of a Heathen vibe and I don’t disagree.  Both the singer and guitarist did great harmony falsetto work and the bassist and drummer held the rhythm down just fine.  The only thing I didn’t like about them was their lyrical content.  Pretty silly for the some of what I could make out.  Shark CastleDrinkin’ Beer.  Solid band overall and I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

BAT was up next and delivered their Venom-esque set flawlessly as they always do.  I love watching Felix Griffin play drums as he’s just a mean machine back there.  I was getting pretty tired so I sat for part of their set.  As I was at the table in the back of the venue, got to hang out with Mr. Ross a bit more.  Sorry again, Brian, but no more Jager mixers for me!

I didn’t go up front for Cauldron.  I just can’t get into them.  As I mentioned in a previous review, their sound is just too thin.

And then…Satan.  They had a bigger stage this time and could move around a bit.  Since Danile couldn’t make it, Petey drew his face on a plastic cup and we set it at the end of the stage so he could be there in spirit.  Satan got a couple of songs in and then Steve blew his head.  During the change out, Russ and Sean just did a little Voodoo Child rendition and then it was right back into the set.  We got a full set that night as they were shortened by a curfew or anything.  Again, they were awesome.  The crowd had thinned out a bit as it was a Sunday night but we remained up front for the whole set.  Much like the Philly show, I had to get barraged by a person who smelled like hell.  This guy smelled like a chicken house.  It was fucking gross, especially when he started swinging his dreadlocks around.  Luckily he only stayed up for a couple of songs, but goddamn, bathe please.

And just like that, it was over.  I could already feel that little bit of sadness coming on.  But it was a wonderful weekend overall with 2 of my lifelong closest friends.  I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

I called for a Lyft ride to get us back to Petey’s and NWOBHM legend, John Gallagher of Raven, was our fucking driver!  I saw him at the show as he’s old chums with the Satan guys.  We were totally surprised and happy to have a familiar face take us home.  I’ve met John several times and he’s always a gentleman.  I think it was a fitting ending to the night.

Back at Petey’s house, we sat up and hatted for a bit longer and finished off his wife’s homemade beef jerky.  Delicious!   Then off to bed.  Kelz had to get up and be on the road to Raleigh by 830, Petey had to work and Amy, Petey’s wife, had an appt, so not much sleeping in time.  Amy took me the airport and that was that.  Mitchfest over.  I had a lengthy layover in Atlanta and my flight got delayed.  Part of me was hoping for a cancellation as Satan was in town that night, too.  It would have been great to catch a third show, but alas, no luck.

Long live Satan.  Hope they come back in 2017.  I’m hoping to catch Graeme and Steve in the Slyclad reunion in Germany and will definitely see Brian’s Alice Cooper tribute next fall in Newcastle.

Satan and Cauldron Concert Review, Philadelphia, PA, October 22, 2016

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Another road trip?  Sure, why not?  This fall has been very busy concert-wise.  Kelz and I started making plans for seeing Satan on this east coast jaunt several months ago when we first caught wind of the tour.  Once I got the dates, Philadelphia and Richmond made the most sense and I booked my trip.

I flew into Raleigh Friday night after work and we left for Philly Saturday morning.  It was a fun drive up as expected.  Talking trash and eating Utz Red Hot Chips.  I can’t find them in Texas and they’re my favorite.  We made a quick stop in VA for a pork BBQ sandwich and continued our way north to PA.  Delaware has great roads.  Best I’ve ever seen.

We finally got to our hotel around 5:30PM or so and for whatever reason our room wasn’t ready?  They gave us a different type of room than what we asked for and I didn’t have to spoon up with Kelz, so that was a plus.  ha.

I called Lyft to get us over to either Pat’s or Geno’s for a cheesesteak before the show.  Our driver couldn’t figure out how to get into the hotel entrance.  She was pretty much the worst driver ever.  Couldn’t follow the navigation properly, didn’t wear her seatbelt and was generally just an idiot.  Once we finally got to the cheesesteak places, lines were around the block so we took the decision to just walk over to the venue, Boot & Saddle, and grab something there.  As we turned the corner, Sean and Steve were getting a few things from the trailer and we spoke to them briefly as Graeme showed up.  He needed some wine so they went to a liquor store to take care of business.  We went inside and grabbed 2 seats at the bar and ordered some food.  Perogis and a corn dog it is!

Ran into some friends there and as we were finishing up dinner, Brian Ross from Satan walks by and I said, “Hey Brian, how’s it going?”  He was surprised to see us and hung out with us for quite a while.  The venue door was open during Horrendous’ set and I didn’t care.  We just stayed where we were and hung with Brian and Russ and whoever else came up.  Brian was telling us of his favorite drink, equal parts Jagermeister and Fireball, dubbed The Firemeister.  It sounded gross but we did a round of them anyhow.  It was gross.  I hate Jager.  I also got a full download on Brian’s Alive Cooper tribute band that he does.  He was showing us photos of his stage show.  It’s a full on reproduction of Alice’s live show.  I’m planning on attending the show in Newcastle in 2017.  With only a few songs left of Cauldron, who we also only heard through the venue door from the bar, Brian scooted off to get his make up for the show.  As people shuffled out of the gig for drinks or whatever, we shuffled in to secure spots near the stage.

Satan hit the stage and opened with Trial By Fire and Blades of Steel.  The small room was packed and the band was slightly cramped on the small stage.  Not a lot of room for moving around for a 5pc band.  They sounded great as always.  Brian’s voice was brilliant.  If you have ever seen them live, you know how good they are.  Still amazed that a band that has only been rejuvenated in recent years can still bring it about as hard as any newer band.  As expected, the set was a good mix of all three of the Ross-era studio albums.

After the show we go back into the bar area and hang out with friends and the Satan guys came right out after to take photos with fans (like us) and sign stuff.  A couple more of those gross Firemeisters were had and neither Kelz nor myself were feeling much pain.  haha.  It was starting to get late and we were both hungry and needed to soak up the buzz a bit, so we got some Chinese food to go from the place next to the venue and got a quick Lyft ride back to the hotel.  This guy was a much better driver.  Back at the hotel, were were just eating and laughing and having a grand time.  Then the fade hit.  We needed to get to sleep so we could head south to Richmond for Sunday’s show.

Quite a wonderful night.  Met some great people.  If there was anything negative to say about the evening it would be that the dude standing in front of me for the Satan set had body odor that smelled like a litter box.  That sucked.

 

Written by The Metal Files

October 25, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Grim Reaper Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, October 15, 2016

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Steve Grimmett and company are on tour with their new album Walking in the Shadows.  I had just seen them the previous Sunday in Ventura, CA at Frost and Fire II.  Apparently they had some gear stolen from them at their hotel which totally sucks but as their song says, “The Show Must Go On,” right?

On my way down to SA, I stopped at Fitzgerald’s to meet Rigor Mortis and have their 3 remaining members sign The Book.  Great guys and I’ll be seeing them in Austin soon.  Their guitarist, Casey Orr who used to be in GWAR, had some prints of some of his paintings for sale and I picked up a few of those.  My pal who sings for the rebooted Syrus also bought me the large Lemmy print.  Thanks!

I arrived just as San Antonio locals Byfist were going on.  I had seen them before and while I’m not a fan, I’m happy to see them with by pal Stony on bass.  Great guy, great bassist and sounded great with them on bass and backing vocals.  Killstorm was up next and didn’t do anything for me.

By the time Grim Reaper hit the stage, there may have been 50 people there at best.  They had just played in SA in April so maybe that had something to do with the low attendance.  Didn’t matter, I was there and wanted to see them again.

They played the same set from Frost and Fire and it was solid.  The band is tight and Steve’s voice sounds great.  I picked up the new CD after the show and had the guys sign it.  When I got to Steve, he gave me a hug and thanked me for coming down to see them again.  Good dude.  Go see the tour if you can.

Written by The Metal Files

October 17, 2016 at 9:46 am

Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse 2016 Review, Chicago, IL, May 6 & 7, 2016

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My 3rd Ragnarokkr attendance in a row came to a close Saturday night in Chicago.  It was a great time as always.  I got into Chicago Wednesday night after spending some days in Virginia with my Mom and my brother.  Upon arrival and getting my bag and rental car situated, I headed over to the newly reopened Metal Haven Grill for a pre-pre-party.  Cool little place that has some insane original artwork on its walls like the original painting for Savatage’s Hall of the Mountain King, Def Leppard’s On Through the Night, BOC’s Fire of Unknown Original original concept drawing, original KISS embossing plates for Dressed to Kill and a lot of other cool stuff.  Go check them out if you’re ever in Chicago.  From there I met up with Mendoza, Simon, Bob and a couple of other festival pals for a few drinks before heading to Mendoza’s Sugar Shack to sleep.

Upon waking up on Thursday I went to my hotel near the concert venue around 930AM to see if they had a room available and they got me right in. Sweet!  I didn’t sleep well the night before and needed to catch a nap to have some energy for the pre-party at The Mutiny later that evening.  I didn’t get much sleep but it was enough.  I did a late lunch with a friend in town then back to the hotel again.  I caught another quick nap then Rodney and I headed off to the pre-party dinner.  That was pretty tame this year.  From there we went to The Mutiny.  I love this bar.  True dive bar with one of the coolest owners ever.  Ed.  Ed is the man but sadly he told me he’s got cancer and apparently it’s pretty advanced.  He’d lost 85lbs since the last time I saw him but he’s in good spirits.  I spent a lot of time hanging out with him and he remembered me the moment I walked in the door from the previous 2 years.  He said they gave him up to 5 years which is a pretty good prognosis for someone with advanced prostate cancer.  He’s 65ish and that age is a better for having that type of cancer than being younger.  But whatever, he’s a great guy and I’m glad I got some time with him.  As I was leaving the party I gave him a hug and told him I’d see him next year.  Unfortunately none of the festival bands except for Ashbury made it to the party at The Mutiny this year, but it was still fun.  I love those Ashbury guys.  Great band and great people.  More on that later.  I was pretty tired by around 1230AM so Judd and Jennifer (new pals from Houston) and I drove back to the hotel.  I fell asleep pretty quickly.

Friday.  Fest day!  I picked Kelz up from the airport around 1130 and we went back to the hotel.  We went to the famed Ricobene’s for their breaded steak sandwich.  We ordered the small one which easily weighed a pound or more.  I ended up just leaving the bread behind.  Quite tasty though.  Back to the hotel.  Another nap ensued.  Damien Thorne was opening the fest on the main stage at 530 and we got to the venue around 5.  I’ll go through the bands one by one below…good, bad or indifferent.

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Damien Thorne – I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with having only one original member (technically 2, as I didn’t know until meeting them after that the bassist player was on the original demos).  I thought they sounded great.  New singer, Warren Halverson, did a fine job.  They mixed their set up with older and newer stuff and it worked just fine.  Warren gave away a bunch of new CDs and some other merch from the stage and Rock Browz (b) handed me a nice Damien Thorne steel pin.  Great set and really nice guys.  I caught them out back and had Ken and Rob sign The Book.  They bailed quickly though and never came out to meet with fans after their set.  Not sure what was up with that.

Gatekeeper – I missed the first part of their set as I was finishing the Damien Thorne set.  They were finishing North Wolves and then went into a cover of Omen’s Death Rider.  Brilliant.  Jean-Pierre Abboud (ex-Borrowd Time, Funeral Circle) is handling vox for Gatekeeper these days and did a wonderful job as a whole.  It was great to finally see them play.

Killen – I caught maybe 2 songs and got bored out of my skull.  It really seemed like were just going through the motions.

Riot City – Probably the biggest surprise band of the weekend.  These guys from Calgary kicked total ass.  Great vocals, leads, everything.  Good American power metal.  Check out some of their stuff here.  Can’t wait to hear a full length.  Super nice guys as well.

Ignitor – I left during Riot City’s last song to catch my Austin pals do their thing.  The band was in fine form and Jason McMaster was working the crowd like he always does.  They had a lot of fans there and had a special Ragnarokkr only EP available.  Always a pleasure seeing them and good to see them outside of Austin.

Salvacion – I’d seen them before a couple of years ago in Richmond opening for Satan.  While I like the singer’s voice, they don’t do anything for me.  I also can’t watch their drummer.  Dude can’t keep his tongue in his mouth.  The band also seems lyrically challenged.  Having songs like Epic Beer Run isn’t going to win me over…ever.  The did two covers, UFO’s Doctor Doctor and Riot’s Swords and Tequila.  The Riot cover wasn’t good.

War Cry – Chicago natives War Cry played their first show in 25 years on Friday.  I wasn’t that familiar with them but thought they sounded pretty good.  I give nothing but high respect to their singer, though.  Rich Rozek has Parkinson’s Disease and it’s obvious that it’s pretty advanced.  But he rocked the set and came out to meet everyone afterwards.  I got him to sign The Book as well.  He thought it was cool and asked for information on how to get a copy.  He also gave me a copy of their CD.  Sweet guy.

Chalice – This was another band that I wasn’t too familiar with going in…and I left their set not wanting to get more familiar with them.

Ambush – Everybody has been all abuzz about these Swedes and I had only checked out a song or two on YouTube prior to the festival.  Add them to the list of newer Swedish power metal bands that I can’t care about.  zzzzzzz

Ashbury – I love Ashbury, both as a band and as people.  Rob and Randy Davis are 2 of the nicest guys you’d ever meet and I’m glad to see them getting success 30+ years after the release of their debut album, Endless Skies.  Ashbury isn’t a metal band but fit perfectly on the metal festivals that they have been playing the last few years.  When I first saw them in Ventura last year, it was amazing to see the metal crowd singing every word to the Endless Skies album.  Same thing happened in Chicago.  They were tight and added a third guitarist which sounded great for their live show.  Their cover of BOC’s Don’t Fear the Reaper was killer.  The whole band is just awesome and I can’t tout the brilliance of Endless Skies enough.  They also debuted a new song, He Played a Good Guitar, which was really good but from what I understand from Rob Davis, they will be changing the name of the song. ;)

Jag Panzer – I don’t dislike Jag Panzer but I never got too into them.  They were the closer for the night.  I owned an original copy of Ample Destruction and Thane to the Throne on CD, but just never explored deeper into them.  Let me tell you this, they hit the stage and leveled Reggie’s that night.  I was completely floored by Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin’s vocal performance.  That guy was hitting notes that just blew my mind.  They crowd was very into it as well.  It was a pleasure to see and meet them afterwards.  When I met Harry after the show to have him sign The Book, I mentioned that I had Chris Cronk’s signature on the Jag Panzer page as well. He said, “Sad that he passed away.” I laughed and said, “Chris will be disappointed to know he’s dead!” Harry apologized and said, “damn, I guess I meant someone else. Tell him hello!”  It was pretty funny.

 

After the quick goodbyes outside, we walked back to the hotel.  After sitting there for a bit, Kelz and I decided that we needed some snacks and water so we hopped in the car and found a 7-11, loaded up on trash food and waters and went back to the hotel.  Around 5AM the fire alarm went off.  That sucked.  We got up, went outside and 5 minutes later the fire crew waved us back in.  The alarm went off several more times for the next hour in short spurts.

After waking up Saturday, we walked over to a Chinese place and got some great food and went back to the hotel.  Nap time again.  Fuck, I’m getting old.  haha.

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Earlier start time for bands on Saturday and we were sort of rushed to get there on time but made it.

Midnight Chaser – What a way to open the main stage!  This Pittsburgh 4-piece laid down a great set of metal.  I had already checked them out prior to the fest and really liked what I had heard.  They were great all the way around.  I picked up their CD and a shirt.  Can’t wait to hear more material and to see them live again.

White Magician – Boring.  Sloppy.  Trash talked Ashbury’s BOC cover while playing a shitty version of Transmaniacon MC.  Fuck em.

Impaler – I always liked If We Had Brains We’d Be Dangerous and It Won’t Die and looked forward to seeing them live.  They still have originals Bill Lindsay and Court Hawley and I got to meet both of them before they went on.  Solid dudes and signed The Book.  They are a true shock rock metal band and everyone was in full makeup.  It was awesome.  Bill worked the crowd and the crowd was very into their set.  There was some fake blood, a beautiful girl getting her intestines ripped out and then taking a hard knee from Bill.  She’s one tough girl because she didn’t really flinch much.  They were so much fun to see live and I was smiling ear to ear through their whole set.

Wulfhook – I listened to a couple of songs but nothing really caught my ear at all.  They were solid, though.

Lethal – After leaving Wulhook I went downstairs to meet Lethal before their set to get them to sign The Book.  Only Tom Mallicoat and bassist Glen Cook were down with newer guitarist Chris Brown (great guy!).  For whatever reason, Mallicoat was acting like a total choad to me.  Chris was cool and Glen was super nice, but Mallicoat was giving me the third degree about printing press history (?), Mark Twain and some other random nonsense.  He just seemed out of his head.  He started busting my balls about the book and I said, “Hey, if you don’t want to sign it, no worries.  I’m a Lethal fan but whatever.”  He proceeds to call me a liar and then asks how much I was going to sell the book for.  hahaha.  Whut?  I calmly explained the labor of love I have with that book and how it’ll never be for sale.  He then signed it, offered a handshake that lasted for a good minute before letting go.  It was a completely surreal experience and one that I’d just as soon not have with him again.  I met the other guys later in the evening and they were all total nice guys and apologized for his behavior.  No worries.  Everyone’s got their thing and I don’t think there was any malicious intent on his part.  When they hit the stage, they were GREAT.  Vocals and everything were on point but Tom’s behavior was just outlandish to say the least.  Flipping off the crowd, talking shit to them, etc.  Oh well.  Was good to see them live finally.

Old Wolf – Holy shit.  This power metal quintet from Kentucky totally kicked my ass.  Plain and simple.  They’ve got a demo out and I recommend it.  Their singer has a great voice and range, but when he speaks, you can totally tell he’s from Kentucky.  haha.  Great guys all around.

Spellcaster – I caught their last couple of songs.  I’ve got their 2014 S/T CD but it didn’t do much for me.  They were solid, though.  I should probably give their latest a listen.

Winterhawk – They’re a band that I feel that I should love, but I don’t.  I don’t hate them either but their stuff leaves me a little flat.  Their main guitarist is a beast though.  I only caught their last 2.5 songs.

Ordained Fate – I didn’t listen to them prior to the fest but I enjoyed the 4 songs I heard from this reunited band.  Only the two female guitarists are original.  Vocals, riffs, leads all sounded good.

Satan’s Host – I bought the reissue CD of Metal From Hell a few years back and thought it was good, but not great.  Seeing it live was quite different.  Harry Conklin put on another vocal performance that made me just shake my head in awe of his range.  Patrick Evil was the only other original member in the band on guitar.  Nice dude and solid player.  It was an enjoyable set.

Hexenhammer – Missed it completely waiting for Leather to come on.

Leather – I love Chastain’s albums with Leather on vocals and I love Leather as a person.  We first connected 2 years ago when my old band played Ragnarokkr and she was an emcee of the fest.  She’s a kind soul and I couldn’t wait to see her live finally after all these years.  I saw her when we were eating dinner prior to her set and got a huge hug.  As Satan’s Host finished, Kelz and I made our way to the front and secured our spots dead center.  Game on.  They played a short but killer set and Leather sounded great playing a mix of Chastain and Leather songs.  Her backing band consisted of Jim Dofka (Screamer), David Harbour (Chastain, King Diamond) and Brian Harris.  Brian’s brother Michael Harris was originally announced as the guitarist but I guess that didn’t pan out.  Leather’s voice sounded great and she’s very engaging on stage.  I just loved it but wanted more.  MORE!

Medieval Steel – Never really go into them and only listened to a couple of songs.  Very solid and the crowd was certainly on board.

Tygers of Pan Tang – Tygers was the fest headliner.  I’ve only owned Crazy Nights and Spellbound but can’t really consider myself a fan.  While they’re an integral part of the NWOBHM, I prefer the more aggressive and melodic stuff.  That being said, they were really damn good for the brief time I watched them.  My knees and back were shot and I spent much of their set in the other room giving them a rest.  Getting to hang out and have drinks with Robb Weir and the band the night before was pretty sweet.

Also great getting to see my good friends in Night Demon and Visigoth.

So some quick goodbyes on the sidewalk and back to the hotel we went.  Kelz had a 7AM flight which he almost missed because his alarm never went off.  Luckily I snored myself awake and saw light coming through the window and yelled at him.  He made it.

I had a late afternoon flight so Brett Bretterson (not his real name) and I hit Portillo’s before heading to the airport.  Always delicious.

It was a great fest and great seeing friends from fests past, meeting new folks and just the overall vibe of the event.  If all works out, I’ll be playing ti again next year.  I’ll definitely be in attendance again.  See you there!

To see all of the setlists, click here.

Click pics to enlarge.

Iron Maiden Concert Review, Denver, CO, April 13, 2016

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What a week this has been.  So many shows.  I’m worn out but invigorated, especially after seeing my favorite band of all time, Iron Maiden.

When Maiden announced their North American tour some months back, no Texas dates were listed.  Bummer.  The closest show was Tulsa, but who wants to go to Tulsa?  ha.  Honestly I looked into the Tulsa show long after tickets had gone on sale, but nothing was available in a spot I’d want to see the show.  So I looked into Denver.  Oddly they still had plenty of GA floor tickets available as well as some decent seats on the side at the Pepsi Center.  I chose the seats, booked an insanely super cheap flight/car/hotel and the plan was set.  Maiden in Denver 2016.

As mentioned in a previous post, Night Demon and Visigoth had been staying with me and after their show in Austin on Tuesday night, I just stayed awake through the night as my flight out to Denver was scheduled to take off at 6AM.  I hadn’t had much sleep all week and I was certainly starting to feel it by the time I boarded the plane.  I couldn’t really fall asleep so I watched Charles Bronson’s Deathwish.  Upon arrival at the Denver airport and getting my car, I headed into town.  It was still really early so I found a cool little breakfast spot and chilled there for a little while.  I went to the hotel around 10AM and my room wasn’t ready yet, so I just asked them to wake me up when it was ready.  I dozed off on the lobby couch until 11 and they woke me up and got me checked in.  I went straight to bed and got about 4 hours more.  I really needed it.

After showering and getting dressed, I called for a Lyft ride to a restaurant near the Pepsi Center and had a good meal prior to walking to the venue.  Austin pals Mike and Erik who came on the same flight had pit tickets and got in line early to be near the front.  Once in the venue I went to the merch booth and got a tour shirt.  Maiden’s shirts aren’t that great and they didn’t have a Denver specific shirt like they normally do in Vegas, LA, NYC and Texas.

Raven Age was the opener.  The band features Steve Harris’ son, George, on guitar.  I didn’t like their music at all but his son is a fine guitarist and the drummer was a bad ass.  Musically it was uninspired hard rock that would sell well to the Hot Topic crowd.  Several in the crowd seemed to like it but I found it hard to stay awake.  After their set, I went back out to the outer hallway to just get some air and to people watch for a bit before Maiden took the stage.

Then through the PA comes UFO’s Doctor Doctor.  My energy level instantly shot up and I made it back to my seat.  The show wasn’t sold out and I had a spare seat on either side of me, so no one was crowded in our row.

Then the lights go down and a short video runs, then there’s Bruce standing in a white robe at the back of the stage and started singing, “Here is the soul of man, here in this place for the taking…”.  He sang the whole intro to If Eternity Should Fail and the band kicked in with flames rising high from the stage.  They sounded great!  Bruce’s voice was on.  They followed up with Speed of Light which Adrian seemed to have forgotten his intro part, so the band started without him and he just caught up.  They were all smiles on stage and it was great seeing them be human.  After the song Bruce teased him a little bit and H just laughed it off.  Next up was Children of the Damned.  Bruce introduced it with something like, “This one came out before most of you were born.”  The crowd went crazy since it was the first of the classics to be played that night.  Their setlist hasn’t varied a bit on this tour, so I know what to expect next which was Tears of a Clown, a tribute to Robin Williams.  The Red and the Black followed and it along with the other songs from the new album all sounded great live.

Then came…The Trooper.  I really can’t stand that song anymore but since they named their beer the same, it will never leave the setlist.  Unfortunate.  I sat through it.

Up next was Powerslave.  Yes!  Very glad to see that on the list again.  So many memories from that album and flashes of listening to Live After Death as a kid ran through my head the whole time.  It was awesome.

Two more new songs and then Hallowed Be Thy Name was up.  Sweet.  So good.  Unfortunately Fear of the Dark was up next.  I saw through that one as well and was subjected to the crowd singing along.  So painful.  That song sucks.  Iron Maiden rounded out their main set and they blazed through it.

For the encore, they did Number of the Beast, Blood Brothers and Wasted Years.  It was a sweet finale and I wish there was more.

Being in Denver, I expected Bruce to make a few statements and he did.  “How many people here aren’t high tonight?”  “What made the Mayan civilization disappear?  Maybe they smoked too much weed?”

Overall the show was awesome.  I wish they could have had a drum cam vid showing Nicko the whole show.  Adrian and Dave’s solos were great and they still seem to enjoy what they do.  Steve and Bruce did their thing, running around the stage full of energy.   But I will still continue to bitch about Jannick Gers.  What a fucking buffoon.  He’s not even playing half the time, just running around the stage doing stupid fucking guitar tricks.  When he did do a solo, it sounded the same as his others.  No substance.  Fuck that guy.

After the show I took a ride to 3 Kings Tavern for a couple of beers.  I didn’t drink at the show.  I ran into a fellow Austinite there and hung out for a bit,  After that I went back to the hotel where the bar had about 15 folks from all over who came in from the show…Wisconsin, San Francisco, Virginia, LA, Jamaica.  One of the guys caught a pick from Adrian and it said “Chapter One” which leads me to believe that there may be second US leg later this year.  It was fun hanging out with them for a bit but the over the top Maiden nerdness started wearing thin and I needed sleep.

My flight out wasn’t until 9PM so I had the day to do some stuff around Denver.  I had lunch with Gwen, a former coworker, they went up into the hills to the Buffalo Bill museum.  Even the altitude there started to get to me a little.  The grave site and museum were cool, though, and the scenery around lookout mountain was gorgeous.  From there I popped into a record store.  Didn’t find anything I needed.  I then headed out east passed the Denver airport just to see the plains a bit.  Pretty out there.

Finally turned my rental car in, shuttled to the airport, ate a nice dinner and had a couple of beers.  It was a great trip.  I watched Rumble Fish on the way home and got back to my house finally around midnight Central Time.  I was wiped out.

UP THE IRONS!

 

 

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 16, 2016 at 12:56 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.

 

 

Satan “Atom By Atom” Album Review (2015)

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cover_onlineSatan have returned again with a new offering for 2015 on Listenable Records entitled “Atom By Atom” and it’s everything you’d expect after 2013’s Life Sentence.

This album rolls hard from beginning to end and proves once again that the guitar duo of Steve Ramsey and Russ Tippins is damn near untouchable.  Brian Ross’ vocals are on point and his patented high wails are ever prominent in all the right places.  After their Richmond, VA show in 2013, my friend asked Brian how he’s maintained his voice so well since “Court In the Act”.  Brian simply replied with, “It’s my job.”  And he still does it well.

“Atom By Atom” features 10 tracks and one thing I’ve noticed is that this album seems a bit darker lyrically than their last album and even “Court In the Act”.

Let’s go track by track:

  1. Farewell Evolution – The album opens with Brian’s falsetto, and lyrically tackles the lack of critical thinking in modern society.
  2. Fallen Saviour – “Some still believed that he’d return to save them”.  I think you can figure out the rest of the sentiment here.  I love the guitar solos in this one.
  3. Ruination – This is one of my favorites on the album so far.  The combination of the riffs and rhythm section matched with Ross’ descending vocal pattern just makes for a clean song.
  4. The Devil’s Infantry – Sean Taylor and Graeme English open this one with a marching pattern.  Lyrically what you’d think based on the title.  It all works so perfectly.  The breakdown/transition mid-song is killer.
  5. Atom By Atom – The opening riff on this gives me chills.  “Out to get you, atom by atom.”  You can hear Russ’ distinctive vocals in that part and it just sounds wonderful.  The solos are both crushing as well.
  6. In Contempt – What Satan album would be complete with a song dealing with judgement?  No worries here.  You got it and shan’t be disappointed!
  7. My Own God – Brian lays it out in this one with, “I am my own God, I made myself, broke the mold, life is what I make it, I will not be told.”
  8. Ahriman – Lyrically dealing with Zoroastrianism, of which I am not too familiar.  Great song though.  Love the backing vocals in the chorus.
  9. Bound In Enmity – This is a total fist pumper.  Riffs and licks for days.
  10. The Fall of Persephone – Final track on the record.  A bit of a slow roller and took a few extra listens to warm up to completely.  English has some great bass licks that really stand out.  This one clocks in at almost 7 minutes and has several parts.  The dueling guitar solos are perfect.

I really cannot praise this album enough.  It’s everything I expected and more and I can’t wait to get a physical copy in my hands and especially can’t wait to catch them live again.  If I could give only one critical opinion about this album, it would be in the drum production, mainly the snare.  On much of the album it’s just a bit too bright but really doesn’t detract from Sean’s solid playing or from the album itself.

Long live Satan and thanks to Listenable Records for letting me review this!

10/10!

Satan are:

Brian Ross
Russ Tippins
Steve Ramsey
Graeme English
Sean Taylor

l-r: English, Taylor, Tippins, Ramsey, Ross

l-r: English, Taylor, Tippins, Ramsey, Ross

Written by The Metal Files

September 19, 2015 at 11:20 pm