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 Concert Review, Richmond, VA 04/15/2014

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What a whirlwind of shows I have been though in the last couple of weeks.  I’m tired.  So tired.  But it’s a good tired and my music fetish is being well served lately.

So ‘back in the day’ cerca 1984, my friend Daniel (Danile) bought Satan’s Court in the Act and shared it with Kelz, Petey and me and the rest is metal history.  I’ve loved this album since it first hit my ears.  Brian Ross’ vocals mixed with those awesome NWOBHM styled riffs made for a perfect album.  The 4 of us have always been close friends, played in bands together and never lost touch over the years.  We’re bound by metal, friendship, life events (good and bad) and have always been there for one another as needed.

Flash forward 30 years and the 4 of us still adore this album.  When Satan announced a small US tour, there was no way I was going to miss it.  I knew that I’d have to travel somewhere and luckily Richmond, VA was on the list…surprisingly so.  So we started planning the trip.  Kelz and Danile have kids and going out of town on a weeknight was going to be a little more difficult because of family and work obligations but they made it happen.  I’m sure there was some sort of bribery or Jedi mind tricks with their wives.  And that was that.  Another MitchFest was in the works, this time with all 4 of us.  I flew into Raleigh and stayed Monday night with Kelz and the fambly.   Always great hospitality at their house.  Tuesday morning we headed to Suffolk, VA to grab Danile and quickly headed up ti Petey’s house in Richmond.  Unfortunately the wife and kids were out on errands so I didn’t get to see them this time.  The car ride was as expected.  Mama jokes, old stories of our younger years, gushing about metal etc.  Before getting to Richmond, we decided to stop and grab a bite to eat at a BBQ place in Chester, VA.  I love the NC/VA style of pork  BBQ.  I can’t get it in Texas.  My sandwich was perfect, exactly what I needed.

We get to Petey’s and are greeted by his awesome wife, Amy.  He gets home shortly after and after some adult conversation and life and things that matter, the roundtable of silliness begins again.  We’re perpetually 13 years old when we’re all together and it’s a great time.  Now it’s time to get ready for the show.

Satan are playing Strange Matter in Richmond which used to be Twisters and then later Nancy Raygun.  I’ve seen a handful of shows there since the mid-90s and always like the place.  It used to be a bit of a dump, but it had its charm.  It’s been cleaned up quite a bit and I’m glad that location is still doing shows.  Before going in, we park then grub at a pub on the next block.  Just a good time having a meal and a couple of beers with my best friends.

We walk back over to the venue, get our swag out of the car and go in.  I see my pal Tony “Dio” from NC who I’ve known since about 1997 when we met at a Judas Priest show in Norfolk.  I had just seen him the week before at Rangarokkr.  As we’re standing around jibber jabbering, I see John Gallagher from Raven walk in.  How cool is that?  I’ve never been a fan of the band but I did have lunch with him and his brother and their families in 2000 before their show at Jaxx in Springfield, VA.  Nicest guy.  I check out the merch table to hopefully get a Satan shirt, but no luck in my size.  The cool thing was seeing my band’s 7″ on the merch table.  Our label was managing the Satan tour so it was great to meet those guys.

The first band to go on is Salvacion, a band from NC which has the drummer for Volture.  They were OK.  I couldn’t quite gauge exactly what they were going for.  The did a very uncomfortable version of Dokken’s Unchain The Night.  I think I would have enjoyed them more if it wasn’t for the drummer.  I get into that a little bit more when I talk about Volture.

Next up was BAT which features Felix Griffin (DRI) on drums and Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste/Volture) on vocals/bass and Volture’s Nick Poulos on guitar.  They come on and run through a blistering set of thrash/speed metal songs that were all about 3 minutes long.  Old school style.  They were solid and Felix really ripped it up in single bass style on a 4 pc drumset.  I enjoyed it and would love to see them again.

Right after BAT played, I feel a hand on my shoulder and hear a voice say my name.  I turn around and it was a girl that I had dated briefly in 1991 and that I hadn’t seen since right around that time.  She had seen on Facebook that I was in town and just stopped in to say hello.  She couldn’t stay as her husband and kid were outside in the car.  I swear she was only there for about 3 minutes and even paid to get in.  I was floored by the gesture.  The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  That’s the type of person she always was.  Very thoughtful.  It was a special moment for sure.  I’m still a bit “wow’d” by the whole thing.

Volture comes on next and I hadn’t really paid much attention to them in the past.  There’s just so much out there that I can’t keep up any more.  The members are a mishmash of members from Municipal Waste, Immortal Avenger, Twisted Tower Dire, BAT etc.  I really liked the vocals.  The guy has some great pipes and the guitarists are perfect.  But the drummer…I just can’t take it.  He was doing way too many Rikki Rokkett type moves instead of worrying about keeping good time.  I’m a drummer as well.  I’m hyper critical of other drummers that I see.  When he was just playing the beat and not doing dumb stick tricks, his timing was fine.  But when he’d go into circus mode, the timing would fluctuate, he wasn’t hitting the snare cleanly and it would drop out of the mix and he tended to keep time on his bass drum to where he’s hitting the bass and snare at the same time.  Sorry, it just annoyed me to no end.  Obviously his band has no issue with it, but I would for sure. :)  But again, overall they sounded killer.

And then…Satan…SATAN.  I never ever thought in my lifetime that I’d get to see them live.  Right as Volture ended we made our way to the front of the stage.  Danile and I were right on the barricade and Kelz and Petey were right behind us.  Satan opens up with Trial By Fire and Ross’ vocals are on point.  He skipped the first scream in the song and I though ‘uh oh, he can’t do it any more.’  And then there it was.  His patented high notes came on cue everywhere else in the song and the rest of the set.  I was completely in awe as to how well he still sings.  He sounded perfect.  They ran though a mix of songs from Court in the Act, Life Sentence, a couple of early demos and one from Into the Future of which Brian wasn’t the singer.  They added No Turning Back mid-set which was a nice surprise.  Of course we were hoping to hear the whole Court album but I have no complaints whatsoever about the set.  They were incredible.  Ramsey/Tippins are still a formidable guitar duo and the songs on their latest album prove that.  It was just such a powerful set.  Still blown away as to how good Ross’ vocals are.

After the show, most people leave and we stick around to meet the Satan guys.  Success!   They all come out after a little break and sign swag, take pictures with us nerds etc.  It was especially nice to be sitting between Sean Taylor and John Gallagher listening to them talk about gifts they’ve sent to each others kids and some “back in the day” kinds of things.

It’s been a week since the show and I am still buzzing about it.  Really a once in a lifetime show.  Even more, I got to spend some quality time with my three best friends.  That was as important as the show.  It’s really nice knowing that even if we don’t see each other that often these days, we can always pick up right where we left off.  Love those guys.

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