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Loudness – Concert Review – San Antonio, TX – May 28, 2011

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I love Loudness.  That is to say that I love classic era Loudness.  Everything between Birthday Eve(1981)  and the Jealousy EP (1988) and a few songs from Solder of Fortune (1989) and On the Prowl (1991).  After Minoru left and after his replacement (Mike Vescera) left, I was done.  I didn’t care for EZO and having their singer in the band just didn’t work for me.  Even after Minoru’s return to the band in 2001 for the Spiritual Canoe album, I was rather disinterested in their modern sound.  No matter, when they did their small USA tour in 2006, I was there.

When I found out that they were coming to Texas this year, I was pretty excited and got my tickets immediately when they went on sale.  It wasn’t until the day of the show that I found out that there would be 8 opening bands.  You read that correctly.  EIGHT OPENING BANDS (see show poster).  The doors opened at 7 and the first band was to start at 8.  With so many bands opening, it was pretty obvious that Loudness would go on late.  OK, no big deal.  Doug and I pretty much sat in the back of the venue.  We got there around 9PM or so and didn’t know how many of the bands had played.  Apparently not many since it seemed like we sat through 50 bands.  I was told that the openers had to pay to play and it really felt like amateur hour of a


battle of the bands competition.  Really, it was brutal.  One band from Sweden, Dirty Passion, was apparently on tour with Loudness (wait, that makes NINE opening bands!).  While they were about 25 years too late for their Bullet Boys/Warrant-ish type of rock, they were at least solid albeit not even remotely my type of rock.  The other bands?  PASS.  I just couldn’t get into it.  There was one group of kids that played who did some 80s metal covers and they were alright.  I just wanted to see Loudness.

Each moment that a band finished in the later hours of the night, we would move up into the crowd only to be disappointed that another band was coming on.  It was getting later and later.  Before I get into Loudness’ actual set, I should describe the venue a bit.  Originally this show was scheduled to be held at Backstage Live, a newer San Antonio venue that has been getting some bigger shows and gathering a terrible reputation with every one.  I had only been there once 2 years ago for Lizzy Borden.  Apparently people had been boycotting shows there.  Destruction/Heathen played there last week to around 100 people…in San Antonio.  I believe had that been anywhere else down there it would have been a lot more.  It was also a Tuesday night but in SA, that generally doesn’t seem to matter.  They love metal there like no other city.  Last night’s show was moved to Randy’s Ballroom on SA’s west side.  The place was huge.  It was an old venue, seemingly built in the 70s.  Apparently the Sex Pistols player there in 1978.  It’s primarily used as a bingo hall now and could easily double as a skating rink.  I did like that it had a large area to sit down in.  We needed it to get through all the opening acts.

Loudness finally hits the stage around 1AM, maybe 12:45AM.  Having seen their recent setlists, it had been about


13 songs long and getting all those songs in an hour was going to be difficult.  They hit the stage and opened with Fire of Spirit from their 2008 album Metal Mad.  I wasn’t familiar with it but it sounded fine.  The band was tight and the new drummer, while he was no Munetaka Higuchi (RIP), he was solid and very competent.  One would expect no less from Loudness.  They followed up with Hit the Rails, Crazy Nights and Heavy Chains.  Some recent stops on the tour got We Could Be Together instead of Heavy Chains (personally I would have preferred to hear We Could Be Together).  Of course during Crazy Nights the crowd of maybe 350 people went “crazy”.  There were more folks there earlier but it continued to thin out as the night progressed.  Minoru’s voice sounded great.  We were one person back from the barricade until the end of Heavy Chains and I wanted to move back to hear a better mix.   The sound for all of the openers was awful but it sounded great for Loudness.

They had gotten to a couple more songs like In the Mirror, Never Change Your Mind and Shadows of War (Ashes to the Sky) and then something odd happened.  It was 1:45AM and the house lights came on.  The band looked stunned for a moment and were conversing with each other on stage.  The crowd looked perplexed too.  After a


few minutes they started playing again and went into Black Star Oblivion (!!!!!!).  It was totally odd seeing them playing with the lights on.  They discussed a little further and went into a new song, King of Pain and then Crazy Doctor (!!!!!!) and then the shit hit the fan…the club shut down the PA and the band kept playing with just their stage amps.  Then…AND THEN…the club yanked their stage power…MID SONG.  Granted it was a few minutes after 2PM but c’mon.  The band ended up just stopping, never got to play their full set and took it in stride.  They stood at the front of the stage and just smiled to the crowd and shook hands and such.

I was blown away by it.  After wading through hours of sub-par bands to finally get to the headliner whose set got cut because of a piss poor booking job, it really was a disappointment.  The crowd was getting pretty riled up over it all.  I heard several drunkards saying, “There’s only 5 cops and a couple hundred of us, let’s tear this place up!”  Umm, pass.  The show promoter should be bitchslapped over this though.  From my account, Loudness got shorted 3 songs.  It was disappointing to say the least.

I was very happy to see Loudness again and would surely go if they ever tour the USA again.  For a bunch of dudes in their 50s, they were great.  They were equally as good as the 2006 show and I enjoyed the setlist even more this time around.  Akira’s playing is top notch.  He’s one of the best players I have ever seen.  Minoru’s voice was really strong and I don’t think they tuned down any of the old songs to help him sing them more easily.  Yoshi’s bass playing was solid as always.  I love seeing them as they hit the stage looking like tourists…sweat suits, track pants, shorts and sneakers.  Very comfortable and they were all smiles all night.  A very professional band to say the least and so glad I got to see them again.

I don’t go to SA for shows that often and this experience surely doesn’t drive me to go out of my way to see more down there, although I’m sure I will.  Go see them if you get the chance.

Setlist (as I remember it):

  1. Fire of Spirit
  2. Hit the Rails
  3. Crazy Nights
  4. Heavy Chains
  5. In the Mirror
  6. Never Change Your Mind
  7. Shadows of War (Ashes to the Sky)
  8. Black Star Oblivion
  9. King of Pain
  10. 1/2 of Crazy Doctor

Songs missing from the set:  Get Away, Let It Go, SDI.


Minoru's shirt...I wish they were selling these!

Tour shirt (front)

Tour shirt (back)

Written by The Metal Files

May 29, 2011 at 10:08 am