The Fox Theater, Oakland, California
November 9, 2013
YES I'm behind with this blog thing and NO I haven't really been motivated to write recently for some reason. Anyway, this show was over a week ago and it was pretty chilly that night and I should have worn a heavier jacket. Before the show Photo Ray and I fueled up at Rudy's Can't Fail before diving into the potential drama that can be the guest list at Will Call. Long story short, if only all shows were this easy:
Before entering The Fox I had a long overdue drink and catch up session with my Murder In The Front Row co-author / brother Harald O. at a nearby bar that I'd been to before but had completely forgotten about. Then I found myself inside The Fox watching the last songs of the Huntress set. Oddly, I had not seen Huntress before... although I had seen the singer in a Metal cover band called Chelsea Girls several years ago in Vegas. Huntress were not awful and I appreciate how their music is based on Classic Metal, but I will offer the opinion that a song like 'I Want To Fuck You To Death' sung by a witchy woman in a leotard and cape might cause people to pigeonhole the band into a certain stereotype. Just saying..
During the changeover there was a nice mellow social scene in the VIP area with a few friends as well as 1/2 of Machine Head. I was kind of surprised there weren't more familiar faces in attendance, especially since it was a Saturday night. However, given that we were in downtown Oakland the local vibe was in full effect.. something that Mr. Robb Flynn commented on as well.
Anyway, local heroes and legends Testament were up next and it pains me to see them playing so far down on bills like this. Eight songs and 40 minutes for the longest running and most influential band playing tonight?! Also, I can't remember the last time Testament actually played inside Oakland city limits. Of course, they destroyed their hometown with the newer song 'Native Blood' being my fave of the set. However, given the brief time onstage, it was a classics heavy setlist with 4 songs from The New Order album alone and 'Over The Wall' closing things out. Then it was "Thankyougoodnight!" and Testament disappeared into their hometown night to be with family and friends before leaving for the next city in the morning.
Uhh, the last time I saw Killswitch Engage they had a different singer and that one guitarist wore a cape onstage and told jokes about having sex with underage girls. I think I'm too old to *get* Killswitch so I'll just leave it at that. So while they entertained the kidz I had a nice conversation with my good friends a cold beer, Photo Ray, and Nikki Blakk in the bar during their set. Since The Fox has an in-house video system that's shown on the big screens in the bar, I can at least say I saw Killswitch tonight.
Last but not least, the heirs to the Pantera crown Lamb Of God exploded onstage and I'm sure there was a guy wearing a Pantera shirt in the pit trying to start a fight. LOG's production was not unlike the recent Megadeth staging that was heavy on video projected behind them on screens behind the backline. Honesty is my only excuse: The only song I wanted to hear was 'Walk With Me In Hell' and they blasted that out as the 3rd song of the set. LOG should headline a Beards of Metal Tour; fake beards could be sold at the merch stands so the entire crowd could participate.
If you bought one of every Lamb Of God merch item you would have paid around $260. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. Then 5 days later it was...
Kreator / Overkill / Warbringer
The Fillmore, San Francisco
November 14, 2013
Honesty is my only excuse: The main reason I was interested in going out tonight was because it was a rare Metal show at The Fillmore. There's so much history in the space and it's my favorite hometown venue... and if only all shows were this easy:
I've seen Warbringer several times and they are good at the retro Thrash thing... but I'd like them more if the singer didn't talk to the crowd in his Metal character voice in between songs. The voice sounds silly... and Baloff didn't have to use a character voice onstage.. but I'm nitpicking because they are one of the better younger bands who dress like we did back in The Day.
The fact this show was at The Fillmore was surprising because the last time Overkill were scheduled to play in San Francisco the show was cancelled due to tepid ticket sales. However, tonight the old school New Jersey veterans made up for it by playing one of the best sets I've seen them play in these parts... but they didn't play 'Wrecking Crew'.. which I thought was odd. There were a lot of kidz in the house tonight and it was cool to see them respond to Overkill like it was 1987 again. I watched the set from the lazy person's spot in the VIP balcony. I noticed a guy in a wheelchair heroically pushing himself around the pit. After one time around a random guy started pushing him and then another guy helped out. They ran into people like a careening car on a busy street going the wrong way but no one cared. I got teary-eyed watching it. A Metal band of brothers! Yes, I was a hypocritical jerk for being up in the balcony while those kidz kept it real... but I salute them.
After Overkill I went to the bar and ran into Tom Hunting of Exodus. Then, after a longish changeover, those veteran German thrashers Kreator returned to a San Francisco stage. At this point Umlaut was a bit punchy from a long work day, but the German's set pretty much went like this the entire time:
Yes, they played 'Pleasure To Kill'. Despite my fear earlier in the evening that the show would not be well attended, the floor of The Fillmore ended up being decently full and action packed. There were enough young kidz in attendance to give the floor action some good energy. It wasn't one of those Old Metal shows where it's just 45-year old men shoving each other and calling it a pit. All in all an unexpectedly great show!
I was lazy and didn't do a merch audit. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. Although I didn't do a merch audit there was some juicy merch drama tonight: Overkill have a different shirt for every night on this tour specific to each city. Pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, evidently there are certain rules of conduct when using a venue's name on merch (I might or might not know about this...) and, long story short, Overkill were not able to sell the San Francisco event tee.. which was pretty cool:
Since I may or may not know something about this, I'm disappointed that Overkill's merch person didn't sell the tees outside the venue after the band's set. Oh well... Anyway, such is the drama behind the scenes at some of your favorite concerts, kidz.