Monday, June 28, 2010

Half Full Or Half Empty

Saint Vitus / Hammers Of Misfortune / Walken
DNA Lounge, San Francisco

January 27, 2010

I don't think anybody saw this one coming: Saint Vitus returning to S.F. only 5 months after their triumphantly epic DNA show in January!? Wow.. Prior to the show Umlaut met up with his brothers The Drummer and Johnny at Schmidt's for fine German food and beer. We haven't hung out in awhile so it was the perfect way to start the evening. Food 'n friends, man... Then DOOM.

Danzig was playing across town at The Regency so if you wanted to find the douchy Metal fans they weren't at the DNA tonight. However, I was shocked that the DNA was only 1/3 full when the Vitus show in January had been sold out and jam packed. I know the last show had been on a Friday night and this was a Sunday... but still.

The Umlaut Nation was nicely represented tonight... so a shout out to The Drummer, Johnny, Dave, Crow, The Bassist, and Wexford Girl.

Walken: Yet ANOTHER excellent Bay Area Metal band! Walken features 2/3 of another good Bay Area Metal band Grayceon; it's interesting how many bands share members around here... We arrived about halfway through their set and the band's heavy groove really set the tone for the night and made me forget the size of the crowd as I sipped my beer. I need to pay more attention to Walken, man.

Hammers Of Misfortune: The evening was special due to the debut of Hammers Of Misfortune's latest lineup featuring new vocalist Joe Hutton and Leila Abdul-Rauf (Saros / Amber Asylum / Vastum) on guitar and vocals. To be honest, Hammers has always been hit and miss for me, but having 2 of the Bay Area's best Metal guitarists in the lineup with John Cobbett (also of Ludicra) on the Les Paul and Leila on the SG takes Hammers to the next level for me immediately... because Umlaut is a sucker for harmonized lead guitars..

Vid by Umlaut

Somewhere Phil Lynott is smiling, right? If Hammers were from Sweden instead of The Mission District they'd probably be huge...

Saint Vitus: Although they were playing to a 2/3 empty space that they had sold out 5 months ago, the legends didn't seem to give a shit and they played BETTER than they had back in January. For some reason the size of the crowd was really bumming me out; if the recent passing of Ronnie James Dio taught us anything it's that Metalheads need to see their heroes at every possible opportunity. The rhythm section of Mark Adams and Henry Vasquez were even tighter than they had been in the Winter, Dave Chandler didn't chat as much in between songs this time (HAHA!) and his TONE was still magnificent.... and Wino is hitting a peak these days as his skills are sharpened to a awe inspiring level from both Vitus and Shrinebuilder being active.

Vid by Umlaut

The setlist was also switched around from 5 months ago and Vitus opened with 'I Bleed Black' > 'Clear Windowpane' which was a surprise... They also pulled 'Mystic Lady' out of the catalog... but as in January the show stopping, riveting moment was when Wino sang 'Dying Inside'. Is there a more compelling and personal song about battling personal demons? Nope... Near the end of the final song 'Born Too Late' Wino did a stage dive... Yes... You read that correctly... Wino did a stage dive... and I'm still not sure I saw it. So unexpected and... bizarre!

Okay, I gotta stop right here and say that I'm actually not really that inspired to write about this show. Maybe because I'm tired and I'm thinking about the plane I have to catch tomorrow... but anyway, YES Vitus' performance was fantastic... and I still worship them completely... but I didn't enjoy this show in general as much as the January one. The January gig was a momentous event because it was the first time in FOREVER that Saint Vitus had played a show in S.F. and the sweaty packed atmosphere inside the DNA that night felt momentous as the heroes were welcomed and worshiped. Tonight the crowd was small and we did welcome and worship our heroes... but I just couldn't get past how many people had decided not to come out and support this show.... because a legendary band like Vitus deserve better... especially in San Francisco.

Saint Vitus weren't selling the round embroidered logo patches this time; good thing I had gotten one at the January show. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. Man, I was tired the next day... I almost dozed off in a meeting at work. Seriously.