The Fillmore, San Francisco
February 28, 2014
No offense to the other bands on this bill, but the only reason I was at The Fillmore on this Friday night was to see Death Angel on their home turf. Only 20 days earlier, the band had made a brief homecoming to play their old friend's Horror Convention and then the next day they were off on down that Lock 'N Loll Road again. Tonight found them back in their home area code for another brief time as part of this odd bill sandwiched between 2 Scandinavian bands.
Umlaut arrived earlier than expected and passed the time watching the enormous merch line snake from the back of the main room all the way to the stage. Impressive... but as Tyr begin their set I knew I wouldn't be long for the main room. Tyr have very good musicianship but their neutered brand of Metal is something that mystifies me. The early crowd assembled for them reminded me of being at ComiCon and when a nerdy guy in the lobby wearing a Tyr shirt said loudly "I've never seen this many Tyr shirts in one place before!" he kind of summed it up perfectly. Anyway, after a couple of songs I found myself sitting in the upstairs bar with other bored Death Angel fans.
A minute or so later around 6 bored Thrash kidz walked into the room and they immediately endeared themselves to me as they debated each other on "real" Metal bands with one of them saying "I've seen Motörhead twice, dude!" It was like looking into a mirror back at my 20th Century self; those kidz are going to be alright. Dog bless them.
I was curious to see how a Children Of Bodom crowd would respond to Death Angel, but I didn't anticipate how much home cooking would influence tonight's set. As the houselights went down I was standing down front at stage right and realized I was pretty much surrounded by Death Angel friends and family members... and the energy level from the first note was completely off the hook. It was obvious tonight was going to be very special.
The new song 'Left For Dead' set things off and the set seemed longer than the mere 45 minutes Death Angel were allotted. However, when it's a band playing at the level that Death Angel is here in 2014 it's simply a matter of all killer and no filler. Quality over quantity. For the entire set I wasn't sure if it was just me who was caught up in the emotionally charged fury. However, as I looked around at the crowd and watched the pit action I realized the smell in the air was the sweet smell of home cooking. I could tell the band was digging into the home cooking profoundly as well.
I was impressed that the set was mainly new songs but it did not matter at all, so when Death Angel started up the DeLorean and took us back in time to the vintage 'Mistress Of Pain' things went completely nuts. It's not often you see a support band completely take over a stage and make it their own, but tonight Death Angel did just that. Although not on the same level of course, tonight reminded me of Metallica with Ozzy in 1986. Not the same level, but definitely the same vibe. There is no place like home. The next day Mark of Death Angel posted the following message that caused me to get a bit teary eyed:
"Last night was one of my most satisfying, and gratifying San Francisco shows that we have ever played!"
If you had bought one of every Death Angel merch item you would have paid around $110. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. Despite my previous intention of staying for the headliner, as they blazed through their set I was at the Mel's Drive-In on Geary where I had the weirdest and least satisfying chicken fried steak ever. Hmm... obviously not all home cooking is good after all.