Lots of people enjoy the sheer glam-rock fun of Steel Panther’s music. But seeing the band in concert, where there songs almost come to life, is another story entirely. In an age where most music fans, especially rock and metal fans take themselves too seriously, “The Panther” only want you to live in then ow, with lust in your heart. The most mirthless, hardened guy or gal would have a hard time not laughing and smiling up a storm when “feeling the steel”! Rock music hasn’t had a group this crazy or dangerous since the heyday of Van Halen was all original members or Guns `N Roses were still in their skinny jeans, The band recently returned home to the House of Blues in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip to a sold out crowd and a heroes welcome. The floor was a sea of people singing along the entire night. When they were still and underground phenomenon and an every week thing, fans might have started swearing off the hair spray and the spandex was put away. Now that they are a big international hit, the band can do a show like this and feel new again. Captured here by Nick Phelps of MasterPhelps photography you see the band in all of their glory (hole) and the crowd was too!
On the same day where the streets of Boston were filled with thousands of people for the World Series Championship parade, the after party took place just up Mass Ave at the Middle East Downstairs Night Club. The great thrash titans, Death Angel, came to break down the walls of the Cambridge venue with some help from Battlecross, the local heroes in Revocation, and. Normally, Revocation would play before Battlecross but they switched spots in the lineup as the tour was stopping in Revocation’s home town of Boston. With that said, it was time to get down and grimy with the blue-collar five piece from Detroit.
Battlecross hit the stage and boy do they ever hit it hard. Kicking off the set was my favorite off of the debut album entitled ‘Man of Stone.’ This song does a great job of showcasing all of the different sides of the band. You get the groovy riffs in the chorus, the thrashy bits in the verses, and then the bone-crushing breakdown to close out the song. The Boston crowd was treated to a handful more songs ranging from both albums. Specifically, off the new album, ‘Beast’ made its way onto the group’s set list for this specific tour which is arguably one of the band’s heaviest songs to date! And as most fans could guess, ‘Push Pull Destroy’ was to be the last song of the evening which is always a crowd favorite especially when lead singer, Gumby, tossed the microphone into the crowd to finish off the last few lyrics of the song. Battlecross continues to impress me each show that I see them play and have made a fight to claim my favorite “new” band.
Up next was the technical death metal foursome, Revocation. Having just seen them a few months ago at Summer Slaughter, I was ever so slightly disappointed that they didn’t change the set list up all that much. Having said that, the set list was still a good mixture of songs ranging over three LPs and one EP so I really couldn’t complain all that much. The boys from Boston played new album favorites such as ‘The Hive’, ‘Fracked’, and the hit single ‘Invidious’ to demonstrate what their self-titled, newest album is all about. Fan favorites ‘Dismantle the Dictator’ and ‘No Funeral’ capped off the night for Revocation but to a usual loud ovation. Personally, my favorite moment from this, and most Revocation shows, is how deafening any venue becomes during the gang vocals on ‘Dismantle the Dictator’. Every time I get to hear the crowd sing along with David Davidson, “Overlord! Overthrown!” just really sends the greatest chills up my spine. I don’t know about everyone else, but I think it’s time for Revocation to have a headline tour at very minimum in North America.
Just when the Middle East thought it had enough, 3 Inches of Blood arrived to continue the beat down. As always, I was able to watch someone see the five-piece masterpiece for the first time and it usually involves the phases of 1) shocked facial reaction at Cam Pipes amazing vocals, and then 2) the inability to stand still. The instant classic, ‘Deadly Sinners’ was the loudest moment of the night as the whole Boston crowd was singing along (or should I say, tried to keep up to the vocal range of Mr. Pipes). The set list as a whole was also very impressive as they managed to play some goodies off of the newest release such as ‘Metal Woman’, ‘Leather Lord’, and the salute to Dio tune, ‘Look Out!’ But it did not stop there as Boston got to also hear some old singles as well such as ‘Demon’s Blade’, ‘Crazy Nights’, and the ever popular ‘Goatrider’s Horde’ 3 Inches of Blood never disappoints to make their fans bang their heads, mosh around like warriors, and try to sing far too many octaves out of their own vocal ranges. So to sum all of that up, 3 Inches of Blood yet again try to steal a show and, if it wasn’t for our headliners, they might have pulled it off.
After a quick beer break, it was time for the main event, one of the pioneers of thrash metal back in the flesh, the almighty Death Angel! Having just released a new album, ‘The Dream Calls for Blood’, the Middle East Night Club was anticipating a slew of new tunes to accompany some classics… which is exactly what they got. To be accurate, we were treated to a total of seven new songs off the album which included (but not limited to): ‘Left for Dead’, ‘Son of the Morning’, ‘The Dream Call for Blood’, and ‘Caster of Shame’. We also got to see some past album favorites such as ‘Relentless Revolution’, ‘Claws in So Deep’, ‘Sonic Beatdown’, and ‘Truce’. Additionally, true Death Angel classics like ‘Mistress of Pain’, and ‘Evil Priest’ found their way into the set list and stirred the whole club in to an absolute frenzy where not many people were standing still and that goes for the soundboard guy in the back too! Even I found my way into the pit to let out some aggression with other long haired and bearded metal brothers of all ages. After what seemed like hours of non-stop thrash goodness from the Gods themselves, it was time to wrap the night up with ‘Thrown to the Wolves’. And yes, there was one last hair raising moment left during the chorus as all chanted along in between Mark’s vocals which even now as I jot this down and relive the moment in my mind, my hair is raising yet again. All in all, the whole night was like that for me for each band.
Every band playing that night had their own ways of standing out from each other, but they each were connected by what Death Angel has done for the genre of thrash metal. This tour easily ranks up in the Top 5 shows I have gone to this year which says a lot especially with how successful big name tours like Rockstar Mayhem and Summer Slaughter can be. But let’s be honest here for a moment, wouldn’t you want to be up close and personal with the band in a poorly lit basement of a dance club? If you said yes to that question than you get just how amazing this night was for multiple generations of metal heads that showed up that night. The only question I have left… is where the hell is this Thrashumentary DVD that Death Angel promised? Besides that, I am one happy metal head and you should be too if you were lucky enough to participate.