The Key Club in Hollywood is always (in our opinion) the best place to see a Metal show. The Security is cool, the food and drink is delectable (though they recently shortened and changed their dinner menu) and there isn’t a bad spot to stand in to see the mayhem that takes stage. Matt & I have been here many, many times and it’s usually busy. Rarely have there been shows that have been light in attendance. The show for Armored Saint and Death Angel on March 6th 2009 saw a turn out that packed the house to the ceiling (officially SOLD OUT @700-800 bodies) with a personal surprise of a crowd not familiar to the underground metal scene: the lost and unhip middle-aged adult that grew out of regularly attending metal concerts in order to pursue the “American Dream”…not to forget that they also lost the god-given sense to uphold any public etiquette when it came to drinking alcohol.

Matt & I showed up about 6pm to only find nobody in line, however, the die-hard Thrash kids were there hanging about as usual. I’m glad they showed up and we do know a few of them as one shook Matt’s hand and exchanged greetings. This show was not being repeated throughout the United States and as seasoned metal heads, we both agreed that the younger Los Angeles Thrash and Death metal heads should have been at this show. However, there were a handful of smaller underground gigs in the process that night in lower class neighborhoods for which we will not attend due to lack of good security. I like to refer to some of these fans and venues that support the bands as “Ghetto Metal”…for a quick laugh of course.

A survey of the crowd that started to gather behind us added up quickly in our minds as to the demographic that later that night took the Key Club hostage. Quite a few attendees were older than us sporting vintage Armored Angel, Van Halen, and random bar & restaurant t-shirts but mostly plain collared shirts with jackets for the men. Oh, and I can’t forget the bad aftershave cologne added to those tacky threads. Some women were dressed to walk all day at the downtown swap meet while others were dressed too sexy for their age…more like it, the MILF’s, GILF’s and Cougars (one that had a Scorpions “bitch tattoo”) were prowling the premises for ungodly reasons but one random idea could have been because they were dragged there to support their husband’s one night a month out with the guys.

For an unholy long hour in line we people watched and listened to an agonizing cell phone conversation with a gentleman that seemed clueless as to what type of bands that were playing, “Yeah, mom, it’s, mom, it’s heavy metal, yeah, rock n’ roll or something, mom…” We didn’t think this guy was planning on attending Swallow the Sun this Sunday either. “Mom, Jesus loves you and so do I…yeah, mom…” The bouncer needed to open the doors quick before I took my writing pen and shoved it in both ears….

We both made it inside at 7:40pm only to now wait for our dinner reservations which were set at 8:15pm. Matt decided to leave and exchange our tickets he bought earlier for next week’s shows for the sale price printed inside the club on a bunch of posted flyers. These included Forbidden and Destruction. I was left on the floor in a dark corner on a torn up couch watching as the club filled up like a sinking ship in an ocean full of clueless people not knowing where to stand. “Excuse me, is this area reserved?” (trying not to laugh) “No, man, just stand where ever you want, except up stairs”. Most of these people were too afraid to move up to the front. It was like they fell into another dimension and just discovered a new world that was only told of in fairy tales. However, the liquor wasn’t hard to find and the smell was rampant just as it poured from the bottles into the plastic cups. This was going to be one fucked up bunch of people. This thought took me back in time to when Matt & I drove quite a distance to see AC/DC at a 50,000+ show about 10 years ago or so. That was a bad night and though the crowd here at the Key Club was more than 50 times smaller, consumed alcohol + lack of common sense + limited amount of body space = triple threat. It was going to get loud and obnoxious. Matt made it back and on up stairs it was to our dinner table.

There were no opening bands. Good. Nice for a change though the crowd, as unhip as they seemed, would have only yelled for Armored Saint longer until they took stage. The merchandise table was disturbingly weak with Armored Saint t-shirts mainly in black and white, nothing catching our eyes except for some compact discs for which we already have minus one. I had made plans to buy a Dark Angel shirt but only a few were there with the art piece from the latest album on the front, which was sadly printed to look like a blob, lacking detail. The moniker “Prepare to Meet Thy God” was printed on the back. It was a choice of all black or all white and not much else. I declined and we headed back up stairs.

Death Angel hit the stage at 8:50pm. We quickly wolfed down our garlic fries and secured our dinner table. The band sounded great! They were vivacious, aggressive, and loud! The only stage paraphernalia adorned was a large backdrop of the latest album cover artwork “Killing Season”. This is a magnificent cover! The piece is called “A New Divinity” by artist Kris Kuksi. Check out his art on either myspace or www.kuksi.com ~ visually stunning creations! They fired first into “Lord of Hate” then into “Thrashers”. The microphone zapped out of commission during this time and then kept giving the singer, Mark Osegueda, trouble into the third song. After “Dethroned” the Mark went on to address the crowd in giving their gratitude to our presence by giving us a “God bless you guys” line…Matt & I just looked at each other with a “WTF?” written on our faces. Matt claims that the singer did this twice and I wasn’t too thrilled with that. When you aren’t a religious person you don’t understand the personal usage for such English treachery. I would have been more thrilled with “You guys ROCK” rather than “God bless you”. We are highly rebellious and don’t quite see Death Angel being this soft considering how brutal live they are. Ozzy Osbourne says the same shtick at his gigs but it’s unavoidably predictable for him; Ozzy is just nuts. It’s a subtle line of religiousness that doesn’t choke down easily with us. I’m actually disappointed on a personal level.

Mosh pitters were there that kept the older crowd entertained. Of course, the mosh pits were by our beloved Thrash kids that stick to their guns in supporting the old school bands. By the middle of Death Angel’s set, people had been hovering around our dinner table like flies on shit. This pissed us both off to where we had to keep the security guards busy in getting people off our backs. By this time, the alcohol was destroying the few tiny brain cells left in those that should have gone home to take care of their personal hygiene…and to score some better weed because the stank upstairs was wretched!!

Most of the songs that Death Angel played were from the new album Killing Season including “Sonic Beatdown” and “Souless”. One song from Act III “Seemingly Endless Time”, two songs from Art of Dying, “Thrown to the Wolves” and “5 steps of freedom” and a couple from Frolic Through the Park, “3rd Floor” and “Bored”. A hand full from The Ultra-Violence album: “Evil Priest”, “Kill As One”, “Voracious Souls” and the aforementioned above, “Thrashers”. Matt was stoked over the drummer Andy Galeon! This guy killed the drum set and didn’t seem to wince once and could pummel through anything! I was impressed with this band, though I am the Blackmetal fiend, I am glad to have finally witnessed another piece of history live from the Bay Area. Death Angel played an hour and 20 minutes, 10 minutes longer than scheduled. How do I know these things? We always have our dinner table set right above the booth reserved for the audio check. We can look down and watch the sound and lights managers while looking upon the set list, though, they aren’t always available.

Giving peace signs and not the devil horns were another subtle gesture of tonight’s entertainment. Fans gave the “devil horns” but for what reason, I still don’t know…warding off evil spirits as the function once stood for hundreds of years ago isn’t so much the intention today. It really means nothing. I found this night’s concert funny, irritating, sad, embarrassing and a little “kick-ass” all at the same time. Matt & I had ordered our last meal of the evening after Death Angel gave their farewells. Considering what we had endured during D.A.’s set, it was going to be 10X worse. We shoved our sandwiches down our throats and braced for the best!

Armored Saint, we later understood via one of the bouncers, had a grip of friends invited to the show. In between sets, one drunken fellow got in Matt’s face while he was trying to read the menu. The stranger claimed he was friends with the drummer Gonzo and then proceeded to give his two cents on what was good to eat. The idiot completely ignored the fact that Matt wanted him to move away because he kept bumping into him without conscience. (In case you didn’t know, Armored Saint is a local band dating back to the early 1980’s. They hail from Los Angeles, California). We both marveled at the number of people that tried to view over our heads (mind you we are sitting at a dinner table overlooking a railing onto the dance floor/pit and stage). It was annoying to say the least, to have a cock shot right in your face when you turned around to look behind you! Both of us grumbled to no end after Armored Saint crashed the stage(@ 10:50pm) while the drunken forty-something’s broke out into a mutant form of head-banging that neither went with the drum beat nor any chord. It was more to the chime of an irregular heartbeat at best! The stage had “Armored Saint” in logo fashion tied to the ceiling hanging down above Gonzo. On both sides, metal rods each held six long strands of chains while to the left a shiny metal knight stood watching the chaos that ensued on the dance floor. I’m not particularly a fan of this band’s caliber, however, this is a band that Matt was fond of and I had agreed to go for Metal’s sake. I wasn’t disappointed but I do feel that I do not need to see them again…unless the tickets are free, LOL! John Bush did sound awesome and this is the band for him. I’m not a fan whatsoever of the John Bush with Anthrax. That will forever be Joey Belladonna in my humble opinion! John Bush adorned a white t-shirt while looking completely blazed which said “I call Bullshit” that made Matt crack up. John is now bald as an American eagle but still looks Metal! Armored Saint gave forth the first track off of Symbol of Salvation called “Reign of Fire”. After slaying the crowd the set went on with these in order: “March of the Saint”, “Paydirt”, “Warzone”, “Last Train Home”, “Book of Blood”, “False Alarm”, Aftermath”, “Symbol of Salvation”, “Long before I die”, “Chemical Euphoria” (Matt’s favorite) (ENCORE) “Can U Deliver” and finally “Madhouse”. For the fans that know these songs, it is an obvious guess as to the song that should have been played but was left out (for those who don’t, it was “Droppin’ Like Flies”). From what I gather, the set had possibly been cut short as the show ended about 10 minutes after midnight (it was scheduled to 12 midnight). Also, upon saying their good-byes, Gonzo may have strained his right arm as he was given help walking from his drum kit, gingerly flexing his wrist and forearm.

No matter what was left out, everyone seemed to agree that Armored Saint did a fantastic job of bringing back the old school to the new fans and to the ones that may have missed them several years ago. Crowd surfing and stage diving wasn’t forgotten as part of the Thrash etiquette to say the least because A. S. still knows how to keep it brutal.

As for us, we waited till it calmed the fuck down before we could peel our asses off the seats. Most of the crowd did stay and keep the decibel level to 10+ with just their voice box. We finally left and I gave a sigh as the chilly night air hit my face; it was time to go home and regain my hearing once again.

I wouldn’t make it a habit of hanging out with the likes of females that look like they dropped out of a Whitesnake video, some wearing “Mom jeans” swinging their child bearing hips or the typical middle-aged male wearing that touristy outfit only he should wear to Disneyland. We both agreed that the metal crowd that is “in the know” is the speed we cruise in. So, I can safely say that there will never be any potential nor by sheer will for the need to tattoo “Armored Saint” above my ass when I’m 44 years old! Not going to happen…it will be Dimmu Borgir! *cracks a smile*





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Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:39 am.
Categories: Reviews.

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