Gig Report by Chris Martin (Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Charlotte, you disappoint me. I realize that Death Angel isn’t the level of a Slayer or Megadeth, but this band is truly legendary in its status of thrash metaldom. And the fact that they were playing their entire debut album, the one that helped fuel this genre along with bands like Vio-lence, Exodus, Heathen, and so many others, and gave metal the kick in the ass it needed and brought into the metal world a sense of fun and exuberance that was lacking in the heavy, doomy, straight forward metal bands of the NWOBHM era. The fact that, at best, there were just around 100 people in the Tremont to witness their awesomeness really made me sad for them. AJ and I wondered how the band would react to such a small crowd. I assured her that they would play as if the club was full and give their all, something Death Angel are known for in the live setting. At least the folks that were there were pretty into the music, even if their brand of excitement didn’t meet my criteria, like the father/daughter team (as we referred to them as whether they were or not) pulling each other around and shoving each other into folks not interested in partaking of the pit. Or the really tall, large fellow who shoved his way towards the front, thrusting his meaty fist into the faces of the musicians, demanding to be seen, and likely making them a little nervous; the pre-requisite drunks that had no business being in the room let alone moshing around a pit, unable to keep their balance; or that one guy that insisted on crowd surfing when there were only maybe five people interested in helping out, and barely able to hold him up. Unlike the prior two shows, this crowd was of a different nature. No one was out and out an ass…well, except for one person, but we’ll get to that issue shortly. Despite this, there were a handful of the faithful that I see at shows all the time including my buddies John, Terry, and Columbian John as he will be referred to. It was great catching up with them, as usual, plus it was cool being recognized by the staff as this was the third show in a weeks’ time we had attended. And though Antiseen’s Jeff Clayton wasn’t present this eve, his just release limited edition bobble head was. Had I had an extra $20 I would’ve snatched one up.
So clearly with so few people at Tremont, we pretty much had rule of the roost as far as space was concerned. So as to get some quality pictures we decided to be up close. The first band up was Charlotte’s very own SkinKage. I’d actually seen them before a couple years ago as I recall, but I can’t remember who they were with. At their root they’re a hardcore thrash type band, but have elements of death, grind, and metal core to their sound. The music is intense matched by lead singer Frankie’s stage presence; pacing the stage like a caged animal, waiting for that moment to strike and break free. They played a set heavy with new music, and I must say that I was impressed. I liked them prior, but their new songs show a growth and seriousness that could take them places if the proper doors are opened. I had the chance to speak with Frankie after their set, and he was an affable, sincere, and attentive individual to the fans just based on the few minutes we spoke. His passion for what he does, as well as one of the guitarists I met later on whose name escapes me, was undeniable. Just the way they both talked about how they felt about music in general as well as their own is exactly how every band, young and old, new or classic, should be; otherwise you need to get out of the business. The fans and the passion are what it’s all about.
Next to take the stage was Potential Threat, who we initially thought was Wretched. When I saw the band line-up I recalled Wretched being at Summer Slaughter Fest and was under the impression that we had enjoyed them. I recognized the bassist so just figured that’s who it was. When they introduced themselves I felt pretty stupid, but was enjoying their music so much it didn’t matter. They’re straight ahead thrashing metal in the same vein as Death Angel and Exodus, yet they approach it a little differently. One thing that struck me about them was that they were smiling throughout their whole set. For whatever reason, this endeared me to the band. Like SkinKage after show, these guys showed their love of what they were doing on stage, smiling, laughing, and just enjoying themselves as we enjoyed them. This is the perfect attitude for a new band to have. We got to meet the entire band except the bassist which sucked not meeting him as I wanted to find out why he looked so familiar. Of course I found out later on why. As for the other guys, they were super nice. We talked with them for a good while, and every time we walked by them they would always wave, smile, and throw up the horns. The drummer even made a special trip over to introduce himself to AJ as he showed up after she had walked away. Don’t forget the name Potential Threat. I would highly encourage you to check them out- great music and just wonderful guys.
Following them was Wretched, and as soon as they took the stage I realized just how wrong I was in regards to liking them before. It’s just not the style of metal I enjoy. Hailing from Charlotte they play what is called djent metal I suppose would be the closest description, along the lines of Meshuggah, a band I’m not overly fond of. The highlight of their time for me was getting the chance to meet Mark Osegueda, the singer for Death Angel. Like the last time they played at Tremont, he stood out in the crowd checking out some of the opening bands. Unlike that time, I mustered up the courage to go meet him. I’m not big on meeting my heroes. Though I’ve gotten lucky the handful of times I’ve met people, there have been a couple less than desirable instances that really jaded me towards folks that I once had high regards for. Plus I hate walking up and randomly talking to musicians I’m a fan of because I feel like I’m imposing on them. AJ encouraged me to do it, so I went for it. Of course, at that same time some others decided to go do the same, kind of blocking me off. So I waited until they realized they more or less brushed me aside, got out of the way after they got pic’s made, and even asked to have a pic made with me for whatever reason (I’m assuming it was the crutches.) Mark was very cool and receptive. Since Wretched were fairly loud, it was tough hearing what he was saying, but he acknowledged the crutches and I gushed a bit about being a fan and blah blah blah. Wish I had kept my composure enough to mention that I write and stuff, but I’m just not really able to. I mean, I am a fan first and foremost so the geekiness of said fanboy-ness comes with it. He was kind enough to take a picture with me, and then I thanked him again and went on my merry way.
After Wretched finished up it was time for Bonded By Blood. I had seen them before as well and enjoyed them. They were even better this time. Musically they showed a maturity and growth every band should show as time progresses. Sadly, the same can’t be said for one of the band members. While Death Angel was on stage performing they were asking for some shots. Bonded’s singer Mauro Gonzales came walking by carrying four shots for the band. He just happened to walk by us and apparently spilled some on AJ’s head. No big deal ultimately- it’s one of the pitfalls of seeing live shows, sometimes you get alcohol spilled on you. She was pissed about it, as I’m sure any of us would be as he just walked on without acknowledging it. Since it was close to the end of Death Angels set, AJ decided to go sit at the bar and cool off. While I was still enjoying the show she saw that Mauro was walking around where she was so she decided to confront him about it and let him know it wasn’t cool and that as the driver she would now smell like liquor which tends not to go well if you get pulled over or caught in a license check. His reply was, “Get over it bitch.” I assure you had I been there I’m sure this punk wouldn’t have had the balls to say something like that, and luckily she didn’t divulge this information to me until we were leaving otherwise my write up would be a bit different. The guys from Potential Threat saw this and one of them stated, “Not cool bro.” He then tried to backtrack and say that he’d avoided several DUI’s by telling the cop he’d just left a show and had a drink spilt on him. I’m not one to be vindictive, and I realize that though my reviews are posted on a couple sites that get International viewership plus on Facebook and that I’m not entirely sure how many people actually read these, but suffice it to say that Bonded By Blood will see no more of my money or kind words from this point forward. And if you find yourselves in the position to deny them the same I’d appreciate you doing the so. This is no way to treat a fan. She did tell me that she told him, “And your band sucked too.” It sucks that one asshole had to ruin an otherwise awesome night.
Following Bonded By Blood was Threat Signal. I was unfamiliar with them prior and hadn’t really researched them too much beforehand. They were good, but like Wretched just not a type of metal I like. Not really sure who to compare them to. It also struck me as a wrong fit for a predominantly thrash billing. During their performance we more or less just wandered about shooting the shit with our friends and sitting for a little while because we both knew when Death Angel took the stage there would be little resting going on.
Death Angel took the stage and instantly took hold of the crowd and was unrelenting (oh, and the reason I recognized the Potential Threat bassist? Just happens to be the same guy that plays bass for Death Angel.) They went straight into The Ultra Violence album. These songs bring back so many great memories from back in the day for me. This was one of my favorite tapes when I was in high school, and remains one of my favorites to this day. We had already decided we would see this show, but when we saw they were playing this album all the way through it clinched it for us. I’d wager that a lot of these songs either hadn’t been played in many years prior to this tour or likely never been played before. We had such a blast during this. AJ and I had discussed on the way to Tremont whether they would play the title track in its entirety or if it would be snipped into something else like they usually do since it’s an instrumental. When Mark announced that he was pleased to have the band play it in it’s entirety we lost our freaking minds!! It’s such a great riff and tune. After they finished playing the album, they left the stage, then came back out and played some new songs and other classic tracks including “The 3rd Floor,” which is a great tune and every time I have seen them play live the crowd asks for it. Speaking of Death Angel and crowds, if you will recall Mark called us Raleigh when they played at The Fillmore last time and several folks must’ve mentioned it to him because he brought that up as well. Their love of the music and their fans is evident. They have never given a bad performance in the four times I’ve seen them and would likely guarantee that every other time I see the in the future they will put on the best show ever, even if it’s just AJ and I there.
Other than the bullshit with Bonded By Blood’s singer, it was a great show. Sorry it took so long to get this written, but life sometimes has a tendency to get in the way. I was also debating on bringing up the crap between AJ and Mauro and decided my peeps needed to know about this unacceptable behavior. I try to be positive whether it’s about shows or albums. My regular readers know that even if I don’t like a band I try to find something nice to say or at least keep it short my dislikes. At any rate Death Angel is a band that should be high on the list of any thrash fan to see live. They give there all no matter what. And if you’re in a band reading this, whether you’ve been around years or just getting a good start (especially the new bands though,) you should always be careful what you say and do to fans because you never know who you insult, or in this case, whose girlfriend you insult. Until next time my peeps remember: Welcome to the 3rd floor. It’s a one way trip, then they lock the door.
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