Queensryche/Armored Saint/Death Angel Electric Ballroom 06-08-15
Expectations for this 3 band bill were huge on my part with 2 of my all time favourites on the bill and from the length of the queue outside the building I wasn't the only one.
Even horrendous traffic on the incoming journey with the Tube drivers on strike (thanks) hadn't dampened the spirits and first up Death Angel,who I had seen support Motorhead way back in 1988, blasted back onto a UK stage for the first time in a good while.
San Francisco thrash metal played with conviction straight from the heart and for 30 minutes London thrashed with them.
Here is what they played.
Left For Dead
Son Of The Morning
Claws In So Deep
The Dream Calls For Blood
Thrown To The Wolves
Led by the mighty roar of Mark Osegueda on vocals and other founder member on guitar Rob Cavestany and ably backed up by Ted Aguilar on guitar, Damien Sisson on bass and the quite magnificent Will Carroll on drums they played 3 tracks from 2013's The Dream Calls For Blood plus a couple of fan favourites.
Osegueda led from the front and begged the crowd to give more and the only down side (which we will mention again) was the poor sound with a lot of Cavestany's lead work for us being missed from the other side of the venue.
They left to huge applause which I hope leads to another UK visit soon.
Next up was a bucketlist band for me in Armored Saint who I had never seen and with their magnificent new album Win Hands Down now out and in my opinion a contender to take Symbol Of Salvation's top cd crown this was going to be immense.
Except it wasn't. The sound actually got worse and as the band smashed into the title track of the new album you couldn't hear legendary vocalist John Bush at all and the whole band sounded like they had been dumped in muddy treacle.
After a minute or so Bush's microphone kicked in and with veins popping in his neck the great man's throaty howl resonated around the building.
In a way too short 40 minutes set this is what they played.
Win Hands Down
March Of the Saint
An Excercise In Debauchery
Left Hook From Right Field
Reign Of Fire
Can U Deliver
On our side of the stage we could hear Phil Sandoval's guitar and some of his soloing was fantastic but with Jeff Duncan's guitar totally inaudible so much of the band's guitar duelling intricacies that on cd shine was lost due to the shocking mix.
Joey Vera on bass is a front man in the Steve Harris school of bass players and Gonzo Sandoval on drums lay down a barrage of epic proportions on debut album title track from 1984 March Of The Saint.
An Excercise In Debauchery from the new album is outstanding on cd but again the guitar work was lost to the mix and I really wanted to grab the sound man and say stand here pal and see what you think.
Left Hook from La Raza saw John scaling the speaker stack's which wobbled alarmingly before the sound broke a bit and for one song the quite fantastic Reign Of Fire from Symbol Of Salvation the hairs on my neck stood to attention.
John Bush gave a wordly vocal performance as the crowd bellowed the chorus back and at last some of the guitar work was audible as Duncan and Phil Sandoval's solo'd back and forth in a true once in a lifetime moment that made the evening worthwhile.
Can U Deliver finished the short set in great style and I can only hope the band return with a full headlining set soon and a sound man with ears!!!
Queensryche with new vocalist Todd La Torre blew me away on their one off date at Islington in 2013 so expectations were again high.
With Todd suffering from a heavy head cold a shorter set than usual was played over the course of 80 minutes and here is what they played.
Breaking The Silence
Walk In The Shadows
Where Dreams Go To Die
The Needle Lies
Arrow Of Time
Eyes Of A Stranger
Encore of Queen Of The Reich
Take Hold Of The Flame
For an old fan of the band this is heaven.2 songs of the 1983 EP, 4 from The Warning and 2 from Rage For Order and that is before 4 Operation Mindcrime songs and tonight only one off Empire.
The sound man had taken his ear muffs off and at last he or maybe Queensryche's own man took over and the world was a better place.
Todd may have been suffering but his vocal's are amazing to hear and some of the high note's he hit's should be listed as one of the seven wonders of the world!!When they play Silent Lucidity he shows off his full range and most vocalist's can only dream what he has.
Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren on guitar's interplay is stunning and audible and such a key element of the band's sound from their past and also into the future with the one new tune played tonight. Arrow Of Time from new cd Condition Human due out on October 2nd is a delight with duelling guitar's and let us hope the new cd lives up to that promise.
Eddie Jackson's bass rumble was ever present and Scott Rockenfield on drums has always been one of rock's unsung heroes with his pounding ways and intricate fills. He is the rock behind the band.
All of the old favourite's smashed it with the rarely played NM 156 hitting top spot but all of them were played magnificently and Todd hit every note as did some of the crowd.
After a stunning Eyes Of A Stranger closed the set with Rockenfield starring the encores were out of this world.
Queen Of the Reich still does it for me 32 years after it's release and Todd hit that note perfectly. A classic number and as it was rarely played before Todd's introduction even better to see it added to the set again.
Take Hold Of The Flame was again perfect with Michael's picked intro and Todd's vocal blending together as one and the crowd joining in but not with the same pitch!!
We could have done with a couple more Empire numbers but that is nit picking really.
Queensryche now move onto the new cd and let's hope that they move forward with new music but still keep in touch with their glorious past as this show and the one in 2013 show they are still right at the top of their game.
A great evening with 3 superb bands but sadly a poor sound man who tried his best to ruin the night!!
He failed though.