Ash To DustThis venue is a nightclub, so about a third of the floorspace was separated by a chain link fence, because there was a bar back behind it. That's where I started out. Ash To Dust is a local Thrash band, with 4 members. It's led by Rob Mathews, who plays lead guitar, and yells out the vocals. Their style of Thrash sounds something like a cross between Slayer(but not nearly as dark as that) and Sacred Reich, with a touch of Terrorizer. Their songs seem to be about war and government corruption. They had quite a few fans at this gig, they were yelling out to the band. The bassist was playing a wireless bass and he played the last song while circling in the mosh pit. I dug their music and I'd like to find out where I can buy their CD. Rob said that they will have a new album out soon.
Bonded By BloodThis was the first time that I had heard their music. I assumed that they were a copycat band of Exodus, since they share the name of Exodus's first album. They proved my assumption wrong and impressed the hell out of me. Their music is very fast, heavy, and explosive. It's right in line with traditional Thrash, sounding like a hybrid of Overkill, and Destruction. The musicians are very good, but their songs are great. They are original and fucking kick ass. New vocalist, Mauro Gonzales, is a perfect fit with this band, and his showmanship really gets the crowd fired up. This band plays some of the most energetic Thrash that I've heard in a long time. Although they are very young, they play like polished professionals. They are pros.
After the set, I hurried through the stumbling drunks, to their merchandise table so that I could buy some of their CD's, and a tour shirt. A couple of minutes later, Mauro Gonzales showed up to sell them to me. He was sweating and a bit dazed after his performance. I had to help him count the money. He was very friendly.
Lazarus ADThe beer line moved slow as fuck. So when I finally got my beer, the band had started their set. Then I lost my previous spot, with a good view of the stage. I stood at the back and that view wasn't worth shit. So I finished the beer and went to the main floor. I found a killer spot right up near the left side of the stage, with a close up view of the band. These guys were the superior musicians so far. They were damn good and their music sounded something like early Kreator with the nastiness of Exodus. Vocalist/bassist Jeff Paulick spoke super fast , like an auctioneer after a couple of the songs. Then after one number, he spoke like himself. He said that the band loves to party, they've got a lot of traveling to do, and asked the fans to meet up with them after the set to help them score some smoke for the road. They did a short set, with only 5 songs. What the fuck? Maybe they found a connection while they were on stage. I won't go out of my way to see this band live in the future.
Death AngelI wasn't going to lose my closeup view of the stage, to check out Death Angel. So I waited it out, as the stage was rearranged. This time, the club was packed with eager fans. I got closer to the stage, since some people left, you snooze you lose. There was only one person standing between me and the stage. I could reach out and touch the stage. The stage is only about 3 feet tall, so it makes for a more personal experience with the band. Death Angel love to give their fans a personal experience, as I found out.
I'm relatively new to Death Angel, so at first, I didn't know who was who. I knew that they had 2 Asian guitarists. They were both watching all of us fans, near the stage. They opened the show with Relentless Revolution, the first track from their newest album. The crowd went crazy, but they jumped right into the 2nd track from that album called Claws In So Deep. Then the fans wildly showed their appreciation. Vocalist Mark Osegueda, was just as thrilled with the big turn out. He told us how happy he was that we showed up and that if we keep up our excitement, they will play an extra long set for us. They played about 7 of the best songs from Relentless Retribution. I gained a better appreciation for some of those songs when they were played live. Opponents At Sides sounded beautiful live.
Then Mark took a moment to introduce the band to us. The Asian guitarist who was playing incredible guitar riffs in front of me, was Rob Cavestany, founding member of the band. We were amazed at his guitar playing , as well as the performance of every single member. Rob loved to show us his guitar playing, as much as we loved watching his fingers work the fretboard to produce such awesome leads. He would hold his guitar near our faces, so that we could get an even better view.
Will Carroll is a killer drummer, he is an inconspicuous member of the band. His drum set was placed further back on this small stage, than the drum sets were placed for the preceding acts. This allowed the rest of the performers to move around, to offer all of the fans a more personal view. They do this from time to time, so that you can get a better look at each member. But then they will go back to their original spots on stage.
They played some of their best songs from Act III, The Ultra Violence, and even a cover of the old Black Sabbath song, Heaven And Hell. Then Rob told us that "this is when we do our fun songs", they did 4 of the best tracks from The Art Of Dying. The last song that they did was Thrown To The Wolves.
Their set lasted for an hour and 40 minutes. If you like bay area thrash, then you've got to check this band out, when they come to your town. Get right up there, next to the stage. Your left side is where Rob will probably be at. Be prepared to shake hands with all 5 band members. I did. It will be their pleasure as well as yours. They love their fans and they are extremely nice people. I want to see them the next time that they come to town.