Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Concert Review: Night Demon, Iron Kingdom, Hell Fire and Midnight Chaser

The spirit of Heavy Metal was alive and kicking last night. On a mildly warm Tuesday night in SF, metal fanatics from around the Bay Area made their way to the Knockout, hoping to see some ass kicking metal bands. In the end, they would not be disappointed.
    Night Demon, Iron Kingdom, Hell Fire and Midnight Chaser, were the four bands who took to the stage last night. I had been highly anticipating Night Demon’s visit to the Bay Area and ever since I reviewed their first EP, I really wanted to see them live.
    Now, the Knockout is your typical SF dive bar that offers live musical entertainment. My main problem with the venue, a topic which I have furiously ranted about on my radio show, is that they are a 21 and up venue. That means no young metal heads were able to attend this show. I know a good amount of people who would have liked to go to this show, but couldn’t because they were under 21! I really wish metal promoters would realize that the only way to keep this type of music going forward and to not exclude the younger fans! Now, I understand the bands are trying to play anywhere they can, so I do not fault them. However, I believe bands would notice better turn outs at their shows. So promoters, try your best to set up all ages shows.
    Okay, had to get that rant off my chest (if I was to rant about this on air, I would be out of breath). Time to talk about the bands who all did a great job delivering classic sounding fist raising metal. First to take the stage was Midnight Chaser. A local group with an old school metal sound, the guys in Midnight Chaser were a suitable opener. They offered up a solid energetic set. In my opinion, their lead guitarist stole the show. This dude could shred and travel up and down that neck like Eddie Van Halen. For the most part, I really enjoyed Midnight Chaser’s guitar section. Vocally the singer did a good job and had plenty of personality. Now their drummer, well, he did a decent job but seemed to be a bit off at times. Once they finished their set I definitely think the crowd livened up a bit more.
    Taking the stage next was Canada’s Iron Kingdom. This band from the north really sounded and looked like an eighties metal band. Their singer/guitarist was wearing cloths that you would have seen on Steve Harris or Bruce Dickinson back in the eighties. They too had really good stage presence and brought plenty of energy. Compared to Midnight Chaser I noticed Iron Kingdom’s rhythm section brought a little more force. The bassist and drummer worked great together and it made their low end standout. Iron Kingdom’s vocalist really enjoyed hitting the high notes. He was no King Diamond of course, but a couple times he came close to that range. Also, I would say the band had some creative songs that featured a variety of ripping arrangements.
    So, after waiting for many many months, I would finally see Night Demon. They took to the stage with their cool backdrop banner. Smoke from a smoke machine began to rise around the band and lingered for most of the set. Wasting no time once the introduction audio finished, the guys started tearing away in classic metal fashion. Singer and bassist, Jarvis Leatherby, showed great stage presence as he passionately hit away at his bass and sang into the mic. Guitarist Brent Woodward played with fierce aggression and sounded great as riffed away on his flying V. Drummer, Diesel, destroyed behind the kit and did not miss a beat. Playing songs off the first EP like “Ritual,” “Ancient Evil,” along with some new songs and covers, Night Demon was simply on fire. Talk about an electrifying set that really got the crowd banging their heads and having a thrashing time. Hell, the crowd even wanted an encore because they were having such a great time! Right now Night Demon is one of the most energetic and passionate live acts I have seen in my life. Horns up! 
    San Francisco’s Hell Fire finished off the night with an extreme power thrashing set. These guys knew how to play their instruments and the singer was a highly impressive frontman. I really liked how he interacted with the crowd and his vocal delivery was phenomenal. This guy’s range and vocal tone sounded amazing. They were a great headliner and even though the crowd might have been a little tired after Night Demon’s set, everyone still rocked out until the very end.
    Watching all these metal musicians play together was a great reminder of how close this scene truly is. We all eat, sleep and breath metal, as cliché as it might sound. We all grew up listening to Iron Maiden, Metallica, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Saxon, Judas Priest and a large list of others bands that might have been sewed on some of the denim jackets last night. Being together in SF was a testament to the great legacy of metal.
    If you have a chance to see any of the four bands I just talked about, I highly recommend you do so, especially Night Demon. All of them capture the essence and passion of Heavy Metal. Glad they keep are continuing a great tradition of making ass kicking music. I wish all the bands the best of luck and hope they keep getting more people to check out their music. Keep on headbanging! \m/

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