Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, happened to be the perfect night to see the legendary band called, Satan. San Francisco and Bay Area metal fans were given quite a show with three excellent heavy metal acts.
The line-up of Satan, Night Demon and Hell Fire sure delivered a solid live experience for those metal fans who attended. Being one of NWOBHM’s most respected bands, I knew that there was going to be a decent turnout. Honestly, I did not realize the amount of people who really fanatical Satan fans. When I arrived at the venue after searching almost an hour for parking, the line to get into the Elbo Room was surprisingly very long. Also, you had metal fans ranging from young to old, drunk to super drunk, but mostly looking ready to rock out to some killer music.
Opening the show was SF locals, Hell Fire, who were also celebrating the release of their first album. I saw Hell Fire play with Night Demon two years ago at the Knock Out, and was rather impressed with their take on classic style heavy metal. However, the band’s singer who I saw at the Knock Out was not with them anymore, and I personally thought he played a crucial role in their overall sound. Though, the band’s new singer was someone who I did find to be a suitable replacement. Jake Nunn, the band’s new singer, played in a band called Hysteria who I had seen a few times. I really enjoyed the band’s live energy and could tell they have been working hard at developing that tight heavy metal sound. The riffs were fierce and the music flowed with great synergy. For an opener they did a solid job getting the fans ready, especially when Jake challenged everyone to try and match his vocals. He may have lost 59 times before, but I think he can count last night as a win for putting on a wicked live set.
Taking the stage next after Hell Fire, was Ventura, CA’s very own, Night Demon. One of heavy metal’s most electrifying and talented bands around, Night Demon take’s listeners back in time to the NWOBHM period with some brilliant songwriting and one passionate live experience. Once they took to the stage supported by a phenomenal lighting set up and epic looking background, the band owned that space and unleashed killer song after song. Also to point out, this would be the band’s first show with new guitarist, Armand Anthony. Again, I have a hard time adjusting to when certain bands make line-up changes, especially when the band was firing at all cylinders like Night Demon. However, Armand did a tremendous job for his first show and seemed to have all the guitar parts down. I also liked how he added to the band’s stage presence. Him and bassist/singer Jarvis Leatherby were a strong live presence and their playing matched up perfectly. Dusty Squires was a monster behind the kit and has such a powerful sound that maintains an extremely supportive rhythmic backbone.
Song’s like “Full Speed Ahead,” “Curse of the Damned,” and “The Howling Man,” sounded simply amazing. During their song, “The Chalice,” from Night Demon’s first EP, the band’s mascot “Rocky” made his way out and seemed to get a big pop from the audience. The band’s performance was one of their best in my opinion, which is saying something, because the other two times I have seen them were exceptional sets. I think the crowd also really enjoyed the band’s performance and people were throwing the horns up until the very end.
After Night Demon finished their killer set, the band of the night began getting ready. Satan definitely was the reason a lot of fans were there, and when they came out on stage, everyone seemed to make their way to the stage. The venue was so packed I felt like a sardine in a can. Holy crap! I did not realize how many people were fanatical Satan fans. Once the band cranked up the guitar distortion and kicked into the first song, I could understand why people showed up in full force. Satan for an older band sounded very solid and does not let their age prevent them from rocking out with kick jams. Singer Brian Ross has an amazing voice along with unbelievably great stage presence. The guttering playing from Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey was truly smashing, especially the lead guitar playing. Bassist Graeme English and drummer Sean Taylor were very good players as well and added to the band’s overall sound.
I respected how they played a decent balance of new and old material. Some fans were shouting for them to play more old songs, but I find those people to be either drunk, or just completely ignorant. Satan’s new songs sounded just as exciting and well written as the band’s work from, “Court in the Act.” Yes, “Trial by Fire” and “Blades of Steel,” were really awesome to hear live, but the new songs from “Atom By Atom,” happened to be well received. “Farewell Evolution,” hands down was my favorite song during their set.
Well, there you have it folks, an amazing night of heavy metal for Bay Area metal fans to always remember (unless they drank so much that they blacked out). I think this was a well put together bill that showed a classic metal band that still knows how to put on a killer live show, and also give a couple of up and coming bands the opportunity to offer their crushing heavy metal music. In the end, if you went to this show, you did not lose out on a great heavy metal evening...you might have lost some money thanks to parking, but the music hopefully made up for that.