DEATH ANGEL's Tour Makes Intimate San Diego Stop
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
(Photo courtesy of Scion A/V)
February 23rd 2011, Brick By Brick, San Diego CA: After a killer performance in Hollywood, Death Angel's North American Retribution moved further south, and such was the extent to which I had fallen in love with this tour, I decided to follow them to San Diego. The venue they played here is called Brick By Brick, a place I had never previously been to, and it was interesting to say the least. 21 and over, small stage, huge bar, and two pool tables was a weird setting for a thrash metal show, but one that made me even more eager to find out how this show would turn out to be.
From among the local openers that played, the one worth mentioning is pagan metal quintet Helsott. They were hugely impressive in all aspects, specially frontman Eric Dow's voice and on-stage mannerisms which closely resembled those of Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth. Keyboard player Cassie Morris added a lot of depth to their music with not only her keyboard sound but also her vocals. I feel that this female element gives them a whole another dimension and as a result of it, their overall musical style opens doors for them to fit on the bill with a wide variety of bands ranging from Epica to Rotting Christ. They changed up their set to suit the thrash crowd tonight and removed the softer, ballad-type songs from it, which I thought was a good decision because they were getting a great response from this small but appreciative crowd. Overall, I think Helsott are one of the most impressive local bands out there and all of you should check them out as soon as you get a chance to do so.
Another interesting thing about this venue was the arrangement of chairs and tables just behind the 'pit'. During one of the local openers, the younger folks started moshing and in turn knocked over one or two of these tables, spilling drinks and taking the people sitting in those chairs by surprise. But the cool thing was, no fights broke out and those who were sitting quietly moved away, realizing that they were in the wrong spot.
Bonded By Blood and Lazarus A.D. were awesome as always, and got a pretty good response from this crowd. Judging from the small number of shows I've attended in San Diego, I can safely say that people here come to see the whole show rather than just the headline act and appreciate what they see, unlike some of the other cities I've seen shows in.
And of course, Death Angel rocked our socks off. The stage here was smaller and lower in height than the one last night in Hollywood, which made it a more "in your face" kind of a show, specially in terms of frontman Mark Osegueda's on-stage demeanor, as well as from Rob & Ted on guitar and Damien on bass. At these 21 and over shows, there is always that one overly drunk guy who keeps tugging at the musicians on stage, trying to catch their attention, and sure enough, there was one such dude bothering Mark for pretty much the entire time. Other than that, the small crowd here was really into it. It was interesting to see that even though there weren't too many mosh pits going on, the fans were loud in their support and most of them sang along to the lyrics, at least for the classic Death Angel tunes. The highlights of tonight's show though were definitely the new songs and unlike the previous two shows that I saw on this tour, I was right up front for this one and could truly feel the impact of their killer new music. All seven of the Relentless Retribution songs were sounding equally great, and it's too hard to even pick a favorite from that lot. I go to plenty of shows and have seen plenty of bands, but I never felt such a burning desire to catch a band multiple times on tour, even as they played the exact same set in each of these shows. Now the only chapter of my Death Angel experience that was yet left untouched was to see them in their hometown, but more on that later.
An intimate yet intense night of face-smashing thrash metal from Death Angel and the rest \m/
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