By Lisa Burke
February 4th 2017, The Airliner, Los Angeles CA: Heavy metal shows come in all shapes, sizes, and genres, yet they usually have one common thread. Blood, sweat, and tears flow behind the scenes of live metal shows and sometimes even on the stage at some of these local LA venues, and on Saturday February 4th, 2017, I ventured out for a rare appearance at The Airliner by Venom tribute band Sons Of Satan.
The show was put on by Metal Invictus and as always is the case with The Airliner, there were many bands on the lineup due to the two stages, and many trips up and down the stairs were to be had. The schedule was for each set to go from downstairs to upstairs and back down again, and while this in theory promotes skinny metalheads, it also allows attendees to see all the bands, except when they start to run late and bands play simultaneously as was the case for a little while on this night.
As much as I could get caught up writing about this venue forever and forget to actually mention the bands due to its interesting problems, it is worth mentioning that basically the space has decent potential, but the downstairs stage is always the awkward stage with the guitarists usually playing to the restroom doors that by 10 PM are oozing out vomit, as the Valhalla Vomitorium they have become from drunk metalheads that need to learn the art of pacing their liquor. The upstairs with its bigger audience space looks inviting until you realize what it takes to not have major sound issues while playing as even the acoustics of the room itself are problematic. On this evening, as far as openers are concerned, I found a couple of acts worth a mention because they had the fiercest and most angst driven death screaming chops going on. The first band was Exoteric, followed by Darkult, with the latter being more death-thrash. Both bands carried a professional attitude and maturity level that is a commendable trait, as not too many younger bands share that these days, it seems.
Lo and behold, for the first time ever I was not bothered by the sound here and actually I was quite impressed with it, as Venom cover band Sons Of Satan took the stage. This band to me is a slightly underrated super group of highly skilled and talented musicians that work out amazingly well together in a Venom cover band. It features vocalist/bassist Menno Verbaten from Lightning Swords Of Death and Cliff Em’ All, guitarist Matt Price from Behold! The Monolith (and he has also filled in for Lord Dying recently), and also drum champion Rhett Thorgrimm Davis from Gravehill. Together they are a triple threat that spawn mosh pits, head-banging, chaos, and stellar tunes wherever they go. The hard-hitting beats exude excellence while the riffs go above and beyond the call of duty, and the vocals rage as pure as Satan on a mission of mayhem. I fairly recently attended a Venom Inc. show which was definitely a good time and in one way closer to the real deal, but I must say with Sons Of Satan there was such a tight bond mixed with a certain structured simplicity that really captured my attention to the point where I had to question which band I enjoyed more and I still don’t have a definitive answer. Whether or not these guys had to bring the kitchen sink with them in order to sound good at this venue is neither here nor there, but the fact that they pulled it off despite any unpleasantries encountered prior, or the fact that Matt Price was pulling double duty that night as he played a show with Behold! The Monolith in another venue earlier in the evening, was definitely worthy of applause.
As the show ran slightly late, the thought of escaping before the finale did occur, but the band made sure to play non-stop all the old-school black metal hits at such a pace that I instead became entranced into the show, unable to leave until the last drop of metal was expunged in my face. It’s definitely worth attending any Sons Of Satan show at any venue, and on a positive note for the venue, the drinks are cheap and the outdoor patio on this night had some great metal merch in the form of fabric metal posters, metal patches, CDs and more. If this is a Metal Invictus ritual occurrence at this place, it is a worthy one for sure, allowing the attendees to get their nightly head-banging and shopping done all in one place. In the end, the heavy metal took precedence over all, and the crowd marched on home lost in pure evil enchantment.
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