Firepower! Judas Priest, Baby Metal, Fu Manchu & Primus all return with great new LPs & tours (May/2018)

Great Spring Season of Awesome Metal & Fun times


Judas Priest - May 1st - Freeman Coliseum - San Antonio,TX

With one of the most anticipated new albums of the year, Judas Priest dropped the instant classic Firepower earlier this year & Rob Halford has not lost a step. His vocals are absolutely amazing and bassist Ian Hill is still very much a part of this. 
Was so awesome to be back among the San Antonio Metal faithful once again as it's been waaaay too long. The duality of being my fiance' - Earlier that day my girl & I had come from Austin after a day of biz meetings & then I took her to the Riverwalk for a nice dinner. Then I took her to see Judas Priest haha - Again I was officially "working" but I've loved this band my entire life & was specifically looking forward to being in the presence of one of the greatest Heavy Metal communities in the world in San Antonio. 
Walking in was no dissapointment as the crowd outside was something straight outta Heavy Metal Parking lot - It was like a time machine, this wasn't some new fancy arena with a bank sponsored title, this was the old barn like shithole on the bad side of town - perfect for tonight proceedings!

Anticipation rose as it was time for Judas Priest. When the band soon hit the stage, there was an onslaught of one great song after another.

 

Rob Halford somehow still hit the notes on every song & sounded as great as ever. Judas Priest celebrated every era of the band including this year's instant classic Firepower by blasting through three tracks off this great new addition to the Priest catalog that all sounded great live. What a difference just a few hundred miles makes, as this tour played our hometown in Dallas a few days prior to a small theater of about 1,500 compared to this sellout of over 8k San Antonio Metal Faithful & to reward them at this tour ending stop they treated to them to Tyrant, played for the first time live since 1983.

 

 

 

Another special treat came during the encore in the form of the return of guitarist Glen Tipton who has been forced to no longer tour with the band due to the degenerative nature of his Parkinson's disease condition. Halford later clarified that Tipton was still a member of Judas Priest, and that he would come out "every now and then to do 'Breaking the Law' or 'Living After Midnight.' & tonight he did that & more. Great show & bless the Priest!

Setlist - 

Firepower 
Running Wild 
Grinder 
Sinner 
The Ripper 
Lightning Strike 
Bloodstone 
Saints in Hell 
Turbo Lover 
Freewheel Burning 
Evil Never Dies 
Some Heads Are Gonna Roll 
Tyrant (first since 1983) 
You've Got Another Thing Comin' 
The Hellion 
Electric Eye 
Hell Bent for Leather 
Painkiller 

Encore: 

Metal Gods (with Glenn Tipton) 
Breaking the Law (with Glenn Tipton) 
Living After Midnight (with Glenn Tipton)


Fu Manchu - May 3rd - The Curtain Club - Dallas,TX

One of my favorite bands ever, the memories I have obsessing over each release stretches almost a quarter century & it continues even today with the recently released (& freaking excellent) Clone of the Universe.

The twin guitars of Fu Manchu are immense, a fuzz current that moves as one, lifted by Bob Balch's blues leanings and wide vibrato. They have been at this caper so long that everything has power-a panzer unit of doom that hits you in the chest with each Vans clad salvo. Bliss. 
Live, it's a monster so powerful that it's not to be missed.

 

 

Loved seeing these guys again & an odd room as well as The Curtain Club is usually reserved local bands, often of the shitty variety that can't get weekend gigs at the main clubs. But lately they've been getting some road shows, we even saw Tricky here last year.

As any band this good, their constantly topping themselves & they set the bar to a new (seemingly impossible) new high with the awesomely named (& Rush's Alex Lifeson collaboration) Il mostro Atomico’ that they encored all 18 minutes of with, followed by the classic Boogie Van.

Something of interest happened & I always like to include the human element of these experiences. Their is a smoker's porch right out front of this club & while I don't smoke, the place is very small & stuffy & the usual shitty opener is always so loud so I go out & socialize & usually run into old friends.
While I didn't see anyone I knew, I did get into a conversation with two very interesting people (in search of marijuana, them not me). 
Apparently they both were truckers this male & female as well as a couple. Both friendly & enjoyable to speak with but this might be the most glaring case of Beauty & the Beast I've ever seen. She was so stunning I had to tell my fiance about her when I got home, seriously one of the most striking females I've ever seen. Maybe I'm biased cause of my love for Asian women (see fiance') but she was mesmerizing. He however looked like the only time he's had sex it was with cash & his over the top bombastic personality seemed to define repellant of the opposite sex but she was all about him. 
We all rawked out together until he got so drunk he started dropping bottles behind me and breaking glass (or maybe the band was so earth shattering it did the breaking for him?). Good times.

Setlist

Eatin' Dust 
Clone of the Universe 
California Crossing 
Weird Beard 
Evil Eye 
(I’ve Been) Hexed 
Hell on Wheels 
Mongoose 
Dimension Shifter 
Strato-Streak 
Nowhere Left to Hide 
Laserbl'ast! 
King of the Road 
Il Mostro Atomico 

Encore: 

Freedom of Choice (DEVO cover) 
Boogie Van

 


Primus - May 10th - Southside Ballroom - Dallas, TX

I now have managed to see two Primus tours in a row: Now on it's face that probably doesn't sound that impressive, however if you were aware (& as regular readers of this site will tell you) of the Curse of Primus that has plagued me catching their live shows for over 20 years you would see that to finally break said curse is a wonder only befitting such a weird band.

Back at the same venue as last time, I arrived just as they were starting as I was next door wrapping up the Dallas International Film Festival & it's closing night ceremonies & now came to relax & catch a show. Once the house lights dimmed the crowd greeted the band with chants of “Primus sucks,” a chant that would reemerge during the break before encore. Show opener drew from 1990’s Frizzle Fry, offering up the classic tune Too Many Puppies, which was used to bookend a brief take on another older song, Sgt. Baker off 1991’s Sailing The Seas Of Cheese

 

 

What came next was a long odyssey that housed the entirety of their new album, The Desaturating Seven, released in September of 2017,  their ninth studio album & first of original material since Green Naugahyde in 2011 inspired by the 1978 children’s book, The Rainbow Goblins, and capitalizes on the eerie story about goblins and rainbows.  Finishing out their set they ran through a high-energy take of another fan favorite, Jerry Was A Race Car Driver, much to the delight of the crowd, before departing from the stage. For the band’s truncated encore, they offered up a looooooong version of Southbound Pachyderm giving drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander the time to shine with the song’s opening drum solo before tearing through the high-octane song.  before blasting out a very unexpected cover of fellow Bay Area weirdos The Dead Kennedy's Holiday in Cambodia that really ended this great show on such a high note.

Setlist

Too Many Puppies/Sgt. Baker 
Spagetti Western 
Wynona's Big Brown Beaver 
Last Salmon Man 
Frizzle Fry 


The Desaturating Seven 

The Valley 
The Seven 
The Trek 
The Scheme 
The Dream 
The Storm 
The Ends? 

Eleven 
Pudding Time 
Jerry Was a Race Car Driver 


Encore: 

Southbound Pachyderm 
Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys cover)

 


BabyMetal - May 11th - House of Blues - Dallas, TX 

I've been curious about BabyMetal since they first arrived on the scene a few years ago - I liked the idea that Metal could be presented by something completely different. Instead of the often angry white American or European male, how cool that young Japanese girls could take a swing.
Whenever i hear something derided or easily dismissed I usually have the adverse reaction, in the same way when I hear so many ready to give lip service endorsements, both make my skeptical.

Regardless, I had to see this for myself, which I wasn't aware might have proved to be way more difficult that originally assumed. For example this was their first time to Dallas & tickets sold out in minutes & then the unexpected hoops I had to jump through to get press clearance, that came with it's own set of rules of where we could shoot & for how long & the own the images blah blah blah etc.

Still excited & ready for something different it was never more abundantly clear that this wasn't going to be your typical Metal show when across the screen, the band behind the curtain waiting to be unveiled, the crowd lunging forward in anticipation read a bizarre video that said:

 "Metal Resistance Episode VII – The Revelation" & explained that a "dark side" of Babymetal exists, "with seven metal spirits", and that "no one will know who, when, where, or how, the Chosen Seven will be presented, only the Fox God knows."

Ok good times haha & I should have expected as much as just about every face in the crowd I recognized was from the Anime fans & cosplayers I run into in the times that I have either shot or DJ'd A-Kon or Anime Expo, but had no idea that crowd was so dialed into this band.
Curtain lifts & all I can say is HOLY SHIT cause it was ON - 

 

Gone were the pigtails & cuteness replaced by 4 freaking badasses in in Pharaoh Fox God costumes and masks, waving large staffs over the stage in unison. on some Donnie Darko (with style) shit ready to kick your freaking ass. 

The band, a lineup of stellar musicians cranked out brutal, Scandinavian style metal, were stellar, laying down an instrumental number while the four stars, approached the lip of the stage.  When the masks came off for the next song ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

Much has been made of one it's core members, Yuimetal being absent from this tour like it's some crazy conspiracy or part of the storyline, some fans like to bend the narrative to it's most sensational while ignoring reality all together. Most likely girl is probably sick, injured or in contractual dispute.

Although there are four leads on stage, vocalist Su-metal (Suzuka Nakamoto) is the star. The band was built around her voice, as she commanded the stage. with a confident, unshakable stage presence. The producers who saw the makings of greatness when they picked Su-metal to lead the group knew what they were doing. 

Moametal and the rest of the leads were in constant synchronized movement, and the four were choreographed and rehearsed to the point of being an impressive unit. While Su-metal was occasionally onstage solo, each of the girls had moments in the spotlight, particularly with an incredible karate-style dance that looked so much like fighting, I kept expecting one of the girls to accidentally knock the other out with a high kick. 

 

Between the guitar solos, incredible vocals, dark shirts, and complicated mythology, BabyMetal is definitively a metal band. Yes, they have their share of songs, like “Gimme Chocolate,” that are pop songs with some heavy metal riffs bolted to them, but they’ve also got their songs that work as straight ahead thrashers with pop elements.

My only exception to the show was after coming all this way to play, it's your first time in Dallas, & how quickly tickets sold out, I know your production team didn't set all that up for you them to play for only an hour. Not to mention how surely expensive these tickets were especially after the inflated scalper prices.
Otherwise, an outstanding one of kind show, that I eagerly hope to see again soon.

Setlist - 

IN THE NAME OF 
Distortion 
Elevator Girl (Not announced officially. There's a possibility of the working title on tour.) 
Tattoo 
GJ! 
Akatsuki 
Megitsune 
Gimme Chocolate!! 
KARATE 
Road of Resistance 
THE ONE 

 

Photos - 

Roy Turner

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