FRIDAY THE 13TH
Day one I missed Magic Circle and Aggression, as I was getting out of work, meeting up with my friends, etc. "Machine of War" (aka Brian LLapitan with 2/3's of Maximum Oversatan to fill out the band) played NME's Unholy Death album plus "Stormbringer" (it's always great to experience songs about Michael Moorcock's Elric, outside of Hawkwind). Brian was INTENSE and it was great to see current and ex-members of Sacrificial Blood and Maximum Oversatan play with him, as I know them to be HUGE NME fans.
Destructor was up next and I must admit delivered an awesome show, they are much better (energy and sound-wise) live, versus recording. I'm not a huge fan of them (though I am only recently aware of them), but I recommend seeing them live if you're even remotely into their style of Heavy Metal.
Liege Lord followed and KICKED ASS! I only first listened to them on the Thursday before the fest, but these guys made an instant fan out of me watching them live; energy, tight and heavy song-writing, total Heavy Metal live package right here!
Riot V closed the night out with a solid set heavy on the Thundersteel album, which is just fine by me as it is my favorite of the 3-4 Riot albums I've heard (first couple, Thundersteel, scattered tracks). Their current vocalist was quite powerful vocal-wise and pulled off most songs quite well. Former members also took stage for a few songs which was a treat.
I arrived just in time for High Spirits (see Brooklyn Vegan's article), having chosen to skip the likely FUBAR pre-show signing with the Rods and Exciter, and the opening acts. I opted instead for sleeping in and eating an early dinner with my friends.
Next up was a short set of October 31. I've seen them probably at least 4-5 times, but they are always enjoyable. I prefer King Fowley's band Deceased to October 31 but they are still good and consistently put on an entertaining and high energy show. King's props this time included a Freddy Krueger head water squirter, a bag of tinsel glitter, large signs. Their set featured a few songs from each album, closing with "Powerhouse" into a cover of Saxon's "Power and the Glory," a staple of October 31's live set.
Brocas Helm took stage next. I am also a recent fan of this band, having heard the name for a few years and foolishly (in hindsight) not taking the time to check them out. I must say, I am now a fan for life. Of the bands at the fest, Brocas Helm was probably the most pleasing surprise.
The Rods followed them up. Though their set was plagued initially by equipment malfunction, we did get a drum solo to kill time and the rest of the set was killer and extra-high energy. I saw the Rods once prior in a now-defunct venue outside of Dickson City, PA, near where drummer Carl Canedy lives. As I am from that area, that show in specific and the Rods in general have a special place in my heart. That show was one of very few good shows to come to the area after the close of places like Sea Sea's before I was of age. What more can I say of the Rods? Listen to them, love them, and most importantly, CRANK IT UP!
*Photos copyright Sam Shockey, 2015*
FINALLY, Exciter took the stage. I never expected to see any version of them live, let alone the classic lineup re-united after 30 years! Their set, like most of the bands from the fest, is largely available on youtube, so I suggest you check there for footage. The set was solid and consisted of the best parts of the initial 3 albums (my favorites!) The loud lived long, there was much violence and force, and the iron dogs played the city for a bunch of metal maniacs. Need I say more?
I couldn't get a good photo of Dan Beehler, but he kicked ass on the drums and nailed every vocal line. Impressive energy guys!
Additional info can be found on: Defenders Of The Old facebook
*Review and photos copyright The Samnambulist, 2015*