I had originally planned to see the Dec 8th show at the Whisky with Forbidden headlining, but that was scrapped due to family obligations. Fortunately there was this show at Chain Reaction in Anaheim four nights later, and no offense to Forbidden, but I really wanted to see Evile headline since I’ve been a fan of the band since before their first album in 2007. Unfortunately, I would be rocking out solo again, since no one else was either available or wanted to go.
I actually drove about 300 miles that day to see the show – no shit! Drove about 240 miles from the crotch of CA down to a relative’s house on the west side of L.A. County earlier in the day. After a few hours, I then drove another 60 miles across SoCal to get to Anaheim. Talk about dedication…or stupidity – take your pick. Chain Reaction was easy to find – I wish I could say the same about parking. I ended up parking with several others near a strip mall to the west of the place and walking back. Of course, there was an open spot in the CR parking lot then! Got my ticket and headed on in.
Inside, the 2nd of three opening bands were playing. The three (local?) opening bands (as listed on the bill) were enRot, Intruder, and Madrost. I had a small hope that the Intruder was going to be the late 80’s/early 90’s tech-thrash Intruder from Nashville, but it wasn’t. Madrost were the last opener to play. They had a lead singer/guitarist who was maybe 5 feet nothing and 100 pounds soaking wet, but he had a good frontman/stage presence during their set. The band certainly had a large fanbase who was there cheering them on.
Anyways, I headed back to the merch area and who should I find manning the table but Matt himself from Evile. We chatted for a bit (well, more like took turns shouting in each other’s ears due to the opening bands playing) about how the tour was going, plans for the new album (hopefully to released in late summer 2011, and his frank opinion on the “Infected Nations” redux version. I also asked if there was any chance of them busting out “All Hallows Eve” from their first EP. Matt said he couldn’t even remember how to play it, so that was a “no”. Ben and Ol both happened to stop by in short order, and I got separate pics with all 3. Was hoping to get a pic with Joel to complete the foursome but I didn’t see him until Evile hit the stage later.
Just across from the Evile/Gama Bomb table was the Bonded by Blood table with Jerry and Alex doing their turns as salesmen. Jerry was practicing with his bass and Alex was getting a little yo-yo practice in – watched him do a few of his tricks and they were nuts to say the least. Talked to both of them about the setlist for tonight (would be fairly short with the emphasis on the “Exiled to Earth” songs), whether they actually had LP copies of their new album (no), and the lead singer situation after the end of the tour (“we’ll see”). Got pics with both of them as well as Madrost finished off their set.
I moved back over to the left side of the stage on the outside of the floor. It actually made for a really good spot, being up close to the stage while just outside the mosh pit. In my old (well, older) age, I prefer being able to sing/shout along and snap a few pics without fighting off the youngsters behind me.
Bonded by Blood hit the stage, and they were great. My second time seeing them live, and my first time seeing them with Mauro singing, who was filling in for the departed Jose. I personally thought Mauro did an excellent job tonight, nailing the lyrics (from what I could hear) and keeping a good frontman vibe. What was really cool was during “Immortal Life”, Jose came onstage and the two singers sang a verse together before Jose dove back into the crowd. Again, just too bad the set was so short. I dig “Exiled to Earth”, but I had been hoping for a few more songs off the first album – no such luck. The crowd chanted “one more song!” for a while but to no avail. Best of luck to the band regarding the lead singer situation once this tour is over.
Bonded by Blood setlist:
1) 600 A.B. (After the Bomb)
2) Prison Planet
3) Genetic Encryption
4) Immortal Life
5) Blood Spilled Offerings
6) Feed the Beast
Next up was Gama Bomb. I was only familiar with “Tales from the Grave in Space” before this show (legal download – if you don’t have it, go get it on the Earache site). I was curious to see them, but didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say, they blew me away. Awesome live band, and the lead singer Phil is both commanding and hilarious as a frontman. They blazed through about 10(?) songs, and you would have sworn that the crowd was a local Irish one by the way they knew all the lyrics. Highlights included seeing a chick crowd-surfing…holding on to her purse for dear life, and Phil’s random commentary between songs.
The band seemed to be taken aback by the overwhelmingly positive response from the crowd, and repeatedly thanked us for it – hopefully they will be able to make it back over here something in the future. Later, after the show, I bought “Citizen Brain” at the merch table, and my ears were pleasantly assaulted later when I listened to it on the drive home.
Gama Bomb setlist: (NOT in order and likely missing at least a couple songs)
• Slam Anthem
• We Respect You
• Mussolini March
• Final Fight
• Hammer Slammer
• Zombi Brew
• Hell Trucker
• Three Witches
To close out an already great night, Evile finally took the stage…only to have Ol’s equipment temporarily go on the fritz. After about 5 minutes of tinkering with help from the Gama Bomb guys, Ol was ready to go. I had seen Evile twice already this year, opening for Kreator (March) and Overkill (April) and was stoked to finally see them play a full headline set. Well, they certainly did not disappoint in the slightest.
From the opening of “Infected Nation”, the band put on an insane set. The crowd energy was awesome and everyone around me seemed to know all the songs and lyrics. I remember back in March/April when I was one of the few singing along and shaking my fist in the air – not anymore! Evile owned the house tonight and the crowd loved it. The band seemed to be spot-on on all the songs, being simultaneously professional while looking like they were having a blast with the grins on their faces.
1) Infected Nation
2) We Who Are About To Die
3) Killer From The Deep
4) Now Demolition
5) Time No More
7) Bathe In Blood
8) Enter The Grave
9) First Blood
The band thanked everyone and bid goodnight after “Enter the Grave”, but within a minute were cranking out “First Blood” for the encore. Near the end, a stage diver hit Matt’s mic stand, causing it to lower about a foot or so. Matt took it in stride and hunched down like he’d shrunk in order to keep singing until he had a chance to fix it. I think it was likely that without the sound problems that plagued Ol at the start, we probably would have got a 10th song in the set – oh well.
If I could find any complaint about the set, it was that they played the same 5-6 songs (at least on this night) as they did on the last two tours through North America. I would have been all for removing “Infected Nation” and “Time No More”, and replacing them with something else off the newer album like “Nosophoros” and “Devoid of Thought”. Just my small and insignificant thoughts!
On another note, my digital camera literally died with the lense open since I had been taking so many pics during the show.
All too soon, it was over. I went back to the merch booth where I bought the “Infected Nations” redux CD (along with “Citizen Brain” from Gama Bomb). I caught Joel as he was helping break down the set and he graciously stopped to pose for an iPhone pic with me (taken by the GB drummer – thx dude). Can’t say enough about how cool the guys are. Hopefully, success will not go to their heads, because they certainly deserve success in the future! I made my way back to the car (which surprisingly was still there and unscathed, considering the dark corner I realized I had parked in) and headed home. No other concert plans for a while, so what an awesome way to finish out the year!
OK, my fingers are seriously on fire now, so time to close this out...