Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Armored Saint at the House of Blues Sunset Strip

It was a historic night for Metal Blade records as they celebrated their thirtieth anniversary at the House of Blues Sunset. Avid hockey fan and metalhead connoisseur Brian Slagel is the head of Metal Blade records has left an indelible mark in the world of metal releasing Metallica's "Hit The Lights" on the infamous Metal Massacre compilation back in June of 1982!
Headlining the festivities of the evening was the highly underrated Armored Saint. My brother got me hooked on Armored Saint back in the day as he constantly would play March of the Saint and Delirious Nomad on vinyl. The House of Blues was buzzing as the curtain lifted to hilariously reveal Armored Saint donning their classic clothes from the '80s replete with long hair wigs to get everyone in the '80s state of mind.
1983 was alive an well as they ripped through "Lesson Well Learned" from their debut EP. Phil Sandoval was rocking the old school armored vest while peeling off leads from his ESP guitar. It was flashback city as "March Of The Saint' had Joey Vera pummeling his ESP bass. The long hair wigs finally were ditched to  reveal a very bald John Bush and Joey Vera. John Bush may have one of the best voices in metal as he has also made a career for himself doing commercial voice over work.

Gonzo Sandoval was rocking the double bass drum kit for "Long Before I Die" as Jeff Duncan added his razor sharp riffs into the mix. While Armored Saint has played sporadically over the years, they were well rehearsed and even made a live debut of "Control Issues" from their Revelation album. Getting into the spirit of Metal Blade records, they covered Metallica's "Hit The Lights" with an assist from Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth.
The classic covers kept coming as Ray Alder from Fates Warning joined the band for Slayer's "Die By The Sword". Keeping things in the family, John Bush's very young son donned a guitar and provided background vocals for "Can U Deliver" for the most heart warming metal moment of the evening. "Chemical Euphoria" closed out their main set that seemed to go by in seconds.
My brother was elated that they started off their encore with his all time favorite Armored Saint song "Aftermath". Doug Pinnick of King's X joined the band for a cover of Thin Lizzy's "Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)" which was a tribute to Brian Slagel since it is one of his favorite bands. My favorite track "Reign Of Fire" was flawless and perfectly set up the closing salvo of "Mad House" as Brian Slagel was coaxed onto the stage to sing background vocals. I only hope Armored Saint can record another album or tour again soon.

Armored Saint Setlist at the House of Blues Sunset (11/30/12)
01 "Lesson Well Learned"
02 "March Of The Saint"
03 "Left Hook From Right Field"
04 "Long Before I Die"
05 "Control Issues"
06 "Hit The Lights"
07 "Human Vulture"
08 "Dropping Like Flies"
09 "Die By The Sword"
10 "Little Monkey"
11 "Can U Deliver"
12 "Chemical  Euphoria"
13 "Aftermath"
14 "Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)"
15 "Reign Of Fire"
16 "Mad House"

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