Friday, June 20, 2014

Grim Reaper / Ghost of War @ Fish Head Cantina 6/14/2014

I went to see Grim Reaper ($18) up in Hell (Baltimore/Arbutus).  I met up with a ton of people- Ariel y Ilem, James y Barbara, Gori y Omar, Henry, Ruby, Amberley, Adam, Tammy, TOM, Lisa S, Brain B, Neil and injured Michelle, and maybe one more person.

I was directed to park in front of what appeared to be a pretty large area of warehouses. I heard some sounds coming from what sounded like an outside stage. After walking up some steps and getting waved over by a metal detector wand and ID'd, I was let in by the first of many security workers. The place was bigger than expected and definitely was not sold out. There were probably 100-120 people there at the high point.  There was an interior bar was some pretty decent prices (and selection) for beer and an extensive menu.  There were billiard tables on the one side of the bar, and even a few arcade machines in the passageway to the back.  On the other side, there were tables to sit and eat, with a couple TVs mounted high on the wall. The passageway to the outside linked the main bar to the Tiki bar area where the stage was set up.  They had a ticket person and copious security around. This space had another bar, the stage, some area behind that bar, and then a wooden deck with another seating area. It was a cool night out, so the air coming in  thru the overhang by the stage was refreshing.  I felt pretty safe because of all the clearly marked and beefy security guards, but I had to wonder if there was usually a lot of trouble to necessitate them.

Ghost of War had their standard merch (Shirts, CDs ($12), etc.), and Grim Reaper had a lone shirt ($20 I think) with a simple "Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper" and a tiny Grim Reaper on a black shirt, with some tour dates on the back.  I didn't see any other merch set ups for the other bands that I had missed.

I got there in time to see some of whomever was on before Ghost of War. They kind of sounded like Hellyeah or Pantera lite.  I kid you not, the guitarist had a whole Dimebag vibe with his hair, beard, shorts and sneakers, Dimebag guitar, and even razorblade necklace. I think I was still getting my surroundings because I really can't recall anything else distinctive about their performance other than Dimebag Jr. and that they were pretty loud.

Most of my Ghost of War Pictures were having lighting issues

Ghost of War was on next, and they did not disappoint.  They did change up their setlist from last time (!) so it was nice t hear some different tunes. I believe this was the longest I've heard them play (50 Minutes).  They did a very good job of warming up the crowd for Grim Reaper.  This solid performance from the GoW boys had Thane's guitar being a bit more prominent in the mix (a good thing) this time.  We also got another new song, so that was interesting to hear, as vocalist Ronnie mentioned that they may be taking some time off to work in the studio!  Ronnie is always good at working the crowd, he's got that personal feel to him.

Interesting lights also screwed up a ton of my photos

Grim Reaper from the UK slowly took the stage around  11:30 to some rowdy cheers.   This was obviously the band people were here to see as I think they last played in Maryland... at least 25 years ago?  They played in Chicago earlier this year and that was their first performance in the USA in 25 years (!).  Steve Grimmett may be the only original member left, maybe that's why they added  "Steve Grimmett's " to the Grim Reaper backdrop and shirt.  As far as I am aware there is no other Grim Reaper to cause the name disputes of other bands (Ex: L.A. Guns, Queensryche, Great White, etc.). From the opening strains of "Rock You to Hell" until the end of their biggest hit "See You in Hell,"  Steve and the Grim Reapers did not let up very long. Musically, I think the one guitar sounded a little thin, but I don't think I minded with how great Steve Grimmett's voice has held up. Sure he doesn't have an amazing sustain now, but he can still pretty much hit the high notes (like he used to? I didn't see them back in the day, so I don't know, but it sounded damn close enough to me).  Not to mention the energy all the guys had, which certainly helped, too.

STEVE GRIMMETTS

They powered thru a decently long set, with songs from all 3 albums, and one from a forthcoming LP. They also had an excellent Dio cover "Don't Talk to Strangers" which was pretty well done, and I am pretty sure everyone loved hearing something that was NOT "Heaven and Hell" or "Holy Diver."  The crowd simply ate it up!  I would have preferred to heard more from "Rock you to Hell," as that is my preferred GR album. Or even "Grab your Garmin."  Alas, they concentrated more on the other 2 albums, which are good, but I guess I jsut haven't listened to them a lot.  I think they could really have played most anything from their 3 albums and still have been very good.

Steve Grimmett wailing

The small and rabid crowd was rather enthusiastic for GR and shouted along many songs and provided copius applause.  Thankfully I was conserving my recovering sickly voice, otherwise I would have blown it out singing along. Even though it was an intimate show, the energy felt like it belonged to a crowd 4 times the volume.  After the show, Steve and GR came out to sign things and take photos. So I got a quick derpy one with other Steve.  I know other people had tons of things to sign, but I guess I was fine with a photo, a handshake, and a gushing "YOU GUYS WERE JAWSOME." Steve Grimmett was very gracious and took time for each fan, as far as I could see. The other members were doing similar, including bass player Chaz Grimaldi, who apparently is from Baltimore (local guy!).  There was a very positve air about the show this evening, and no one got too rowdy (or too borracho).  That is, somehow no one on stage , being fed J├Ągermeister shots from Ghost of War, was stumbling around!

Pretty GRIM Reaper

Overall, it was pretty great seeing Grim Reaper live, a band I never thought I would actually see after I discovered their LP when sifting thru my brother's collection. I'm not sure how well their tour performed, but I heard it was pretty well attended at the other dates.  I think that it would be great if a few lower or middle tier guys got a tour together to really draw people, instead of these one offs.  In any event, it was a fun night, even if it did go on to the wee hours of the morning.

Next show: Septic Flesh, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE



Setlists

Ghost of War (10:19- 11:09)
Heaven's Burning
Falling Into Eternity
Absolute
Future of the Past
Only Death is Real
Shadow of a Memory
Beautiful Lies
Pull Me Under (Dream Theater)

Grim Reaper (11:34-1:00)
Rock You To Hell
Night of the Vampire
Lust for Freedom
Wrath of the Ripper
Now or Never
Fear No Evil
Liar
From Hell
Never Coming Back
Lay it on the Line
Rock Me Till I Die
Matter of Time
Don't Talk to Strangers (Dio cover)
Wasted Love

Final Scream
See You in Hell