Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mägo de Oz @ Howard Theater 6/9/2015

I went to see Spanish folk/power metal legends Mago de Oz at the Howard Theater ($38). I had last seen them a couple years ago at this same venue. They were amazing then, and I barely knew them. This time, they have a somewhat new album (Ilussia, 2014) out and they were sure to play some from that. I ran in Mujeeb, Diaz, Bessy, and I think I saw Scott. Kesta Happening DC, who covers nearly all the Spanish language music and other events in the area, was taking a ton of pictures (see below for links). You can see me lurking in my King Diamond shirt if you scour.

Mago De Oz (Wizard of Oz)

I got there kind of late, after 9PM, unfortunately due to work/traffic/parking. There were no shortage of people there. I don't know where all my Latin/Hispanic brothers are during other metal shows, but I will tell you there were 500+ people in attendance. I felt especially tall this evening.

No merch but here's the band

There was no merchandise again, in a very poor business move. I certainly would have grabbed a shirt, and maybe an album if they offered something. The Howard Theater's acts that I've seen have had slim to none merch, for whatever reason.

Most of Mago De Oz

Around 9:30, after some sweet true metal tunes over the PA (Battle Beast, Manowar, etc.), the lights went down, and the curtain went up- it was time to ROCK! They started off with a couple tracks from their most recent album- Ilussia- which I just got in the mail from Argentina (!) just the day before! They sounded pretty great with some decent reaction from the crowd, but once they started playing "Satania" from Finisterra the entire middle section of the floor came alive and started a huge mosh/folk pit. And then the party really kicked off after that!

Howard Theater looked small
A very metal band for a non metal name

The large Howard Theater stage looked camped as they crammed all nine (!) members of the band on it. Oh and the keyboard and large drum kit. The one stage manager/roadie looked so pissed during the first song, and even a couple members looked uncertain, as he was trying to direct them and even out the levels (drums and keys were too loud at different times, drowning out the vocals and the folk instruments). By the second song, things seemed a bit more stable, but I don't know how the band didn't bump into each other with all the movement, spotlight shifts, and rock moves going on.



The band itself consists of Zeta (vocals, looks like Don Dokken but sings 1,000 times better), Patricia Tapia (vocals), Txus (drums), Carlitos and Frank (guitar), Mohamed (violin), Fernando Mainer (bass), Javi Deiz (keyboard and guitar), and Josema Pizarro (flutes, bagpipes). That's right, five guitar type instrument, which were all lined up at one point for some sweet Judas Priest style rock moves! It must have taken a ton of practice to coordinate all the movements and playing.

The rest of their set went pretty smoothly, some new songs (6 out of the 16 song set) with older songs interspersed. Of course they could have (should have?) played two hours or more and more songs, but this is what we got- about an hour and a half (a good length setlist for a headliner). One could go on and on about what they SHOULD have played, but I can only comment on what they DID play. There was one song I'm not 100% sure about- it sounded familiar but I can't place it.

A great folk band of folks

So Crowded

"La Leyenda de La Mancha" with lead vocals by Patricia had her vocals up a bit too loud to the point of almost piercing at the high points. I think every song, apart from the initial sound issues, sounded pretty great. We had the heavy riffs of "Astaroth" contrasting with the cheerful folk melodies of "Melodian" and "Fiesta Pagana," and even some huge power ballads like "Desde Mi Cielo." You had all sorts of crowd participation- singing along, fist pumping, head banging, folk/mosh pits, jumping, clapping, and even arm waving (for the ballads).

W/ Clown noses

I will say there are the same gripes as last time- random people throwing half of the drinks or water or ice into the crowd, no merch, that damn high pitched whistling, and tons of people slipping and falling (see throwing drinks!)! They also added bathroom attendants, like Ram's Head and Baltimore Sound Stage usually have. That always creeps me out. The bassist and guitarist had clown noses on for one song as well.

Unas Chicas y un hombre

Who IS that Masked Man?

The crowd was mainly Hispanic/Latino, but there were some white people, at least one Indian, at least one Asian. The only black people I saw seemed to be staff. Overall it seemed more multicultural than last time. But let's not kid ourselves, Zeta and the rest of Mago De Oz addressed the crowd only in Spanish, with that Spain Spanish lisp. One address that Mohamed did was about basically not crowd surfing because there was no security/room for them to go and that they didn't want anyone to fall. Or something like that. There was a masked luchador (Mexican wrestler), ladies dressed up in impossibly high heels and tight (and/or short) dresses, long hair, black metal shirts, and a couple flags (Mexico, El Salvador) which were waved constantly as well.

Mexican Flag wave!

Overall- it was a great show, that was over all too soon. I did have to pay extra attention to make sure I was able to take some accurate notes- it's a bit more difficult to translate on the fly! Completely recommended show- treat yourself to some folk metal from Spain if you get the chance!

Next show: Def Leppard/ Styx / Tesla!

Mägo de Oz (9:32- 11:08)

Updated some text, setlist, fotos, more photos, added videos