BOTB Day 2 @ Oak Canyon Park, Silverado (US)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

'Blackest Of The Black' Festival - Day 2 w/ DANZIG / MINISTRY / VAMPS / ATREYU / VENOM INC / MARDUK / DEVILDRIVER / COMBICHRIST / GHOUL / RITUAL

Date: 27th May, 2017
Venue: Oak Canyon Park
Ticket: $66.6/€59 (2-day GA) - $399/€355 (ultimate VIP package)
Promoter: n/a


During the first day of the festival, the weather was kind of nice without hard-hitting heat, but this changed a bit for the second one which also had an earlier start. Indeed, under clear skies, the hooded GHOUL entered the stage with clear intentions to get the party going, even though the sun was at its high position (well, almost). The stage monitors had plastic covers on them in a GWAR way, meaning that there was either rain in the forecast or GHOUL have something special on their sets. Yeah, I was completely ignorant about how these guys are handling their shows but I was not caught off guard, having survived quite a few GWAR shows were the ‘blood’ is flowing in great abundance.

During the taped intro, with some hillbilly-looking dude and some reference to the current US administration, there was some fake blood splashing into the girls and guys in the front who some of them were happy to get some relief from the hot weather, even though it was a paint-like liquid. Yeah, the GWAR references show-wise were evident and the old-school Thrash with a twist of Grindcore was a nice fit to the onstage ‘brutality’. “Goodnight, let’s get the hell out of here”, Digestor joked before promising to “keep it minimal” considering last night’s after-party. The combination of joking a bit with the intense Grindcore / Thrash that was not keeping it minimal gave to this set a major boost in order to get everyone forget whatever happened last night and get on the party-mood for the second day of the fest which was packed with goodies. There were a couple of characters sharing the stage with the four-piece band and I am sure slaughtering those fascist-looking ones was the icing on this onstage music brutality with occasional Crossover finishing touches cake. However, we had to skip the second half of their set and rush backstage to meet Abaddon from VENOM INC to find out more about the band’s latest news.

GHOUL setlist:

01. Intro
02. "Ghoulunatics"
03. "Metallicus Ex Mortis"
04. "Word Is Law"
05. "Wall Of Death"
06. "Shred The Dead"
07. "Rise Killbot, Rise!"
08. "Guitarmageddon"
09. "As Your Casket Closes"

GHOUL

Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghoul @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


There is no doubt that the crowd was getting bigger despite the combo of high temperature / hot sun, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw even more people standing closer to stage, right before the COMBICHRIST set. The attendees of the fest's second day were a good mix of metalheads, punksters and gothsters too, so one could tell that the US industrial band had already a solid fan base waiting for this moment at 'Blackest Of The Black'. During the first notes of "What The Fuck Is Wrong With You", a nice mix of dance / moshpit began, right in front of the right stage (remember, there was a brilliant set of two stages, placed side by side) that lasted for the next 35 minutes or so. "Skullcrusher" hit us hard with tons of energy flowing from the stage to the fans, showing a really solid band in action, while "Throat Full Of Glass" didn't leave much time for spare breaths as Andy LaPlegua continued to nail the vocals and spread additional energy towards the crowd, with his constant moving / up-and-down jumping. "My thinking is a bit early for this, so while you're getting sunburn and have a few drinks, there is no redemption", were Andy's exact words as introduction to "No Redemption" that passed the baton to the lethal combo "Zombie Fistfight" / "Exit Eternity". To tell you the truth, I didn't expect such a pumped-up appearance by COMBICHRIST who took full advantage of every second while onstage, and warmed up properly the already-sunburned audience (pun intended) who showed up in bigger numbers than in the day before. Two highlight moments during the COMBICHRIST set were definitely the nicely formed dance-pit during "Shut Up And Swallow" and the audience's response to Andy's question, right before the last song of the set, "Maggots At The Party", where he said: "We have to do one more song and then go out and get fucked up with you - you all like to party, right?" -"Hell yeah, we do!"

COMBICHRIST setlist:

01. Intro
02. "What The Fuck Is Wrong With You"
03. "Skullcrusher"
04. "Throat Full Of Glass"
05. "No Redemption"
06. "Zombie Fistfight"
07. "Exit Eternity"
08. "Shut Up And Swallow"
09. "Can't Control"
10. "Maggots At The Party"

COMBICHRIST

Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Combichrist @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


I hate to admit it, but the COMBICHRIST set was quite uplifting and made the rising heat more bearable, so getting back to Metal mode with DEVILDRIVER was extremely welcomed. Also, I had no doubts that this band would deliver the goods like it had each and every time I have watched DEVILDRIVER in action. The only thing I used to complain about was the sound quality, something that I am happy to say I stopped experience during the last DEVILDRIVER shows. And this one was not an exception despite the really nice breeze. Sometimes a strong wind can really mess with the sound, but in this case, it was perfectly ok (and soothing). “How the fuck are you doing”, Dez asked and then requested more guitar sound in his monitors and some volume adjustment on his mic. “End Of The Line” kicked in and we were back to moshing time. Unfortunately for me, my absolutely favorite “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” came next and left me struggling in the photo-pit trying to balance between headbanging and taking photos. Yeah, now circle-pitting was on the menu, so DEVILDRIVER started delivering the goods from the get-go. I just love Dez’s attitude and the way he combines screaming at his mic while wearing a huge smile in between; yeah, he is having fun doing so, and this applies to the fans. “We are DEVILDRIVER and this is a new song from our latest record”, he said to introduce the groovy “Daybreak” which came out awesome.

As I said, the sun was beating us down without any clouds in sight, so hearing the band’s frontman asking “are you familiar with clouds” as a way to introduce “Clouds Over California” was a bit funny - of course, the song sounded fantastic and brutal. Seeing such a solid performance by DEVILDRIVER made the time slot they had feel extremely short, so I better get another chance to watch them live soon.

DEVILDRIVER setlist:

01. “End Of The Line”
02. “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”
03. “Grinfucked”
04. “Daybreak”
05. “I Could Care Less”
06. “Hold Back The Day”
07. “Before The Hangman’s Noose”
08. “Clouds Over California”
09. “Ruthless”
10. “Meet The Wretched”

DEVILDRIVER

Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devildriver @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


Next on the billing were MARDUK who had already drawn a big crowd in front of the stage which, soon after DEVILDRIVER were done, became bigger. Of course, the visual aspect of the Swedish blacksters went down the drain, simply because corpse-paint and high heat / bright sun mix like oil in water... However, the die-hard fanbase the Swedes had in the front rows made this issue look immaterial because after all the music is what matters the most. However, we were forced to miss their set since there was another interview on our schedule, so we left MARDUK and went backstage. As a gift, we managed to hear “Panzer Division Marduk” that always comes crushing in every MARDUK show, and watching the sweaty and (sunburned) faces meant that this was a very good show.

And since we were at the Black Metal mood, VENOM INC seemed like the perfect way to continue the festival after MARDUK. If you expect me to make any comparisons between the two VENOM(s), then you’ll be disappointed, so I advise you to get your fix from all these know-it-alls who like to put faces above music. I mean, getting the chance to hear a hearty mix of all the VENOM eras is a win-win situation for me, so I will leave the haters to hate behind the sweaty drenched keyboards. Tony, Jeff and Abaddon looked ready to let the steamroller run over the people who had occupied the front rows and were already chanting VENOM, VENOM... To my delight, the setlist started with the riff-driven “Rip Ride” and was followed by “Leave Me In Hell”. Yeah, these guys are in top form and it really shows in the way they perform onstage. Mantas is constantly working the crowd standing as close as possible to the edge of the stage, while Tony with his mic in a Lemmy set digs deep to get his most evil voice on the PAs. And last but not least, there is Abaddon who stands up after every song to provoke the audience by screaming on top of his lungs and occasionally raises a bottle of Jack. “Someday we all have a fucking day...” Tony started saying and I am sure the majority of the fans instantly knew that “Live Like An Angel (Die Like A Devil)” was next. And the same goes with “Witching Hour”, with Mr. Demolition Man explaining that “there are some things in life that you can do and some that you cannot”. By the way, this song came out really brutal and proved once more that when it was released back in the mid '80s, it was actually a precursor of Thrash.

It was Jeff’s turn to introduce a song by saying “this is a song I wrote many years ago and people say it gave birth to a new Metal genre” and of course he was referring to “Black Metal”. Again, I have no idea if what he says is true (about writing this on his own), but honestly, I do not care since it is an absolutely genre-carving song, and in the end of the day, it is not up to me to say whose is what... My only job is to like or not the music. Things got more exciting as I heard Tony saying: Nuclear Blast asked us to do an album” and then he introduced “Ave Sathanas” as the title track of the upcoming VENOM INC record. Sure, he did not break this news to us, but getting to hear a new song was extremely exciting. The song itself was heavy and in most of its part kind of mid-tempo, although, just by hearing it once in a festival setting, cannot be the appropriate conditions to make a judgement, so I will wait for the actual thing to be released. The sure thing was that “Bloodlust” came out fantastic and it can be easily branded as the highlight of the set. The VENOM INC setlist ended with the singing-along “Countess Bathory” and left us wanting for more. The band is in a top shape onstage, so the only thing waiting for an answer is how did those fine gents do in the studio... Well, August is close, right?

VENOM INC setlist:

01. “Rip Ride”
02. “Leave Me In Hell”
03. “Live Like An Angel (Die Like A Devil)”
04. “Don’t Burn The Witch”
05. “Black Metal”
06. “Ave Sathanas”
07. “Bloodlust”
08. “Sons Of Satan”
09. “Witching Hour”
10. “Countess Bathory”

VENOM INC

Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom Inc @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


And then it was a complete change of scenery with the Metalcore band ATREYU which have already drew a lot of people closer to the stage. For me, ATREYU was an unknown parameter since I have not listened to a single song of theirs, despite the fact that I had come across that name in many occasions. On one hand, this is a good thing since I was to approach their set being unprepared and hence, genuinely unbiased. The first thing I notice was the intensity on the band’s performance that got things going from the get-go with the fast and kind of screamer “Bleeding Mascara” which came with the “La Grange” snippet. The crowd immediately got into the show, so there was lots of activity in the first rows, so I guess the decreasing temperature helped the audience to get rid of the heat-related fatigue. The entire band was in constant motion and I have to admit that this onstage energy surge got me soon enough and I was enjoying the show, even though the music was not exactly my cup of tea. And for this, I will say the ATREYU set was successful, even though the in-between-songs talks by vocalist Alex Varkatzas seemed to be kind of long for a festival. And speaking of vocals, watching Alex sharing the singing with the band’s drummer was really cool and demanding from Brandon Salle whose drumming did not lack of power. Ok, the cover on BON JOVI’s “You Give Love A Bad Name” was a nice addition to get more reaction, especially from those who were not fans of ATREYU (every metalhead loves the '80s era of Jon Bon Jovi no matter what they publicly state) but to be honest' it was not quite good. I think the Metalcore singing took away most of the original’s having-fun attitude' although a cover should not be just a new recording but filtered through a band’s own style. So, I’d say that I enjoyed half of the ATREYU’s set but after my initial excitement had faded away, I lost interest.

ATREYU setlist:

01. “Bleeding Mascara”
02. "Becoming The Bull"
03. "Right Side Of The Bed"
04. "Long Live"
05. "The Crimson"
06. "Ex's and Oh's"
07. "Doomsday"
08. "When Two Are One"
09. "You Give Love A Bad Name" (BON JOVI cover)
10. "Do You Kno Who You Are?"
11. "Blow"
12. "Lip Gloss And Black"

ATREYU

Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Atreyu @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


After talking to Hyde and K.A.Z. a few hours ago, and having no idea what VAMPS are capable to do when onstage, I was really curious to see these fine gentlemen performing for the next 50 minutes in front of the US audience, who most of it was about to have the VAMPS baptism of fire seeing them live for the first time. Sure, the Japanese act may be selling out big arenas and stadiums in their country, but the US market is still an unexplored territory/market for them, hence they’re super excited and challenged to perform on this side of the Pacific. Under the introductory sounds of sirens and alarms as the first tunes of “Midnight Celebration” hit the speakers, many fans came closer to stage to see what all this fuss was about. Last but not least, hooded Hyde (wearing a long MISFITS tank) appeared onstage and made many Japanese gals screaming while dancing on the song’s Dub-infused beat. K.A.Z. hit hard his guitar strings as he was posing for the photographers in the pit who actually looked quite surprised not expecting such high energy from VAMPS, and occasionally was dancing and spinning his guitar around his neck. “Evil” followed without pausing under Hyde’s “let’s go” , and then it was time for the upbeat “Underworld” (and its sing-along refrain) that, according to the band, is written to approach the US audience.

“Break Free”, “Dolly” and “Bleed For Me” came back-to-back without a break and I think with this VAMPS were trying to take full advantage of the given time by fitting as many songs as possible. If you’d ask me, it was really cool watching a completely unknown band to me (and quite different from what I usually prefer to listen to), and considering the band’s dynamic performance and attitude it became impossible not to watch. On top of this, a cool breeze started blowing from the nearby lake making ‘Blackest Of The Black’ an ideal place to be. The super-hits “Calling” and “Rise Or Die” were surely two of the most pumped-up moments during VAMPS’ set, while “Redrum” and “B.Y.O.B” closed the set in a bang, leaving the best of impressions to us and to many fans who started to take the short path to the side-stage in order to watch MINISTRY’s set from the very beginning.

VAMPS setlist:

01. “Midnight Celebration”
02. “Evil”
03. “Underworld”
04. “Break Free”
05. “Dolly”
06. “Bleed For Me”
07. “Vampire Depression”
08. “Calling”
09. “Rise Or Die”
10. “Bloodsuckers”
11. “Redrum”
12. “B.Y.O.B.”

VAMPS

Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vamps @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


VAMPS turned out to be very good, despite the not-so-friendly-to-my-taste music, and considering the samples and electronic effects they had in their music, fitted perfectly to MINISTRY who were ready to deliver their characteristic Industrial Metal. Ok, the audience in front of the stage where MINISTRY would appear looked packed, even before the end of the VAMPS set, but after that, everyone seemed to be excited to see Mr. Jourgensen and Co. - although remembering guitarist Mike Scaccia who passed away five years ago, brought some sadness along. Anyway, sadness does not fit anywhere close to a festival, so once the intro started blasting from the speaker, music was my main focus. The higher volume than the previous sets came crushing upon us perfectly serving the monotonous Industrial character of this oldie. “Are you alright? We thought to throw in an oldie for ya”, Al said and got everyone into hitting-hard more with “Punch In The Face”. And then, it was time for him to introduce a new song from the album which will hit the stores this summer. While Al was talking about the new song and how he believed we’d like it, someone threw a plastic cup onstage and he immediately responded like this: “alright, already with the throwing... We haven’t even played that shit yet” in a semi-joking way. By the way, throwing stuff onstage is plain stupid; if you don’t like what’s going on, then, sit at the back and wait for the next one. Anyways, stupidity is in abundance these days and there is nothing to do. The song started as mid-tempo and then got in the Industrial hard-hitting groove with a really nice guitar riff after the chorus. Yeah, bring more guitars in the music get MINISTRY closer to the Metal sound and this is something I really like.

After the new song, MINISTRY dropped a heavy foot on the gas pedal and started hitting us with minimal breaks between the songs. The start happened with the brutal “Rio Grande Blood” that saw a big circle-pit going on and continued non-stop with the riff driven “Señor Peligro” and a bit slower (still heavy) “LiesLiesLies” (so fitting these days). The stage, where DANZIG would soon appear, started gathering more and more people in search of a good viewing spot while keeping an eye on the MINISTRY doings who kept pounding hard as a well-oiled steamroller. “Bad Blood” made its way into the MINISTRY set after 14 years, while “N.W.O.” turned the heat up (that characteristic sample is still haunting) with its addictive groove. FEAR FACTORY’s Burton C. Bell joined MINISTRY onstage and I think this was the highlight of this super-tight set. Justifiable, “Just One Fix” and “Thieves” got some well-deserved jumping up and down action and dropped the curtain right on the schedule. MINISTRY was a great addition just before the headliners, as it happened with CORROSION OF CONFORMITY the day before, so extra kudos for the team who put together the billing.

MINISTRY setlist:

01. “Psalm 69”
02. “Punch In The Face”
03. “Antifa”
04. “Rio Grane Blood”
05. “Señor Peligro”
06. “LiesLiesLies”
07. “Waiting”
08. “Worthless”
09. “Bad Blood”
10. “N.W.O.”
11. “Just One Fix”
12. “Thieves”

MINISTRY

Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ministry @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


METAL KAOZ had not been approved for a photo-pass (a small number was given) and honestly, it did not hurt much, since it’s been a long time since the last time I’ve seen Glenn live, so spending the first three songs frustrated to get the pics I need, would have taken some of the fun away. This may sound as an excuse but in hindsight and after getting goosebumps during the setlist opener, I think I am dead honest. The stage setup was the one used during the “How The Gods Kill” and got an evil look with all the spotlights positioned at the right place to give an almost '80s ambience. I cannot find an efficient way to describe this' but there was an '80s feeling all the 90 minutes long set. The excitement had skyrocketed, and as soon as the "Overture Of The Rebel Angels" taped intro had kicked in, followed by the ton-heavy riff of “Skincarver”, it exploded with a loud cheer for the King Of Hell named Glenn Danzig. Yeah, I am over-selling this but I challenge anyone out there to find a frontman possessing Glenn’s style and, most importantly, Punk attitude that he brings onstage. The way he is using the mic-wire as a whip and even his unconventional way of holding the mic are things that no one can copy. “So Cal, are you ready?”, Glenn asked and then let the “Twist Of Cain” opening tunes answer the question “for what?” Despite this song’s mid-tempo, it sounds heavier than many heavier songs out there and it felt absolutely awesome watching all those people headbanging along (yeah, the oooohhh part came out fantastically). If you had the chance to listen to the brand new DANZIG record, then you should have noticed Glenn’s deeper and a bit harsher singing, and let me tell you that this works equally in the studio and live. Indeed, “Devil On Hwy9” was a blast and I believe shone a different light on the LP, meaning that I enjoyed it even more after the show. The hard-hitting drums were the perfect occasion for more headbanging. This set could not have existed without the song that baptized the festival with the opening lyrics “blackest of the black, darker than night” from “Her Black Wings”.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of “Danzig III” (this is why there were the “How The Gods Kill” stage props) and Glenn acknowledged the occasion by adding that they would be doing some songs from that masterpiece. Hell yeah, “Godless” knocked the air out of our chest which was followed back-to-back by “Left Hand Black”. The hammer hitting nails sounds, combined with the slow and torturous drumming, and on top of everything, Glenn’s wailing singing, marked the first of the many highlights from that show. And then, I got massive shivers down my spine (I am sure many felt the same) the moment that guitar arpeggio and trademark ooooooohs brought onstage the title track of the celebrated album. Oh my, that singing-along made my day (night is the more appropriate word, I guess) and in case you’re (still) wondering, the entire band nailed that one. Just before “Do you Wear The Mark?”, Glenn brought Simon fucking Bisley onstage to once again underline the 25th anniversary of this solid album. The “How The Gods Kill” suite ended with another riff-driven goldie; yeah, “Dirty Black Summer” woke all those MTV memories that helped get DANZIG across the Atlantic for all of us who were exposed to satellite TV so late in the game. But no, DANZIG is not a nostalgia act, but an alive and kicking one, led by a frontman who even though comes out as superstar, has both feet on the ground and respects all the DANZIG fans.

“I need to get a gum first”, Glenn joked and after getting one, he slowed down a bit the set with another new one; “Last Ride” with the summer-like night feel and an almost full moon up above made the perfect setting for this smooth song that talks about the end of the world, in the DANZIG way of course. Obviously, Glenn was in top mood and I believe this represents the success of the festival which I hope will see a second installment next year, and after “Black Mass”, he joked (again) saying: “Right about now, we don’t know what song to do” receiving (as expected) lots of requests from the ‘Blackest Of The Black’ audience. The response to those was “Long Way Back From Hell” and “Snakes Of Christ” which based on Glenn’s saying: STONE TEMPLE PILOTS stole this one from me”. There can be no DANZIG setlist without “Mother” and so this happened right about that time, although it also meant the end of the regular set... Damn, how fast time flies when having an awesome time...

Of course, the singing-along was loud as hell, and after that, the voices got even louder to get the Dark Lord back onstage. The stage was lit with red lights as “She Rides” kicked in. “We’ve got time for one more because they say there is a curfew; I hope you had a great time this weekend”, Glenn said before closing this awesome show / festival with the all-time classic “Am I Demon”. I am sure all the DANZIG fans who were present that Saturday night had a fantastic time and, really, the only complaint one could make was that the setlist could have a couple more songs, although I am sure if it did, then we would have been asking for more...

DANZIG setlist:

01. “Skincarver”
02. “Twist Of Cain”
03. “Devil On Hwy 9”
04. “Her Black Wings”
05. “Godless”
06. “Left Hand Black”
07. “How The Gods Kill”
08. “Do You Wear The Mark”
09. “Dirty Black Summer”
10. “Last Ride”
11. “Black Mass”
12. “Long Way Back From Hell”
13. “Snakes Of Christ”
14. “Mother”
15. “She Rides”
16. “Am I Demon”


There you have it; the first edition of ‘Blackest Of The Black’ festival was already history although I have no idea if there will be a second one but I certainly hope so. Sure, Castle Danzig may have left more to hope for (it seemed something bigger / evil(-er) in the description), the toilets should have been more (with the appropriate lights) while I would have loved to have some vinyl market going on there. From the media’s point of view, I believe a dedicated area for the press (for doing interviews) is another addition for future setups but that's all I have to complain about. The rest left only great memories with the hope to see it happening next year!

'Blackest Of The Black' Performance-Moments

'Blackest Of The Black' @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) 'Blackest Of The Black' @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) 'Blackest Of The Black' @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) 'Blackest Of The Black' @ Oak Canyon Park (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)