Monday, February 1, 2010

Hail! (w/ Age of Evil) @ BB King - 1/26/10

It was a cold night in Hail! as hundreds of old-school and new-guard metal fans flocked to the venerable venue to see the eclectic metal supergroup take center stage. Fronted by the jilted former Judas Priest singer, Tim "Ripper" Owens, and flanked by a who's who of metal superstars, including former Megadeth whipping-boy David Ellefson on bass, Sepultura slop-dog Andreas Kisser on guitar, and Dream Theater douchebag on drums Mike Portnoy, the crew actually pull off a decent show with some well-executed covers.

The anticipation builds from the anxious crowd and you're expecting metal warriors to rip apart the stage, but instead, we get Owens, dressed like someone's old dad trying to look cool and "metal" again with his sunglasses but instead looks like a washed-up has-been singing with his equally old friends like the "good ol' days." Owens did the wise thing and finally removed them! Ellefson looks positively thrash-ready, but someone should let him known that it's 2010, not 1990! His playing is fine, but maybe that's why he no longer plays in Megadeth.... because his style of playing is obsolete and worn out. Kisser looks like the only true metal warrior onstage, perhaps because he is the least likely person to be in this band. Honestly, what the fuck is Kisser doing in this band? What does Sepultura's death-thrash have in common with any of the other members' previous affiliated bands? NOTHING! Kisser doesn't belong in this group, and his sharp guitar chops and shredding make it painfully obvious... that, and the fans' complete lack of interest in him. Portnoy does his usual boasting and guffawing on the drums, showing off and being a smug douchebag. I guess it helps when you're a part of an equally arrogant and ambitious outfit like Dream Theater. Truth be told, Portnoy is a bore and his playing puts me to sleep. His blue beard, an obvious homage to Dimebag Darrell, is probably the only thing worthwhile about this guy. He takes many cues from his buddy Benante from Anthrax, another dickhead! He should choose his associations better!

But the songs are what's most important here. No originals, just covers! It's surprising that a band of this pedigree can, at times, be dwarfed by the songs they play. I admire Owens for tackling some greats, from Maiden to Sabbath, Pantera to Metallica, Dio to Priest. It's starts off with the Motörhead classic "Ace of Spades" and continues well into the next song, Sepultura's "Territory," which Owens lacks in the primal growl of Max Cavalera. Still, the night is young and they invite "special guests" like Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, of Overkill, to sing on Motörhead's "Overkill" and Chris Caffrey, of Savatage, to play guitar on UFO's "Light Out" and Metal Church's "Metal Church." Frank Bello, of Anthrax, jams a little bit on bass to Kiss's "Cold Gin" followed by the Anthrax cover of "Got the Time" by Joe Jackson. All this and more capped off with Metallica's "The Four Horsemen" and "Whiplash," Slayer's "South of Heaven" and Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills" before calling it a night.

This was my first encounter with all the members of Hail! and for the most part I enjoyed watching the old metal vets get together and jam to their favorite bands like excited little boys. I guess my disappointment lies in the fact that they act like jaded and conceited old men who are weary and battle-scarred from years of touring and recording and seem to indulge fans as fans, rather than kindred spirits. These guys are not jerks, but if given some success on the scale of, let's say, Metallica... then they just might be!

HAIL! - Four metal vets plus special guests equal decent show! Now bring out some original recordings! Set Grade: B

Show Grade: B

Set List:

"Ace of Spades" - Motörhead
"Territory" - Sepultura
"Grinder" - Judas Priest
"Stand Up and Shout" - Dio
"Balls to the Wall" - Accept
"Mouth for War"/"Walk" - Pantera
"Neon Knights" - Black Sabbath
"Wrathchild" - Iron Maiden
"Lights Out" - UFO (Chris Caffrey of Savatage on guitar)
"Metal Church" - Metal Church (Chris Caffrey of Savatage on guitar)
"Green Manalishi" - Judas Priest (Fleetwood Mac) (Chris Caffrey of Savatage on guitar)
"Highway to Hell"/"TNT" - AC/DC (Bobby Ellsworth of Overkill on vocals)
"Overkill" - Motörhead (Bobby Ellsworth of Overkill on vocals; Frank Bello of Anthrax on bass)
"Cold Gin" - Kiss (Frank Bello of Anthrax on bass)
"Got the Time" - Joe Jackson (Frank Bello of Anthrax on bass)
"Run to the Hills" - Iron Maiden
"The Four Horsemen" - Metallica
"Symptom of the Universe" - Black Sabbath
"South of Heaven" - Slayer
"Refuse/Resist" - Sepultura
"Whiplash" - Metallica

Me and Tim Owens (Hail!)

Me and Andreas Kisser (Sepultura/Hail!)

Me and David Ellefson (Hail!)

Me and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater/Hail!)

Me and Bobby Ellsworth (Overkill)

Me and Paul Di'Anno

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