We had an adult night out on March 7 and we headed down to Baltimore for a show at the Sonar. Before the show we stopped at CHAPS Charcol Restaurant on Pulaski Highway. This place was featured on the Food Network channel's show, 'Diners, Drive-ins and Dives' on their All In The Family episode. As you may know, Guy Fieri is the host of the show and he looks like this:
As we walked through a delicious pit smoke cloud and went in the front door we were greeted by a large and life-like banner proudly displaying Guy and the restaurant's 15 minutes of fame. The banner was directly behind a table and sitting at this table was Guy Fieri. Wait, that's not quite right. It was Guy's body double..no lies, folks. He was a spitting image and I can only guess that he realized this and was hoping for a couple requests for autographs. What a poser. I would have liked to snap a picture but the camera was in the car. I chose a 1/4 lb all beef hot dog with ham and cheddar cheese and my tastebuds were singing with joy. The dog was sliced longwise down the center and grilled, piled with pit ham on top and swimming in thick yellow cheddar sauce. Completely yummy. The french fries were fresh cut, small and skinny, and fried to the zen of crispiness in peanut oil. I'm salivating, are you?
After dinner we drive a couple miles into town and found our hotel, checked in, then headed to the show which was 3 blocks away. Playing at the show was, in set order, Serpent Throne, Moonshine, The Devil's Blood, Priestess and the headliner, Pentagram. The show was at the Sonar club, on East Saratoga and it's a good venue because it's all about the bands. There are no frills, no fancies, and the side of the club we were on didn't even have any chairs. It's dark and cavelike, quite the perfect setting for watching a historic metal show.
The show was great, as expected.
Serpent Throne opened the night up with their usual groove - I look forward to the day when I watch them headlining shows. They hale from Philly and their roots are deep set in Black Sabbath, Sir Lord Baltimore and other hard classic rock. Here is a video that my husband took/edited from a show they played at Johnny Brenda's in Philly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkjaGHgOumI
Following was Moonshine, bringing some good ole' doom to the stage with an energetic female lead, Mis, capable of singing as well as producing some impressive growls. She was feeling the music, swaying backward and forward and touching the invisible notes in the air with outstretched hands. This was a local show for Moonshine, as they are from Baltimore.
Next was The Devil's Blood, all the way from the Netherlands, and yes, they did hit the stage doused with freshly poured blood (or was it cornstarch and food coloring?). I'm not sure if it was schtick or serious but they were intense - she who shall remain nameless stood still the entire set, moving only to turn and face the drummer for periods of time and then back again to pierce the audience with baleful eyes. The lead guitarist was technically skilled and hit those notes fast and hard; he also was casting a scowl upon the crowd, just to get the point across that they meant business. I was impressed with the tunes but the vocals were a bit 'operatic' at times for my personal taste, although I cannot deny the talent.
Priestess came up after The Devil's Blood and it was not quite what I was expecting. They were fast, loud and explosive. I thought it would be a bit groovier based on their album Hello Master, but it was all good. I definitely wasn't disappointed because they put on a decent show. I think this is the first band I have seen from Montreal.
Now we're down to one band, rising from the dust with a weekend of phoenix wings, now ready to settle again into the pages of history: Pentagram. The stage was appropriately decorated with lit candles and the air was full of suspense as we all sat waiting in the dark for Them. Then they did come: Bobby Liebling was wearing a gold lame shirt, tight ass pants and his eyes were lined with thick black kohl, giving him a surprised and slightly crazed look. He was all over the stage, belting out classic Pentagram songs and bringing old school stage presence. I found it amusing that he kept knocking the mic stand over and would get ticked off and a roadie would run out quickly, reset the stand, secure the duct tape attaching the mic (I think that's what the duct tape was for), and then run off-stage again. It reminded me of one of those kids that hang out at tennis courts and run onto the court to get the dead balls.
If anyone is interested, there is a documentary coming out soon on Bobby Liebling. It's by 9.14 Pictures and called 'Last Rites: The Rise and Fall of Bobby Liebling'. Go to 'Features' and you will see 'Last Rite'. Check out the link for a clip from the documentary and some info.
I thought it was an awesome show and I'm stoked that I was able to attend. The Sonar is a decent venue, there were lots of security around and there is re-entry. I found it slightly annoying that every time I went outside for a cigarette the security would have everyone pushed towards the building. It's already a pain in the ass enough to have to go outside to smoke ... give us some room to breathe. The beers I had ranged from $4.50 to $5.00 - I had Guinness, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Woodchuck Oak Aged Cider and Newcastle. I saw some guys walking around with cans of PBR but when I asked for one the bartender said they didn't have them. Maybe it was a personal stash for one of the bands? Not sure.
Did anyone else go? What did you think?