6.9.11: Forbidden x Revocation x White Wizzard x Havok

Want to know the number of times I’ve been to the Whisky in the last couple of years? Twice. Once was a mistake, and the most recent time was because two of my favorite bands just happened to be playing this awful place on the same night. Havok and Revocation? Yes, I’ll give them, and any venue they play a portion of my hard earned money. Havok’s a band I’ve been following for a few years, but never had the privilege of seeing live, and Revocation just brings out the angsty White kid in me who likes to mosh and do the “weedley, weedley” thing with his fingers whenever there’s a guitar solo.

Seeing Havok for the first time was such a thrill. I’ve been a fan of the band since Burn, and I might even say that they’re probably the best band doing the re-thrash thing right now. I can think of plenty of bands that have been one and done, but Havok is still here, on their second record, and getting better. It was clear once all the local bands finished playing who the crowd came to see. Havok had arguably the biggest turnout of the night. They came out, and I was standing in a good, safe spot where I’d be able to see everything… or so I thought. That first riff from “Prepare for Attack” hit, and there was an instant circle pit, and if you know how small The Whisky is, you know you’ll be in for a bruisin’ if there’s a rowdy bunch in attendance. I was sucked into the mess, and Havok provided the soundtrack. There wasn’t a moment of letting up from the crowd or the band, and it only got stronger as time rolled on. However, the set was too short. Four songs in total, and I don’t know why. The only old track they played was “Morbid Symmetry.” I was sure they’d play “Afterburner,” but that wasn’t the case. I don’t know the reason for the short set, but those 15 (or less) minutes spent thrashing to Havok was memorable. Havok plays old school thrash, the kind of thrash that made me like thrash in the first place. It’s technical, it’s energetic, it’s fun, and it makes you want to smash right into the person next to you. So, after the vibe was set, it was immediately ruined by the next band.

I like liked White Wizzard. I mean, I used to be a big fan until all the drama between former members got in the way of them making music. I had never seen them live before, but why would anyone have wanted to? There’s no longer any familiarity between them and the fans. There’s been too many member changes, no new material in a few years, and they hadn’t played a live show since 09? Still, even with those factors, I was curious. I stood there and watched, hoping for Jon Leon to get into an argument and fire someone mid-song, much like the way people watch auto racing in hopes of a terrible accident. It didn’t happen, though. Instead, we all stood there during the three song set and wondered who all the new faces on stage were and if they knew their time with the band would probably be over before the year ends. They didn’t sound bad, and there was a good amount of stage presence. Hell, I’ll even give props to the new singer and his fantastic voice. He was the highlight of this new version of Jon Leon’s Revolving Door, who I thought were completely out of place on this tour from the beginning, but there must be some kind of new album in the works. I don’t remember one of the songs, but they played “40 Deuces” before ending their set with “High Speed GTO.” I walked out before the lights shined onto the small crowd, and exited the venue to a much bigger crowd trashing the new Morbid Angel album.

I’ve seen Revocation several times now, and each time is better than the last. That night was no exception. Their setlist was so much different than any time I’d ever seen them. Instead of kicking things off with “Unattained,” they closed with that. They started with “Re-Animaniacs,” which is usually their closer. Not that it matters, since they’re both incredibly written songs. The new, reworked set even included “Cradle Robber” from their upcoming album Chaos of Forms. Anyway, while David Davidson was on stage with his new guitar, living up to the title of #1 modern metal guitarist, I noticed the crowd gave a lukewarm response. Sure, there’s a few die-hards in attendance every night (like myself), but for the most part, I think L.A. has yet to warm up to Revocation, and I’m not sure why. I’ve yet to see a proper pit during their sets. This last show, I tried to get things going a little, but it fizzled out after only 4 people jumped in. I don’t think this is the case elsewhere, as I have seen videos of live performances where they’re playing to good crowds, but I digress. What’s there to say about Revocation that I haven’t already said? They’re the most interesting, and creative band in metal today and seeing/hearing their tunes live is the best example of modern heavy metal.

I saw Forbidden play for a few songs before I took off. The idea of playing gate keeper all night wasn’t too much of a thrill considering I’m not that big of a Forbidden fan. Look, I’ll push a fat kid back into the pit for bands I like, but this just felt like work that I wasn’t getting paid for. Overall it was a pretty good night. I finally saw Havok, and their performance reinforced why I like them so much, the White Wizzard mess was intriguing to say the least, Revocation was as brilliant as always and Forbidden brought out a bunch of 40 year old heshers to show some of these punk kids how to properly knock someone in the mouth.

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