5.10.12: DragonForce x Holy Grail x Huntress

Who names these tours? The DragonForce, Holy Grail, and Huntress tour should have had a much more ridiculous name than The Power Within Tour. Yeah, The Power Within is the name of the new DragonForce album, but there’s two more bands on this tour. How about something more appropriate, like The Epic Shred Fest? Or maybe someone should have taken a cue from the Japanese — they use crazy ass words for all kinds of shit. Super Electric Fireball Malmsteen Celebration 2012? I would have bought tickets to that in a heartbeat. Nonetheless, I attended L.A.’s stop of this tour last night at The Troubadour because I figured there would be plenty of moments to hold an invisible orange, and conjure up images of Valhalla in my head… or would there?

I managed to arrive in time for once, despite forgetting The Troubadour was on Santa Monica, and not Sunset. Upon arrival I was surrounded by MMORPG conversations, and I contemplated jamming those ear plugs deep in my skull before a note of music was even played. Thankfully, the line moved quickly as we all shuffled in to take our place on the floor, just as Huntress were gearing up to take the stage.

I’d been meaning to see what Huntress were about due to the considerable amount of hype surrounding them, and their debut album, Spelleater. I figured they were doing something right in their short (not quite a year is what I’m hearing) existence if they managed to get on two solid tours before the album even came out. They took the stage… well, the band took the stage to play intro music for their vocalist, Jill Janus, before actually playing their own tunes. It was almost instantly clear how little the band meant to the success of Huntress, and how they managed to get this far: abnormally thin blonde wearing a skin tight (p)leather jumpsuit with expensive gazungas singing about witches, magic spells, and the devil — everything horny metal adolescents think about. At one point I cringed, and made the gas face at no one in particular while Jill pandered to the crowd with some juvenile speech about smoking weed, and being ultra metal, and if anyone in attendance didn’t agree, they could suck her (metaphorical) dick. It sounded forced, inauthentic, contrived etc.

Look, I’ve always understood, and accepted the fact that sex sells, but that shit doesn’t register with me when that marketing strategy is implemented in the culture I so dearly love. I can stomach most gimmicks (Ghost, Black Metal as a whole, hiring Rick Rubin to “produce” your album etc.) but something was so blatantly false about Huntress that I dismissed them in minutes. So, fuck Huntress and their Boob Metal. Congratulations to their management/PR team, though. It won’t be long before Jill makes it into one of those god awful metal magazines that has an annual “HOTTEST GIRLZ IN METAL!!!!” issue.

I was so eager to see my hometown boys Holy Grail after the Huntress nonsense. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve only missed one Holy Grail show in Los Angeles dating back to 2011. I can’t help it. They’re fun, and able to put on a good show every time they’re on stage, and their show at The Troubadour extended that streak to Cal Ripken Jr. like proportions. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know what to expect during a Holy Grail set, but it was textbook Grail that night. Starting things off with “Immortal Man,” before jumping into “Chasing the Wind.” I was into it as much as I could be considering I had heard these songs dozens of times now, but I did pick up on a couple of things. 1.) James Paul Luna sounded his absolute best that night. His singing while headbanging is pretty impressive, but in the past he’s had trouble getting it all into the mic. At The Troubadour I swear he didn’t miss a note. 2.) THEY FINALLY PLAYED A NEW SONG! Excuse the all caps, I was just shocked that they played something new. It was called “Crosswinds,” and it was a blend of everything worth mentioning: double bass, epic shredding, and lyrics about being a mighty warrior. The news of a new album got me amped for the rest of the set as they played jamz such as “My Last Attack,” and “Fight to Kill.” Some pits broke out, and plenty horns were thrown in the band’s direction, as is the usual when they take the stage. Holy Grail’s performance made me feel like I can’t really skip their shows from now on because I might potentially miss new material. Until next time dudes!

DragonForce were met with quite a warm reception. The legions of D&D players in attendance pretty much never stopped cheering for them, which was a pretty cool thing to witness. A year prior, vocalist Marc Hudson came down with laryngitis and the band had to cancel their show at The Troubadour, so no doubt a lot of the admiration was from people who had been waiting almost a year to see the band in L.A. again. I’m not particularly into DragonForce, but I was having a good time with everyone else that was crammed into The Troubadour that night, and by that I mean I didn’t have my arms folded. They were at my side, or in my pockets.

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