I can think of plenty of places a great band like Death Angel should play at other than the semi-dive that is the Larimer Lounge, but at the same time, the smaller and unimposing nature of such a place can make such a show a more personal, intimate event. And that is exactly what it was.
Rhythm guitarist Ted Aguilar pretty much hung out with the fans around the bar area for most of the night. He even played video games. I ran into two fellow musicians from the Colorado Springs music scene from back in the day when I still played in a band. One of them, Cliff from Last Supper, happened to attend the 7,000 Tons Of Metal cruise which Death Angel played on (among 40 other bands) and he became friends with their new bassist Damien Sisson, who he introduced to me. Damien hung out with us for quite a while and I talked with him a bit. Very nice and cool guy. I asked him if they were going to play my favorite song from the new album (Claws In So Deep), and he just shrugged and said they might. He said it was one of his favorites, too. Later in the night I met vocal god Mark Osegueda. He didn’t hang long, but was very friendly. For me it was akin to the average person meeting a movie or rock star.
The two opening bands were local artists from Denver, but neither held my attention long beyond the fact that the first one (name escapes me) were comprised of teenagers ranging from 14 to 16 playing mostly old Metallica covers recorded many years before they were born. For being so young they pulled them off fairly well. Certainly better than I could in my teens.
I got to the venue about 8:30, and Death Angel did not go on until about 11:30, so it was a somewhat grueling wait. However, once Death Angel finally hit the stage it was all worth it. I was up at the front the whole set and loved every thrashing minute of it. I had seen them for the first time on the tour for their previous album, but it was a co-headlined event and they didn’t play very long. Whatever that show lacked was made up for this night by a factor of ten and I left the venue realizing that Death Angel was one of my favorite bands. Every member of the band brought a hard-driving energy to the stage and seemed to cherish every moment, as did their fans. I could not tell if the place was sold-out, but the turn-out and response definitely seemed to be adequate as both the band and fans fed off each other’s positive energy. Mark and lead guitarist Rob Cavestany must be in their mid-40s by now, but you could not tell by their performance and stage presence. The geezers in Metallica could not hold a candle to them. Rob was and still is a fantastic soloist and classic thrash metal riff god, and Mark still has as powerful a voice as ever. Age has not dulled their output one bit.
I don’t take notes at concerts and my memory isn’t perfect as far as remembering what songs were played during Death Angel’s set, but they certainly played something off each of their six studio albums. I was disappointed the last time I saw them that out of Frolic Through The Park and Act III they only played one song (Seemingly Endless Time), but this time they added to that one song with the classic Bored, and Veil Of Deception, both of which were a real treat. I believe they played a handful of songs off their debut The Ultra-Violence (the album I’m least familiar with for no good reason). Of the albums they have released since reforming after a ten-year hiatus, I remember them playing the following songs: Thrown To The Wolves, 5 Steps Of Freedom, and possibly one or two more off The Art Of Dying; Lord Of Hate, Dethroned, Buried Alive, and possibly one or two more off Killing Season; Relentless Retribution, Claws In So Deep (thanks, Damien), Truce, This Hate, I Chose The Sky, and possibly one or two more off their newest release, Relentless Retribution. Sometimes it can be a bummer when a band plays a majority of their songs off the most recent album, but this one is so good they could have played the whole thing and I would have been happy.
The new guys in the band (Damien, along with drummer Will Carroll) fit in quite well (despite being white guys!) and had the chops to play to Death Angel’s high caliber. All in all, Death Angel is one of the best bands you will see live.
The Larimer Lounge doesn’t have a gap between the stage and the crowd. At times I had guitars literally inches from my face. Shows like this really bring out the metal camaraderie. Pure joy. Other than that, you just had to be there!