As I gathered my things to make the trek to Long Beach, I read the news about a widespread blackout in Southern California. Long Beach could be included in that…would that mean tonight’s show would be canceled?
As we pulled into the parking lot of DiPiazza’s, it looked like a mini modern day version of Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Only this time, the fans mingled amongst the bands, who’s vans and trailers were parked amongst us common folk.
DiPiazza’s is a restaurant/venue…a pretty awkward L shaped space that can make viewing the band difficult. It appeared that a security person stands on a table and holds onto a poll to monitor pit activity. After being there a little while, it became kind of charming….but the bands that played are much better than this place.
I had an interview with Holy Grail, and while vocalist Luna and guitarist Eli and I were walking over to a well lit area, they waved hi to the vocalist for Krum Bums, who was squatted down shaving outside their van….seriously! And by the time I finished the interview and went inside, there he was screaming onstage. That’s hardcore.
We squeezed up to the front for Holy Grail…it was after 10 but because this was a pizza place the joint was full of underaged folks….metal on a school night! The fivesome had to squeeze to make it work on that stage, especially with the gentle giant Johan Hegg doppleganger Blake Mount on bass. As they began I instantly knew they were everything I had heard about live and more; controlled chaos are the words that come to mind. Even though they were on too small of a stage and I could tell their energy was bottled to a degree, they scorched that pizza place with enough heat to bake 1000 pies.
Standing before guitarist Eli Santana, I was able to completely zone in on his shredding skills. I love seeing people’s involuntary movements when they play; Eli does something similar to people who move their lips when they read. To me it’s a sign of ultimate concentration, which is mandatory with the speed his fingers fly around the guitar. The band as a whole really have some moves…sometimes I thought Luna’s head might fly right off!
As we all sang and raised our fists for “Fight to Kill”, I had a strange moment of clarity. In my immediate vicinity were members of other bands and fellow metal bloggers and photographers. We’ve all made a lot of sacrifices to do what we love, and while it isn’t easy…what’s better than getting crazy on a Thursday night in Long Beach at a pizza place to Holy Grail? Not much….not much at all.