Thee Parkside, San Francisco
June 10, 2016
By Leah Storkson
Space Vacation reminds me of what I like in a classic metal band: They’re fun, plain and simple, and their songs are fluid. This San Francisco band’s music is memorable and sometimes catchy, with lots of guitar solos, melodic vocals, and the crowd really gets into it with them. I’ve seen them a few times and always liked their signature white shoes, luxuriant long hair, and shredding sound. They’re always a pleasure to hear and watch perform. Vocalist Scott really brings it with tons of confidence and experience and it’s apparent that he’s ready to die for his metal, a good trait. A highlight of the band’s set was “Get Down,” a number that had everyone dancing and head- banging simultaneously. I’d like to see them play a longer set list very soon.
This was HellFire’s record release show for its debut of Metal Masses, an independently released full-length studio album.
HellFire hit the stage tonight to a packed house with fists pumping and hair flying, straight out of the gate. With their youthful raw energy, what band members bring to the stage is new, fresh and exciting; it brings me right back to the old-school metal bands I loved in the 80s. Their style is classic metal, melodic vocals combined with NWOBHM, influences ranging from Jaguar, Mercyful Fate, Diamond Head, Iron Maiden, Angelwitch, Motorhead, Scorpions, Budgie and Yes, among others. This enthusiastic band enjoys performing live with all members being true metalheads, living it every day. This is an exciting time for HellFire given its recent video, “Sirens of the Hunter”, and its solid band members pulling their weight writing innovative material.
Tonight the band had a ton of merch at its table including the new CD, and other items including a neat HellFire tote bag. The band played a few new songs that were the highlights of their set —; “Born Free Again”, and “City Ablaze”. — and also songs performed “Battlecry,” “Lightning Axes,” “Into the Light,” “Night Terror”, and “Sirens of the Hunter.”
My Personal favorites were “Soldiers of Sin,” which hearing live is completely bludgeoning, and “Lauda Hunt,” which showcases Jakes’s broad vocal range. Band member Jake Nunn commented between songs that he most likely remembered everyone in the crowd’s first and last names, and his banter with competitive singalongs is humorous. I look forward to seeing more fun shows with crazy crowd action, and expect a bright future for this band, including getting signed to a major label.
Orchid, an American heavy rock band formed in San Francisco in 2007 established its reputation in 2009 with the release of its first EP, Through the Devil’s Doorway. The band very quickly blew away everything in its path. It has released two studio albums, four EP’s, one compilation album and one Single, is a Nuclear Blast Recording artist, and have several videos. The band draws inspiration from Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Pentagram and, Trouble, among many others.
This was Orchid’s first hometown show in a year and a half, and it felt like you could cut air with a knife, so intense was the heat in the club and the crowd’s anticipation waiting for the four guys to take the small stage. The fans crushed themselves into the small nightclub, filling it to capacity, straining towards the stage, to hear Orchid play some groovy favorites and hopefully a few new songs from Sign of the Witch. Orchid last played in the Bay Area January 14, 2015, at Kirk Von Hammett’s Fear FestEvil at the RockBar Theater in San Jose, and it was obvious the local fans felt it had been way too long. The band is accustomed to playing international festivals with large stages, so this felt very special, not unlike a secret show for a select group of concert goers witnessing a down-to-earth event.
Theo Mindell strode on stage squinting in the harsh lighting, smoothing his hair back, looking down at his shoes, humbly saying something like, “Thank you for not being the critical San Franciscans I remember being when I was younger.” A few people in the crowd tittered at this remark. SF rock, metal, and punk crowds are known to be notoriously spoiled, with everyone a critic, so we knew what he meant. Orchid put on a mature, smooth, talented set, sounding professional despite the total lack of oxygen in the room, playing favorites such as “Eastern Woman,” “Capricorn,” “Eyes Behind the Wall,” “Black Funeral,” “Mouths of Madness,” and “Helicopters.” The highlight of the set was “He Who Walks Alone,” their last song, girls in the front crushed against the barricade were writhing and gyrating, eyes at half mast, barely able to stand up in the heat. Good times! A really fun show that sounded fantastic and left me wanting more.
Mark Thomas Baker