In Thrash We Trust Tour Review – St. Louis, MO

In Thrash We Trust Tour – St. Louis, MO June 4th 2008 The two hour drive from my home to Pop’s in St. Louis (Sauget, Ill to be exact – right across the river from Downtown) is always a long one, but I’m more than willing to make it to see a good show. Death […]

by Larry "Staylow" Owens

In Thrash We Trust Tour – St. Louis, MO June 4th 2008

The two hour drive from my home to Pop’s in St. Louis (Sauget, Ill to be exact – right across the river from Downtown) is always a long one, but I’m more than willing to make it to see a good show. Death Angel, God Forbid, Arsis and Light This City is certainly a good one, as I’m a fan of all four, ranging from casual fan (Light This City) to all out fanatic (Death Angel).

We walked in the venue to find a local band opening the show by the name of Soul Descenders. I had heard of them before, but until now had never gotten a chance to see them perform. I must say they weren’t that bad, playing thrash that seemed to border on the classic Bay Area style, while also borrowing a bit from newer bands ala Sanctity or Wolfpack Unleashed. These kids were young – I’d say between the ages of 17-21, and were full of energy, running about the stage, headbanging, windmilling, and obviously loving every minute of it. The vocalist/guitarist pulled a few jump and kick-mid-air moves along with some other clich├ęd moves that made me laugh out loud. Both guitarists shared lead duties, soloing and shredding though about 7 songs. All in all, I enjoyed their performance and their music, though some of the clean vocals need some work, coming off at times as almost whiney, but that’s a minor complaint on their otherwise good show.

Next up was Light This City, the female fronted thrash/death band from San Francisco. I was first exposed to the band with 2006’s Facing the Thousand, and album that registered pretty high on that years best of list for me, so I was eager to check them out live. The biggest thing for me coming into their performance was to see if the female front was genuine, or if it felt like a gimmick ala In This Moment – I’m glad to say it’s the former. Laura Nichol is the real deal, screaming and growling (no clean vocals) her way through songs as well as any man, and putting on a top notch performance without flaunting the fact that she is indeed female. Their set was, from what I could tell, comprised of songs from 2005’s Remains of the Gods and their most recent, Facing the Thousand as well as a new song from their forthcoming album this fall, and all were finely executed slabs of death/thrash with hints of melody here and there. I have no real complaints to report – their sound was good enough, there were no fuck ups to speak of, and they were highly energetic – what more could you ask for out of a live show?

Arsis – I had just seen them a month prior in Columbia, MO on tour with The Black Dahlia Murder, and they played a good set, though their sound guy kind of ruined it, jacking the drums and vocals through the roof, leaving the guitars and bass buried in the middle – I was hoping this kink would be worked out here so I could thoroughly enjoy their set as they’ve been my favorite thus far this year with new release We Are the Nightmare.

Though just days before the show, it was announced that drummer Darren Cesca was out, and Alex Tomlin was in. To make matters worse, St. Louis was to be his first show with the band, so I was praying he didn’t fuck things up. Much to my dismay, he did.

The first three songs, all from older releases (“The Face of My Innocence” being the only one I can identify by name), seemed to be fine, with the exception of James Malone being like a statue up there, where as in Columbia, he did plenty of headbanging when not on vocals. It was at this point he explained he had been suffering from a killer toothache and had just had it pulled – I gotta give him props for soldiering it out as toothaches are no joke, especially when doing vocals. After this, they launched into “Sightless Wisdom”, and at first things went fine, but then Malone skipped the second verse lyrics, and all the lyrics at the end of the song – no biggie really given his condition, but the drums also seemed to be off a bit. Then came the title track from We Are the Nightmare, and things got real bad, real quick. Malone skipped all vocals, Tomlin butchered the drum parts early on, and struggled to get back on track while both Malone and other guitarist Ryan Knight threw a couple glances his way. About mid way through, Malone took off his guitar, set it down, tied his hair back, put on his glasses and just glared at Tomlin. At this point, I had had quite enough, so I made a bee-line for the bar then outside to smoke. Shortly after coming outside, the person I was there with came out to inform me they ended the set after that – good thing too, as that was probably the worst thing I had ever witnessed on stage. I hope that next time they come around, they’ll have their shit together and give me a vicious performance.

A couple cigarettes later, I headed back inside for God Forbid and got a surprise – Death Angel was coming on and God Forbid would be closing the show. I had forgotten that this was a co-headlining thing and that this might happen – oh well, I like both bands quite a bit and I was certainly ready to see the mighty Death Angel.

The Bay Area legends came on stage with a fire, kicking things off with monster lead-off track “Lord of Hate” from new album Killing Season, and continued kicking ass through their whole set. Frontman Mark Osegueda made it very clear at every chance he got to tell us how happy they were to be there, and how thankful they were for each of us being there, and it showed in each and every song. The whole performance ace and 100% pro – one of the best shows I’ve ever seen by any band – full of energy and enthusiasm, regardless of there only being 200 or so people in attendance. Most of the material they played was from Killing Season, but they also treated us to “Seemingly Endless Time” from the seminal Act III, “Voracious Souls” and “Kill as One” from the equally seminal debut The Ultra-Violence, one song I couldn’t quite identify from either Frolic Through the Park or The Art of Dying (I’m leaning towards the former though), and closed the show out with “Thrown to the Wolves” from 2004’s “comeback” album The Art of Dying. A most stellar performance that inspired me to lose my voice and headbang until it hurt – something that no band I’ve seen live has done in the past couple years. My hats off to them and can’t wait to see them again.

Still riding the high Death Angel left me with, God Forbid came on stage with a fury almost on par with the former band and I was digging it. The first couple songs went smoothly, but during the third, some jackass that I had noticed had been sitting the entire show until now was in the pit – not a bad thing, but then being a jackass, he had to start fucking with the people on the edge of the pit who were just trying to watch the show, such as myself, knocking half of my fresh $5 Guinness on the floor. This brought me down pretty quick, as my eyes were fixated on him instead of the band, until moments later he disappeared. Shortly thereafter, he reappeared and ran into me again – by now I had finished my beer and sent him flying the other way, only to watch him start shit with other people. By now, an employee had come to clean up my spilled beer and we had informed him to keep an eye out for this guy – 10 minutes later, they were wrestling him to the floor and throwing him out – this is what you get for being a drunken retard at a show.

Back to God Forbid. I was stilled pissed and on somewhat of a down note and couldn’t quite into their set as I was before, though I must say this being the fourth time I’d seen them live, they put on a show equally as good as each time before. It was solid as they ripped through songs primarily from 2004’s Gone Forever and 2005’s IV: Constitution of Treason with high energy and intensity, but also treated us to a new tune from their forthcoming album due this summer/fall, and one or two older songs that I’m not quite so familiar with.

All in all, it was a show with several ups and downs. Soul Descenders, Light This City and Death Angel on the upside, Arsis’ new drummer and my spilled Guinness being on the downside. I had expected this to be my favorite show of the year thus far, and pretty much got what I expected save those couple bad moments. I highly urge all who get a chance to see Death Angel – it’ll be well worth the ticket price.



  1. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Good thing i wasnt there with you larry!

  2. Commented by: Staylow

    Why’s that? Because of the drunken moron? I was actually thinking it was good thing that the biggest percentage of people I know were not there with me, as they would’ve jumped in and beat that fuckers ass. I tend to be a bit more restrained with those types of things, partially due to my size, and partially due to not wanting to be thrown out with the guy.

  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Yeah i hate pit bullys-i tend to lay them out

  4. Commented by: Kyle Huckins

    I’m usually pretty calm but spilling my Guinness is a pretty quick way to earn a fist in the windpipe. However I see most of my shows in NYC so I would kill for a Guinness that cheap.

  5. Commented by: Dan

    Sucks to hear about Arsis. They seem to have really shitty luck with touring. It must have been a bitch to bring a new drummer a few days before the show, debating whether to cancel or to risk the embarrassment on stage. Those aren’t exactly the kind of drum parts you can learn in a week either. Cesca really pulled out all the stops in the studio. Shame. I was really looking forward to seeing what he could do on the next album if he reigned it in a little.

  6. Commented by: Staylow

    Yeah, I can’t blame the guy too much because Cesca’s drum parts are insane, and Tomlin had zero rehearsal time. I guess what pissed me off about it so much was the poor sound experience in Columbia, and the two prior times I was to see them, they couldn’t make it – I was anxious to see a killer performance, but once again, it didn’t happen.

    Kyle – I can imagine beer being expensive in NYC, so I’m grateful of my location in that respect, but $5 even around here is a bit steep for beer. I’m used to paying $3.25 – $3.75 for imports in most places, and domestics rarely top $3, depending where you are.

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