Having just completed a five-week, 32-show headlining tour of North America, during which the band was nominated for a Grammy Award, Bay Area thrash metal legends Death Angel headlined two sold-out holiday gigs at Slim’s in their hometown of San Francisco this past weekend, leaving no doubt that the nomination was well deserved.
San Francisco holiday shows have been a Death Angel tradition for the last six years, and the band always makes sure to do it right. From handpicking the support bands, to having their own beer available (Devine Defector Double IPA, brewed by Ale Industries) to their merch person dressed as Santa, the gigs have become more of an event, and always sell-out well in advance.
Night one kicked off with Charger, an Oakland-based trio featuring Rancid bassist Matt Freeman. The group’s Motörhead meets G.B.H. meets Thin Lizzy sound was the perfect way to get the festivities rolling. Although they have only released an EP and a couple of singles on Pirates Press Records, Charger have generated quite a buzz in the Bay Area lately.
Up next was Hellfire, who were out on the road supporting Death Angel on the “Humanicide Tour”. The band released their latest album, Mania, on Riding Easy Records earlier this year, and have gained huge momentum with their classic thrash metal sound. Another perfect selection for the night one bill.
Night two got started with Hatriot, the long-running Bay Area band which includes Nick and Cody Souza, the sons of Steve “Zetro” Souza of Exodus. They also released a new record earlier this year and had the crowd in the pit right from the get-go. Up next was Warbringer, who despite lineup changes over the last couple of years really seem to have gelled, and put on a frantic set highlighted by a cover of Motörhead’s “We Are the Road Crew”, with a guest appearance by Zetro himself.
As for Death Angel, the band showed absolutely no signs of being road-weary, and put on an almost two-hour set each night, showing their hometown fans that they are still at the top of their game. The setlist each night was highlighted by songs off of their stellar 2019 album, Humanicide, including “The Pack”, “Aggressor”, and “Immortal Behated”, but also included a few classics, including “Voracious Souls” and “Mistress of Pain.” And no Death Angel holiday show would be complete without a cover of a Christmas song, a Beatles song, and a KISS song, and the band did not disappoint, playing “Winter Wonderland”, The Beatles’ “The Word”, and two KISS tunes — “Watchin’ You” and “Cold Gin.”
By the time it was all said and done, Death Angel had once again conquered two evenings in front of sold-out crowds, and showed that they are primed and ready to conquer 2020, as well. Now, on to that Grammy Award…
Photo Gallery – Death Angel and company in San Francisco (click to enlarge and scroll through):
All photos by Raymond Ahner (@raymond_ahner)