Saturday, November 5, 2011

Legion of Liquor, Skull Fist and Evil Survives - Novermber 4th, 2011 at Ozzy's

Being so well acquainted with the Zoo, I was curious as to why there would be a metal show downstairs at Ozzy's. I was not dissapointed with the set-up and outlay of the bar in the basement, but the stage was small. Some would say this is a set-back, but smaller stages and no guard rails make this an accessable place for photography.

As soon as we got there, I got the chance to snag one of the members of the Legion of Liquor. He was the right one to talk to, as I soon found out, for he was none other than the main songwriter and visionary. Jared Weiss writes the lyrics and music for the Legion of Liquor and coordinates practices and gigs, as well as managing the merch.
Jared Weiss - Secretly chooses cans

Having a dozen members of a band is a huge undertaking, but Jared assures me a big band of singers is not a new concept and it's all strictly for fun. Eight singers and four musicians makes for a huge band tab at the bar, but there is a standard for the Legion- you can't be too drunk to perform and surliness is not a virtue with this group. It's unreasonable to expect every vocalist to make it to practice, so Jared will email the vocalists the lyrics and tracks, and hope that everyone comes to at least one in five practices. The musicians come to every practice, and there's a lot of personal flare put into their playing that isn't all Jared's ideas. It is still impressive that one man can have such a concept and make it live, breathe and sing about Bottles or Cans.

The future of the Legion of Liquor is bright- I know, because I bought a shirt the first time I saw them opening for Anvil. One of the only drawbacks for this massively entertaining choir of wine-cellar boys is they have no album! I addressed this with Jared and he told me they hoped to be recording soon and have an album out by next year. Even though the recording could never do what seeing, singing and swigging with the Legion does, I would still want the songs to be playing at a party. The rapture and atmosphere the Legion brings to every bar they perform in is comparable to sitting in a hot tub on a cold winter day with a well mixed rum and eggnog and perhaps eight guys singing about your beverage. I think the Legion should consider putting out a Christmas album.

As for the show itself- it never ceases to amaze me how catchy every single Legion tune is. I remember many of the lyrics from the first time I saw them with Anvil back in May. The set-list has remained, for the most part, unaltered. The Legion typically opens with Hops, and moves smoothly through their set with instant classics such as Texas Mickey, Shotgunning, Bottles or Cans, Warriors of Wine and of course- Haters! Haters of Sobriety! They might not be classy, but I do love looking at my Legion of Liquor calendar. They might not agree, but I like it better than the Sunshine girl calendar

Hailing all the way from Toronto was Skull Fist! I can describe this band as leather-clad and tastefully 80's with their custom cowboy boots and Poison meets Iron Maiden attitude- and I do mean this as a compliment. They were solid musicians armed with weapons of mass entertainment and occasionally bordering on cheesiness we often miss from bands long past. There was as much stage theatrics as there was actual talent and musicianship, so it all amalgamated into an enjoyable show. There was certainly a lot of support for a band that had from so far away, and the Legion and Evil Survives kindly asked the crowd to buy their merchandise. Unfortunately, my camera was beginning to lose power, or else I would have taken plenty more pictures of Skull Fist and their very energetic set or almost traditional heavy metal.

I was somewhat curious as to why Skull Fist wasn't headlining even though they were the only non-local band playing. Then I remembered... Evil Survives was up next.

I often talk to the merchant of War on Music, who also happens to be one of the guitarist for Evil Survives, Adrian Riff. He occasionally sets up shop at metal shows like Grave to sell cassettes, CD's and vinyls. The selection consists of either very popular band (Metallica, Anthrax) or very obscure black metal records that you know he brought, simply because he likes that stuff. I typically talk about the more obscure selections he's brought such as Summoning, and I can't help but support him and his store. The War on Music is located in the exchange district and is a collective of seven employee's, whom I believe all co-own the store.

The Evil Survives show was much like their last gig that I caught with Nuclear Assault, and I have to say, the most memorable part of that show was Nuclear Assault was selling shirts for $15. Yeah, I know. Just about everyone bought one. It's quite rare to have cheap merch like that, but usually bands like Evil Survives are good for selling their own albums cheaply, and giving out free stickers. Who pays for stickers?

Evil Survives is also fairly traditional sounding, with power riffage and the epic vocals you expect from Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Their lyrical content is also caitered towards more traditional metal, such as fighting dragons and giving an homage to one of the best shows they had ever seen... Judas Priest. Hence their eleven minute EP "Judas Priest Live".

Evil Survives are very talented, and are put together well. Their vocalist pummels the microphone with his awesome voice, and even cracks a joke once in a while. Adrian and Sean both shred like masters, and one of the first things I noticed about Sean was he likes playing Jackson's, which are pretty sexy guitars. I actually played a very poor game of pool against Sean at the Nuclear Assault show and asked him a few questions about touring and recording. As for their drummer, he is a very disciplined chap and he set up his drums and practiced long before his band had to go on. That's some dedication and love for his craft, as well he seems to be a very quiet and agreeable person. I also have to add, their bassist, other than being great... has the most amazing hair I have ever seen.
Adrian Riff

Once again, Evil Survives is a band I would like to see over and over again, especially with them putting out new material so consistently. I purchased Powerkiller and await their next album, which I believe they are recording. Resist the Exorcism!

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