If you know me, you know that I am a death metal fanatic. So, when legendary bands Cannibal Corpse and Obituary announced that they would be touring North America with Cryptopsy and Abysmal Dawn along for the ride, I was nearly beside myself with joy. I mean, you know… brutal joy… stop judging me!
When the night of the Los Angeles tour stop rolled around (3/8/16), I showed up early because I wasn’t about to miss a minute of this stellar lineup. The show took place in downtown L.A. at the beautiful, historic Mayan theater. If you ever get a chance to see a show in this venue, do not hesitate. It really is one of the nicest venues in the L.A. metro area. The only bummer was having to fly solo for this one, as it was a sold-out show and I was on Cannibal Corpse’s guest list with no plus one. So, I didn’t get to bring my trusty sidekick, my 13-year-old son Jesse.
On October 24th and 25, 2015, my 12-year-old son Jesse and I made our second annual pilgrimage to Slipknot’s giant, weekend-long heavy metal festival Knotfest. The event once again took place at San Manuel Amphitheater at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, California. This is a recap of our experiences on Saturday, October 24.
The event actually kicks off on Friday night with a show just for those who are fortunate enough to be holding camping or VIP passes. We were not among those folks, so we missed out on Sepultura, The Faceless, and several others. A bit of a bummer, but nothing compared to the gut-wrenching decisions that we would have to make later in the weekend with so many quality bands performing opposite each other on the side stages (more on that in a few…).
When we left off with the first part of my review of this show day, my 12-year-old son Jesse and I had just finished meeting At The Gates at their in-store appearance at Vacation Vinyl on Sunset Boulevard before their headlining gig at The Wiltern Theater with Converge, Pallbearer, and Vallenfyre.
It was nearly 5:30PM when we left Vacation and Vallenfyre was to go on first at 7:00PM sharp, so we figured we’d grab some grub at the Denny’s next door before heading on in to the venue. After acquiring said sustenance, we walked next door under the marquee of the gorgeous landmark Wiltern Theater, cleared security, and headed inside with 10 minutes to spare before the show began. Just enough time for a stop by the merch booth to check out the wares. I have to say that I was heavily impressed that every t-shirt from all 4 bands was priced at $20, no more, no less. Converge had so many amazing-looking designs that it was hard to pick one! There were of course pricier items like a really cool At The Gates hoodie featuring the artwork from their new album At War With Reality for $40 as well as some cheaper items such as hats and posters.
I was super excited for this lineup, as I am a huge fan of both bands. Arch Enemy is currently on an extensive tour in support of War Eternal, their best album in years, and Kreator is one of my all time favorite bands and always an electrifying live act. Plus, I was taking my 12-year-old son and we always have a blast together at shows.
My excitement was compounded by the fact that I had been offered an opportunity to interview Arch Enemy mastermind Michael Amott before the show.
King Diamond is one tough dude! The 58-year-old rocker has endured a triple bypass surgery, but that hasn’t stopped him from launching his first American tour in 16 years, and on this night neither would food poisoning, but more on that later.
The current trek by the former Mercyful Fate leader and his eponymous solo band has been highly acclaimed, playing to sold-out houses and glowing reviews. Lucky fans, including myself, were ecstatic to learn that the tour would be making its Los Angeles stop on Halloween, a holiday that is custom made for King Diamond’s brand of macabre, occult fueled, shock rock theatrics.