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Bands I'm Grateful To Have Seen Live (in rough chronological order)

I consider myself very lucky to have grown up, not just on the West Coast of the United States, but right in the heart of one of history's great metal scenes--the San Francisco Bay Area. So many awesome memories from so many incredible local bands, with other acts from all over the world regularly passing through as well. Time to memorialize in no particular order.

Upcoming shows: Opeth, Katatonia, Ghost, Alcest, Enslaved.

Created by: The Galactician | 02.09.2011

1. Anthrax - State of Euphoria
There was a time when you couldn't even go a year without Anthrax coming to town. They were one of the first bands I ever saw live; I was so young for that first gig that I had to lie to my parents about where I was going. In terms of shows, they never disappoint. Can't wait for the new record with Joey this year.
2. Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II
Saw them with the aforementioned Anthrax as part of the first Headbanger's Ball tour. They were on the road for KOTSK II, which in my opinion is about as good a time as you could hope for to see these power metal gods. I remember being utterly shocked at just how spot on Michael Kiske's voice was live.
3. Exodus - Fabulous Disaster
One of the many great Bay Area thrash bands. They are so polished live that I sometimes don't know how other bands can stand to play with them.
4. Testament - The New Order
I think maybe the second metal show I ever went to was Testament with Nuclear Assault and Voivod at the Warfield in San Francisco. What can I say? This show changed my life. Three of my favorite bands in their absolute prime. Bliss.
5. Voivod - Nothingface
One the bands on the list who I am the most grateful to have seen given the death of an essential member. Piggy was a true original, an immortal guitar god that taught me all about dissonance as an art. He and the band will forever remain a favorite.
6. Nuclear Assault - Survive
In 1988 I was 14 years old and music was my entire life. The thrash scene was vibrant as Hades back then, and Nuclear Assault released what is in my opinion their finest work: Survive. And I got to see 'em for that very tour. Hells to the yeah.
7. Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Where to even start? My high school room was a shrine. After all these years, many shows, and countless album plays, I think I can safely say they are my favorite band of all time. Me and about a gajillion metal fans all over the world agree.
8. Slayer - South of Heaven
SLAAAAAAAAAAAAYEEEEEEEER! If you've seen them then you've heard the cry--from in front of the stage, from the back of the auditorium, from the merch table, in the bathroom, in the parking lot outside. They are incomparable godfathers of a sound, every bit as good on stage now as they were when they started.
9. Forbidden - Forbidden Evil
Trust me, you really haven't lived until you've seen the solo from Through Eyes of Glass performed live. Look it up on YouTube.
10. Death - Individual Thought Patterns
Sigh...never again. Chuck was a genius that defined a sound and changed metal forever with his gift. Bonus points here for having seen them with the great Gene Hoglan on drums.
11. King Diamond - Conspiracy
King is...well fuck, he's the King. It's just album after album of purely magnificent songwriting combined with some of the best guitar playing the world has ever seen thanks to the great Andy Laroque. Performing live King is an excellent showman that clearly loves what he does and loves his fans. "You guys are fucking great, man!" Right back at 'cha, King.
12. Death Angel - Frolic Through the Park
Back in the day there was a regular radio metal show coming out of Foothill College in Los Altos, CA. There in the middle of the night, sitting by the phone, you (or one of your friends) were almost guaranteed to win tickets to whatever awesome show was coming up. Chances of seeing Death Angel on any given weekend for free were very high. Oh yes.
13. Violence - Eternal Nightmare
And if Death Angel wasn't playing that weekend, Violence probably was. :)
14. Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
When I saw the video for Inner Self on Headbanger's Ball (probably sandwiched between the Bullet Boys and Trixter, god help us all) I knew I had to own the record. I had no idea it would turn out to be one of the greatest thrash albums ever recorded, with a rich complexity of songwriting I deeply wish they'd return to. It's a fool's hope.
15. Carcass - Heartwork
Seen at the Berkeley Square with who the hell knows what opening bands. All I remember is Carcass. Glorious fucking Carcass. \m/
16. Primus - Frizzle Fry
The first time I saw them I moshed, danced, and crowd surfed so much that I was sore for three days straight. I made a point to see them again, and again, and again. So many times I can't even remember them all anymore, mostly in little clubs. Somewhere in this list it must be said that the Bay Area was a GREAT place for all ages venues. The world needs more and will never have enough.
17. Mr. Bungle - Mr. Bungle
There was a sweet spot, just before and just after Faith No More's Real Thing came out, when Mr. Bungle was playing all the time in the Bay Area. Sometime shortly thereafter they'd rise to stardom thanks to the aforementioned FNM attention, at which point they became more interested (for a time, anyway) in fucking with the crowd than playing a good show. Still, one of the most purely talented bands ever, where in that heyday you were as likely to hear a cover of the Super Mario Brothers theme as you were a song off the magnificent OU818 demo. Another band that forever changed how I think about at music.
18. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening And Closing
And while we're on the subject of the Bay's most impressive original acts, there's Sleepytime. As a longtime Idiot Flesh fan I knew at least marginally what to expect, and actually saw Sleepytime's first gig ever. It was followed by many more over the years. Seeing them live was always an experience that made me want to go home and burn my guitar rig to the ground because, no matter how much I practiced, I was never going to be that fucking good.
19. Buckethead And Friends - Bucketheadland
Rounding out the stranger side of the California music scene with Buckethead, or more to the point with the Deli Creeps, who I saw open for Bungle somewhere back around 1991. Who the fuck are these weirdos? Why is that guy wearing a bucket on his head? What the hell is happening here? Oh my god. That is the fastest guitar solo I've...I've...ever...seen.
20. Melvins - Houdini
In truth I didn't care much for the Melvins when I was younger, in spite of having seen them a handful of times. I look back on those days now and think, "Dude, what the fuck was wrong with you?"
21. Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
And the list of "never agains" gets a little bigger. I wrecked my dad's car the night I saw Pantera on tour for Vulgar Display. In retrospect, I think it was probably worth it. Don't tell my folks I said that.
22. White Zombie - La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1
Not one of my favorite bands in the world but still a fantastic live show. Rob Zombie's a great performer and all, but I'm pretty sure that myself and every other horny youngin' couldn't take our eyes off of Sean Yseult.
23. Prong - Prove You Wrong
I remember I just stared and stared at Tommy's rig, wondering how the fuck he managed to get such a purely crushing guitar sound. They don't make three-piece bands like this anymore.
24. Mastodon - Crack the Skye
I know Crack the Skye is a polarizing album for a lot of Mastodon fans (I am in the love camp), but seeing it performed live is a transcendental experience. Mastodon is a band operating on another level, well-deserving of their massive fame and success.
25. Opeth - Ghost Reveries
"Do you like our new album?" <SCREAMING FANS> "Do you like it very much?" <SCREAMING FANS> "Dance little monkeys." I like a fucking genius with a sense of humor. :) Seeing them again in a few weeks. Can't wait!
26. Rotting Christ - Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers
The band that makes me very proud to have Greek blood flowing through my veins. Triarchy in particular is an album that I will never, ever get tired of. Oh yeah, they are completely amazing live too (unsurprisingly).
27. High on Fire - Snakes For The Divine
I've actually personally heard Matt Pike more than any other member of any other band I've ever seen. Sleep used to practice in the space right next to mine. For my money High on Fire is the better band.
28. Amon Amarth - Twilight Of The Thunder God
Odin himself would be impressed with their show. And is that a gaggle of obnoxiously attractive girls I see mouthing all the words to the songs? You have truly arrived, men.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by The Galactician ]


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Comments: 3   Visited by: 95 users
20.09.2011 - 01:18


Anyways great list dude, I've seen Anthrax, Slayer, Testament, and Maiden live and all but Maiden (who were good but not great) kicked serious ass!
20.09.2011 - 01:23

You have seen Voivod? I jelly.
22.02.2019 - 13:05
i c deaf people
Usually, I don't really like those 'Look, what you have missed out but I have seen' lists. Oftentimes, they are nothing but the equivalence of social media's 'Look, what I'm about to eat' photo stories.
Your list is different, since you are telling 28 small but quite personal stories from a time long ago and I believe arousing envy was not your primary goal, it's just an inherent subsidiary effect.
For Europeans like me, your insights of the early Bay Area scene are highly interesting because it was quite different over here, back then. I experienced that whenever something 'big' happened in the States, it lasted at least 12 months until the wave washed across the Atlantic to reach Germany - if we were lucky.

I just wonder there's no Metallica in your list... Intentionally?

I'm afraid there's only one single story of any interest involving (south)-american bands and their early concerts I can tell: I lost half of an incisor at Dynamo Open Air 1990 and it's top flew into the small photo pit, yet unreachable for me. Andreas Kisser of Sepultura saw me bleeding like a pig and gestured a security guard to help me.
The funny thing is, that guy gave me something he had found in the pit right infront of his feet - but it turned out to be just a tiny, white peble.
signatures = SPAM

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