SAINT VITUS / THE GRAVIATORS
DECEMBER 15th, 2010 at Bastard Club/Osnabrück, GER
When I heard that Saint Vitus was going to play the Bastard Club in Osnabrück, I could not believe it. The place has recently moved from Osnabrück's Skate Hall to a new location and when I finally arrived, there I found that the place was small but looked great. The evening started with some chatting with friends upstairs at the pub before The Graviators from Sweden started their set downstairs in the live area. There was already a good amount of people, what surprised me a lot, due to the fact that this gig being in OsnabrÃ¼ck in the week and the weather was not that good either on this winter's day. Other Doom shows I remember in the old Bastard Club were less well attended, though masters like Death Row and Church Of Misery already played there. The new place is not so big, so that I assume there were somewhat 70 people there during the first song of The Graviators but it already looked like a good enough crowd. At the end of the night there approximately 150 people in attendance. Anyways back to The Graviators, a band that I did not have on the radar before. I found out they played with Vitus, which lead me to check out their Myspace page to discover a band that does the old school Doom Rock thing the way I like it. And tonight they proved that they can do it live as well. Their mxture of classic Sabbath and Pentagram riffings gets a litte push by some 70's Prog Rock what is right up my alley.
They started their set with 'Keep 'Em Comin' and 'Storm Of Creation' from their self titled album and continued with the cleverly titled 'Back To The Sabbath' that is a small hit cause of the vocals lines. Something that sticks in your head quickly. Singer Niklas really hits of there with some high King Diamond like screams that he hits on the spot live as well. But the performance of the rest of the band does not hide behind their front man. Both guitarist Martin and bassist Johan did amazing jobs on their instruments and Henrik had a decent groove. Apart from playing stuff from their album like 'Roller' or the ultra doomy 'Planet Gone' that had a bigger Vitus touch the last song seemed to be a new one from the upcoming album if I got that right. If so, keep it coming guys. Sounded great. After their set there was quite a big round of applause for the band a lot of people standing around saying how much they liked it. I hope that got through in merch sales as well. I got my shirt. Funny fact number one of the evening: A small chick was pretty impressed by these guys being so cute cause Niklas was wearing a Pentagram shirt and Martin a Rainbow shirt. It is the small things, that can make ones day.
So the audience was all fired up for Vitus. Before playing the first song Dave told those that had not heard about the passing away of former drummer Armando Acosta and their old friend R. Gonzales (sorry could not make out the first name), who had written the lyrics to 'H.A.A.G.' back in the day, and dedicated the tour to the memory of both. Then the band started classically I'd say, cause when memory serves me well in two out of three reunion shows I had seen before this they did it that way, with 'Living Backwards' followed by 'I Bleed Black' both from the 'V' album. The band seemed a bit more on the roll tonight than the gig in Cologne at least from the beginning. Next up was 'White Magic/Black Magic' which sounded better to my ears than the last time. Chandler introduced the first song they ever wrote as a band, that being 'Look Behind You', followed by 'H.A.A.G'. for their friend. And then they totally got me hooked. Rumours on the internet said Vitus was playing a new song and they did. Not before Wino was complaining a little about Dave sending him the new song on a tape. Old school as it gets. Dave apologized for not being able to work that I-Pod crap, like he said. Never saw Wino and Chandler interact so much on stage on the other gigs I have seen. And I had never seen Wino get the mic out of the stand for a while to sing.
Anyways, the new song sound quite good and from the vibe I would say it fits in well especially with material from 'V' or maybe 'Mournful Crie's. So it is all good. Unfortunately I forgot to ask Dave for the songtitle after the show. Shame on me. Next up was the advertising show for their brand new re-releases of 'Hallow's Vicitim' and 'The Walking Dead' when 'White Stallions' and 'Mystic Lady' were played. Especially the later one is one of my all time favourites. During Daves extended solo guitar part, Wino was trying to hug Henry's drums. Something that he did more often that night and which looks rather dangerous if you know how hard that guy hits the skins and metal. So he went to the side of the stage to look at Dave freaking out with a smile in his face. The band hymn was next, featuring the obligatory sing along parts which was well received by the audience. Funny fact number two of the evening: A guy in a brown suit and a colourful scarf, that looked like he just got back from a lawyers or architects meeting, started a moshpit during the faster part. That was pretty weird to watch.
After that the setlist got rearranged 'cause Dave thought he heard a drunk guy requesting some song. So 'Shooting Gallery' was up next which was one of my total highlights of the evening, and NO, Dave, I was not drunk. But thanks anyways. But then the end of the evening threw its shadow over us as the band played 'Dying Inside' before jamming into 'Born Too Late'. That was the end of the set, but Dave made it an extra highlight not only going totally nuts during the lead guitar parts, but playing the solo walking through the audience and rubbing the guitar on peoples hats which really seemed to get the audience going mad one last time. Even Mark Adams had a smile on his face during that. Unfortunately that was no encore but especially Henry, who once again crushed some pieces of the drums during the set, looks more than exhausted. So a great evening came to an end. An evening where I saw the very best Vitus show I had ever seen. This was surely my concert of the year and, damn I have seen good shit this year. A lot of really good shit. But Vitus topped it that winter's night in a small club in a basement in OsnabrÃ¼ck. Awesome!
(Photos and report by Thorsten Frahling)