It’s funny how things turn out. A long time ago I made a list of bands that I wanted to see before I get too old to do this anymore.
That list has long since been completed with more than a few additions. So I decided on a new list…venues. But I didn’t want to make it easy. The Whisky a Go Go was on that list. Never thought I’d actually get there. But last Friday I found myself at 8901 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, California.
The Whisky opened its doors in January 1964, and featured live music from Johnny Rivers and his band, whilst DJ Rhonda Lane did her thing from a suspended cage at the right of the stage. The whisky has played an important role in many musical careers with such names as The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and Love being regulars. Frank Zappa received his record contract based on a performance at the Whisky. Neil Diamond has played the Whisky and more recently The Police made a welcomed return. So ultimately what I’m trying to say is tonight’s a big deal for me.
However, tonight the Whisky belongs to Arizona’s metal band Soulfly. As I walk towards the door I can see the previous bands roadies dismantling the various drum kits and equipment on the sidewalk, whilst the black clad vans wearing fans gather outside the venue on this warm Californian night. As I reached the door one fan who had obviously had one shandy to many is being ‘escorted’ out of the venue by two gentlemen the size of the Hulk. Oh lord
Once inside I make my way up to the balcony level and find a prime viewing spot, as the stage level is packed The room itself oozes rock memories with various memorabilia place on its black walls. The famous Whisky logo covers the back of the stage. It’s gonna be one of those nights.
Soulfly Formed in 1997 in Phoenix Arizona. Soulfly is led by Max Cavalera who left the Brazilian group Sepultura in 1996. The back catalogue is made up of ten studio albums, a tour E.P., 19 singles and a DVD. The latest album Archangel was released on 14th Aug. 1995. The band has gone through various line-up changes, with Cavalera being the only consistent member.
As the lights dim I’m somewhat glad I made the decision to venture upstairs. The band enters from the side of the stage via a staircase and launch straight into “We Sold Our Souls To Metal”. It’s pretty obvious the fans have, as the floor suddenly resembles what seems like around 50 whirling dervishes on acid. It’s a furious mosh pit.
The title track “Archangel “ follows and it’s a powerhouse of a track, although noticeably faster than the album version .
By now the balcony area is becoming slightly livelier. But it’s all good. As I look around every single person in the place is rockin the shit out of the room.
Throughout the set we are treated to crowd pleasers such as “ Refuse/Resist” from the “Omen “ album, “Prophecy” from the album of the same name, “Arise”, “No Hope = No Fear”, “Roots Bloody Roots”,(Sepultura) and “Plata o Polmo”. However the icing on the cake was a fitting tribute to Lemmy who frequented the Rainbow rooms a couple of blocks away. Soulfly are joined on stage by members of the nights previous acts to play a blistering version of “Ace Of Spades”
I hope that roof is insured because tonight’s performance nearly blew it off.
To be honest it was one of the best nights I have had in a while. I have now added Soulfly to my bucket list and been to a venue that I’ve admired from a distant shore. The two seemed to go together. That night will stay with me for a very long time.