Finally, finally, finally Frost and Fire is upon us this year. The third specifically but my first experience with this festival. As being excited since the literal day the line up was announced, I still had no idea what to expect. Hell, I had never been to California so that alone was going to be a big difference for me. But, with four days(well three and a half sort of) filled to the brim with classic Heavy Metal, how could you go wrong? Well as I arrived thursday afternoon, dealt with my hellish booked hotel rooms(damn debit cards only work when they want to) and did a bit of sight seeing, I was ready for the pre party to kick off such a monumental weekend.
Now, I have to say the location for this show for the scenery alone is amazing. With this part of Ventura literally cornered off by the big hills and palm trees galore, it really is just a nice change of scenery especially when you have to look at the city of Chicago all the time. However, I found the choice of Ventura Theatre for the pre show very strange. From walking in I right away sensed just how damn hot the place is and thats before bands even started! I also hated the no ins and outs rule which literally meant sweat city for me and a few other people. As the show started I kind of forgot about it a d focused more on the music and meeting up with some friends I rarely get to see. Glare the opening act was alright. They were definitely the most simplistic in approach doing a more cross over punk sort of style which I like but was nothing special just something I suppose to get the crowd pumped up. As I kind of backed off and sat down during Pounder, I enjoyed what they brought considering it was one of their first shows ever. It was at this point that flight fatigue really set in and I kind of had to perk myself up considering Ruthless I was actually excited to see. However, live today they don’t do it as much for me. Now I love their faster paced songs and they sounded great live but the more mid paced songs just felt a bit boring live. They are just one of the bands I found more enjoyable on record than live. Up next was Cage and originally was not very excited to see them. I just always felt like they were a band that sounded very cliche especially today. But live I actually enjoyed them…after the first few songs. It really took a few songs to get them going and me as well as a few others were pleasantly surprised that they had a stronger set than initally thought. However Sean Peck is one of the funniest front men for the wrong reasons. I dont know he just looks like an extra in the Matrix it always makes me laugh… Anyways! While the crowd cleared, I actually worked my way up front for Night Demon because well everyone knows that I love these guys even it is to the point of being an annoyance. But they were still the best band of the night because they just know how to bring it in a live show. Playing basically half of both albums with some the e.p sprinkled in making for a very solid set as usually. I also enjoyed the Wasted Years cover as it got the whole crowd really riled up and even the bands watching on the side of the stage were a joy to watch. One of them got on the others shoulders and when lifted him, the guy tumbled onto stage, a totally hilarious moment. Personally I feel like this is where the show should have ended. Emphasis on the should have for this…
Now what can I say about Tyrant. I dig their early albums. Sort of cliche yes but still fun albums to listen to once and awhile. But watching them live oh my. Now a lot of people told me they were not good live but I decided I’d give them a chance. With a new singer, there has to be some redeeming qualities right. Well it wasnt the vocals that was the problem, it was just the whole sound of the band. The distortion on the guitars sounded so cheap and thin like the cheapest amplifiers imaginable. But they had real gear so I dont understand that at all. Also, they just seemed very uninterested onstage like they stood still most of the time except for their singer who I thoughts voice suited the band well. Unfortunately I felt his stage presence didn’t work with this style of music. If I could sum their performance up as a whole I would just say it was awkward and I’d like to just leave it at that.
I sat for about five songs and at that point I felt I had my fill for the evening. After hanging outside with the guys from Riot City for a bit I felt like it was time to hit it for the night as the real part of the fest was about to begin… The pre party wasn’t terrible by any means but it was more of a night to catch up with some friends than to really indulge in the bands playing. While I enjoyed most of the bands, some of them I felt seeing once was enough. But groups like Pounder I would like to see again as well. Tune in soon for my coverage on the first official day of Frost and Fire!