…..and only Darkness Remains. What a night…Demon that is! Being newer to the Night Demon camp than I probably should be, this was only my second foray into their live set. I have a friend who goes on tour with them to Germany and across the US. I’ve done that with bands. And will do again. I could see myself trailing Night Demon….especially seeing as I already have my Frost & Fire Festival ticket for October. The main catalyst there for me is Lady Beast…who interestingly enough I’ve followed on tours and it’s thanks to them for my first Night Demon gig that took place in Cleveland some months back.
On Sunday, August 19, after missing a couple of shows this week, hauled myself to Toronto’s Coalition venue. Local act Tombkicker launched the evening. This band came on high recommendations from a couple of friends. Those recommendations started back when the band was called Loaded (with some umlauts over the vowels). I never did get around to checking them out. Some member changes brought a new moniker in Tombkicker. The recommenders introduced me to Jesse Harvey (guitar/vox) before the show. Indicating that he was under the weather, Jesse promised to do his best.
Securing a spot right at stage front left, the look of shock surely displayed on my face as Tombkicker began. This dude was hitting some pretty high notes…and he purported to be sick…balls! Not knowing the material, the short forms on the setlist I saw on stage didn’t help me out much. But during their second song guitarist, Megan Merrick only played the latter half. It appeared some sort of tuning issue wreaking havoc. Prior to the third song, she informed how she loved the A/C but her guitar did not. In any event, she was able to play the rest of the set seemingly without major issue.
And what a great set it was. The song “Metal Train” particularly stood out as friggin’ awesome. That one’s sure to get some airplay on my own podcast in the future (CGCM Podcast). As if I wasn’t sold already Tombkicker‘s cover of “Mean Streak” by Y&T cemented the deal. I was only in process of completing my second beer but I swear Harvey sounded a little like Meniketti too! Being the stage rat that I am known to be, I quickly snaked the setlist after the final song.
Next up was Blood Star. My good friend Kit, the Night Demon tour stalker mentioned above, told me that they were decent. And right on the money, that young man was! So far two unknown bands, both recommended by my own metal people. And both delivered.
The female-fronted Blood Star out of Sault Lake City Utah, quite obviously wear their Black Sabbath influences on their sleeves. That’s no bad thing. But they have more going on than just that. It’s like if Sabbath played traditional metal. No, that’s not right either, but they sounded great. Vocalist Madi Smith‘s delivery is soft yet powerful. It melds perfectly with the thumping rhythms. This is a band to watch out for methinks.
I did have a bit of an issue however with the Blood Star set. I call it the Krokus Syndrome. It was great singing along, as Smith had instructed the audience, during their Twisted Sister “Stay Hungry” cover. And a few songs later my face lit up, turning to my buddy to ask “is this the Top Gun song?”. It was indeed “Danger Zone” and a wickedly fun cover as well. But with limited stage time and as a touring act I don’t think two covers were a good idea. You tell me you didn’t have just one more original? The Krokus Syndrome.
None of this however deterred me from heading directly to their merch table after procuring their setlist as well, to purchase their CD. They do not, as it turns out, have a CD. It’s in the works I was told and should be available soon. Let me know Blood Star, I desire a copy!
Night Demon are straightforward and simple in approach. No over the top flashy displays. Just three men and their infectious Traditional metal styled compositions. Indeed only extremely limited stage banter or audience addressing. These guys have played major European festivals to massive audiences. They even have their own festival, Frost & Fire, in Ventura California. They have garnered much positive press from live performances and their album catalog.
The discography consists of the 2012 self-titled EP, 2015’s Curse of the Damned, 2017’s Darkness Remains, and 2018’s Live Darkness. The live album was actually recorded at that gig in Cleveland that I mentioned earlier. I have yet to acquire my copy but when I do I’ll be listening for my voice in the crowd and face in the photos….lol. These three men achieved all of this in a relatively short time frame of existence. Bravo! Tonight slams home the why and the how.
Night Demon played with a possession. A 13 song no-nonsense assault from start to finish. Each of the 13 executed with incredibly tight perfection. And sheer passion. It’s no wonder these guys have achieved what they have to date. The determination on vocalist/bassist Jarvis Leatherby‘s face, the sweat soaking his shirt did not even slow the pace an ounce. The intensity with which guitarist Armand John Anthony wielded his axe was mesmerizing, to say the least. And of course the thumping rhythms of drummer Dusty Squires. The kind of show where you’re exhausted, yet satisfied afterward.
OK, I lied a bit. There was one little stage gimmick. During “The Chalice”, as is Night Demon custom, the band’s reaper-ish Skeletor-ish mascot, Rocky, appeared to entice band members to drink from his chalice. At the conclusion, to complete the trifecta, I reached over the stage monitor and peeled off the gaffer’s tape to secure the headlining setlist.
NIGHT DEMON Live in Toronto (Final Thoughts)
Today, my head hurts and my neck is sore. It’s not from beer and it’s ok by me. It’s from furiously headbanging along with Night Demon. This is the way to see this band. A small club and amazingly intimate with the audience even without banter. Apparently, they played here before. And tried again after that. That damn border patrol. So glad they made it this trip and I can’t wait to see you rip again at Frost & Fire!