AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR: SAINT VITUS/The Skull/Witch Mountain @ Grog Shop, Cleveland, October 8, 2016

Now, I’ve seen Saint Vitus a couple times before, but when I got word that Scott Reagers was rejoining the band for this tour, I felt it was worth the trip to Cleveland. It didn’t hurt that there were two solid supporting acts–The Skull, which features Eric Wagner of Trouble fame, and Witch Mountain, one of my favourite female-fronted doom bands. Of course, there was a bit of a kerfuffle about Reagers replacing Wino for this tour…but while Born Too Late is one of my all-time favourite albums, period, I was looking forward to hearing a much different set this time around.

Speaking of legendary singers, this was the first time I’ve seen Witch Mountain since they replaced Uta Plotkin. It was her voice, more than anything, that really caught my ear on their amazing South of Salem album…but I’d say they’ve found a more-than-adequate replacement. Their set mostly consisted of new, unreleased material, displaying the full range of new frontwoman Kayla Dixon. I wasn’t quite as enamoured with their last two records, but from the sounds of things, I’ll be looking forward to the next album.

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Trouble has a pretty big following in Cleveland, judging by the reaction to The Skull’s set–half of which consisted of Trouble tunes. Hey, they basically began as a tribute band, but their own material holds its own. Guitarist Rob Wrong does double duty in both opening acts, although he played his second set sans chapeau… And while Wagner is pretty laid-back on stage, he’s still got the voice that people paid to hear.

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Although lots of people left after The Skull, Reagers-fronted Vitus was well worth sticking around for. It was great to see ’em dust off the likes of “Zombie Hunger,” “Mystic Lady” and “Burial at Sea,” alongside some of the more expected cuts like “White Magic/Black Magic” and “Saint Vitus.” They even played “Born Too Late,” which actually predates Wino joining the band by a few months. And I gotta say, Reagers is a much more passionate performer than his replacement. Not sure how long this particular arrangement will last, or whether it will lead to any new material…but I would definitely keep an eye out.

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Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.