Angel Witch has been an active outfit, more or less, since 1978…but they had never played Toronto until 2018. Suffice to say, they brought many a headbanger, young and old, out for this occasion–which was actually a one-off North American gig, a midway stop en route to an open-air metalfest in Chile, of all places. And when the authors of one of the most iconic British metal albums of the early 80’s come to town for an uber-rare appearance, you can bet they’ll have their pick of Toronto’s finest local opening acts.
I actually saw both Cauldron and Blood Ceremony for the first time on the same night…way back in 2006. (August 20, if memory serves.) They were not even playing the same show that evening–one was a late-afternoon appearance at a local metalfest in a venue that’s now a furniture store, while the other was opening for a band that never made it across the border in a venue that’s now being turned into a condo. If these two local scene stalwarts had ever shared a stage before tonight, I was certainly not aware of it at the time.
Cauldron kicked things off with a slower set than what I was expecting, although they did get a few stage divers when they picked up the tempo on a couple tracks. They also busted out a fun double entendre with a tune called “Tears Have Come,” which has magically been posted to YouTube as I type this.
Blood Ceremony has probably played more concerts in certain European countries than they have in Toronto these past few years, with their rare hometown gigs reserved for such special occasions as an album release or the shuttering of a venue that’s being turned into condos. They can practically pack Lee’s Palace on their own, but on this night they set the stage for the slower side of Angel Witch with some tunes from their past two records.
Unsurprisingly, Angel Witch’s set drew heavily from their 1980 debut, with seven songs from said record, saving the title track for last. Most of the other tunes were songs from the 70’s that were eventually recorded on their most recent album, 2012’s As Above, So Below–they also played one new song from an upcoming release. But if all you knew from the band was Angel Witch s/t, you likely came away happy. “You’rrrrre an Angel Witch!”