Live Show Review: Down at The Wiltern

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It’s always exciting when a band in your all time top ten comes to town.  The sheer enjoyment and anticipation is beyond any normal show. With that in mind, I bring you a report from the Wiltern after seeing the mighty Down.

First band up for the night was Australia’s King Parrot. Their on stage antics were more memorable than their actual music. The singer kept enjoying mooning the crowd. Granted this was sort of funny, it was a real distraction. Their 30 minute set seemed like it would never end, especially when all their songs all sound the same. Though there were a couple highlights from their part of the show. The singer got in the crowd to mosh around with people in the pit, causing a bit of a frenzy and the last song of their set featured a very brief cameo from Phil Anselmo who was watching on the side of the stage.

Next up was the newly reunited Bl’ast. Playing their first gig of this tour, Bl’ast put forth a solid performance but it lacked a lot of energy. I saw them late last year open for Neurosis and they came out firing on all cylinders and actually left me wanting more. Joining the band for touring was, Nick Oliveri on bass and Joey Castillo on drums, both former members of Queens Of The Stone Age.  Perhaps it was just an off night for the band, but it sure didn’t resonate with the crowd very well. They seem better suited in playing smaller places with a more intimate vibe,

The last opener for the evening was London, England’s Orange Goblin. Their blend of Black Sabbath and Motorhead influence really shined this evening. The bands 40 minute set was entertaining and fitting, knowing that Down was next. I’ve only ever heard a couple of songs by Orange Goblin before tonight, and when they were done I made a note to go out and pick up their albums.

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Finally after 3 opening bands, Down took the stage to a thunderous roar. I’ve seen Down quite a few times over the years and they never disappoint. Their set though only 14 songs stretched to just over 2 hours. Material from their first 2 albums was the majority of the set along with a few newer tracks from their most recent EP releases. Sadly though nothing from their third album was played. Phil Anselmo was on his game this evening too. His banter in between songs came across as funny and charming. The band themselves were top-notch as well. New additions to the band Pat Bruders and Bobby Landgraf are perfect fits to take the place of Rex Brown and Kirk Windstein. Jimmy Bower and Pepper Keenan are still masters of their instruments. As usual when “Lifer” was played, Phil dedicated it to his fallen brother Dimebag Darrell. Other songs that really stood out, as they are favorites of mine were “Losing All,” “Ghosts Along The Mississippi,” “Temptations Wings,” and the new song “Conjure.” One other funny note from the show, the guys in  Down jokingly broke into snippets of David Essex’ ‘Rock On’ on two occasions, and sang it surprisingly well. For the encore “Stone The Crow” and “Bury Me In Smoke” were played. And as usual during “Bury Me In Smoke,” random friends of the band made their way on stage to help out. One friend that really caught my attention was Danny Lohner (formerly of Nine Inch Nails). Pepper gave him his guitar and the rest was history.

 

The evening as a whole was very interesting and spanned many different genres of heavy music. The main highlight though was Down. They really are the real deal. It is definitely a different beast seeing them live. There is just such passion amongst all the guys in the band and their chemistry really shines. This is one of the best Down shows I’ve seen yet.

 

Down Setlist:

01. Lysergik Funeral Procession
02. Lifer
03. Hail The Leaf
04. Witchtripper
05. We Knew Him Well
06. There’s Something On My Side
07. Ghost Of Mississippi
08. Losing All
09. Pillars Of Eternity
10. Temptation’s Wings
11. Conjure
12. Eyes Of The South

Encore:
13. Stone The Crow
14. Bury Me In Smoke (with members of King Parrot, Orange Goblin, and Danny Lohner)

 

Photos by: Levan TK (http://instagram.com/levan_t_k)

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