The Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA
September 30, 2015
Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf
Everybody knows who Black Sabbath is. They invented heavy metal in the late 60’s with leaden riffs, ghostly vocals, and evil subjects. Yet a lot of people haven’t heard of their American counterparts, Pentagram. Formed in 1971 by Bobby Leibling (vocals), Geof O’Keefe, Vincent McAllister (bass) and Steve Martin (drums), Pentagram helped create doom metal and were active in the ‘70s and 80’s and 90’s with various lineups. In 2011 Pentagram was given a second life by the documentary LAST DAYS HERE, which focused on Bobby Liebling’s redemption. This great film introduced the band to many new fans who realized how awesome Pentagram was. Still riding the wave of LAST DAYS HERE, Pentagram released CURIOUS VOLUME this year and set about doing a headlining tour. Tonight they’re at the Underground Arts in Philly, let’s check them out and go fucking crazy!
The Underground Arts is aptly named. The building looks like a huge apartment or office building from the outside. You go in and down into the fucking basement or dungeon or something like that. It’s really cool, the place has two rooms with stages, one with some couches (we didn’t get that one tonight so no rest for weary feet!) and one with not even a barstool to sit on. There is also a mock electric chair you can sit and pose in, very cool! Sound quality is good, clear, and loud. Stage is only about 2 feet off the ground, no barrier, at more violent shows there tends to be a lot of stage diving. Not tonight, this is an older school crowd where people just bang their heads and chill, no moshing tonight either. Turnout was decent, probably about 200 people.
About 11PM Victor Griffin (guitar), Greg Turley (bass) and Pete Campbell (drums) took the stage and proceeded to lay the DOOM on us! Band was tight and together with heavy riffs on “Sign of the Wolf (Pentagram)” and the vibe was perfect. Then, when Bobby Liebling made his entrance and began delivering his trippy vocals, the crowd was in awe. It was like an out of body experience. What the fuck was I watching?!? I’ve never seen a stage presence like this! Bobby looks like a cross between my Mum Mum (grandmother) and Igor (Marty Feldman) from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN! He was wearing pink pants, little boots, and a shirt with a stoner design. Bobby was all over the stage, humping the cabinets, hand in his pants, waggling his tongue, making obscene gestures, etc, it was fucking insane! Most importantly, he sounded great, plenty of power and impressive vocal range.
This is a polished, experienced well oiled machine here folks. Without pausing to take a breath, the band dove right into “Forever My Queen” amid screams from the crowd. This was followed by a brilliant rendition of “Starlady” and a jammed out “When The Screams Come”, which featured Victor’s impressive guitar chops and a touch of blues.
The set was a mix of new and old. Pentagram hearkened back to their Death Row days for “Death Row”, “All Your Sins”, and the closer “20 Buck Spin”. New songs from CURIOUS VOLUME like “Walk Alone”, “Devil’s Playground”, and the title track were fresh and sounded sharp. Crowd response was good throughout and everyone went home happy.
Pentagram is a must see live. These unsung metal legends can really bring it. For the uninitiated, if you are a fan of classic metal, check these guys out when they come to town and be prepared for a wild ride!
- Sign of the Wolf (Pentagram)
- Forever My Queen
- When the Screams Come
- Death Row
- All Your Sins
- Walk Alone
- Curious Volume
- Dying World
- Devil’s Playground