with Havok and Extinction A.D.
The Palace Theater
July 20th, 2018
Story by JP
Photos by Legion
The law of diminishing returns is not absolute especially when it comes to Suicidal Tendencies. To the best of my knowledge the band has only performed in Calgary four times. The first was a legendary gig on the ‘Join The Army’ Tour in 1987 at MacHall with Excel and Beyond Possession that the old dogs still talk about to this day. I wasn’t there but I’m told there was only about 250 people. Fast forward to 2015 when they played at the Saddledome hockey arena with Slipknot. Not their crowd, not their kind of tour and I can imagine the band being lost on the big stadium stage plying for 10,000+ people. Less than a year later they returned to Calgary with Megadeth and played at a casino for about 2500 people on a Sunday night in the winter. I did see this gig and reviewed it for Metal-Rules.com. It was awesome to finally see them but it did seem like a streamlined ‘Greatest Hits’ type set. That brings us to the most recent gig at The Palace on July 20th, 2018.
The Palace is an old converted theater, far more intimate than any of the other venues. ST was headlining and it was a weird gig. No one really new who was playing on the bill as it was kind of a mix of the Havok North American tour and the mini ST Canadian tour. So in the end Jungle Rot was not on the bill and Extinction A.D. was.
It was a hot, Friday night and the freaks were here to party. There was a heavy police presence, downtown was packed with people enjoying the bars and nightlife. I think maybe the bar was a bit unprepared, they were running out of beer and the bank machines ran out of cash! It was certainly more of a Suicidal crowd, as compared to the past couple of gigs, with lots of old punkers, young skate kids, metallions and crossover people. There were quite a few Havok shirts being worn as well! The 1200 capacity room was very full but not sold out. One of my buddies in security said there were 850 pre-sold, plus some walkups so they had less than half the people than last time at the casino…but it was Suicidal’s night!
Things started on time with Extinction A.D. , I didn’t know anything about these guys going in, I think I had mixed them up with one of the many other bands called Extinction. This quartet from NYC was young and enthusiastic and full of energy. They played a new blend of thrash with hints of hardcore and Metalcore. Lots of breakdowns and then into fast parts. They were pretty cool and threw in a Slayer cover so they were a solid band to open the party.
Up next was Havok. I’ve seen these guys three times in a short period of time, they were just here in the spring with Anthrax and were also on the aforementioned Megadeth/Suicidal tour in 2016. I think they are one of the stronger acts in the new thrash revival…now ten years deep! On The Megadeth tour they only had time for about four songs so this time they had a good long set. They ripped it up , more old school and true than Extinction A.D. and they had these weird eyeball projected on all the screens in the venue. I think it was tied into their song ‘Wake Up’ from their latest 2017 album, CONFORMICIDE which has the lines ‘open your eyes’. Anyway, that was my interpretation why there were eyeballs all over the place! This was certainly the best of the three times I have seen them.
I’m going to divert for a minute and comment on the music in between the sets. Opening the night and in between Extinction A.D. and Havok it was the usual fare over the P.A., Slayer, Maiden, Priest, Megadeth etc. Then between Havok and Suicidal Tendencies suddenly we heard…. Van Halen! Not just one song, but lots of it! Ballads too. I was hanging out listening and it suddenly hit me, they were playing a CD….Van Halen’s Greatest Hits Vol I!
It seemed odd for a thrash/crossover gig, considering what came before but it makes perfect sense and I think might have played into Cyco Miko ‘s sense of humour. If you think about Muir grew up in So-Cal going to backyard parties and gigs in the late 70’s and so on, so it is even possible he saw Van Halen back in the early days at some party in ’75. Who knows? It was not what I expected at all and it was a nice juxtaposition, giving our ears a rest before ST hit the stage.
At 11:00 they hit the stage with a monster, 13-minute, extended version of ‘You Can’t Bring Me Down’. It was impressive considering the song itself was only minutes long on the album. Immediately I knew it was a very different gig from the Megadeth gig, where they played it straight. The band did jams, raps, mixed it up all over the place. In fact they might even played the same number of songs spread over 90 minutes as they did opening for Megadeth for 45 minutes! There were doing some serious free-style and improv. It was way more authentic, to what I expected a Suicidal gig to be.
During a cool ‘Possessed To Skate/I Saw Your Mommy’ medley he invited people onto the stage and I think there must have been 50 (?) people crammed up there! His young band, who were on fire, had no room to move!
By then my photographer had had left the safety/comfort of the photo-pit so I snapped a terrible picture on my phone, just to give people an idea! I suppose that bald #13 in the middle thought that this was as good a time as any to check his messages!
The band played mostly the hits from the 80’s albums but they did play a couple of ‘newer’ ones, the title track from FREEDUMB from 1999 and ‘Clap Like Ozzy’ from WORLD GONE MAD from 2016. The only little complaint I had was that I felt the mix was a bit murky. I could not hear all of the stage banter very well, I even moved around the venue to try to get better sound.
The evening was slightly tainted by one incident, (which I’m unsure of all the details so don’t quote me!) where it seems someone threw a bottle or something from a low balcony and I think it hit Mike Muirs’ young teenage son who was watching side-stage. Cyco Miko lived up to his name and called the guy out, security got involved, people were all over the stage, it was a mess. To his credit, he got his head back in the game and blasted out the last three or four songs.
It was a great night! Oh yeah, and Dave Lombardo was on drums for Suicidal so everyone wins.
I bought the new Suicidal EP and went home happy! Suicidal for life!