Live at Ozzfest
San Bernardino, CA
September 24th, 2016
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Huntress came upon the Heavy Metal scene like a screaming banshee six years ago and has continued to be a must-see band for me whenever they play near their home town of Los Angeles.
Fronted by the gorgeous and talented Jill Janus, and backed up by founding guitarist Blake Meahl, the duo have produced three excellent albums and put on memorable live events with a changing roster of accompanying musicians.
Currently taking the stage with these dynamic artists are Eric Harris on bass guitar, Eli Santana on rhythm guitar, and Blake's brother, Tyler Meahl on drums.
Jill is an astute performer, moving about the stage, using clothing as props to fit the dynamics of the songs as she sings. Her huge vocal range coming to bare at key moments, but primarily she has a near-snarling approach to occult tinged heavy metal tales.
Jill's lyrics range a gamut of influences and the song they kicked off the set with, "Sorrow", is a more real-life based account of getting old, dealing with life, and finding your way, than the majority of her narrative. The song comes from their latest endeavor, "Static" which shows their song writing growing and changing but still very much "Huntress".
Going back to their first album, and one of the songs that captured my interest many years ago, we got the sinister yarn of a Witch that becomes a "Spell Eater" and cannot stop herself from consuming the dark magic. This right here is signature Huntress, Jill's mystique and depth create a dark enigma, both enticing and a little frightening as well.
I lost track of the song order but I know they played "Zenith" and the catchy "Harsh Times On Planet Stoked", both of which are great songs to see live. I could swear they did "Flesh" as well but Ozzfest was a bit overwhelming in terms of the number of awesome bands playing, but also the triple digit heat melting our brains out in the desert climate of San Bernardino.
At one point Jill talked about meeting Lemmy from Motörhead at the famed Rainbow Bar up on the Sunset Strip. Over drinks he agreed to write a song with her. So one day she gets a call from Lemmy asking her to go meet him for some more drinks and when she shows up, he slides two pages of notebook paper over to her with the lyrics to "I Want To Fuck You To Death". "He was so romantic!" she exclaimed. The crowd sang along with this debased chorus and really enjoyed the show and interaction.
They finished up the set with the first song I ever heard from them, and still one of my favorites of theirs, "Eight of Swords". This song embodies both the beauty and intricacy of Huntress but also the harshness and darkness; "Let the Witches In!"
I am a consummate fan of Huntress and highly recommend checking them out live. They know how to put on a good show and you will be hard pressed not to have their songs stuck in your head afterwards.
They are currently touring with the excellent Trivium and one of my favorite other bands, Sabaton - you can't go wrong with that lineup.
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