Metal Church

Live at The Whisky a Go Go

Los Angeles, CA

April 19th, 2019

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Metal Church first launched in 1980 in the Bay Area of California and since then have put out a dozen albums, went on hiatus twice, and have had quite a few lineup changes.

Now hailing out of Aberdeen, Washington and holding a powerful lineup since 2015 they saw their latest release, "Damned If You Do" come out last year and are roaming the nation on tour with co-headliner and label mate, Doro.

The Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood held a capacity crowd that were ready for some serious Metal Church action. The band currently holding strong is based around founding guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof as the solid foundation. Supporting pillars come from Mike Howe as lead singer who has come and gone from the band since 1988 but is once more at the helm, Steve Unger on bass guitar, Rick Van Zandt on guitar, and Stet Howland on drums.

They kicked off the show with the title track from the new album. "Damned If You Do" which plants them squarely into the modern metal scene with an instant anthem worthy of the name Metal Church.

They have a lot of material to select a set list from, and they moved all over their time line making fans both old and new happy with their choices. They continued with "Needle and Suture" followed by "Badlands" which was awesome to see live.

The fans were squashed in like sardines to be near the front, but some space opened up as the mosh pit gained speed and size. "Gods of Second Chance" flowed directly into "Start the Fire". Metal Church's stylings move between classic metal and thrash with some songs really upping the ante in terms of ferocity.

"Date With Poverty" was up next with one of my personal favorites of the set following in the form of, "No Friend of Mine". "Watch the Children Pray" was definitely a crowd favorite with fists in the air, mosh pit moving, and people singing along.

Another new song that really stuck with me was "The Black Things" calling out corruption, greed, and sheep mentality: "You're just a puppet on a string". "Beyond the Black" came out as the original title track of their latest "Best Of" compilation earlier this year which led into their last song of the main set, "Living by the Numbers" from "Damned If You Do".

After a short break the audience chanted them back to the stage for the encore which started with "In Mourning" from 1991's "The Human Factor" album, and concluded with a song many in the audience had been waiting all night to hear, "Fake Healer" from their third album, "Blessing in Disguise".

It was an awesome show, my first time seeing Metal Church live and it was surprising how great they were. I loved all of the new songs mixed in with nearly forty years of classic material. Mike Howe is ridiculously energetic and a great front man, he really made the show for me.

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