I saw The Gates of Slumber and Demiricous at Jerry’s Pizza in the beautiful burg of Bakersfield California on Saturday, November 15, and it was quite a show.
To start, I would like to describe the venue a bit. It was a fairly normal pizza parlor on street level. Its supposed cleanliness and culinary standards apparently rate highly as the health inspector had posted a 12 inch tall paper “A” in the front window. We ordered the meat lover’s pizza and it was fairly decent. They had nice local beers on tap, along with a few of the big name beers, but downstairs, the purgatorial cauldron of cockroaches as I’d like to call it, was a different story altogether. Taking the basement steps down, of which there were two separate staircases to ingress into the cauldron, was an initiation into metal goodness/badness. The one staircase emanated a distinct and pungent smell of urine, giving you an immediate baptism and subsequent preparation for the music playing within. The other staircase was located next to the noxious bathrooms, so again, the smell of enuresis along with feces mixed together, forming a wall of miasma to walk through as you descended down the stairs.
The first two or three local bands were laughably cliched examples of metal (although they all had good heart and teeny-bopper groupie friends). The only band I can remember favorably was Exithead, who played well; I think their guitarist, who played a Testament brand of thrashy, technical lead, made the band.
Next up was The Gates of Slumber, who started their set with zero fanfare. The only reason we knew to go downstairs to start listening was because I recognized that opening riff off of Conqueror. They played perfectly and with way more visceral substance than I get from their discs. I loved the slow build-ups to Karl’s blistering and neck stretching, fret exploring solos but also the long and meandering segues between. This band has the Sabbath sound in spades.
Following The Gates of Slumber, Demiricous came on without much ceremony, looking like Midwest Slayer spawns, complete with shiny new goat and skeleton tattoos and long shaggy hair, and worn blue jeans. I say that ironically, but they were all pretty legit, so enough with the sarcasm. Their set was quite awesome. I am mostly amazed at musicians who play this type of raw and energetic thrash. The drummer was working (seriously working) through the entire set without much of a break besides when he dislodged his snare riser and subsequently had to put it back together, taking all of 60 seconds. I can’t provide much of an adequate description of the set, besides that they played some great songs, mostly off their “Two (Poverty)” album. The only song I remember them playing off of “One (Hellbound)” was “Repentagram.” Anyway, their set sounded just like playing the CD, only twice as good.
I joked with the guys I cruised to the show with that I’d rather just listen to both these bands play their CD’s live instead of listening to their actual CD. Duh. Great show!