St. Vitus @ Ultra Velvet Lounge 1/28/10
Watching St. Vitus romp through their twenty-five year old catalog in front of a big crowd of foaming-at-the-mouth headbangers at a warehouse in Downtown LA last week was not just a reminder of days gone past, but a delivery of some kind of justice for a band that forged the genre of Doom Metal without many people even noticing at the time. But during their twenty years of absence, they’ve built up a following. They are truly one of those groups that only sold a few records in their day, but inspired every single person that bought one to start a band. “This is the best LA audience Vitus has EVER played to,” said guitarist Dave Chandler early in the set, and if you were around at the time they invented that stuff, it’s not hard to believe it.
Sometime early in 1985, the once fiercely-opposed musical forces of punk and metal struck an uneasy truce. The historic “Crossover” alliance accomplished a couple of important things for each side - hardcore bands won the right to sound beefier and incorporate more slow parts and guitar solos into their songs without being accused of selling out, and metal bands were now allowed to play at lightning speed, wear t-shirts on stage, and travel around the country in vans with copies of their homemade EP for sale. This agreement paid huge dividends for both sides, making the most of two different audiences, both of which were willing to dig underground to find stuff.