… the tale of the singer that can’t be heard: Saint Vitus, 2017 edition!

I generally do not like the “heavy” section in the record bin, though sure Motörhead and some others are not alien to me (spare some time for The Moth from Hamburg if you can). But Saint Vitus, thanks to their SST Records legacy and their affiliation with eg. Black Flag do make sense to me.

And because of that we have a little custom habit with some friends, who are wider than my narrow mu-sick-al ambition, to see every Saint Vitus show in Hamburg. This time round it was at the Hafenklang and sold-out.

And that was strange, as Saint Vitus this time round where lacking Scott “Wino” Weinrich (still not able to enter Europe since the ill-fated 2014 tour where he was caught with methamphetamine (or, if you prefer some street credibility: Crystal Meth, Meth, Ice or Crystal) at a border). Instead they sported Scott Reagers, who was the original singer during the early years.

We dropped the support band, Tombstones from Oslo, who claimed part of the full house as they are a much loved newcomer (as someone in the know put it). We had a beer and a bite around the corner and when listening to the last 3 songs from Tombstones i found them sounding really bad (and that was more on the account of the sound rather than the mu-sick). They got quite some applause still.

Next on Saint Vitus and … where are the vocals? You could see Scott moving his lips but barely hear the vocals. Also turning the stage monitors towards the audience did not help. Given he entered the stage with a pot of tea i assume his voice was weak or gone – and speaking to him after the show confirmed that.

Saint Vitus (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

Because of the missing voice it was somehow an odd one, as the vocals too carry some of the songs and are needed to blend in with the slower parts. But also on the faster songs they where missing, see “White Stallion“:

The good item though was that because Scott Reagers did sing they turned to a set list with a heavy load of early area songs. The bad one was that it was rather short and no bonus was to be expected.

Saint Vitus - Set List (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.05.2017)
Saint Vitus – Set List (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.05.2017)

The finished off with an 8-minute version of “Born to late” that included Dave roaming the audience but i spare you that (as the vocals where not audible) and give you a snippet of “Saint Vitus” rather:

So, was it worth it? From where i stand it was, Dave and his guitar are just killer assets and the rhythm section (Henry Vasquez on drums and an excellent Pat Bruders (ex-Crowbar) on bass) where perfect counterparts.

That said, to me it was lacking some of the Saint Vitus spirit that is injected when Wino is fronting and it did lack … the vocals being audible (confirmed by other people who roamed the room in search for a position that had it audible).

Lets see how they come back next time round – they still have credit with us!

my loveliest vinyl, part 27

Saint Vitus - Born too late (SST Records SST082, 1986)
Saint Vitus – Born too late (SST Records SST082, 1986)

Now this is something completly different – at least back then, when we did crave for US Hardcore and stuff comming from SST (Black Flag’s Greg Ginns own lable). Saint Vitus reminded all of early Black Sabbath  and generaly where seen as Hardcore slowed down to the max. In short: They had a fucking unique selling preposition!

Saint Vitus where around the “hard” music scene in LA but actualy only made it big when the charismatic Scott “Weino” Weinrich joined the band in 1986, spot on when this record was completed. After an “normal” disbanding of the band in the early 90’s (when Grunge broke big) they reunited in 2008 and are still going strong.

The verdict:

1977 – in essence yes but hey, this is now considered “doom”
published by a cool lable – SST, tick!
found in a cool shop –  … Konneckschen for sure!
catching sound – Yes – unique, slow, hard – best in class and genre defining!
The lyrics – dark and doom as doom should be! And no surprise drugs!

My loveliest song on this is a rather short one – if you dare check out the long rolling ones!

I see colours everywhere
I have things living in my hair
In the dark, I see lights
My brain is working overtime
On clear windowpane

In my house, all things glow
My walls are a living light show
Purple dragons, smoke with me
I have friends only I can see
On clear windowpane

I can't handle coming down
'Cause I can't take the human crowd
I can't face reality
So I fly back to where I am free
On clear windowpane

(c) 1986 Cesstone Music

Now listen up:

And see this just again as a perfect set, performing live at the Palm Springs Community Center on May 16th, 1986. It will kill all your thoughts about rock’n’roll galmour and brings it right back to the bare bone:

Note of warning: For those of you who complain about the visual effects on this video rember that back then it was VHS (analog) and most likely the guy on the camera was stoned too! So shut the fuck up – this was 1986 you twat!