Doom metal pioneers Pentagram raised some good ol’ hell in San Diego. The Virginia based band effortlessly conjured up a wild reception not only because of their legendary status, but also frontman Bobby Liebling was quite a spectacle in and of itself.
Before Pentagram took over with their hellish wonder, however, the ladies of King Woman and Wax Idols warmed up the night by working their deliciously doomy charm. The San Francisco doom band, King Woman had audiences fixated on front woman Kristina Esfandiari.
Esfandiari along with her three counterparts not only had a magnetic hold because of her poise, but also had audiences on the edge of their figurative seats with their excellent build ups. “Burn” was a perfect embodiment showcasing their specialty which starts with a slow and subtle anguish before exploding into a sulky supernova.
King Woman may have brought soul to doom but to balance out the atmosphere, Wax Idols infected audiences with their dynamic charisma. Front woman Hether Fortune possessed an energy that was off the charts which escalated with the reinvented new wave melodies they played.
An edgier breed of New wave unfolded onstage, which was intensified by Fortune’s sultry vocals and her natural swagger. The tragic song “Deborah” and the melancholic but empowering “I’m Not Going,” casted an aura of a fascinating noir softening any hardboiled individual.
Pentagram did not need an introduction and sent fans into a frenzy when the flamboyant and elderly Liebling waited by the side of the stage. After removing his shiny star-shaped sunglasses, the singer’s silver vinyl pants and bright yellow top shimmered amidst the faux fog, displaying the embodiment of the old rock n’ roll era.
The band kicked off with “Death Row” and played several other songs off their first album “Relentless,” which debuted over 30 years ago. The packed venue blew these seasoned performers away as fans within the beer soaked crowd clamored to get close to Liebling throughout the show especially when the aged rock star unleashed “Sign of the Wolf (Pentagram).”
Along with their original hits, the band sprinkled in some of their recent songs from their latest album “Curious Volume,” which is also a track they performed along with “Dead Bury Dead” and “Devil’s Playground” to name a few. Liebling’s signature piercing and bulging gaze was part of the package deal on this show’s agenda.
Though Liebling was a one man show with his colorfully perverse movements and gestures, guitarist Victor Griffin shined and certainly didn’t play second fiddle. Griffin was a wonder when he released his memorable guitar solos, making the super drunk chick next to another drunk chick that was taking a butt load of pictures (not me…) lose her mind, lunging herself into the intoxicated sea of hands.
Whether it was the unholy spirit possessing drunk chick’s bodies or just the power of old school doom, it was a lesson to all that one is never too old to rock. Like all life lessons, however, it raised important and crucial questions as well such as, where did Liebling snag those silver pants and star-shaped sunglasses? Just asking for a friend.