Psycho Las Vegas 2022 – Day 3 Notes

Posted in Features on August 22nd, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Witch Mountain (Photo by JJ Koczan)


Ah, the last day. If last night had been the end, I wouldn’t have been able to complain, but if you’re going to do a thing, do it, so Psycho ends on Sunday. And tonight is Mercyful Fate after High on Fire and Paradise Lost, then Monolord closing out the proceedings. And Witch Mountain with Uta Plotkin and Billy Anderson before that. That would be enough, but that’s not it either. Mothership play Famous Foods later. And I can’t help but imagine them leading the entire room in an Animal House-style food fight. Not saying I think it will happen — they’re a smarter band than that — but it would make sense.

This fest is social-ready in a way that things weren’t a few years ago. There’s stuff just strewn about to take your picture next for TikTok or Instagramming, and from the pool mosh to the black metal up in that airplane hangar of an Event Center,  the crowd participation in hype before and during and after is very much factored in. Various algorithms will bring up these pictures in ‘memories’ for years to come. I know this because all my old memories are band photos. Kid stuff too now, which I’ll admit gets me sometimes.

But it goes to show the depth of consideration put into something like this. Someone had to design, render and manufacture that big playing card cartoon character by the Poker Tournament, and it’s not a cheap cardboard cutout, either. Shit lights up. Where’s it gonna go until next year? Would they even reuse it, or is it one and done because next year will need a new design?

A video chat with the kid proves restorative. His grandmother brought him home from Connecticut and he looked pretty wiped out from his weekend. I get that. I won’t see him tomorrow, but will be there Tuesday when he wakes up at some maddeningly early time. My flight leaves Vegas at noon tomorrow, gets into Newark at 8:30. Remember I said I’d get through half the day today without fretting about getting to the airport? Seems that was a bit of wishful thinking. So it goes.

Mike and Buddy playing chess

Head upstairs as I finish coffee, just to sit in quiet for a minute. I could go back to bed. Don’t. Instead go back downstairs to where Famous Foods is doing Chessboxing with the Gza. No sign of the Genius, but it’s Mike from Elder and Buddy from Greenbeard right now and it seems like a good game, at least going by the overhead camera on the side. This is one of those things that makes sense because it’s Psycho.

I’m sorry, I think that picture is the funniest shit I’ve seen since I got here. Crazy rock and roll bacchanal, right? And I find the chess tournament. Welcome to the story of me at a party.

Not so terribly later

Man, Psychlona know how to ride a groove. This was the last show of their West Coast tour. Gotta be an interesting thing, coming over to play this fest for multiple sets in the heels of your best album yet. Tomorrow they fly back to the UK. That’s gotta feel like an accomplishment, right?

Psychlona (Photo by JJ Koczan)-2000

They finished their set with “Warped” from that new album, one more all-lined-up-and-go outbound groove, not just tight but all even in a way that makes it that much easier to get on board whenever. Like they took off a long time ago and you just walked in but it’s still cool and no worries on catching up, they’re still ready for you. I feel like I saw that happen a couple times during their set, folks wandering in and whatnot, though Psychlona, first band of the day in here, noon start, pulled a good crowd. They’re heavy rock for heavy rockers but I feel like there’s more identity starting to come out in their sound over the last two albums. I’ve seen them twice this summer now, here and Germany, so I’m a total fucking expert, mind you. Totally have every clue what I’m talking about.

Does it count as a confession or complaint that I’m exhausted? Either way, I know it’s not rock and roll. But I got chased off the floor spot I was sitting at in Dawg House, and that felt like a spiritual wound I didn’t need, so I apologize.

I saw the tail end of Mint Field’s set, kind of mellow atmospheric indie but they had a little space-kraut psych thing going at the end, a little bit of fuzz worked in with the programmed backbeat and fluid instrumentation between the duo. Lots of melody, kind of breezy but not checked out mentally. Vibe, in other words. Lord Buffalo are also a vibe band, spacious, heavy Americana, brooding rock and an underlying swell of blues doom — not doom the genre, but more like the apocalypse. I’d never seen them before, and I hope to again. Heavy Western is a hard sell at a Vegas sports bar, but the sound in Dawg House has been really good, and that goes for Lord Buffalo as well.

Lord Buffalo (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Today isn’t quite the same crunch for me as yesterday.

This is a good thing, however you want to look at it. More time to appreciate a set, offset by that last-day restlessness, knowing that each show is another step back toward real life. Tonight’s sleep is going to be the worst, because in my heart of hearts I’m ready to be home. That’s nothing against Psycho Las Vegas or any of the bands I’ve seen or will see before my night is up, I’m just good to go. I was tired when I came here. So yeah, give me a relaxed Psycho adventure. In a bit I’ll watch Witch Mountain and then head to the Event Center for Paradise Lost. Won’t be iced tea on the patio, but it’s not three bands in an hour either.

Not that I would expect any of them to ever see it, but shout to the door crew at Dawg House anyway, who’ve been nothing but kind and welcoming in a way that has been appreciated. I told them as much before I came in for what I think will be this last time.

Later. Who cares?

Witch Mountain (Photo by JJ Koczan)

We have perhaps arrived at a moment of spiritual rejuvenation sought. I find myself low stress, sitting in back, not in VIP but around there, having just watched Witch Mountain and Katatonia in succession, a one-two brought on more by happenstance than anything. Witch Mountain finished on time, but Katatonia had started late and went late, so for leaving Dawg House on the quick after Witch Mountain were done, I got to catch at least a decent enough portion of Katatonia’s set to make me feel like I saw them.

That’s a win, damnit.

Not the least because Witch Mountain were incredible. I took pictures, very grateful to have the little barricade there for a photo pit, then moved to a good spot in the middle and just kind of dug in. I have fond memories of seeing Witch Mountain live. Having Uta Plotkin on vocals, who shouted out current singer Kayla Dixon, and Billy Anderson on bass didn’t hurt — it was a 25th bandiversary special celebration; and it indeed was pretty fucking special. Save perhaps for the universal exception that is Stinking Lizaveta, I’d say it was my set of the trip at least to this point. Kings Destroy doing “Smokey Robinson” belongs on that list too, if we’re making a list. But Rob Wrong is an unsung hero of doom riffs, and Nate Carson revels in the plod of his drums with an enjoyment that’s infectious. This was clearly something that meant more to the band than just being on stage in front of people at a cool festival, though sometimes that works too, I guess.

Alas, my magic email’s magic would seem to have worn out; I was denied access to the photo pit for the main stage. Said to the guy I wasn’t trying to make his day harder, I was just there to do what the fest brought me here to do, dude went back and checked and that was that. Okay. I took some pictures from the crowd then went up to sit on a real chair in the VIP section and soothe my unduly battered ego.

Paradise Lost (Photo by JJ Koczan)-2000

For what it’s worth, and I know it’s not much, I’ve shot Paradise Lost before. And High on Fire twice this summer on soil foreign and domestic, not to mention last time I was at this fest and shot them. Mercyful Fate I’ll probably never get the chance to shoot again, but I’ve lived this long without I’m sure I can keep going. The world has enough mediocre photos of King Diamond that I do not worry about mine being missed. I know I’m not like a pro photographer out there taking pictures of bands for the festival and I’m not trying to tell anyone otherwise. But I thought this was what I was brought here to do.

The fleeing nature of joy is what makes it worth trying to hold onto. That’s my last word on it. I’ll try again for Monolord at Rose Ballroom.

Earth spins.

It’s 8:34PM. Bet you thought I was going to say “later.”

High on Fire (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Paradise Lost got cut short, maybe, but they played a Paradise Lost show before that, so fair enough. I spent most of their set up and in the back and that was fine if for some weird vocal echoey stuff, but if I’d wanted perfect sound I’d have stood by the soundboard. Most of all I wanted a chair.

I have consistently dug Paradise Lost’s work over the last 15 years solid, minimum, and had an appreciation for their early stuff before that, so I am not about to complain about watching them play. They and Katatonia both put in what seemed like a festival set by practitioners of the form. It’s engaging the room for its size, meeting the whole crowd and not just the people 10 feet in front of the stage. Pro shop, in other words.

High on Fire, on the other hand, do not care where you stand. They are happy to run you over regardless. Kind of surprised they’ve never done a live album here, since they’re pretty much the house band. And they’re playing right before Mercyful Fate, so clearly there’s love there in both sides. High on Fire Live at Psycho Las Vegas would make sense. I mean, it does, pretty much every year.

This was my third time seeing them this summer. Coady Willis wasn’t even a question in drums. Completely took for granted that all parts were going to be well and thoroughly nailed, and they were. I know High on Fire has had a few thinkpieces written about them because, whoa-oa, Nutty Matt Pike is nutty!, but this band dominates heavy like no one else I’ve ever seen. And that’s nothing against the thinkpieces, either. Those are conversations that need to be happening if heavy music is ever going to grow outside its very white, very dude optics. I’m sure Matt Pike reads some fucked up shit. Fine. I’m not cold-calling voters for a senate campaign. I’m trying to enjoy being pummeled by riffs. If I thought dude was a nazi I’d say so.


Mercyful Fate (Photo by JJ Koczan)

High on Fire delivered what was promised, and there was an hour break before Mercyful Fate at the Event Center. I didn’t move. I had a chair, a little table, up in back. I put my head down, didn’t quite sleep, but rested my eyes for a while. When I looked back up, the room was fuller than I’ve seen it, though admittedly I haven’t spent a ton of time in there. And the King held court, first wearing a kind of ram’s horns headress to climb up the stairs to his own riser on the bi-level stage, topped as it was by a neon upside down cross. You would not call it subtle. Classic, yes. They played a new song too.

I knew I wanted the closing chapter of my adventure to be Monolord at the Rose Ballroom. I left myself enough time en route for a pitstop upstairs — bathroom, drink water, eat bar, shoes back on, go — on the way, and it occurred to me that I was actually sure of where I was going for perhaps the first time in the last four days. I finally got it. I turned left coming out of the hotel hallway into the casino, then hung a right into the not-mall, and made my way down to the end then up the elevator to the third floor. Monolord were pretty much set up by the time I got there.

And you know, in the end, I’m a simple creature. I’ve never been a huge Mercyful Fate fan — nothing against them; that’s an important band I’m lucky to have seen — but I sure was happy to hear Monolord break into “I’ll Be Damned.” The crowd got a big boost I guess as Mercyful Fate wrapped up, but I was largely oblivious, completely exhausted, taking lousy pictures with the wrong ISO and getting ready to call it a night. No, I didn’t stay the whole time. I’m only one person. But I was glad to have gone, and as I look around the hotel room at all the shit I need to throw in my suitcase upon waking up in about six hours, showering and getting the hell out of town (hopefully; I feel like you never know with flying these days), I’m glad I came. Psycho very obviously didn’t need to let me be here, but I appreciate that they did anyway.

Monolord (Photo by JJ Koczan)

And again, thank you for reading. I’m going to bed.

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Psycho Las Vegas 2021 Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas 2021 banner

Plenty of this lineup looks familiar from what Psycho Las Vegas would’ve been in 2020, and duh, that’s the idea. You’ve still got Danzig doing Lucifuge, still got At the Gates and Katatonia and Emperor and Mercyful Fate. Still got the possibility that if I go, I can hang out after Pinback‘s set and bother Rob Crow about how badly he needs to do another Goblin Cock record. WinoFatso Jetson, Elder and Blackwater Holylight playing the pool party, six or seven curveball emo bands — all that fun stuff. Spectacle unmatched in heavy music, set in the Planet Earth’s official home for damned souls. It’s as perfect as it is incongruous.

Makes me wonder what Crowbar have going on next August.

But what you probably want to know is whether your ticket if you had one for 2020 is still good for 2021. Yes.


psycho las vegas 2021 poster

Psycho Entertainment presents Psycho Las Vegas 2021

Psycho Las Vegas has been rescheduled to August 20th – 22nd, 2021. Psycho Swim has been rescheduled to August 19th, 2021. If you already purchased a pass for either event and want to attend in 2021, there is nothing you need to do – your passes will automatically be valid for the new dates.

80 of the 83 bands originally booked on the lineup are returning in 2021. The bands who are not joining us next year are Ty Segall, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Crowbar.

Danzig, Mercyful Fate, Emperor, The Flaming Lips, Blue Oyster Cult, Down, Mayhem, Satyricon, Obituary, Warpaint, Blonde Redhead, HEALTH, Watain, Ulver, Katatonia, At the Gates, Poison The Well, Paul Cauthen, Amigo The Devil, Exhorder, Wolves in the Throne Room, Thursday, Pinback, Zola Jesus, Drab Majesty, Boris, Eyehategood, Repulsion, Immolation, Midnight, MGLA, Windhand, Cursive, Tsol, King Dude, Pig Destroyer, Brutus, Profanatica, Lower Dens, Cult of Fire, Intronaut, boysetsfire, Death by Stereo, Curl Up and Die, Adamantium, This Will Destroy You, Khemmis, Mothership, Guantanamo Baywatch, Dengue Fever, Kaelan Mikla, Black Joe Lewis, Fatso Jetson, Wino, Creeping Death, Mephistofeles, Frankie and The Witch Fingers, Toke, Foie Gras, Flavor Crystals, Silvertomb, Lord Buffalo, Warish, Alms, Bombers, Glacial Tomb, Relaxer, Black Sabbitch, Hippie Death Cult, Vaelmyst, Mother Mercury, Two Minutes to Late Night

America’s rock n’ roll bacchanal returns to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino August 20th through August 22th, with another resort-wide casino takeover unlike any of its kind. Now approaching its fifth year in the swirling neon decadence of Las Vegas, PSYCHO will feature over seventy artists across four stages including the world-class Events Center, the iconic House Of Blues, Mandalay Bay Beach, and the vintage Vegas-style Rhythm & Riffs Lounge in the center of the casino floor. PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2021 will continue to redefine America’s conception of what a festival can be.

Psycho Entertainment presents Psycho Swim “The Official Psycho Las Vegas Pre-Party”

Old Man Gloom, Elder, Polyrhythmics, Death Valley Girls, The Skull, Blackwater Holylight, Here Lies Man, DJ Scott Seltzer

America’s rock n’ roll pool party returns to DAYLIGHT Beach Club on August 19th for the second annual PSYCHO SWIM. This official all-day pre-party celebrates the best of previous PSYCHO LAS VEGAS lineups with performances from a host of festival alumni as well as new PSYCHO additions.

DAYLIGHT Beach Club is nestled next to the Mandalay Bay Resort And Casino and features a 4400-square-foot main pool, daybeds, cabanas, and bungalows, with an elevated stage offering unobstructed, up-close-and-personal views of artist performances.

A Message from Psycho Las Vegas

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Psycho Las Vegas Announces Complete 2020 Lineup; Danzig, Mercyful Fate & Emperor Headlining

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Psycho Las Vegas 2020 banner style

Danzig doing the Lucifuge record, plus Emperor and Mercyful Fate on US exclusives. In the age of spectacle, Psycho Las Vegas stands apart from its otherwise-might-be peers. There’s a method to all this madness. A plan in action. These people aren’t stupid — this isn’t a stupid lineup, unless you mean “stupid” in an emphatic sense. That’s what Psycho Las Vegas is: emphasis realized. The chaos is the mission. How could there be a more suitable complement to this year, this moment in human history? This is happening at a fucking casino. In Las Vegas. Do you understand what I’m telling you? Do you understand you surreal that is? Repulsion are playing a god damned casino. On a bill with The Flaming Lips and Katatonia. This is your brain on… fire, I guess?

A couple weeks ago — days ago? hours? I have no idea what day it is or why I should be expected to know; I’ve actually set an alarm to post this at the right time in an effort not to screw it up which I probably will anyhow — I happened to have some quick email correspondence with the souls behind the genre-consuming beast of a festival that is Psycho Las Vegas 2020 and I made my BIG PITCH for coverage. Want to know what it was? What it basically boiled down to was, “How about you guys bring me out to the festival and put me up for four days, I take a bunch of mushrooms, maybe go see some bands and write whatever the hell I want?”

Their answer was yes, so that’s my plan. I think Psycho deserves nothing less than me ranting about I don’t know probably cultural decay, self-hate manifest as pretentious judgmentalism, and not eating for four days? Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll go with that.

The schedule isn’t out yet, but it’s clearly a choose-your-adventure festival. For those seeing HOT TIPS from an internet influencer, you’re on the wrong goddamn site. I’m the guy who spent half his morning cleaning up animal piss at his mom’s house. I’ll say though that along with the gargantuan proportion of the headliners — come on, Danzig doing Danzig II is brilliant and you know it — and all the indie, emo and post-hardcore stuff that, yeah okay, I get it, the aughts were a thing for some people (not for me; was too drunk to remember any of it), it’s righteous to see such a huge event in addition to telling Coachella to suck its ass continuing to commit to the heavy underground. My chosen adventure will include but not be limited to placing priority on Lord Buffalo, Blackwater Holylight, Fatso Jetson (of course), Mothership (the context is too good to pass up), Hippie Death Cult and… yes… Katatonia. Because they’re the wintriest band ever and it’ll be 100 degrees. The most Psycho move ever would be to put them on the pool stage. Keeping my fingers crossed that’s how it works out. Shit, put Mayhem out there while we’re at it.

That’s all provided I’m not too out of my mind to leave the hotel room.

Here’s a poster and words in blue. See you there, sort of:


DANZIG (Celebrating 30 years of “Lucifuge”)
MERCYFUL FATE (2020 USA Exclusive)
EMPEROR (2020 USA Exclusive)
DOWN (Celebrating 25 years of “Nola”)
ULVER (2020 USA Exclusive)

Psycho Entertainment & MGM Entertainment present PSYCHO SWIM


Tickets for PSYCHO LAS VEGAS as well as the PSYCHO SWIM pre-party, which requires a separate ticket from the main festival pass, are on sale now!

Tickets for all PSYCHO LAS VEGAS events can be purchased at or

Danzig, Danzig II: Lucifuge (1990)

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Spine of Overkill, by Woody High

Posted in Columns on December 17th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Following up on last month’s tribute to Exciter‘s Heavy Metal Maniac, in his latest Spine of Overkill column, Chris “Woody High” MacDermott takes us back 28 years to a night seeing Exciter, Mercyful Fate and Motörhead share a bill on Dec. 14, 1984, in New York. This is one for the ages. Please enjoy:


Zeptember 1984 was a big month for me. It was the beginning of my senior year of high school but more importantly, the rebirth of Motörhead. 1983’s Another Perfect Day was a great album with Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson, but was not received well by a lot of fans. I saw them live at L’Amours in the summer of ‘83 and was thoroughly blown away. I’d seen the Ramones up close and personal at Iona College and Judas Priest/Iron Maiden at Madison Square Garden in the cheap seats but neither event prepared me for Motörhead’s live assault. My ears rang for EIGHT DAYS afterwards. After Robbo left I faithfully checked every new issue of Kerrang for the latest news on Lemmy’s next move. It was announced that two new, unknown guitarists were to join the band — Phil Campbell and Wurzel. They looked dirty enough for the job. Then it was announced that Philthy Animal Taylor was leaving to go play in Robbo‘s new band. I was relieved to find out that Pete Gill of Saxon was replacing him. Having worn out Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of the Law, I knew he was the man for the job.

On a rare Saturday afternoon in Zeptember that I didn’t have to work, I hopped on a Metro-North train into Manhattan then headed downtown to It’s Only Rock N Roll on 8th Street. My mission was to spend every cent I had in my Motörhead velcro wallet on the latest metal releases. Turns out it was my lucky day. They had just gotten in the brand new Motörhead 12″ single “Killed by Death” and a brand new compilation album called No Remorse. Holy shit, I was excited. Not just for new Motörhead jams but No Remorse was in an album sleeve made of LEATHER!! I can’t remember what else I got that day but the awesome photos and liner notes inside No Remorse helped speed up the torturous train ride back to New Rochelle. More than just a greatest hits compilation, No Remorse had four killer new songs and a bunch of rare B-sides that I hadn’t been able to track down yet. The 12″ single had two great new ones, too, both titled “Under the Knife.” Fucking awesome!

But things were about to get even better. It was announced that the new line up of Motörhead were coming to tour the US. In the year since I had first seen them I had browbeaten several of my friends into getting into Motörhead, too. We were all ready. Alcohol and weeed consumption had greatly increased and tolerance for non-heavy jams was now a thing of the past. Metal or die! Motörhead‘s return to New York was scheduled for Friday, December 14, 1984, and they were bringing two of the heaviest bands with them — Mercyful Fate and Exciter. Holy fucking shit. I don’t remember where or when I got tickets but I do recall the weeks leading up to the concert as pure hell. Who wants to go to school or work when the heaviest bands of all time are coming to blow you away?

Finally December 14 arrived and it was time to get a pint of Jack Daniels to slip into the inside pocket of my denim jacket. We met up on the platform of the Metro North station in Pelham to go space truckin’ into NYC. Other passengers were probably going to a fruity Broadway show or something but we were going to see MOTÖRHEAD, MERCYFUL FATE and EXCITER!!! I can’t imagine that we talked about anything other than how awesome it was going to be. Before heading into the Beacon we hung out in Verdi Square on 72nd St. to guzzle JD and Coke and do one hits of cheap Bronx weeed. It was freezing that night but there’s nothing more metal than partying outdoors in the wintertime. Entering the venue was pure heaven. The merch stall was loaded with killer shirts for all three bands. This stuff was really hard to find back then, even in New York City. Not a lot of retailers were interested in carrying t-shirts with slogans like “Violence & Force” on them.

I’m not sure if we sat in our assigned seats or not but we had a killer view in the middle about halfway up from the stage. When Exciter took to the stage I went completely berserk. These guys were my heroes. I played their two albums Heavy Metal Maniac and Violence & Force constantly and I was finally about to see them. They were so loud and so fast I don’t remember seeing much of them because I was banging my head so frantically. Guitarist John Ricci and bassist Allan Johnson were covered in leather and spikes. All I could see of drummer/vocalist Dan Beehler was his enormous mushroom cloud afro behind his giant drum kit and a gooseneck mic stand angled down so he could scream into it. When he wasn’t singing he was headbangning. “Pounding Metal,” “Heavy Metal Maniac” and some other classics were played before Beehler announced a new song. They had a new album coming out called Long Live the Loud and played a song called “Sudden Impact.” Back then I wasn’t used to bands playing songs that hadn’t been released yet but something about this one grabbed me right away. I knew exactly when it was my turn to scream “Sudden Impact” so I did. It was all over and they walked off the stage. What the fuck, that was only like 15 minutes! Man, lemmy tell you, we were PISSED!! We started kicking the seats in front of us and screaming about “what kind of bullshit is this?” etc. Still fuming, we went downstairs to take a leak and stumbled upon an unlocked janitor’s closet. The memory is foggy but I do recall knocking over some shelves full of paint cans, making a big mess while ranting and raving about the injustice of Exciter‘s short set. I mean, really? Why bring them all the way to NYC from Ottawa for 15 fuckin’ minutes? They didn’t even get to play “Iron Dogs!”

Our mood improved when we stole some money off of one of the bars to buy beer. Mercyful Fate was up next and they better be really fucking good if they were going to be following Exciter. I must admit that back then I wasn’t sure how I felt about Fate. I loved their music but found King Diamond‘s singing pretty annoying. Bob Muldowney of my favorite fanzine Kick*Ass had started calling him Queen Rhinestone so I did, too. Fate‘s audience included a lot of dudes who were pretending to be Satanists, which I thought was silly. I had heard rumors of cults in Yonkers and White Plains but the reality was that they were living with their parents and smoking a lot of weeed, just like I was. I had a job after school and on the weekends which didn’t leave me a lot of time to worship Satan. Anyway, Mercyful Fate started playing and most people loved it while some hated it. I was pretty indifferent. I was also completely blotto. King Diamond was doing his banter in between songs in that ridiculous falsetto, which I thought was totally lame. I wasn’t really impressed with his bone mic stand, either but the band was tight as shit. I don’t think I watched their entire set and probably went back to the bar to try and steal more money for beer. I actually like Mercyful Fate a lot more now than I did back then and am able to enjoy King‘s unique voice. I often fantasize about an album I’d love to produce called Diamond Meets Diamond, duets between King Diamond and Neil Diamond. Can you imagine the incredible version of “Delilah” they could do?

Once Fate was done, it was time for the main event – MOTÖRHEAD! Exciter and Mercyful Fate both had a lot of amps on stage but Motörhead’s backline dwarfed them. This was gonna be good. Back then smoking was still allowed at shows and there was always a giant cloud of pot smoke over the crowd. As we were sitting there wishing we had saved some of our weeed, a good samaritan turned around and passed us a HUGE joint. It was Jim and Pete, two friends from Pelham that were a year or two ahead of us. They must have spotted us and decided to help us out. This random act of kindness would be repeated several times over the years – Johnny Winter, also at the Beacon, Bad Brains at L’Amours, Rollins Band at CBGB. Thanks again bros, I owe you both big time.

Now that our attitudes had been fully adjusted and my insanity level was at its peak, Motörhead strolled out. Lemmy picked up an empty Jack Daniels bottle off the stage and yelled into the mic “I get hit with anything, the show’s over!” before blasting off with “Iron Fist.” Just as I had hoped, it was really, really loud. The headbanging I’d done earlier in the night was merely a warmup. “Stay Clean,” “Metropolis,” and “Ace of Spades” were mixed in with the new “Killed by Death” and “Steal Your Face.” Everyone was going completely mental. Rows of seats were now completely loose, not just from people kicking them but from shaking them violently as they clutched them while headbanging. This was before slam dancing, or “moshing,” became expected at metal shows. Hair was flying around, fists pumping and row after row of heads moving in unison like pistons in a giant engine of steel. While introducing the song “Jailbait” Lemmy demanded to see some tits and several ladies obliged. Could things get any better? Yup. When they cranked out “No Class” none other than Wendy O. Williams came flying out on stage to sing it. She had barely any clothes on and was screaming her brains out while running around like a maniac. Eventually it all came to an end with “Overkill,” as it always should. Dumbfounded, everyone left. There was no question that Motörhead wrote the book on what was becoming known as thrash metal and were about to write a few new chapters for everyone else to steal from.

This really was one of the greatest nights of my life. It was so much fun and so full on. Not much has topped it in the past 28 years. As fate would have it, December 14, 201,2 fell on a Friday night and my band Mighty High played a gig at Trash Bar in Brooklyn. Was it anything close to what went down in 1984? No fucking way, but not a bad way to have celebrated this anniversary. Stay clean in 2013!

Motörhead “Steal Your Face” live 1984

Exciter “Iron Dogs” live 1985

Mercyful Fate “Into The Coven” live 1984

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