Saint Vitus at Bluebird Theater, 10/03/12

Categories: Concert Reviews

Tom Murphy
St. Vitus at Bluebird Theater


When Saint Vitus came on stage, the quartet went right into "Blessed Night," with Dave Chandler letting out a wail or siren sound with wah and distortion from his guitar. From there, guitar and bass rumbled together like a high idling engine, as Henry Vasquez somehow occupied a space above the sound with his percussion, while Scott "Wino" Weinrich bellowed out the words in a much more commanding tone than on the album. The sheer physical presence made it even more apparent why this music has continued to strike a chord with a broad spectrum of people for more than three decades.

See also: Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus on SST Days and Reunion

Tom Murphy
St. Vitus at Bluebird Theater

Sometimes the music sounded like fast boiling iron if it could be made to be darkly melodic. Chandler has perfected the use of wah to make pretty much whatever higher-pitched, cutting, burning sound he wants, and he did so often. He was so caught up in each of those moments, he moved like a wizard crafting a potent spell. And who's to say that isn't essentially what he was doing?

It sure wasn't just showing off how wicked a guitar player he is. That part was obvious not so much from the speed he was playing as the way he was playing the right notes with the proper pacing to help make things flow -- instead of just hammering us. In turn, this music is heavy not because it batters you relentlessly but because it pours deep into you and flows around.

Before playing "Let Them Fall," Chandler told us, "Governments can do one thing: Turn their back on you and fuck you in the ass at the same time," a sentiment that definitely rang true with this crowd. Who's to say what he might be referring to specifically, but one thing is for certain: Governments often turn their backs on anyone that isn't powerful enough to have the rules sculpted in their favor.

"Living Backwards" and its relatively frantic pace got some people in the crowd moving like they were at some hardcore show. Can hardly blame them. The middle sections without vocals gave Chandler some time to exercise some of his creativity with the wah and tremolo arm.

Throughout the song, it was so reminiscent of Chrome, from the rhythm and pace to the guitar tone and gyrations, I thought it might be a cover, but indeed it wasn't. The main part of the set would have ended on a cover, specifically, a fiery and sludgy version of Black Flag's "Thirsty and Miserable" (not seen on the printed set list), but before leaving stage, Wino told us that if we wanted to hear more, we'd have to make some noise.

Tom Murphy
Scott "Wino" Weinrich of St. Vitus at Bluebird Theater

Of course the crowd responded in kind, and when the band came back on stage they thanked everybody for being great this night. Apparently Vitus always has a great crowd at their Denver shows, and it was clear from the smiles on the band's faces that they had enjoyed playing this night.

The entire show ended with "Born to Lose," a song more than a few people had screamed out throughout the set. Chandler played his guitar with his teeth, put the neck in his mouth, and played a solo with the guitar over his head. At one point, it looked like he would fling his guitar into the audience in series of practiced moves that looked precarious anyway.

Alternately, he often played his guitar with the fretboard pointed upward like he was playing pedal steel. Not letting up on the power, dignity and respect for the crowd from beginning to end, Saint Vitus showed us what every rock show should be like but too often isn't.

St. Vitus Set List From Bluebird Theater

Tom Murphy
St. Vitus Set List from Bluebird Theater, October 3, 2012

Location Info


Bluebird Theater

3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
NickLucchesi moderator communitymanager

Percentage of Sons of Anarchy fans in the audience: 100.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault