It’s a good thing I took the band’s advice and bought my ticket in advance. When I arrived at the 31st St Pub, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh’s Strip District (thing an elongated Kensington Market), the sign on the door said SOLD OUT tickets only, or something to that effect. The bar is sort of a double-wide Bovine, albeit with its stage at the back of the room. They had a big cupboard full of skulls, and the ceiling and back wall were decorated by drum heads, cymbals and guitars from the likes of High on Fire, Weedeater and Antiseen. Also behind the bar was a G.G. Allin clock along with his obit and a ticker that said Fuck (pretty much every other venue in the city). Classy joint.
The opening band was some sorta Pantera/Hatebreed hybrid, and since I noticed the low battery indicator flashing on my camera, I decided not to waste any juice on them. As a result, I didn’t get too many pictures of Argus, either. But lemme tell ya, they put on a great set. One of my favourite epic doom bands going, they busted out material from their two studio albums, with affable frontman Butch Balich noting “This is definitely the biggest crowd we’ve played to in Pittsburgh–and also the ugliest!” (I suppose I was partially responsible for that remark, being up front and all…)
As Dream Death took an awfully long time to set up, you could feel the anticipation building, along with the urge to urinate–but hey, I was NOT giving up my spot for this. It was, after all, their first gig in 24 years! But the band sounded as good as ever, hell, better than some of the dodgy demos and bootlegs in their discography. The live sound added bite to those lost classic tracks offa Journey Into Mystery, while they also included stuff from some of their demos (compiled under the Back from the Dead comp) in their 75-minute set and even busted out a brand-new tune. Twas truly an evening to remember… These pics hardly do it justice!
(Turns out I had plenty of battery life left, after all!)