After Sabbath Party
with Varga and Crawl
This Ain’t Hollywood 04/11/2014
For those of you who went to the Black Sabbath show last night at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, I salute you for rocking out to one of the greatest metal bands of all time. If you didn’t make the show though there was a consolation prize that came in the form of a little band called Varga who put on a show all of their own. Dubbed the “After Sabbath Party” – the boys decided to jam out some Sabbath covers and treat their fans to some classic Varga songs, along with a few old metal favorites for good measure.
When we got to the venue shortly after 9pm the Varga boys were out and about manning their merch booth and gearing up for the opening act Crawl. Now when the band did go on to open the festivities I totally understood why Varga chose them as the opening act. Crawl hit the stage around 10pm and dove into a series of hard hitting numbers, reminiscent of a style between Danzig and Black Sabbath. I was not familiar with the band, but after hearing their set I was glad I did and will probably seek out some of their back catalogue. Their energy live was electrifying and it certainly helped to warm up the crowd for the main act.
Varga hit the stage just before 11:30pm and they decided to open the show with a cover of Judas Priest’s Invaders. Singer and bassist Joe Varga hit those Halford-esque high notes quite easily and it turned out to be the correct number to set the tone for the remainder of the show. The band was in fine form all throughout the night as they dipped into a series of Sabbath classics like “Children of the Grave”, “Symptom of the Universe”, “Killing Yourself to Live”, “Fairies wear Boots” and “Electric Funeral”. All the songs were performed faithfully and you could tell the band enjoyed ripping into some classic 70’s doom metal.
The set-list also featured numbers from the band’s recent Enter the Metal disc – so they cued up “No More Clean Air”, “Shark Attack” and then the crowd pleasing “Gamera” got everyone’s blood pumping and bodies moving on the floor. This number was probably the highspot of the entire show and it cemented a rousing performance in the eyes of their fans. They also dipped into their past to play “Afterlife Comes” and managed to perform one new cut “The Disfigured Gargoyle” from their upcoming new disc Return of the Metal.
To end things off, Varga tore into a cover of Iron Maiden’s “Killers” and again hearing Joe hit those high notes, proves this was the appropriate number to cover. I was a huge fan of Paul Di’Anno era Maiden and hearing the band perform the song live practically made my night, or so I thought. The final song following this number was “Neon Knights” and it was a touching salute to Dio’s time with Black Sabbath and arguably a fitting tribute to the late singer. In my mind this was definitely the correct number to close the show and send everyone home happy, including yours truly.
Varga’s next big show is at the end of May in Kitchener for the Wax Metalfest, so if you missed the After Sabbath Party then come on out for the next one. It’s guaranteed to be a killer show.
Kenneth Gallant, HMS
See the review at HorrorMetalSounds.com