Much like years past, the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner covered a slew of concerts in 2015. This time, however, there were no out-of-state festivals or heavy metal cruise extravaganzas. The past 12 months were strictly Lone Star State-styled excursions into credentialed photo pits, in the thick of the crowds, on or behind the stage and anywhere else the SAMME could find his way to bring you the best photographs possible.
Thousands of shots were taken. Hundreds were discarded, and hundreds more were kept. When they were all whittled down, these 50 made the SAMME’s personal-favorites list.
Perhaps you were at one or some of these shows and remember them well. If not, or whether you’re simply a fan of these particular artists or of concert photography in general, the SAMME presents the third of five installments of the Top 50 concert photos of the year. Enjoy, and join the countdown to No. 1.
For Nos. 41-50 and 31-40, click the “Suggested” links below.
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Tracii Guns is a founding member of L.A. Guns, but it appears he’s grown tired of having two versions of that name in existence. So the veteran guitarist teamed with renowned bassist Rudy Sarzo and formed GUNZO, which opened for BulletBoys on July 12 at The Korova. The group drew a larger crowd than the headliners, who took the stage around midnight on a Sunday evening. Although Gunzo was limited to seven songs in 45 minutes, the band devoted them to tunes emanating from Sarzo’s and Guns’ former groups such as Ozzy Osbourne, Dio and of course L.A. Guns (more here).
HALESTORM namesakes Lzzy Hale and her drummer brother Arejay Hale always put on a vibrant show, as was the case during the May 24 River City Rockfest at the AT&T Center (more here). The band also played the inaugural RCR in 2013.
While bassist Tony Campos (left) and guitarist Cesar Soto take the word “shred” to another level, MINISTRY frontman Al Jourgensen strikes a pose June 7 at Mohawk Bar in Austin. The bad news? My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, which had originally been billed as being part of the program, was not even on the tour. Many patrons were not made aware of that “faux pas” until they showed up at the venue. The good news? Uncle Al and his industrial metal juggernaut played 17 songs in 97 minutes, turning a typically muggy Texas afternoon on a Sunday in June into one of the heaviest shows of the year (more here).
The view to a concert doesn’t get much better than having LYNCH MOB guitarist and namesake George Lynch in your grille while he’s mastering his 1987 Dokken instrumental “Mr. Scary.” Although Lynch Mob released a new album 48 hours prior to this Aug. 23 show at The Korova, the band spent most of its set celebrating 25 years of its inaugural album “Wicked Sensation.” The rest of the set was devoted to Dokken classics. To watch an exclusive interview with Lynch and vocalist Oni Logan 90 minutes before they hit the stage, click here. For show coverage, click here.
When San Antonio native and Riot V bassist Don Van Stavern played Rockfest Barcelona over the summer, Riot V was joined on stage by Loudness guitarist Akira Takasaki and bassist Masayoshi Yamashita for the Riot classic “Warrior.” So it was only fitting that when LOUDNESS played The Korova on Nov. 6, Takasaki (left) and his band brought up Van Stavern (right) to guest on encore “Crazy Nights.” Loudness had opened with the same tune, but so what? The presence of Van Stavern — or “Mr. Don San,” as vocalist Minoru Niihara referred to him — made the Japanese group’s most popular song sound twice as nice (coverage here).
More than 25,000 fans turned out for the third annual River City Rockfest outside the AT&T Center on Memorial Day Sunday. They saw approximately 11 hours of music across three stages. Here, main-stage penultimate act VOLBEAT entertains the masses shortly before sundown (more here).
San Antonio electronic rockers THE TAKING were a bit of a last-second addition to the River City Rockfest, hitting the second of three stages at 12:40 p.m., while many fans were still in line. Those who got in early saw the group deliver its typical high-energy set with an atypical companion. The Spurs’ Coyote joined the band on stage for its 2014 NBA playoff anthem “Anywhere.” You can excuse mascot and artist if they take credit for that song propelling their team to the championship that season (coverage here).
For the second time in the countdown, ALICE COOPER’s band makes an appearance. This time, the man himself is out of the picture while his musicians — guitarist Ryan Roxie (from left), bassist Chuck Garric, guitarists Nita Strauss and Tommy Henriksen and drummer Glen Sobel — take center stage, silhouetted by a fan’s enthusiasm for the Feb. 11 performance at the Majestic Theatre. For show coverage, click here. To listen to an exclusive interview with Strauss in 2014 shortly after she learned she would be in the band, click here.
It doesn’t get much hotter than a SLAYER show in July. But not even the muggy Texas air could keep the veteran thrashers from unleashing frequent flashes of pyro throughout their headlining set at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in the parking lot of Alamo City Music Hall. Slayer’s remaining original members, vocalist/bassist Tom Araya (left) and guitarist Kerry King, opened with the title track to then-forthcoming album “Repentless” (which dropped Sept. 11). They ended the festival in similarly explosive fashion with 1986 mainstay “Angel of Death” (more here).
A fan in the front row matches the intensity of RIOT V vocalist Todd Michael Hall on Sept. 26 at 210 Kapone’s. Hall, who granted the SAMME his first interview worldwide in January 2014 after joining the group in late 2013 (listen here), was making his San Antonio live debut for a band that hadn’t played the Alamo City in six years despite being managed by a San Antonio native in aforementioned, and pictured, bassist Don Van Stavern (coverage here).