My Favorite Onstage Vomiting, by Holy Grail’s Eli Santana
Welcome back to our new series, “My Favorite…”, in which (like the title doesn’t give it away) metal luminaries will discuss some of their most beloved albums, performances, and experiences. In honor of Holy Grail’s recently announced headline tour (dates below), we asked guitarist Eli Santana to tell us about his favorite something-or-other having to do with metal. And this is what he came back with. Warning: do not each lunch whilst reading this piece.
When asked about “My Favorite Anything,” especially in regards to music, I get kind of flustered because that seems so final. Like when I’m asked what my favorite band is I just always say Megadeth. And that’s not because they’re without a doubt my favorite band but because they’re one of my favorites, have many of my favorite songs and because I just want to move the conversation along or get out of it. That being said, there’s one subject that I have a definitive answer for when asked what “My Favorite Something” is and that is My Favorite Onstage Vomiting.
While I’ve never personally regurgitated onstage (had some close calls) I’ve seen some top notch upchucking. I saw the drummer of Mortician spew to the side of his drum set in between songs because he had the flu; it was great but lacked a certain pizzazz and showmanship. I saw singer Mark Hunter of Chimaira jump on the barricade and throw the mic into the audience for them to sing while he hurled his guts out in front of the stage. And without missing a beat (well, he actually missed about 3 bars) he grabbed the mic back and started screaming his ass off again. That was my favorite onstage vomiting for years and still one of the toughest things I’ve seen. But then, in 2004, I went to the House of Blues in Hollywood to see the Dillinger Escape Plan. Opening for them was a band from my hometown of San Diego called the Locust.
The Locust are a band that wears skin tight Locust costumes and plays some of the craziest noise/grindcore I’ve ever heard. This band’s music made me so happy because of how technical it is and how upset it was making half the audience. Usually if you really don’t like a band your ears will at least get a break in between songs, but not with the Locust. In between all the blast beats, odd time signatures and screaming the keyboardist would run the most obnoxious ear-piercing synth loops imaginable. I saw a girl holding her ears in agony with all the subtlety of ’60s William Shatner, and that girl’s boyfriend threatening to avenge his little drama queen. More later than sooner he noticed his verbal threats were wasted on a band that has endless noise coming off the stage, so the over-protective boyfriend resorted to what looked like a sign language commentary of an MMA Fight. Bassists Justin Pearson responded with his own pantomime hand-gesture that sarcastically stated “Ooh tough guy”. This surprisingly didn’t pacify the heated meathead’s concerns. Realizing I had an ear-to-ear grin I had finally concluded, “I like this band.”
The Locust had officially won me over but little did I know they were about to run up the score. After playing about 25 songs of pure blast beats and Lombardo fills (their songs are really short) drummer Gabe Serbian stood on top of his bass drum pulling his mask up from his mouth while keyboardist Joey Karam grabbed the mic and uttered the only non-scream of their set: “spotlight please.” The light guy complied and Serbian began to blow chunks all over the stage like a dragon who angered a wizard that only knows how to turn fire into barf. Serbian then sits down, does a four count on his snare at about 700 bpm and the band launches right into the first of four more songs. While still digesting what I had just witnessed be counter-digested four songs prior, the Locust finished with a big rock star one-note outro and I returned to nurturing the relationship I had with a neglected $14 Heineken.
Oh, but we’re not out of the vomitorium yet. Before the band can end the noisy outro to their set Serbian throws up again but this time all over his drums. The Locust hit that final note that half the crowd had been praying for, except it happens to be on a snare drum now filled with the remaining contents of the drummer’s stomach. While puke is flying everywhere like rain in an ’80s glam video you can hear nothing but an overwhelming “Ewww” from the crowd as the curtain closes. And that my friends, is without a shadow of a doubt My Favorite Onstage Vomiting.
Holy Grail on tour:
6/19 San Diego,CA – Soda Bar #
6/20 Mesa, AZ – The Underground #
6/21 El Paso, TX – TBA #
6/22 Lubbock, TX – Jakes Sports Cafe #
6/23 San Antonio, TX – The Korova #
6/24 Austin, TX – Holy Mountain #
6/25 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s Basement #
6/26 Dallas, TX – Double Wide #
6/28 New Orleans, LA – Siberia #
6/29 Atlanta, GA – The Earl #
7/1 Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery #
7/2 Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory #
7/3 Wormleysburg, PA – Jaxx #
7/5 Stanhope, NJ – Stanhope House #
7/6 Hartford, CT – Arch Street Tavern #
7/7 Boston, MA – Great Scott #
7/8 Burlington, VT – Nectars #
7/9 Montreal, QC – Divan Orange #
7/10 Toronto, ON – Hard Luck Bar #
7/11 Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class #
7/12 Chicago, IL – Reggie’s Rock Club #
7/13 Minneapolis, MN – The Nether Bar #
7/15 Winnipeg, MB – Zoo Cabaret #
7/16 Regina, SK – The Exchange #
7/18 Edmonton, AB – Wunderbar #
7/19 Calgary, AB – Dickens #
7/21 Vancouver, BC – The Astoria #
7/22 Seattle, WA – Highline #
7/23 Portland, OR – Backspace #
7/25 San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside #
7/26 Los Angeles, CA – Whisky-A-Go-Go #
# with Anti-Mortem