February may be the shortest month of every year, but it's shaping up to be one of the busiest for concerts in San Antonio in 2014. And several genres of metal will be covered. Here's a closer look in chronological order, beginning with a bonus show tonight that closes out January (times listed are when doors open):
- PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS w/Author & Punisher, Hymns (7 p.m. today @Backstage Live: 1305 E. Houston St.): The icon of Dallas-Fort Worth legends Pantera and vocalist of Down has been playing San Antonio every couple of years lately. But this show marks the first time he'll be bringing his solo band after releasing Walk Through Exits Only last summer. The two openers help round out the Technicians of Distortion tour, with Hymns being one of the artists on Anselmo's Housecore Records label. Anselmo is also giving fans the chance to vote for which Pantera and Superjoint Ritual songs he'll play, which you can do here. Did we say PANTERA SONGS? That's certainly worth the price of admission alone. Anselmo is scheduled to go on at 10 p.m., but beforehand, the SAMME will be sitting down with him for a follow-up to our three-part 2011 interview, which you can see here, here, and here. Tickets: $21 here.
- MICHAEL SCHENKER (slideshow above) w/Gundriver, Ulta, Wolfpak, Year of the Snake (7 p.m. Sat. Feb. 1 @Backstage Live): Like Anselmo, the veteran guitarist with the Scorpions, UFO and the Michael/McAuley Schenker Group on his resume has been playing San Antonio every couple of years. When he was last here March 16, 2012, Robin McAuley was his vocalist for a setlist heavy on UFO and Scorpions tunes. This time, Doogie White is on vocals, and Schenker is touring in support of Bridge The Gap, which was released last Tuesday in the States but came out in November in Europe and other parts of the world. The album also features guitarist and keyboardist Wayne Findlay, with former Scorpions Herman Rarebell on drums and Francis Buchholz on bass. However, Rarebell and Buchholz are not part of the U.S. tour; their spots are being filled by Pete Holmes and Rev Jones, respectively. With the exception of White, the concert lineup is the same from Schenker's previous visit. Schenker will hold meet-and-greets provided that fans email him with certain information. More details here. Prior to the show, Scorpions tribute band Lovedriver will be playing next door to Backstage Live's entrance at the Tequila Rock Bar beginning at 5:45 p.m. There is a $5 cover for that. Tickets: $21 here.
- DOKKEN w/Age of Reason, The Selfish Machines, and Ol' Mikey (7 p.m. Sat. Feb. 8 @Backstage Live): Ever since telling the SAMME in 2008 that he was "looking to retire" that summer, Don Dokken has shown no signs of slowing down. Still featuring original drummer "Wild" Mick Brown -- who was not behind the kit during Dokken's Siesta Fest visit in April 2012 -- guitarist Jon Levin and bassist Sean McNabb, Dokken continues to put out new music while having difficulty eliminating any of their plethora of '80s hits in concert, such as Just Got Lucky, In My Dreams, It's Not Love, Into The Fire, Kiss of Death and Alone Again. Dokken's most recent release is Broken Bones, which came out in September 2012, so consider this show another indication of how much Dokken loves playing Texas. And since it's the 30th anniversary of the Tooth and Nail album, maybe, just maybe, they'll play the whole thing. Tickets: $21 here.
- AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE w/Righteous Vendetta, Cathercist, The Akuzma (7 p.m. Sat. Feb. 8 @Tequila Rock Bar): If Dokken isn't your thing, newer and heavier metal will be right next door. American Head Charge is touring in support of 2013 EP Shoot. Watch the latest video from Cathercist here. Tickets: $13 here.
- THE SPITS w/The Secret Prostitutes, The Oblios, Ghost Police, Threads (8 p.m. Sat. Feb. 8 @The Korova): Kalamazoo, Mich., headliners The Spits and Co. provide yet another option on Feb. 8. For that true underground experience, this punk metal gig will take place in the basement of the venue located downtown at 107 E. Martin St. for all ages. Most of The Spits' songs are two minutes or less, so get ready for your headbanging to be short and sweet, but no less intense than what you might expect at an underground show. Tickets: $10 presale here and $13 at the door.
- RED w/Gemini Syndrome, Emphatic, Prophet Within (7 p.m. Sun. Feb. 9 @Backstage Live): Christian metal is the theme here, headlined by Red, which hit the scene in 2006 with End of Silence spawning the hits Breathe Into Me and Already Over. They're touring behind new and fourth album Release The Panic. Arrive early to see San Antonio's Prophet Within start things off right. Tickets: $15 here.
- DIO DISCIPLES w/JessiKill, Lovedriver, Knights of Darkness (8 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 13 @Tequila Rock Bar): The tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio rolls on, with half of the six-member group -- including both vocalists -- different from the band that played at Sunken Gardens during the South Texas Rock Fest in October 2011. There's a decent chance the show will be moved next door into the much bigger Backstage Live. Check out the SAMME's earlier preview for more details here. Tickets: $20/$25 here.
- STONE SOUR w/Pop Evil, Stolen Babies (7 p.m. Sat. Feb. 15 @Backstage Live): The group fronted by Slipknot's Corey Taylor will be wrapping up a three-week U.S. run here without one of its main cogs. Stone Sour guitarist Jim Root is skipping the tour to "concentrate on writing the next Slipknot album." Plus, the band still hasn't officially replaced bassist Shawn Economaki, who was let go in 2012 (even though the band's Facebook page still lists him as a member). Taylor had pledged the band would eventually play all of House of Gold and Bones parts 1 and 2 in concert, but that's not likely to occur at this show. Instead, expect a set spanning all of their albums. Michigan natives Pop Evil haven't done too badly for themselves when it comes to touring in San Antonio. They opened for Judas Priest in 2009 and were part of the Trespass America Festival in 2012 with Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage and Trivium. Tickets: $30 here.
- METAL CHURCH w/Project Terror, DevilMayCare, Immortal Guardian (7 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 20 @Backstage Live): Guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof is the only remaining original member, but nevertheless, it's great to see Metal Church back in the game considering Vanderhoof announced on the band's website a few years back that they were calling it quits. That alone should make this the one show on this list that will draw the most curious onlookers. Ronny Munroe has been the vocalist for the past four albums, but it's been ages since the band has played around here. Metal Church reunited to play the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise in January 2013, then released Generation Nothing in October. Expect to hear plenty of tunes from the self-titled debut and 1986 sophomore classic The Dark. Get there early to check out the San Antonio openers. Click the video link found within here to watch Immortal Guardian in action at last year's SXSW. Tickets: $16 here.
- TANTRIC w/Rain On The Aftermath, TBD (7 p.m., Fri. Feb. 28 @Backstage Live): Vocalist Hugo Ferreira is the only remaining original member of the band that played the "Bone Bash" in 2009 at the AT&T Center and is known for its hit Breakdown. The new video Mosquita from the album 37 Channels (watch here) pretty much showcases that Ferreira is a one-man band these days, so it'll be interesting to see who will join him on stage this particular evening. Tickets: $15 here.
For related SAMME concert coverage, click the "Suggested" links in blue below, and stay tuned for coverage of some of these shows.
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