TVD Live Shots: Beartooth, Wage War, and Dragged Under
at the House of Blues, Anaheim 8/16

If you haven’t seen Beartooth live, you are missing out on one of the most killer bands to grace the stage over the past decade. Caleb Shomo and company blew the roof of the Anaheim House of Blues on opening night (post Covid lockdowns) and left nothing on the table in front of a raucous Southern California crowd. It was truly a magical experience for the thousands in attendance on Monday evening and definitely a show not soon to be forgotten.

I don’t know about you, but I have missed live music.  February 2020 was my last indoor rock and roll show, and I’ve been dreaming about its return ever since. When I finally started to see shows being scheduled here in Southern California, I crossed my fingers that Beartooth might be an option for my personal return to live music. On Monday August 16, that dream became a reality in front of a sold-out crowd on what ended up being an unusually steamy Southern California evening.

As I made my way through the crowd to take my familiar spot in the photo pit, I couldn’t help but enjoy the thousands of smiling faces (a majority wearing masks) ready for their first taste of live music post Covid.  Beers were flowing, high-fives were given, and mosh-pits were in full effect as opening acts Wage War and Dragged Under fired up the now packed venue. Although both bands performed short sets, each gave it their all and rewarded the growing crowd with amazing performances that had everybody smiling ear to ear. Plain and simple, both acts were bad ass and perfect choices to kick the show into overdrive.

After a brief stage change out (and a few bottles of good ole’ H20), Beartooth finally took the stage around 9PM and immediately whipped the crowd into a frenzy with 2021’s “Below.” All I could think was, “Are you fucking kidding me?” as the general admission floor erupted into one massive circle pit. It took all my senses to avoid the never-ending sea of crowd surfers on a collision course with the few privileged photographers front and center. As I ducked a beer that was hurled at me, I rejoiced in knowing that live music was back and Beartooth was the instrument for its swift return. I was in live-music heaven.

Over the next hour and a half, Shomo and Co. torched Orange County with a 12-song setlist that covered newer tunes as well as earlier classics. Whether you’re a first-time listener or a die-hard Beartooth fan, there was something for everyone Monday night. Beartooth put on a clinic that failed to disappoint and left fans screaming for more when the flames finally died down. For many (including myself) , it was just what the Doctor ordered after what seemed like a lifetime without live music.




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