A look at the San Antonio concert calendar in the first part of 2010 doesn’t yield a promising outlook.
Bands are skipping San Antonio more than usual in favor of Austin, Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area as the 2008 sale of the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater to a local church group continues to wreak havoc on the Alamo City’s concert prospects.
So far, Theory of a Deadman’s headlining gig with Halestorm on Feb. 5 at Scout Bar is arguably the closest thing to a quality show on the horizon. But T.O.A.D. was just here, opening for Daughtry on Dec. 12 at Freeman Coliseum. Also, Shadows Fall (Jan. 28) and Otep (March 19) will headline White Rabbit. Neither of those bills, however, is likely to knock many people’s socks off while bands such as Overkill, Killswitch Engage, Anvil and DevilDriver are rocking 80 miles away in Austin over the next four months.
A bright spot figures to be the return of Three Days Grace. The Canadian outfit with hits such as “I Hate Everything About You,” “Just Like You,” “Animal I’ve Become,” “Never Too Late” and latest single “Break” recently concluded shows in their native land in support of Life Starts Now and just announced a slew of dates in the Midwest and East Coast through early February. That means Texas shows should be right around the corner. Whether San Antonio will be in the mix remains to be seen.
Other than that, don’t hold your breath waiting for a hard-hitting tour anytime soon. The biggest shows figure to come in late spring or summer: 1) The April 16-17 Oyster Bake, 2) The January announcement of the annual Mayhem Fest lineup (signs point to the inclusion of Rob Zombie and Korn), and 3) The return of Ozzfest, a strong possibility because Ozzy Osbourne has announced a June release of a new album.
Mayhem Fest and/or Ozzfest will likely be here in July or August. Of course, Ozzfest is contingent on not repeating its 2008 “tour,” which instead was one show for the entire nation, in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. But even that would be better than taking the year off, as Ozzfest did in 2009.
It remains to be seen whether the ’80s-themed South Texas Rockfest will be back for a third straight year. Last year’s Memorial Day weekend lineup at Sunken Gardens headlined by Queensryche and Saxon with guests Keel, Austin’s Dangerous Toys and a few local bands paled miserably compared to the three-day inaugural fest in West Boerne in July 2008 that featured Queensryche, Dokken, Tesla, Stephen Pearcy, Skid Row (minus Sebastian Bach, of course), BulletBoys and House of Lords. So we may not be missing much there.
The biggest disappointment for now is the failure of the American Carnage Tour — featuring Slayer, Megadeth and Testament — to hit San Antonio. That thrash triple bill’s sole Texas dates are Jan. 27 in El Paso and Jan. 29 in Houston.
Why isn’t that tour coming here, you ask?
It would be easy to point to a conflict with a Spurs game or to blame it on preparation of the AT&T Center for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. Fact is, the Spurs are playing home games on Jan. 27 and 29, leaving the 28th open.
Rather, S.A. is a victim of its own success.
Megadeth headlined Sunken Gardens on Dec. 1, Slayer co-headlined the Mayhem Fest on Aug. 14 at the AT&T Center, and Testament headlined Scout Bar last June 3 in addition to opening the Metal Masters Tour for Judas Priest at the Verizon on Aug. 24, 2008. Considering those recent visits, it likely didn’t make sense from the bands’ point of view to return to S.A. so soon.
But have no fear. Some shows provide too good a road trip to pass up, and that tour is one of them. So you can expect a complete report in this space from the Houston date.
In the meantime, cross your devil horns that San Antonio’s concert future will brighten sooner than later. Otherwise, it’ll be one quiet year.