PETER AMISANO | Go Venue Magazine
On September 21st, I embarked on a 3-day journey that consisted of amazing music, incredible talent, and memories to last a lifetime.
I headed to Los Angeles to spend time photographing the metal super group, Kill Devil Hill, for three shows in support of their recent album, Seas of Oblivion. The shows were Los Angeles, CA at the Whisky a Go Go, Las Vegas, NV at Vamp’d and finally in Santa Ana, CA at Stages.
Kill Devil Hill was formed in 2010 by founding members Mark Zavon, Dewey Bragg, Rex Brown and Vinnie Appice. This lineup made for an unbelievable 2011 self-titled release, with hits like “War Machine” and “Strange”, it was an excellent first album. The second album, Revolution Rise, released in 2012, continued with the same lineup and the sophomore release was a worthy follow-up to the debut.
Seas of Oblivion, released September 20th, 2023, is Kill Devil Hill’s 3rd studio release and easily the best yet. With this third release the lineup changed but remains a supergroup of amazing talent. The current lineup maintains Mark Zavon on guitar and Dewey Bragg on vocals but adds Johnny Kelly of Type O Negative fame, on drums, and Matt Snell formerly with Five Finger Death Punch, on bass. For these three shows, Mike Dupke, formerly with W.A.S.P., sat in on drums.
Whisky a Go Go
The first show, September 22, 2023, of the trifecta was hosted by Los Angeles’ infamous Whisky a Go Go; located in Hollywood, California on the well-known Sunset Strip, the Whisky is where the likes of Metalica, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Guns ‘n Roses, Ratt, all got early exposure eventually rising to superstardom. With a lineup of industry pros, Kill Devil Hill is well on their way to follow in these legendary footsteps.
The Whisky isn’t a huge club, but it was packed the night of the show. The lights dimmed, and the show started with a video intro that described the history of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina and how it got its name as a hiding place for rum that could kill the devil. The lights came up and the first song of the night was “We’re All Gonna Die” off their debut album, an excellent opener. The show continued with a mix of songs from all three albums. The highlights of the evening were the songs from the new album, Seas of Oblivion, “You Can’t Kill Me California,” “Blood in the Water,” “Playing With Fire,” “Pharmaceutical Sunshine,” and “Before The Devil Knows.” The show ended with the hit from their first album, and my personal fav, “Strange”
The amazing music was accented by digital video screens, lights, and fog, it was an incredible start to the three-day affair!
The Las Vegas, NV venue, Vamp’d was second on the list of dates; September 23rd. Vamp’d is a well known venue in the Las Vegas scene, as evidenced by the likes Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) and Jake E Lee (Ozzy Osbourne) in attendance that evening. The venue’s stage, lights and sound system are top notch quality making for the best performance of the three. The energy in the venue was infectious, and it bled through to the performance. Mark’s blistering guitar work, Matt’s pounding bass lines, and the ripping vocals and stage presence of Dewey Bragg brought the show to life. The set list was the same, but the reaction from the audience was electric. You could feel the energy as the crowd fed off the music and the performance.
After the show, the band interacted with the fans for hours, turning it into an after party hosted by Vamp’d. The crowd loved it. Another amazing experience!
Stages, located in Santa Ana, California, was the final stop of the short tour on September 24th. It is a venue similar in size to the Whisky with good acoustics and multiple stages, allowing for one band to play while another is setting up. Kill Devil Hill ended the short tour as it started. The show was high energy, engaged the crowd, and was filled with incredible music and blister performances. Breaking down of the gear for the last time of the three days had the band members joking with one another. There were beers, smokes and after the bus was loaded, band members said their goodbyes with handshakes and hugs. There was talk of heading out on another tour around March of 2024, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
The opportunity to spend time with Kill Devil Hill and my dear friend, Mark Zavon, was the chance of a lifetime. Being allowed to travel with them, enjoy the music and photograph the performances was a little slice of heaven for me and I will forever be grateful.
I would also like to thank Mark Zavon and Deann Dover for their hospitality, and much obliged to Kill Devil Hill for the experience and the memories!