Whenever a local brother is taken down, all you need to do is put out the call and the heavy hitters come running with all guns blazing. Giovinino “Nino” Notaro was taken from us on Nov. 22, 2009 after a long bout of stage 4 Cirrhosis, leaving behind a five year old daughter, a big hearted sister and loving parents.
Notaro was a veteran of countless world tours as a leading sound engineer. He’s worked with the Sepultura for 10 years, not to mention Sacred Reich, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, Clutch, Forbidden, Death Angel, Concrete Blonde and Ministry just to name a few. He’s done front-house sound in some of the world’s biggest halls, soccer stadiums, arenas, and amphitheaters.
Flotsam and Jetsam, Sacred Reich, a newly reformed The Human Condition, Pelvic Meatloaf, Castles in Spain (Biachi Notaro’s band, Nino’s sister), Altered Silence, H8 Inc and Free Will were the bands that came to honor Nino. Yea – Flotsam and Sacred on the same stage on the same night, and it’s not in Europe!
Got there in time to witness a brutal set from Altered Silence. Never caught these guys before, but they definitely made a lot of new fans, myself included. Hitting the stage with Regrets, Stitches and Cloaked in White, the band started their assault in true metal fashion. Riffs were slung at the audience relentlessly, and they ate it up. Definitely a solid band that deserves attention. They finished their set up with My Illness, My Kult , Ace of Spades, Grey Skies, Confession and Acid Reign.
After a few beers and walking around, Castles in Spain hit the stage with their blend of haunting, soulful and spiritual rock. Yea, that kind of sounds weird until you listen to them. Like their MySpace says, it’s “brilliant but hard to peg music”. Hailing from San Francisco, Biachi Notaro is Nino’s sister, so this was a very emotional night for her. You could tell she was still dealing with her heavy loss. The intro to Subtle Changes had Biachi on stage with one spotlight, and one floor tom. With all eyes on Biachi, the band continued on with Breathe, Shut Up, the Way Out, and Old Man – a favorite Neil Young cover. The packed crowd was uncompromising with the cheers of support, at one point approaching a deafening level. The band continued on with The Way You Want To (a song written for Nino the day of his death), Never Fall Again, My Blue Sea and a very touching dedication of Dig (Incubus cover). The band has four discs out, and is currently working with the multi-talented producer Sylvia Massy for their fifth disc, currently titled Reminiscing Chapter 5 to be released in the summer of 2010.
Next up was the shocker of the night. Wiley Arnett (Sacred Reich) resuscitated his band The Human Condition (THC), and amongst the ranks now is vocalist Eric Knutson from Flotsam and Jetsam. You could hear crowd members utter “Holy Shit!” when the boys took the stage. Starting with Left Behind and continuing with Before I’m Through, Lose My Head, When See How and finishing the short set with One Eye In The Cross, the crowd showed enthusiasm for the band at every note.
As if the surprise of the THC appearance, the night is about to get heavier. Next up – the legendary Sacred Reich. Hitting the stage with a ferocious The American Way, the band took no prisoners throughout the entire set, which included Independent, One Nation, Love…Hate, Who’s to Blame, State of Emergency, Ignorance, War Pigs, and Surf Nicaragua. The crowd went absolute ape shit and pits soon erupted. Throughout the set, lead singer/bassist Phil Rind shared humorous stories about touring with Nino. Celebration of life indeed.
The second legendary band of the night, Flotsam and Jetsam, hit the stage with a mostly old school set list that fed the rabid fans with ease. Hammerhead, The Master Sleeps, Me, No Place for Disgrace, Swatting at Flies, Hard on You and Doomsday for the Deceiver rattled the roof of the Stratus. The crowd was left sweaty and bruised, and satisfied!