Hailing from Dallas has afforded Drowning Pool the opportunity to visit San Antonio more often than many bands. From St. Patrick's Day parking lot gigs, to small bar shows such as Fitzgerald's two years ago (coverage here), to Saturday's performance before thousands at the 102nd annual Fiesta Oyster Bake, the Texas rockers have always marked their territory in the Alamo City with pride.
Even with the surprisingly early set time of 4 p.m. at St. Mary's University's annual Fiesta kickoff to raise money for scholarships, Drowning Pool came and rocked as it usually does. While led as always by original members C.J. Pierce on guitar, bassist Stevie Benton and drummer Mike Luce, frontman Jasen Moreno long ago reached no longer "the new guy" status. Moreno can pump up an audience with the best of them, and the Bake's outdoor festival setting that was back-dropped by dizzying carnival rides provided, well, the ideal backdrop. Get a taste of it with ATM Facebook Live footage of "Feel Like I Do" here.
Given the mainstream smash of inaugural single "Bodies" from 2001, it's easy to view the band as a victim of its own success. When an artist's debut yields a tune frequently played 17 years later during hockey fights and at other events, however, it's not exactly a bad problem to have in 2018. So even when Moreno introduced it with, "We're going to play 'that song,' " after the group had torn through second-most popular track "Tear Away," festival-goers were primed and ready. Though it seemed odd to hear a live version of "Bodies" without a mosh pit, that was easily the right call for the family-friendly Bake given the photo-pit presence of local and state law enforcement that has never taken too kindly to crowd surfing, or otherwise, on campus.
Nevertheless, Moreno made it fun by hopping off the stage, walking the 15 feet or so to the barrier, and sharing the song made famous by the late original vocalist Dave Williams with the fans (watch below). Ironically, the Oyster Bake was headlined by Poison's Bret Michaels, whose version of "Home" on the 2002 Hollyweird album sings in part, "Dave from Drowning Pool is here. He steals my women, and he drinks my beer."
So even though it would be an upset if Drowning Pool didn't end every concert for the remainder of its existence with the tune that made its career -- no matter how much new music it puts out henceforth -- there's another thing that likely won't change concerning its place in the metal game.
The group's welcoming party in San Antonio will always be out in full force. As long as Drowning Pool feels just like its Texas brethren does.