HomeCommunity NewsBoom! System of a Down Hypnotizes Fans

Boom! System of a Down Hypnotizes Fans

First published in the Feb. 12, 2022, print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

In between sets at Banc of California Stadium last Friday, guitarist Daron Malakian took a moment to make fun of Los Angeles, a region he has always called home.

“Now that we’re here, from our two-hour drive — I live a few minutes away — it’s time to dance,” he declared, before opening another hit on Friday, Feb. 4.

Malakian, guitarist and second vocalist for System of a Down since its inception, garnered laughter and cheers from a crowd celebrating the return to stage of one of L.A.’s most distinctive popular acts. The Glendale High School alumnus, alongside bandmates John Dolmayan (who purchased a home in Glendale in 2018), Shavo Odadjian and Serj Tankian, headlined two shows at Banc of California on Feb. 4 and 5, sharing the stage with fellow California metal icon Korn, the influential Helmet and instrumental rockers Russian Circles. (Metal stalwarts Faith No More were originally part of the tour but dropped out.)

The performances arrived about five months late, as the originally scheduled October stops were postponed after Tankian caught COVID-19. Malakian indicated that the pandemic had already delayed the band’s anticipated reunion tour.

“It took us about two years to get to this show,” he told the crowd. “Hope all of your loved ones are OK in all this craziness.”

Photo courtesy Greg Watermann | John Dolmayan of System of a Down

The band, which reportedly formed in Glendale in 1995, released its first new material in 15 years — the singles “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” — during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, in which Azerbaijani forces launched an offensive to retake control of the breakaway Armenian state Artsakh. The quartet — of which Malakian, Odadjian and Tankian all attended the Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School — have consistently advocated and fundraised for Armenian causes.

The show, whose tour observes the 20th anniversary of their album “Toxicity,” considered a metal masterpiece, included many popular throwbacks like “Prison Song,” “Chop Suey!” “Aerials” and the titular track itself, in addition to hits “Sugar” and “B.Y.O.B,” as well as “Hypnotize” and “Lonely Day,” which prominently feature Malakian on vocals.

Malakian took a second during “Protect the Land” on Friday night to rile up the crowd with a personal shout-out:

“Where are all our Armenian brothers and sisters in the crowd tonight?!”

The crowd gave an electrified response.

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