By Jessica Mendoza

The lights dim down in the Depot. The current band, which just performed, left the stage and the workers are setting up the equipment on the stage as they prepare for the next band to take the stage.

While the stage is being set, Vinnie Hecht, drummer and bartender at the SF State Pub, taps his sticks on the drums and practices his part while he looks at his laptop screen for the music notes. His long time friend, Bobby Carroll, is fixing his guitar and playing a couple of notes on his guitar.

“I have to warm up my voice right now” as Scott Wagner, vocalist, tells Darby Keith, guitarist, before the stage is completely set up. Max Coley, the bass player, is sitting down and talking to a few people and selling the bands t-shirts.

People are standing in front of the stage and chatting amongst themselves with beers in their hand. The crowd grows bigger and start gathering in The Depot as eagerly awaiting Raiju to come out and take the stage.

It’s Raiju’s first performance on stage together since earlier this year. “Scott and I know each other since 2006” says Nick. Scott and Nick moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. They were looking forward to create a new band. “We put on an ad on Craigslist,” says Nick about looking for musicians.

Bobby and Vinnie have been friends since the third grade. They have been playing together from middle school throughout high school.

They responded to Nick and Scott’s ad and got hold of them. To complete the entire group, they needed a bass player. Later on, Max responded to the ad and completed the band.
“We’re focusing on mystical creatures,” says Vinnie when it came to picking a name for the band. They went through a list of names. Finally, they pick “Raiju”. It pronounces “rye-joo” and it stands for a “Japanese thunder beast” according to the band. Raiju practices at a rehearsal room in the Oakland Music Complex.

“We really wanted heavy metal music that was strange and odd” as Bobby describes Raiju’s music. All together, they wanted a sound that would be “applying to us and to make it fun for listeners”, says Bobby.

Prior to the performance, there were minor technical problems with sound. Once everything is fixing, Raiju is ready to take the stage. The guys were more excited than nervous since it’s the first show.

Raiju goes on stage. Scott thanks the crowd for their patience. He assures them “It usually doesn’t take us this long to set up considering it’s our first show.”

Bobby takes the mic and says “I’m so sorry, but let’s fucking rock!”

The anticipation was over and the show begins. As Raiju plays their first song “Pride and Gluttony +Sanitation by Fire”, begins with aggressive heavy metal sound. Scott jumps off the stage. He screams from top of lungs as his voice echoes through the room. The tempo of the music is faster and faster and slow down and fast again.

While the music is playing, a man jumps out of the crowd and begins the mosh pit. Finally He bumps into the crowd and Scott as he’s singing the song. The man bash into someone and made the person spewing his beer all over the crowded floor.

The guys of Raiju created music for anyone who enjoys the sounds of explosive heavy metal rock coming from the fires of hell and leave your ears will be ringing for days.

Raiju played other songs to the audience. The show ended. Raiju thanks the crowd for the support especially Vinnie, who takes the mic and says “thank you all for showing and I see a lot of regulars from the Pub.”