It seems every time I go to a concert now it turns out being some kind of a mad adventure. May 10th I had the good fortune of attending Destruction at Reggie’s Rock Club, my favorite place to see a show in Chicago, 2109 South State Street but I had a hell of a time getting there. The show had a 7 pm start time but I needed to be there at 6:30 to interview John Kevill of Warbringer so I left at 5 pm thinking I had plenty of time, big mistake. My intention was to film the interview on my buddy’s video camera. All I needed to do was to stop off and buy a memory card on my way downtown, little did I know my friend’s camcorder was bought at Fred Flintsone’s garage sale and should have been left back in the Stone Age!
After driving downtown the most fucked up way imaginable and stopping at more places than I care to mention in a concert review, I gave up and searched my car for my trusty tape recorder, the time was 6:20 pm. I sent a text to Warbringer minuets later when I got within walking distance of the venue, read my interview with Warbringer here. The draw for this show was surprisingly small when compared to the Pagan Fest Concert I reviewed last month, read that review here. I did notice attendance increased as time went on. It was also a Thursday night so we’ll give the metal heads in Chicago a pass on this one.
The first band up was a local act called Vesicant, a three-piece thrash act that showed a lot of promise. I was especially impressed by the drummer and vocalist of the band, Aran Pantke, the kid is just fourteen years old! He handles both duties well and is definitely a possible talent on the rise.
The second act was another Chicago product called Savagery. These guys lit it up with their high speed thrash attack. I was impressed with this band’s tightness and sound; reminiscent of Megadeth back in their Killing is my Business glory. Savagery had the crowd going almost immediately, I didn’t know any of their material but I was swept up into it. When the band threw in a cover of Megadeth’s classic Rattlehead, I was sold. Check these guys out if you get the chance. (Link at the bottom)
Once the Chicago talent had their moment of glory it was on to the heavy hitters, first up was Vital Remains. Vital Remains is from Providence, Rhode Island and they’ve been around in some form since 1988. Their music has a blackened death metal vibe with extraordinary backing vocals, executed to near perfection. Vocalist Scott Wily was absolutely sick. He worked the audience like a true front man, increasing crowd interaction whenever possible and trying to make that mosh pit bigger and bigger. Some highlight tracks were: “Devoured Elysium”, “Icons of Evil” and “Hammer Down the Nails”.
Next up was Warbringer one of the best live acts that I have seen in a long time. Warbringer is a thrash band from Newbury Park, California and they have been active since 2004. The sound and the fury were in full force tonight as Warbringer pulled no stops, they did everything but jump into the crowd and mosh themselves. The Laux brothers thrashed their brains out on stage as much as the audience witnessing this unbridled aggression. The pit was wild for this band and its easy to see why, the intensity they bring on stage is simply contagious. Vocalist John Kevill is a madman on stage. The hand gestures he utilizes with his vocals are awesome. They pump up the crowd and make you feel that you are included in the frenzy. I don’t know if this is intentional but it’s a very cool way to integrate the audience and not something I’ve seen done before. Nearly every song Warbringer played was worthy of mention but the standout tracks for me were: “Wake Up…Destroy”, “Living in a Whirlwind” and “Combat Shock”.
Destruction was the headliner and they never disappoint. Born way back in 1982, they are considered one of the Eurothrash big three, the other two being Kreator and Sodom. Very few three-piece acts can accomplish music as intense as Destruction. Vocalist/bassist Schmier and guitarist Mike Sifringer have been with the band since the beginning. The pair has had their ups and downs, with Schmier even leaving the band for awhile but I am thrilled this new reunion has paid off with new material and revitalized touring.
For those of you unfamiliar with Destruction’s style of thrash, it’s a unique blend of melody and aggression. The vocals of bassist Schirmer are totally original and he hasn’t lost a thing live. This was the band’s 30th anniversary tour and he looked so good I wouldn’t be surprised if Destruction kept the train rolling for another ten years. The best tracks were: “Total Desaster”, “Mad Butcher”, “Life Without Sense”, “Nailed to the Cross” and of course the thrash classic “Bestial Invasion”!
All in all, this was a satisfying evening musically. It was awesome seeing metal acts old and the new, rubbing shoulders in the same style. I left believing thrash is still alive and here to stay \m/