Artist accommodations made my overall trip a success, lending credence to the thought that heavy metal will always be my home away from home.
Unwavering ambition and a willingness to compromise were the main themes of my 9/20/17 trek to The Forge (22 West Cass St. Joliet, IL). My afternoon started out rocky. I was expecting to attend this gig with TMC (The Metal Channel) editor and public relations officer Roger Schultz but unfortunately his truck broke down! Roger travels from Indiana to the Chicago-land area and I am thankful he did not have this problem in route. Another friend bailed out at the last moment leaving me with a dilemma, should I just go to this show alone? I never attend events solo and I was caught in a serious time frame. Leading up to this event, one of my children had been ill and I promised I’d be back around 10 pm to put her to bed.
Here’s what happened: Going for it, I fought my way through rush hour traffic and made it to the event just as a local metalcore act from Fox Lake called Wings of Severance was ending. They were loud and nasty. I wish I’d caught more of their set but I will definitely keep an eye out for them in the future. I had interviews with both Warbringer and Striker so I took this downtime to send texts to my contacts and see what could be scheduled. Unfortunately, I entered the wrong area code for Striker into my phone but I contacted the band a couple days later and still managed to hook up with Striker guitarist Tim Brown, stay tuned!
The next act up was Withering Soul, featuring drummer extraordinaire Rick Hernandez (God Dementia, Blood of the Wolf). Withering Soul is a promising blackened death metal act from Chicago. I’d seen this five piece outfit play a few years ago but they were on a tiny restaurant stage. This time around, they had some real room and their performance was fantastic! These murderous minstrels had the crowd’s full attention. The savage wails of Mykil Grim were at the forefront of this onslaught and I will readily admit that the top hat gives him some real identity, even the crowd voiced their approval.
Striker was up next but I missed their opening to interview John Kevill of Warbringer. I’ve dealt with John a few years now, he is a consummate musician and a real human being. When he suggested having a beer and doing the interview after Warbringer’s set I got worried. I promised my little girl I’d be home and I told John as much. I realized he’d likely just woken up and most likely hadn’t eaten dinner but thankfully he still gave me his time.
After the Warbringer interview, I headed back inside and caught the last two Striker songs. I’d never heard of these Canadian maniacs before and I felt like I’d been living under a rock after seeing their set. Like a modern version of a classic Armored Saint (John Bush with hair screaming “Chemical Euphoria”) these guys killed it with their dirty style of street metal. I’m a fan now.
Warbringer was up next and I wish I’d seen more than just two songs! Playing their latest release, Woe to the Vanquished in its entirety. Warbringer was cocked, loaded and firing their heavy weaponry on all cylinders! This is a group worthy of all the hype heaped upon them and they must be seen live to be properly experienced.
Sure, I was disappointed I missed Dark Tranquillity but I made it home on time. I got some kick ass band memorabilia and ended up with two solid interviews! Before I went to bed that night I considered the evening I had experienced. Ambition had given me the courage to attend this gig solo. I thought I would feel weird but the environment was completely accepting, I blended in. Artist accommodations made my overall trip a success, lending credence to the thought that heavy metal will always be my home away from home. \m/
REMAINING NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES (DARK TRANQUILLITY) :