We drove home that night high on a metal vibe. The bands and their music had delivered.
Every time I go to a show I try to find a theme for the night, an unseen thought or subliminal message that seems to summarize events. I believe the main topic for this evening was fun. I was excited to attend Doro and Metal Church for various reasons but mainly because this was my first live event of the season. I was able to attend this gig with longtime friend J.D. Peterson and Metal Channel Editor Roger Schultz.
As usual the trek downtown was brutal. We were all on edge after Metal Church bassist, Steve Unger, messaged Roger to tell him we were late for our interview with Mike Howe. We’d never heard from the label and had assumed our connections had fallen through. This whole scene smelled like a disaster but shit happens for a reason and sometimes you’ve just got to push through it.
We arrived at Reggie’s (2105 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60616), hit the bathroom and grabbed a beer. While waiting for our drinks, we spotted Steve Unger who obliged to give me an interview right there. Steve was cooler than Elvis dressed as an Eskimo and by the time we were through the whole situation had taken a big step up.
Even though Overkill and Death Angel were playing up the street there was a sizeable crowd on hand to take in the show. I got in line to grab a drink but the fury up on stage drew my attention. It was the band Wrath. The ’80s thrash legends have returned. This was old school street metal with a bite. Bobby Blitz Ellesworth might have been playing up the street but you wouldn’t know it after hearing vocalist, Gary Golwitzer, bellow out some tracks. Chicago needs more high-profile metal acts to call their own. Wrath released a new record last year, Rage (10/5/18), via Combat Records.
Next up was Images of Eden. An insanely tight heavy metal group the highlight of which was vocalist, Gordon Tittsworth (real last name – I swear) who has unfathomable range comparable to Rik Emmett (Triumph) or even Geoff Tate (Queensryche). His performance was very impressive. We actually spoke to Gordon after the set and found out he had been recovering from a serious illness and wasn’t even at 100 percent. Images of Eden dropped a new album last summer, Soulrise (8/17/18), via Pavement Music.
Metal Church have held sermon since 1980 and I’ve been to their mass on numerous occasions. This line-up is one of the tightest I have ever seen from the band and certainly among the best in the Mike Howe era. The fun they have with one another is simply contagious, their enthusiasm spilt over into the crowd, making the event even more worthwhile. Metal Church made full use of their allotted time mixing in old and new, giving fans of all ages exactly what they came for.
Metal Church is a group that truly appreciates its fans. After their set the entire band came out and met the screaming crowd, they signed anything you wanted, shook hands and took pictures. Do you know what the best part was? They did it all for free.
Doro is a consummate musician. She knows how to work a crowd and commands the kind of fan interaction that makes heavy metal great. We were literally pumping our fists or banging our heads from start to finish. Blazing through a setlist that left us screaming for more. Doro brings fans young and old a real taste of metal’s heyday.
When the show ended we decided to head around back to see if we could catch Doro for a quick picture. I had nothing scheduled but I had interviewed her in the past and putting a card in someone’s hand goes a long way in this business. This turned out to be a smart move as we were able to interact with Doro’s band, a force within itself. First up was Chris Caffery of Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra fame. He jokingly called out to the building crowd “Nothing to look at here, I’m nobody”. After a short conversation, Chris took some pictures then went back to the tour bus and got us some guitar pics.
A short time later Jordan Cannata of Adrenaline Mob popped out and we were able to interact with him as well. He was followed by Tommy Bolan. The famed Warlock guitarist was easily the highlight of the group, he took pictures and signed autographs. He told us some hilarious tales of playing live and didn’t move on until everyone had what they needed.
Doro arrived and we were able to share a moment on her tour bus to take a picture. Her stage presence brought to life, she was completely gracious and totally metal.
We drove home that night high on a metal vibe. The bands and their music had delivered. Our music has a universal camaraderie. It’s great to know wherever you go in this world, metal’s celebration of style and sound will always be there. \m/