The band blasted through their set like a runaway tank, taking no prisoners. I’m sure many fans made their way home without their asses because mine was clearly kicked off!
I’m not a journalist. I typically don’t write reviews or conduct interviews. That’s The Metal Channel founder David Halbe‘s role. However, I try to attend shows with some regularly, supporting my best friend and ‘the scene’ whenever I can. I coordinate the shows I attend in Illinois with Dave. I typically play the ‘helper monkey role’ while he does his thing. I reside in Indiana. So after we plan a show, I normally arrange time off from work and prepare to embark on a multi-hour drive. We had our sights set on Flotsam and Jetsam, who were playing The Forge (22 W Cass St, Joliet, IL 60432) on June 1st 2019. I had high hopes of being able to hang out with my buddy and conduct some radical interviews.
Unfortunately, as I made my drive into Illinois, I received word that Dave would not be able to make the show due to an undisclosed illness. Shit happens and sometimes all you can really do is make the best of it. All sorts of questions flooded my mind, should I turn around? Or press on and attend the show by myself. Maybe the best recourse would be to visit my family, who lives near the venue and forget the show all together. In the end, I decided to reach out to my friend JD Peterson to see if he wanted to attend the event. Luckily, he was in good spirits and we made arrangements to attend the gig without Dave.
JD and I arrived at The Forge knowing that there were 6 bands scheduled to perform. To be honest, I wasn’t interested in the first 3 acts but I definitely wanted to see Wrath, Dead By Wednesday and Flotsam and Jetsam. We grabbed a couple of drinks and mingled with the crowd. We were there for our own enjoyment. I had no intention of writing anything but after experiencing Wrath’s set I knew I was fucked. The band’s furious stage show compelled me to
write this review.
I caught Wrath live last month (May 2nd 2019) at Reggie’s Rock Club (2105 S State St, Chicago, IL 60616) when they opened for Metal Church / Doro. Interacting with vocalist Gary Golwitzer after their set, I decided to do some research on the band. I discovered the band was from my hometown of Chicago and they seemed to be performing with everyone: Metal Church / Doro, Blaze Bailey, Flotsam and Jetsam and David Ellefson‘s Basstory, just to name a few.
Even though I wasn’t familiar with Wrath’s material, I found myself wanting to jump up and break shit. The band’s performance was like a well-oiled machine, an audio aggression hell bent on destroying everything in its path. The band ripped through their set like a fat chick on a pork chop sandwich. Front man Gary Golwitzer controlled the stage, he grabbed you by the throat and refused to let go. Wrath finished their set with a cover of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades”. During the song, I looked up towards the heavens and could have sworn I saw Lemmy raising a glass. There was no way I could leave the building without a copy of Wrath’s latest release, Rage, which I promptly purchased. If you haven’t experienced Wrath live, I suggest you do so.
Up next was Dead by Wednesday. My first experience with this band was back in February of 2017 when I saw them open for A Killer’s Confession. They kicked ass back then and have continued taking their style of metal to a whole new level. I paid special attention to drummer Opus Lawrence and guitarist Dave Sharpe with the knowledge that they will be backing David Ellefson (Megadeth) on his Basstory tour. There’s a reason they’ve been selected for this opportunity and it shows. The band delivered a crushing set, it was a beating I hoped would continue. This band has to be Connecticut’s best kept secret.
The headliners, Flotsam and Jetsam, have been stamping people’s asses’ for decades. The last time I saw them live was back in November of 2106 with Helstar and Hatchet at Reggie’s. I was fully aware of the drummer change (from Jason Bittner to Ken Mary) and I was looking forward to seeing the band with this new lineup. Unbeknownst to me was the fact that Michael Spencer (bass) would not be available due to the result of a medical condition. With a new drummer and a fill-in at bass (Bill Bodily) this could go one of two ways, either horribly disastrous or incredibly good.
Flotsam and Jetsam hit the stage and immediately took command. I could see right away that Ken Mary and Bill Bodily would hold their own. Michael Gilbert, Steve Conley and Eric ‘A.K.’ Knutson delivered the level of musicianship they are known for. The band blasted through their set like a runaway tank, taking no prisoners. I’m sure many fans made their way home without their asses because mine was clearly kicked off!
On a final note, I had a burning question in my mind. What does the ‘A.K.’ in Eric ‘A.K.’ Knutson’s name stand for? I wanted to know, so I approached his son at the merch area before I left and asked. He told me according to his father it stands for “All Knowing”… well played sir.
Flotz till death! \m/