I know the concert I attended on 9/17/19 will be forever entwined with my personal tales.
The theme of an evening is as important to me as the concert itself. A single idea that seemingly summarizes the night’s events, it normally takes all evening to find the theme but on 9/17/19 I had it right from the start. Heavy metal will always be a celebration of sound and style, live events are the fire which fuels metal’s legacy.
This tale began with the arrival of my best friend and The Metal Channel editor Roger Schultz along with metal sister, Berta Milliman. Berta had just arrived from Las Vegas a couple of days prior and told us all about the Iron Maiden show she had attended on Friday the 13th. Berta collects set-lists and relayed a wicked story about obtaining an Iron Maiden set-list from Nicko McBrain himself! A prize she has coveted for over thirty years.
We made it to the city in record time and found ourselves smack in the middle of a party waiting to happen. The atmosphere was electric. Excitement was in the air, a sizable crowd was on hand already and it seemed to grow with each passing moment. Roger spotted Sacred Reich guitarist Joey Radziwill among the crowd and we managed to snag an interview before the show began. Joey’s stories of learning Sacred Reich’s classic riffs as a kid then joining that legendary band as a man were simply exhilarating, it was like hearing a metal dream come true.
Flying high from the interview I needed a drink to calm down and catch some of the openers. I typically give the opening bands a single song. If I like them, I stay and watch the set. If they suck, I go outside and have a smoke. Lately, there hasn’t been much to say about the local scene but I have a feeling that’s about to change. As soon as I heard Robby J. Fonts (Stuck Mojo) scream, I knew I was in for a treat. Repentance is a newly formed Chicago act and they are totally sick. Modern thrash meets European death metal is the formula for the new venture of bassist turned guitarist Shaun Glass (Broken Hope, Soil, Dirge Within). Teaming up with Fonts on vocals, guitar legend Markus Johansson (Them, Diamorte, Sylencer, 4ARM), Mike Sylvester on bass and Kanky Lora on drums, you have a band that already has a pedigree for success. There’s a new single out now, “Only The Damned Die Young” and a debut record is on the way.
In between sets the theme of the evening continued. Metalheads of all ages shared stories of shows they had recently attended. I heard about M.O.D. (Method Of Destruction) and Vio-lence at Full Terror Assault (9/5, 6, 7/19) as well as Kataklysm, Krisiun and Hatchet (9/4/19) at The Forge. These tales are the oral histories of metal’s culture and the night’s upbeat atmosphere only seemed to enhance the moment. During the outdoor interactions we ran into Phil Rind of Sacred Reich who was happy to do an interview with me and share some tales of metal lore of his own.
Metal concerts have always been about cutting loose and having fun. A place to unload all that pent-up anxiety and unleash your frustrations. Portland thrashers Toxic Holocaust understand this mentality better than anyone. Featuring a set-list bent on mass destruction, these metal masters gave us little time to breathe. Front man Joel Grind had the place up for grabs spewing his auditory assault like a machine gun set on automatic. This noxious force was a deadly combination, one of the biggest mosh pits I have ever witnessed erupted at Reggies. Stage divers and slam dancers literally feasted on this unbridled extremity. When it was all over, we were more than spent but there was still one band to go… Before Sacred Reich hit the stage, we met up with Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust and conducted our final interview. Joel is a student of his craft and was happy to share stories of his very first trip to Columbia as well as an update on the latest release, Primal Future: 2019, set to hit the streets on October 4th via eOne music.
Sacred Reich was the final act of the evening and they were even better than advertised. Mixing the old with the new, bassist / vocalist Phil Rind was having fun on stage and his mood was nothing short of contagious. The live show was amazing. I’d never seen Sacred Reich in the flesh and this performance was truly a treat. Phil’s dialogue was both thought provoking and heartfelt. Using the stage as a platform for equality, we all felt a part of something much greater than a simple metal show.
As I drove home that night, I considered metal’s improbable legacy. Although the origins of heavy metal can only be traced back to the late ‘60s, the timeless tales that support this music have seemingly been around forever. This oral history is as essential to the metal scene as the music itself. I know the concert I attended on 9/17/19 will be forever entwined with my personal tales. Part of my own metal narrative, a story I will share as long as I breathe. \m/