Monday, August 5, 2013

Music fuels the soul...Metal music sets it on fire

This post is way long overdue. I haven't written much since Summerfest 2013 finished, but that certainly doesn't mean I haven't been enjoying Summer here in Milwaukee. Let me catch you up on what I've been up to...

The weekend after Summerfest, July 14th, I saw Trapt at The Rave. I love this band. Hailing from California, they are a really great rock band who are probably most well known for their 2003 hit Headstrong. That's only one of many great songs they have. Before I continue, let me tell you a little about this great venue I see many of my concerts at, The Rave. It's not only a fantastic concert venue, but it is a Milwaukee landmark. The multi-story building is divided into six different rooms, making it possible to have six different shows going on at the same time. I have certainly been there when there have been shows going on in at least four of the venues. The largest of the venues is the Eagles Ballroom, a 25,000 square foot, oval, wooden dance floor with a balcony area as well. The fact that the floor does not have seats, makes it quite conducive to mosh pits and body surfing. Metal bands love to play there. On the night that Trapt played, they weren't in the Eagles Ballroom. They actually played in one of the smallest rooms in the building, with a crowd of about 200. A band called ERA9 opened and were followed by Candlelight Red. Both were pretty good, with Candelight Red obviously a more polished band. I was there to see Trapt though and I wasn't disappointed. They only played about a twelve song set, but included many of their greats like Contagious, Echo, Still Frame, Who's Going Home With You Tonight?, and one of my favorites, Black Rose. Great show!  Check out the pictures.

That following Friday, July 19th, I saw what may have been the most epic gathering of metal bands that I've seen in a long time. I'm not going to say this was the best show I've seen this year yet, but it was pretty, freakin' awesome. This day, my friends, Gigantour came to The Rave with Megadeth, Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah, Newsted, and Death Division. I remember it being so freakin' hot in The Rave that I was dripping with sweat no sooner than the first song started. They split the six bands up with the first four playing downstairs and the last two playing in the Eagles Ballroom upstairs. It was my first time seeing Death Division. They were decent. Apparently Dave Mustaine's son manages the band. Newsted killed it though. Jason's new band only played five songs, but he absolutely got that crowd primed for a night of heavy metal music. The second song was Soldierhead and they finished with a fitting cover of Metallica's Whiplash. Outstanding!
Newsted Setlist
Third up was Hellyeah. They are a great Texas, metal band whose members include former Damageplan and Pantera drummer, Vinnie Paul, and Mudvayne's volcalist Chad Gray. You can definitely hear the influences of Pantera and Mudvayne in Hellyeah's music.
Hellyeah Setlist
The last of the four bands to play downstairs was Device, the new side project of Disturbed singer, David Draiman. He's an amazing metal singer with a powerful voice. All of these songs are new to me, but they did a great cover of Close My Eyes Forever from Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford.
Device Setlist
After Device finished, I headed upstairs for the main two bands. This was to be my first time seeing Black Label Society and I was looking forward to it. Huge wall of Marshall amps lined the stage. BLS took the stage and Zakk Wylde proceeded to rip our faces off with his signature guitar playing. Throw in a ten minute Zakk Wylde guitar solo and you had a recipe for one hot, metal show.
Black Label Society Setlist
That alone would have been a satisfying end to a great metal show, but there was more. Headlining Gigantour 2013 was none other than Megadeth. Eff yeah!! A member of the Big 4 of thrash metal, Megadeth came out and crushed a metal-laden performance of some of their greatest hits. Dave's blistering guitar work and signature vocals powered through a setlist that consisted of Hangar 18, Sweating Bullets, Symphony of Destruction, A Tout Le Monde, and Peace Sells. After more 30 years and countless lineup changes, Megadeth still kills it.

Megadeth Setlist
Good Lord! I'm surprised I remembered all of that. Guess one never forgets amazing shows. This brings me to last night, August 4th. On my way out the door from Gigantour, they were handing out a limited number of free tickets to see Godsmack. FREE tickets to see Godsmack?!?! Hell yeah!! I've always enjoyed Godsmack and this night they absolutely crushed it. From beginning to end, it was nonstop heavy, rock music. Shannon's thunderous drums and Sully's amazing rock vocals make up just part of the unmistakable sound of Godsmack. The setlist reads like Godsmack's greatest hits album. Every song they played got the crowd, including me, singing along. But when they broke into a brief cover of Pantera's Walk, the crowd got just a little more insane. During the first song of their encore, Whatever, Sully was telling us how much he loved The Rave for the open floor plan with no seats. He said it reminded him of going to see bands like Pantera back in the late 80's and early 90's where crowds would just go completely crazy. That's exactly what he set out to do this night. He said he saw little pits here and there, but wanted the crowd to completely lose their minds and make the entire floor move when the band came back in full swing. That's exactly what happened! People moving from one end to the other and jumping and going nuts. It was pretty cool! Another amazing show! Here are a few pics.

Godsmack Setlist
What a hell of a year it has been so far. Still a few months to go though. Stay tuned to see what show I see next.  Keep rockin'!

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