Show Review: Saxon live at Reggies, Chicago IL 04/01/18

Saxon 2018

Banging drums, soaring guitars and…..Candy? That’s exactly what we got at the Saxon show on Easter Sunday in Chicago! First of all this goes with saying, this show was already going to be killer from the start. Considering two of my favorite Chicago bands were included along with one of my all time favorite bands of all time, this was an easy show to say yes to.

Shokker

Opening the show was Chicago’s own Shokker. They were definitely a good band to open up the show with their powerhouse sound that recalls the classic era of Heavy Metal. Casey Tremont’s hard hitting guitar playing was terrific along with vocalist Rachl Quinn’s soaring vocals. Easily one of the best female vocalists I’ve seen live in terms of range and charisma. The whole band overall was very tight and energetic pulling songs from their terrific debut “III” and even a blistering faithful cover of “Bark At The Moon”. I honestly would have loved to see them higher on the bill and hope to see them many more times.

Pipe

Pipe were up next and definitely had the most “interesting” stage setup with bong props and marijuana flags draped over their equipment which I felt was a bit overkill. The overall sound of the band was very simplistic hard rock akin to 90’s groups like Godsmack. However, I feel like they didn’t fit with this bill much and personally, I feel they played way too long. They just had a somewhat dull sound to me it just didn’t have the energy every other band clearly had in spades. Just not a good fit to the bill in my opinion.

Scars of Armageddon

This was my third time seeing these guys rip it up on stage and they never disappoint. their brand of epic progressive metal is done so well in the sense that it doesn’t get too repetitive or dull live and they know how to keep the energy up. However, the only thing that sucked about this performance was that they were only able to play three songs but I feel they made their point perfectly as much as they could in that short time slot.

Saxon

And finally, it was time for the Brits to invade Chicago once again. I have seen Saxon twice before in a large venue and small venue and I have to say this was the best they’ve sounded and played thus far. The sound even up front was super crisp with Nigel Glocklers tight drumming blending perfectly with both guitarists as well as Biff who was in top form singing every high and low note with ease. The only casualty was Paul Quinn bleeding almost the whole set all over hist strings but he played it off all night quite well even if he was more focused on playing than anything. Nibbs Carter I will always consider Saxon’s second front man as he is just as energetic as Biff perhaps more. The band played a wide range of songs with the new album being a large focus with I believe at least half of it being played. Where with some bands this can be way over doing it, Saxon are not afraid to let new songs shine and every song sounded as classic as the classics themselves. One of the biggest highlights was the band doing “Predator” with Nibbs handling the death metal growling vocals it was great to see them bring that one to stage. The band of course played all the classics (Power and The Glory, Dallas 1PM, Wheels of Steel” etc.”) and played an impressive two hour set that only they could match. The best moment personally was watching Biff wear my vest during Denim and Leather. It was just one of those moments as a fan that I’ll personally never forget.

Overall, this was a no brainer show for me personally and easily the best show i’ve seen them put on as well as the bands mentioned above(well mostly). Saxon always put on the great live show and even if you aren’t a huge Heavy Metal fan, they are just a great band musically to see live. The energy, the history and the whole vibe that carries on through their performance spanning forty years of hard hitting music really is worth it. Even when the band throws candy into the crowd at the end as a little easter joke, it is just a funny memory that adds to a great evening of music.

Show Review: Anvil, Night Demon and others at Reggies 04/08/17

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Ah it is definitely spring season, with the weather getting warmer I decided it is time to start getting out to more shows again and I was able to attend Anvil, Night Demon and a few others at The infamous Reggies Rock Club in Chicago. Now whenever you go to a show at reggies, it is always going to be a good time as they have been one of the key venues to bring a lot more traditional heavy metal back to the city. On the roster for the night we had the legendary canadian speed metal group Anvil supported by new traditional heavy metal band Night Demon with openers Graveshadow, hometown staple Scars of Armageddon and Comfort Scarcity.

 

Comfort Scarcity

The very first band of the night were a quartet that played almost a nineties grunge mixed with motley crue style of hard rock. The band were very energetic on stage but their music just wasn’t a huge impression on me. The only reason is because their style I can only consider just sub par hard rock that unfortunately didn’t have the magic for me to be super invested. The band were very professional in their skills but their music just seemed overall quite sub par.

Scars of Armageddon

I said before when I first saw these guys open for Riot V last year that they definitely had a very good thing going. The second time around however they seemed to be even more on fire. For some reason this time seeing the band felt like they were even more fine tuned than they were last year. These guys are one of those Chicago bands that if you don’t catch them then you are missing out on some serious talent.

Graveshadow

Graveshadow were the only group to feature a female member and were more on par with the sound Scars of Armageddon has. They have this european power metal/ melodic death metal thing going on that at first I couldn’t grasp. I’m not sure why I just couldn’t get into it, however after the fourth song I was beginning to get more accustom to their sound. The group overall had really good chops live and their showmanship was pretty good as well.

Night Demon

This was when the show really began to take off for me personally. I have waited since around 2014 when I first heard the “Night Demon” EP to see these guys. As much of a fan of the whole New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal scene I am, Night Demon were always my favorite because they handle their whole image and sound so professionally . However, as fate would have it, I would miss them the last few runs to the states so this show was a long time coming. Opening with”Welcome To The Night” off their new upcoming album “Darkness Remains”, the band were in fine form sounding so fucking powerful. The band played songs from their ep, first album “Curse of The Damned” and two new tracks off the upcoming record. ¬†They even brought their mascot “Rocky” out during “The Chalice” which was very cool and worked with the whole vibe the band had going. This band I cannot stress enough, you have to see them live. Even if you arent a huge old school metal fan, this band will still kick your ass over and over again.

Anvil

Finally headliners Anvil took the stage. These guys are another band that has eluded me since 2009 around when “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil” hit. Finally as the lights dipped, Lips came out and walked into the crowd for the epic “March of The Crabs” before jumping back on stage to blast right through “666” off the classic and highly influential “Metal on Metal” album. Lips even dedicated a few songs to chuck berry and lemmy which was awesome as well. The two highlights during their set was Lips’ crazy vibrator solo(yes it is as ridiculous and awesome as it sounds) and legendary drummer Robb Reiner’s drum solo during “Swing Thing”. Anvil’s new bassist who is probably one of the most cartoonish looking musicians i’ve ever seen really shined as well like holy shit he had to have been one of the tightest bass players i’ve heard live. The band although never being hailed as super technical were just super fun to watch live. Anvil is another one of the oldschool acts that deserves to stick around for awhile because they are one of those bands that remind us to have fun with the music.

 

Overall, the show was pretty well worth it. While it started off quite slow, it picked up more and more through the night. Night Demon were probably the biggest highlight for me with Anvil obviously following close by. It was a good night of oldschool heavy metal fun.