Kicking off Las Rageous for Friday evening came local group A Friend, A Foe. Since forming in late twenty twelve the group has drawn in nearly thirteen thousand followers on their Facebook. Juan Gutierrez who leads the band through their short, but more than fulfilling set does a smooth job gracing the stage with his presence as his vocals range in intensity to follow his body the crowd gets into it more and more each passing song. Fellow members Chase Long, Matt Jackson, and Stephen Graff show no restraint to follow in the footsteps of Guiterrez as they all provide a different set of vocals and an astounding amount of energy and headbangs that would put most into a coma. After listening to the group’s most recent six-song EP on the drive over to Nevada it wasn’t hard to spot The Space Between and Gray Matter in the groups set. And conveniently enough the set consisted of the band’s entire EP. The Space Between covers the struggle and the confusion of life’s obstacles and trying to find out who you are as a human being. Despite it being a sensitive subject the band has no problem bringing in a heavy musical aspect and mixing up their clean and unclean vocals in the song to represent the frustration. Secondly, Gray Matter (accompanied by the group’s music video) is available on Youtube for the current generation to hear and gain guidance from. Why guidance? Well, it’s rather simple. AFAF does not try to hide their meaning in this song as they come outright and say “Hateful people with an outlook on color, throwing jabs at each other when one looks different from the other. So fuck the cliches of your generation. Rid us of segregation. End the oppression.” It’s made clear that the band wants to discuss the current race epidemic that is sweeping the country. The lyrics promote that no one person is different from the next and we should all be treated equally which I felt really spoke to their crowd on Friday. Fans were really getting into AFAF and wanted more than just their EP to be played live. With that being said we hope to see this group given opportunities for an extended set time in order to showcase their full abilities.
We Gave It Hell quickly made a name for themselves amongst the crowd that they’ve been playing in front of for the last four years. Lead singer Taylor Adsit commands the attention of the crowd with his powerful vocals and strong lyrics to coincide. The group chose to open with LVE which caught the ear of many concert goers. Thanks to Adsits clear vocals I was able to catch some of the following lyrics “Free from the boundaries that hold me, Put the stake through my spirit, Try and hold me down, Keep your opinions, My potential is endless”. Following up with Heretic the crowd really started moving and opening up the pit for the hardcore style this band represented. But the band didn’t just have great musical taste they had the talent to back them up as well. During the set, the transitioning of highs and lows, and cleans to screams for Adsit could only be described as only effortless and flawless as he poured every ounce of his soul into each word that he sang. Alongside Adsit onstage was Drew Guerrero and Adam Garcia on guitar, Parker Adsit on drums, as well as Ryan Avery on bass. From every choreographed group headbang to flying kicks from Avery to the ruthless guitars and the roar of the drum from Parker there was no doubt in the crowd’s mind that this group not only deserved the main stage but that they were also destined for success. The last three songs WGIH played (Finite, Bittersweet, and Self Resistance) came from their 2016 ep release which was popular among the crowd as well. The local Las Vegas bands who are up and coming seem to be creating a new wave of music that not only allows the audience to mosh, headbang, jump and enjoy but also release feelings that sometimes music and aggression in the pit can be the only cure for. Overall a really enjoyable set from We Gave It Hell.
Following A Friend, A Foe came The Devil Wears Prada. I last caught up with The Devil Wears Prada in Colorado for Mayhem Festival and boy was that a real treat. Needless to say I was nothing short of excited when I heard they would be playing Las Rageous. There’s something that Mike Hranica brings to the stage that I haven’t really seen matched from another band and that is the amount of energy and passion put into every single song alongside his bandmates. Opening with Daughter from the album Transit Blues Hranica is already flying around the stage, gripping the mic and it’s stand like there’s no tomorrow, pushing the words out of his mouth so strongly you can feel it all the way in the back row. Jamming alongside Hranica was Jeremy DePoyster, Kyle Sipress who contribute to guitar and backing vocals. Sipress was a familiar face to the behind the scenes crew as he was the bands former guitar tech who took over for leaving member Chris Rubey who left the band after ten years to be home with his wife and daughter. Sipress seems to have made the transition effortlessly as he grooves with the band without missing a beat. Last but not least we have the drummer for TWDP Giuseppe Capolupo who also is a new addition in replacement of Daniel Williams who was left/removed from the band for undisclosed reasons. Nonetheless, Capolupo has called the stage home for many years as he has played with Demise of Eros, Haste The Day, and Once Nothing. TDWP powered through three songs in total off of Transit Blues, two from Dead Throne, one from each 8:18, Space EP, With Roots Above and Branches Below, as well as Zombie EP. The Devil Wears Prada had a pretty packed-in crowd despite being on a smaller stage and really controlled their presence throughout the night by continually playing songs back to back unless Hranica was to briefly stop for a sip of water.
During 2016 fans felt tremendous heartbreak as Of Mice & Men were forced to see the devastating loss (in the band) of Austin Carlile due to Marfan syndrome (a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue). Carlile had the following to say on twitter in 2016 before his exit “I had 3 tears in my dual sac surrounding my spinal cord, and we discovered that every time I would push down to scream spinal fluid would rush through the tears which were causing me the violent pain every time I’d perform. It was causing my muscles to seize up, and body to contort on stage, and making me lethargic and sore every hour of the day.” Despite losing Carlile OM&M has since made the decision to press on. Fans were skeptical of who could replace Carlile as they had once seen Mitch Lucker replaced by Eddie Hermida and as some feel he fills in Lucker’s shoes just fine, others were not in the same boat. Without adding or losing another member OM&M decided to promote bassist Aaron Pauley to lead vocals. The band kicked off their set with a classic titled Bones Exposed followed by Would You Still Be There and Pauley nailed every lyric to a T without missing a beat. Looking around the enormous crowd every fan in attendance was singing the words while others were drinking, smoking, and smiling enjoying the group’s performance. Although we will miss Carlile Pauley will do an excelling job as the band’s new frontman. As the group took a majority of their set from the album Restoring Force (Bones Exposed, Public Service Announcement, Never Giving Up, Broken Generation, Would You Still Be There, You Make Me Sick, and You’re Not Alone) the band was not afraid to switch it up with songs from Cold World (Pain, Real, Relentless) and The Flood (The Depths, The Flood)to complete the band’s twelve song set.
Shortly after seeing WWE wrestler CM Punk come out to This Fire Burns by Killswitch Engage I wanted to know where this song came from and where I could find more of it. Once discovering As Daylight Dies (the album which has This Fire Burns) I listened to the record more than enough times to get me stuck on a few more songs such as My Curse and Unbroken. Fast forward to 2017 we have Killswitch coming out to The Beastie Boys Fight For Your Right which leads into the group playing an amazing and powerful set. The groups seventeen song setlist came mostly from their albums Incarnate, As Daylight Dies, and Disarm the Descent and of course they couldn’t help but do a personal favorite (for the band and for the fans) a tribute to the late great Dio by playing Holy Diver for the Las Vegas crowd which included a guest vocal appearance from Joey Belladonna of Anthrax. Lead singer Jesse Leach consistently called for a circle pit especially before they dove into Rose of Sharyn calling out all the “crazy partiers residents of Las Vegas”. Adam Dutkiewicz asked for the same at one point during a different song stating “this is a metal show, we’re not here to talk about our feelings. So open up that pit bitches!” Two fan favorites that get an honorable mention are Alone I Stand, My Curse (dedicated to the ladies of the audience), and In Due Time which had everyone singing along with Leach. Reflecting back on Killswitch Engages set I realize that not only do they have a great rhythm as a band, but they do not own a non-dancing part of their body. With the exception of Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz momentarily freezing for a brief solo, each of the members was running a marathon across the stage while jumping over imaginary obstacles and having a blast all while doing it. For those who have hesitated on buying a ticket to the Killthrax tour (Killswitch Engage & Anthrax) hesitate no more. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity!
After the initial release of Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness by Coheed and Cambria in September 2005 fans and listeners alike have claimed it’s the best album release to date. After twelve years the group took the album back on the road and is now playing it in full for fans to relive the great memories that formed all those years ago. Unfortunately, the group did not play the entire album in full, but they did, however, play six songs off the album, 2 off of In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, and one from The Second Stage Turbine Blade. Hiding behind his hair for most of the set Claudio Sanchez played The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut and Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial) to open the set which puts not just Sanchez’s guitar abilities to the test, but also he transforms his vocals to sound almost feminine during parts of each song. Following the group played Apollo I: The Writing Writer, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, A Favor House Atlantic, Delirium Trigger, Mother May I, The Suffering and closed out the set with one of their biggest hits Welcome Home. Overall I was impressed with Coheed and Cambria’s performance because of their ability to write and play better than most musicians and taking it to the stage only helps shine their light that much more.
One of the most famous and alive metal bands to date Anthrax took over the stage last to show the Nevada crowd what it truly means to save the best for last (at least for stage B that is). Opening with Caught In A Mosh Joey Belladonna felt truly at home amongst the metalheads of NV as he ran the stage with his handheld mic stand and smiled the largest and whitest smile throughout the set. Belladonna seems to always have the most fun as he interacts with fans and plays around with his band while they play their instruments. Scott Ian who backs Belladonna’s vocals and plays rhythm for the group came out with his signature bald head, gray beard and shorts as he stood his ground and exchanged faces with the crowd while headbanging and switching sides of the stage. Bassist Frank Bello and guitarist Jonathan Donais are always a sight to see as they headbang and stomp across the stage alongside Belladonna. And lets not forget one of the greatest live drummers Charlie Benante who did an amazing job at slaying the drums throughout each song. Most of Anthrax’s set was taken from Among The Living which was released in 1987 (nine years before I was born!) in honor of their thirty year anniversary. Some personal favorites from the album that the group played live were Caught In A Mosh, I Am The Law, and Madhouse.
Universal recording artist Godsmack had no hesitation melting the crowd during Friday nights set as the group put the final touches on Las Rageous first show ever. Although we haven’t seen a tour from Godsmack in a little while, they’re still oiling their wheels as they play multiple festivals throughout the months while working on an album soon to be released in 2018. The decision to release the album in 2018 according to lead singer Sully Erna was due to Shannon Larkin and Tony Rombola working on a side band project titled The Apocalypse Blues Revue and Erna himself working on his own set of projects. Erna also reminded interviewer Roxy Myzal that 2018 would mark Godsmack’s twentieth year anniversary for their self titled debut album which could lead to a large scale world tour to not only promote their first album, but their newest album as well. Opening with Awake the crowd erupted for Godsmack, the group quickly moved to Straight Out Of Line, and 1000hp which focuses around the bands start and progression. Every mouth was chanting “Turn that shit up louder! Make it all go faster!” Erna dedicated the next song The Enemy “to any cocksucker who has ever stabbed you in the back!” Erna couldn’t help, but say how Las Vegas was a hard working crowd and that it might just be his favorite stop on the tour thus far. He also mentioned the groups new record saying “you know we’re working on a big fat fucking record and were going to drop it on your ass next year. Are you guys going to come back and see us? Good because otherwise we’d be playing to nobody and that’s a little awkard. The next two songs (Cryin’ Like A Bitch and Keep Away ) came from The Oracle and their self titled album. Following up those with Something Different Erna mentioned how he misses how a real rock show used to look before the Iphones and the computer screens. People coming to a live show to really experience it. Erna made a request for all women to be lifted on guys shoulders and then began to explain to the crowd that he was looking for the best crowd in the world and the most energetic fans were in Sydney, Australia so far. When this song kicks in, and the drummer kicks this song in, I want everyone bouncing up and down in the air! It started off with a clap in the beginning of the song and then the whole crowd erupted and the earth began to shake for just a minute. After Godsmack played Speak and Voodoo they led into a classic routine called Batalla de los Tambores (Battle of the Drums). This is a segment where Erna and drummer Larkin copy each others drumming and doing it at the exact same time. It’s a experience that you wouldn’t see from most other bands and is truly a testament to Godsmack’s ability to rock and invent unlike any other. Besides doing some fast rhythm drumming both men played parts of We Will Rock You and Back In Black. During Whatever Erna asked the crowd how many of the audience members how many of them have not seen Godsmack before and came to find out that the audience consisted of more first time fans then they had veteran fans. Erna asked the crowed immediately after for some participation by yelling “go away”! Godsmack played a cover of Come Together (originally performed by The Beatles) with a rock twist on the vocal side of things. Erna announced that I Stand Alone would be their last song before they leave. As the group was about to walk off stage Dana White (UFC president) who was front row asked Erna to play Rocky Mountain Way and in return he would donate ten thousand dollars to a charity of the bands choice. Erna said write the check Dana and they played the song that they hadn’t performed in awhile with such ease.