The 2013 Metal Alliance Tour boasted it’s most solid and face melting line up to date. This line up was covering a lot ground and offered up something for every and all metal heads to get a taste some of the classics, some of the new, and some of the weird. Unfortunately this tour wasn’t coming to Atlanta but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from this epic face melt. I packed my shit, filled my wife’s Toyota Yaris up with gas and hit the road for an easy four hour solo trip to the Queen City. After two packs of Cheez Its, two Coca Cola Icees, and a banana, I made it to Charlotte. I met up with my brother Jammin’ Jaymz who drove down from Chapel Hill, NC. We got some kick ass home cookin’ at Mr. G’s, chilled at the room, and then headed to the venue.
If you’ve never been to the Tremont Music Hall, don’t go. It’s a fucking shithole of a club and on this day proved to also be a logistical nightmare. After being told we didn’t need photo passes at the door and then being told we needed them at the barricade, I ended up not even shooting photos. Any photos you see with this review come courtesy of Shawn Evans Photography so go give that big guy some love. Anyways, following a really awesome interview with Exodus drummer Tom Hunting (coming soon) I made my way into the club just in time for the house lights to die and for the facemelting festivities to begin!
This is a long ass review so I have split it up into TWO PARTS! Part II will be posted on Wednesday!
Christening this Metal Alliance package in Charlotte, NC was Pasadena’s own Holy Grail. The first spot on such a big bill is usually an impossible task that has most bands to playing to an empty room as people trickle in. When Holy Grail took the stage, the room was about ¾ full and without warning launched right into Dark Passenger from their latest album Ride The Void. The minute James Paul Luna opened his mouth to sing the first words I could feel a huge smile occupy my ginormous head. I was blown away, but not surprised, at just how fucking amazing they were sounding. Luna has really come into his own as a front man and continues to prove himself to be one of modern metal’s greatest frontmen. Besides the fact that he can sing his ass off, he knows how to captivate an audience and command their attention. Luna and Co. slammed through their six song set looking and sounding like seasoned veterans. These were not the wet behind the ears kids that I first met back in 2010. These were professionals who have found their place and their identity and continue to grow on it by leaps and bounds. The set (comprised mostly of material from their latest album Ride the Void) was taken to whole other level when the band delivered the title track “Ride The Void” to the people. This is where the band really shined and showed just what they are capable up. The guitar playing of Eli and Alex is something truly amazing to see. There is so much focus and energy to what they guys do and the rhythm section of Tyler and Blake creates a strong, solid foundation for the band to build upon. At this point I could look around and see that people were truly being blown away and floored by these guys. Their stellar set was capped off with a one two punch from their debut Crisis In Utopia of My Last Attack and Fight to Kill once again melting faces with their twin axe attack..
As I looked around and listened to the people around me, it seemed as if many people had just discovered their new favorite band. Holy Grail delivered their set with a powerful, passionate, and energetic energy that was contagious and definintely spread to all those in the room. There is no arrogance or ego behind what they do. Holy Grail is fueled by their love for the music that they play and by the energy that is returned to them from the audience. Holy Grail proved to me that they are a band that I, and countless other classic metalheads, can count on to carry the torch and keeping the true spirit of heavy metal alive. Hail the Grail!
Holy Grail Setlist:
Dark Passenger, Bleeding Stone, Ride the Void, Crosswinds, My Last Attack, Fight to Kill
Occupying the 2nd slot was Shadows Fall. Shadows Fall is one of those bands that I have seen numerous times as a support act for other bands and each time I come away from their sets with the same opinion. My opinion on Shadows Fall is that they don’t suck but I just don’t like them. Well, actually, I like “them”, I just don’t like their songs. The band is amazingly talented and I love their energy. Lead singer Brian Fair has an amazing stage presence and the guys dreadlocks are so fucking long that his hair may as well be an honorary member of the band as he puts them to work. When the dude headbangs they just about hit every member on the tiny stage. The guitar team of Jonathan Donais and Matt Bachand is really pretty amazing and I enjoy seeing them rip shit up. All in all, Shadows Fall is an amazing band but I just don’t like their songs. The crowd, on the other hand, packed into this tiny little shit hole and pledged their allegiance to Shadows Fall. I’ve never seen these guys not play to a packed room (even as an opening act) so they must truly be doing something right. While they don’t connect with me, they really do connect with their fans and vice versa. That is something that I have to respect whether or not their music appeals to me or not.
Shadows Fall Setlist:
The Light That Blinds, The Idiot Box, Weight of the World, King of Nothing, The Power of I and I, Divide and Conquer, War
PART II of my review of 2013 Metal Alliance Tour in Charlotte is up next….