There are two types of rock shows. There are the big, huge arena shows and festivals. Then there are the small, dark, dingy, sweaty, intimate club shows. Nothing compares to the energy and feeling of being crammed into a small room with a few thousand people who are all there for the same reason- their favorite band is headlining well into the night.
Those are the shows the real rock fans live for. When a band takes the stage after a few hours of waiting and explodes into the set, there is no feeling like it and no words can describe it- it can\’t be done.
This was the environment at the first major rock show of 2015 at Fort Wayne\’s Pieres Entertainment Center- one of the go-to tour stops for many bands- when Hellyeah, Devour The Day, Like A Storm and Archer came through on their Blood For Blood Tour.
Archer kicked off the night with a set that was very different from the rest of the bill. Playing as a thee-piece, their style was more thrash than anything and was very reminiscent of the legendary Metallica and Megadeth. For a thrash band playing on a rock show, they were very well-received and fans genuinely loved Archer. In fact, they were screaming for more when the band had to wrap it up.
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Like A Storm took the stage next, right after 8 p.m and they were right at home having played Pieres multiple times last year. This time was different, though- their latest album, Awaken The Fire released just one day prior to the show, making for a hell of an atmosphere.
They played a set that opened with an older song in “Chemical Infatuation” but the rest of the set was all newer material- “Never Surrender,” “Wish You Hell,” their impressive and entertaining cover of “Gangster\’s Paradise” and closer “Love The Way You Hate Me” all found their way into the set- the latter two being the first two singles from the album.
They also threw in a cover of AC/DC\’s “TNT” that saw singer Chris Brooks entering the crowd, which got a hell of a response. Coming from New Zealand, what would the set be without the Didgeridoo? There was plenty of it too- they opened with a solo and during “Love The Way You Hate Me” Brooks also played the instrument. It\’s hard to find that balance between rock and didgeridoo but these guys found it. With Awaken The Fire having just released, look for a huge year from Like A Storm.
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Devour The Day followed up that impressive performance with one that took the energy and intensity and magnified it by a million. It was like watching a jet airliner take off with how much power there was in their set. The second they hit the stage, they demanded every ounce of energy and noise the crowd had and they wouldn\’t stop until they got it.
Their stage presence was among the best you\’ll ever see and they knew how to hold the crowd in the palm of their hands and control every movement they wanted. From the very beginning of opener “Respect” to the last notes of closer “Good Man,” the crowd was deafening and for a very good reason.
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As if all that wasn\’t enough, Hellyeah was ready to hit the stage and annihilate everything the crowd may have had left. And that\’s exactly what they did too. Their set was a perfectly calculated and concocted combination of songs from every Hellyeah record thus far and had a decent amount from their latest record, Blood For Blood– “Sangre Por Sangre,” “dmf,” “Demons in the Dirt,” “Cross to Bier” and “Moth” all found their way into the set while “Hellyeah” (fitting, I know) was the opener as well as “War In Me,” “Band Of Brothers,” “Drink Drank Drunk,” “Alcohaulin\’ Ass” and others from the back-catalog filled the set as well.
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Chad Gray knows exactly how to work a crowd with his conversations between songs and the chemistry the band has as a unit is undeniable. With the legendary Vinnie Paul and drums and the always-entertaining Tom Maxwell on lead guitar along with Kyle Sanders on bass, the band is operating at its best right now there was no way they were leaving Pieres without forcing everyone in attendance to leave every ounce of energy on the floor and leave exhausted, rocked out and ready to see Hellyeah once again. And that\’s exactly how it went down too.
Pre-show interview with Like A Storm guitarist Matt Brooks