Sevendust: Live at Upstate Concert Hall on Feb 6th

From the first chords of “Decay” the sold out crowd of Upstate Concert Hall went crazy.  There was something in the air on February 6th.  Sevendust always packs the house in upstate New York, and they should.  Their brand of alternative metal has withstood the test of time and their newest releases, like “Decay” show that the band isn’t going anywhere.  “Decay” highlights everything great about Sevendust: the dueling guitars of Clint Lowery and John Connolly, hard hitting rhythms of Morgan Rose and the soulful energy of Vinnie Hornsby, along with Lajon Witherspoon’s unmistakable melodic howl.   The tour is supporting the  new album Black Out the Sun and tried to do that with just two songs. The opening number “Decay” and the only other song they played from the new release, “Till Death”.  With a catalog as large as theirs, fans appreciated the mix from over the years, but any emphasis on the new release might have been overshadowed by past hits.

The second song of the the set was “Praise” from Sevendust’s third album Animosity.  The crowd went crazy as front man Lajon Witherspoon belted out powerful vocals at the top of his lungs and the crowd fired back knowing most the words to this and every song after it.  The sun was blacked out and the night was still young.  Lajon and company went on to play “Denial” (Home/1999), “Ugly” (Next/2005) and “Bitch” from Sevendust’s debut gold album nearly 16 years ago.  Before the band took a little breather and talked about how great it was to be back in Upstate NY.  It’s home to some of their best shows and biggest fans.  The next two songs were thoughtful and well placed.  A calm before the storm that resulted in harder, edgier work.  “Trust” and “Angel Son” are both from Sevendust’s Animosity album, however “Angel Son” was originally written for a compilation album Strait Up, dedicated to the life of Snot‘s former lead singer Lynn Strait who tragically passed away in a car accident at the age of 30.  This is as close as Sevendust will ever come to a ballad and it highlights the range and talents of the band.

Morgan Rose was able to set the pace throughout the night adding mesmerizing drum solos.  Their were times that the waves of sound threatened to blow the crowd back through the front doors.  But as the set moved on and the music got faster, the drums got louder and the crowd spread out and the pit finally opened up to a circle were only the strong survive.  “Waffle” (Home/1999) led the charge and went into “Strong Arm Broken” (Cold Day Memory/2010) and then “Till Death” from the new release.  The Set ended with “Pieces” (Next/2005) and the appropriately names “The End Is Coming”  (Cold Day Memory/2010).

The variety of songs over Sevendust’s long career is a testament to their staying power and influence in the industry.  After 16 years of pushing the envelope and bringing hard-nose, in your face music to the masses they are still experiencing incredible success.  Their most recent single “Decay” has been getting a ton of airtime on FM stations all over the country and SiriusXM’s Octane channel.

The encore was extra special for the audience and the band.  The first song was “Splinter” from Sevendust’s 2010 release Cold Day Memory.  And then, Upstate New York’s own Joey Belladonna was pulled onto the stage to help sing “Face to Face”.  It took a lot of coaxing to get the shy lead singer from the legendary metal band, Anthrax, to the stage but when he finally came out from hiding behind the speakers to the crowd, people in Joey’s hometown of Oswego could have heard the roar.

Overall the night was a huge success, opening band Avatar from Sweden is definitely a rising star to keep an eye on and support act, Lacuna Coil is always a crowd favorite.  Look for an upcoming interview with Lacuna Coil’s Andrea Ferro.  Upstate Metal’s Jim Gilbert had a chance to sit down and talk to Andrea about Lacuna Coil, the metal scene in Italy and upcoming things for the band.