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My nostalgia-seeking weekend continued on Saturday night at The Amsterdam Bar & Hall in Saint Paul. Sure, I would have loved to check out Cory Wong & The Wongnotes at First Avenue on Saturday but hearing that one of my favorites from back in the day was back in town for the first time in damn near twenty years, yeah, I knew where I belonged on Saturday night and knew I had made the right choice within seconds of the showing beginning.
Glasslands was the first band of this epic five-band tour to take the stage. Although this band features former members of Icon For Hire and Beartooth, they seemed fairly unknown to the growing crowd that had come out on Saturday night but that didn’t stop anyone from having a good time. Their distinct brand of metal came complete with groovy moments and moments of pure passion. The vocals of Josh Kincheloe were the true star of this band’s short set but, really, the entire thing was absolutely flawless.
Although the music of the two previous bands was amazing, for some reason it just didn’t get the audience going but that changed within the first song of SECRETS’ set.
Following Glasslands was an all too quick set from Dead American. I had never heard this band before but, as soon as they jumped into their set, there was something familiar about them. It took me a second but I finally figured it out– the vocalist of Dead American is Cove Reber who happened to be the lead vocalist of Saosin back in the day. This may or may not mean anything to you but it meant the world to me and had me so excited to see what he has been up to over the years. Each member clearly brought something to the table when it came to this band. The number of genres being blended to form a sound that can only be described as “Dead American” was staggering and kept their short set feeling fresh what with how every track showed a different side of this truly versatile band. It’s no surprise that I found myself enamored with the vocals of Cove just due to the nostalgia factor but it was also because, like Josh in Glasslands, they were just flawless. It was as they were clearing off the stage that I took inventory of the bands still to come and realized that Saturday night’s show was all about vocal powerhouses which just had me even more excited for the rest of the show.
California-based SECRETS took the stage next. Although plagued with line-up changes to the point where there is only one remaining original member (Richard Rogers), this band took the stage and absolutely destroyed it. Although the music of the two previous bands was amazing, for some reason it just didn’t get the audience going but that changed within the first song of SECRETS’ set. Unclean vocalist (yes, because that’s a distinction in this band but I won’t go into details– just listen to their music and it will make sense) Wade Walters really didn’t give the audience a choice in the matter of just standing or moving around. Constantly urging them to split in the middle and do mini-walls of death or opening the pit up even more than it already was, a few people in the crowd took the requests to heart adding a very electric feeling to the air. Although the energy that Wade was giving off was amazing, it was, again, the clean vocals of Richard that really had me stunned. It sounded just like the recordings only better and was really just the icing on the cake to SECRETS’ amazing set.
I was super interested to see how SKSK would sound after fifteen years and the tragic death of their vocalist Tyson Stevens.
The anticipation I was feeling for the next band had me almost worked up to a panic attack. Just like Foxy Shazam on Friday night, the last time I saw Scary Kids Scaring Kids would have been back when I was still in high school and living in Des Moines, Iowa. SKSK was one of those bands that hit me just right when they came out. From their distinct and powerful vocals to the prominent keyboard sounds, they were everything I needed back during my angsty teenage years. I’ll be honest, it’s rare that I even think of putting this band on to listen to but, when they creep up on a playlist or something, I find the need to stop everything and just take it all in. So yeah, I was pretty excited to finally see this band again. Unfortunately, their start was delayed due to some serious technical difficulties. My anxiety started showing and I started thinking in my head, “What if they just don’t play?” I was freaking out and every minute that passed with the stage crowded with stage techs and band members trying to remedy whatever was happening was just adding to my concern but, out of nowhere, the lights went down and the band jumped into a set that could not have been more perfect given that they had to cut it short due to the delayed start.
I was super interested to see how this band would sound after fifteen years and the tragic death of their vocalist Tyson Stevens. Honestly, the vocals of this band were something that had me sold on SKSK years ago and those distinct vocals would not be easy to copy but Kurt Travis (of Royal Coda and Push Over and formerly of Dance Gavin Dance) stepped in and absolutely did this band justice. It ends up that SKSK had planned on bringing someone else on tour as the vocalist but something came up and, just three days before the tour, Kurt stepped in and took over. I really have to bow down to Kurt for doing that and for fitting the SKSK sound while bringing his own little flair to the table.
Some bands that were big back in the early to mid-2000’s really just didn’t age well with time but SKSK proved that they were aging like a fine wine.
Due to the shortened set, SKSK was unable to play their full set but they gave the audience the best snippets from the setlist that they could. From “The City Sleeps in Flames” to “Faces”, almost every song they performed catapulted me back to a different time in the best way possible. They also treated the audience to some new tracks that were actually really good. I write that like I’m surprised because, well, I am. Some bands that were big back in the early to mid-2000’s really just didn’t age well with time but SKSK proved with their few new tracks that they shared with the audience that they were aging like a fine wine and I am so stoked to see what the future has in store for them!
Closing out the already stellar night of music was the one and only D.R.U.G.S. (Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows). Featuring the one and only Craig Owens (Chiodos) on vocals, this band took the stage and had the audience in a frenzy. I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about D.R.U.G.S. walking to the show on Saturday night other than the fact that Craig was the vocalist but that changed instantly and I wanted to know every song from this band when all was said and done. Their music, much like their live show, was full of energy, aggression, and power in all of the right ways, and that was mirrored by the audience. People were shouting the words back at the stage with an undeniable sense of admiration for the musicians on stage. Although I didn’t feel an attachment to D.R.U.G.S. like I did SKSK, their set was the perfect way to end a stellar Saturday night concert.
Average Age of the Crowd: 32
Crowd Surfers: None
Mosh-ability: 9 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter: 8 out of 10
Stage Divers: The Keyboardist of SKSK Tried
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around: $12
Broken Bones: None Noticed
Spotted Flying Through The Air: Nothing
Fights: None Witnessed
Idiots Taken Out By Security: 0
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember):
Dead American: 0
Scary Kids Scaring Kids: 1
Celebrity Sightings: None
Overall Score: 9.1 out of 10
Show on Deck: Zombi / Crash Cuddle