There’s no rest for the wicked. That’s the saying right? Who knows. At this point after 4 Days of X Games and Warped Tour I have passed exhaustion and moved onto the delirium stage. That being said, there was no way I was going to miss a chance to see the almighty Havok live so, after a quick nap and another pot of coffee, I made way my way into sleepy Saint Paul to find anything but a sleepy Monday night show.
Unfortunately, due to my need of a nap, I missed opening local Agony Reigns. What a freaking mistake. As soon as I walked in, my friend/ photographer’s face broke my heart and I knew that I had made the wrong call trying to fit that nap in. His smile stretched from ear to ear as he told me about the opener. He kept on mentioning how they were way too talented for how young they were. That’s when I looked up at the stage and realized that the guys carrying gear off the stage to make way for the next band literally looked like they were 12 (okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but, remember, I’m delirious at this point). Judging by the glowing review my buddy gave the band and the amount of merch I saw being worn in the good sized audience, it was clear that I had missed something amazing. My apologies to Agony Reigns but I promise to catch you soon!
The first band, and only other local, I was able to catch was Krawg. Having seen these guys a handful of times now, I kind of knew what to expect and knew it was just what I needed to get my 24th wind to keep me going through the night. Their dark and almost sinister music was served on a silver platter of perfection. For being a local band, these guys have it and, whether or not you like the super heavy style, there’s no denying the talent and togetherness this group has. Even with a member missing (feel better soon Wes!), there was a sense of cohesion from this group and, had you never seen them before, you probably wouldn’t have even noticed the missing member. The darkness of the music from Krawg may be a bit much for me but seeing them perform live never gets old. You can see the dedication and the endless hours of practice coming to life in front of your eyes when they play and that’s something you don’t get from every band.
Extinction A.D was the first of the three touring bands to take the stage. Hailing from Long Island, NY, Extinction A.D. was clearly an act that many in the audience were anxious to see. Within the first song there were people stomping around the pit with a couple of shoves thrown in here and there. The music was clean and clear while keeping a sense of intensity and power behind it. Singer Rick Jimenez had an energy about him that just made you want to shove your neighbor a little bit. Although the intensity clearly had roots back in the old Slayer/ Metallica days, there was a sense of modernism to their music. It didn’t feel generic or boring in any way but also didn’t feel recycled or like a completely homage to the bands of the past. That energy mixed with the energy of Rick slammed into the energy of the audience who seemed to have no idea it was a Monday creating the perfect atmosphere that seemed to stay true throughout the rest of the night.
With uber short sets, I was left wanting a lot more from Extinction A.D. They were one of those bands that I could watch all night and not get sick of but, alas, we still had two more bands to get through and the thought of my bed was starting to become the only thought in my head so onwards we went into Jungle Rot’s set. Even though they are from Wisconsin, it has been awhile since Jungle Rot has performed in the Twin Cities and I (along with the rest of the audience) was clearly ready for it. Jungle Rot has been a staple in the death metal scene since the early 1990’s. Although they seem to have never gotten the recognition that they more than deserve, they have never given up and continue to tour and make amazing music to this day. Currently touring on their 10th album Jungle Rot, the band clearly had enough material to fill hours and hours with music but, with only about 45 minutes to fill, they did a great job of picking a great variety of old songs to perform along with a couple of new ones. “Do you want to hear some new songs? So do we!” joked singer Dave Matrise about half way through their set.
Just like the previous bands in the night, Havok brought a sense of professionalism and intensity to the night during their headlining spot. Bringing a bit more of a trash sound than the other bands, Havok was the perfect ending to what had proven to be a perfect night. The cleanliness and the way each note had a spot and each cymbal hit had a purpose made the set feel way bigger than a Monday night set at a little bar in Saint Paul. The sound was powerful and demanded your attention with ease. Before getting too far into the first song, singer David Sanchez asked the crowd if they knew what a wall of death was. I was honestly a bit shocked. We were just seconds into their set and they were going to try a wall of death. On top of that, the crowd wasn’t huge, although there was a bunch of passion and appreciation for music in the crowd, there wasn’t a big enough number for a wall of death. David went on to explain that during most wall of deaths the goal is to destroy the other side (a wall of death is when the audience splits in half and then charges towards the other side with fists and feet flying) but that’s not what we were going to do. He told the crowd to, instead of running towards each other, to start running in a circle. The crowd did just that and, for the first time in the night, we had a legit circle pit on our hands.
Last night was intense and extreme while still staying cool, calm and collected. Although I should be beyond exhausted being that I’m going on about 13 hours sleep for the past five days, last night’s show energized me and I woke up this morning ready to take on the world.