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I am a hard rock and metal music fan. Many different genres and styles. Card carrying. Proud as hell. Totally necessary for life. It enhances yet also controls my life. It was not always so. In days gone by, some 30 years ago to as recent as 10 years back, I suffered abuse and ridicule for my listening pleasures. Today, those offenders, so-called friends, have been flushed away. Good riddance. I have new, real friends now. We are a bit of cult with our cut-off sleeve jean jackets, leather, patches, chains, tattoos and long hair….but I belong here. It represents so much more. These are my people.
Being from a small town north of Toronto Canada many bands from the 80’s never reached me. Now even with the internet many new and old are simply swamped under by waves and waves of the digital age. I do my level headed best to travel to as many worldwide events as I can. Some stomping grounds include MORC, Sweden Rock Festival, Hellfest France, M3, Rocklahoma, Rock n’ Skull, Firefest and more. There are always more and tons undiscovered. I am only one man after all.
On May 18, 19 and 20, I targeted another new event, Legions of Metal. Apparently, this festival in its first year was born from an event called Ragnarokkr. Lambaste as you will, I have no real idea what that was before. Perhaps, had it not been for Pittsburgh band Lady Beast, Legions of Metal would also have fallen through the cracks. Once they were announced, I was determined to be there for their support and my own. Based in Chicago, this smaller sized festival contained many bands I was unfamiliar with. Quite a few smaller tier groups, many from Chicago or North Carolina it would seem. The bigger names did not really attract me. Except for Raven, Diamond Head, and Battleaxe (if you consider any of those big). I’ve never gravitated to the popular, but prefer the underdogs. This event promised nearly every band as undiscovered country for me.
Normally I would undertake my usual due diligence and study. YouTube, Facebook and the like to learn and sample musical outputs from almost every name contained in the roster. The pressures and stress of “adulting” began to mount long before Legions approached. I wasn’t totally sure I’d be making the event. In fact, it was literally down to the wire. Although I’d purchased my VIP festival ticket months back, I bought the flight just the day prior to the event! Then I couldn’t find the damn VIP ticket email (thanks Shane for saving me)!
What a fantastic event! The venue, Reggie’s Rock Club, was perfect! A really cool venue basically encompassing everything under one roof. There was the bar area with some tables for diners and a smaller stage. Heading up to the roof revealed a fairly large open air patio complete with bar. Sandwiched in between these levels was a full on record store! Next door (adjoining really) was the larger concert area with a bigger stage and of course a bar. The festival was hosting a rooftop party prior to each day’s procedures. DJ’ing up some great metal was one of the festival organizers.
I did not see every band. I skipped headliners that would have others shaking their heads at me. Also, I did not enjoy every band I saw. That does not mean anything. Just one crazy Canadian opinion. Every band on stage packed their “A” games. All performers had their rabid fans in attendance. Faces were melted (sometimes more) in each and every set. Just because I maybe didn’t like that band doesn’t mean they sucked! Very important as I would never want to discount someone’s craft or creativity just because it doesn’t please me.
Some standout bands for me during the Legions of Metal were: Lady Beast, Substratum, Sacred Leather, Hessler, Diamond Head, Killer, and Amulance.
Below are links to my daily wrapups and comments on bands that I did see. A big thank-you to the bands, Bob Byrne (who I didn’t get to meet), Shane Merrill and all the organizers and staff who put on this awesome event. When does next year go on sale?