LEGIONS OF METAL II FESTIVAL
While obviously paramount, every festival is about more than the music. The social aspect and expanding your worldwide network of like-minded friends has to come into play somewhere as well. Also eating, that’s important too! This means at a jam-packed event like the Legions of Metal II Festival, it is inevitable that you will not see some of the acts on stage. Also, I did not enjoy every band I saw. That does not mean anything. Just one crazy Canadian’s opinion. Every band on the 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!
Here’s my blog style account of my time on the second official day of the 2018 Legions of Metal II Festival!
LEGIONS OF METAL II FESTIVAL – Day Two
My third and final day at Legions Of Metal II Festival 2018 in Chicago began with a cold beer on the rooftop patio. It was pretty chilly up there, not at all like 2017’s event. See my 2017 report (Legions Of Metal Festival 2017) for details on the medical incident.
Heading back inside and downstairs to Reggie’s Music Joint, I spotted Stacey Savage chatting with Kit and his wife at the bar. Already loving the music is where it starts of course but nothing gets my fanship of a band into overdrive more than the people. And Stacey and Adam are two of the most genuine, pleasant, appreciative and down to earth folks in the game.
With doors opening on the Rock Club side, Stacey went to get ready for the set and Kit and his lovely wife Jen headed up to VIP for a quick bite. Left to my own devices I hit the Merch Hall Alleyway with US currency burning a hole in my pocket. Hello, massive selection of Savage Master tees! Mr. Neal was just in set up progress, so I hung around as a couple of other fans purchased gear.
Time to grab some pre-show merch!
The cash got super hot and so it only seemed prudent to hand some off to Ravage. This is a band that I was looking forward to seeing having had their Return of the Spectral Rider CD submitted to DBG Headquarters for review. The Ravage boys had marketing down to a science…their CD’s were priced at only $5 each! Vynil and tees at $10? Better to sell more items at a lower profit than less at higher, the volume will bring more profit in the long run. I only wish I could have picked up the vinyl but there’s no way that would make it home safely after being carted around here all day!
Adam completed his business with the other customers and set up more or less ready, I picked up a t-shirt and a Savage Master patch for my war vest. Later on, at some point, I returned and grabbed another Savage Master shirt. And then again later under direction from a fan in Toronto also picked him up a Savage Master shirt! But “Meister The Merch Mule” wasn’t over yet! Already packing a TKO shirt from yesterday bound for Sweden, a Redd Barron tee also now joined that pile to travel overseas in a couple of weeks. Which reminds me…anyone need me to pick up merch for them while I’m in Sweden?
Ravage were severely impressive. They upheld everything I’d heard on the Return Of The Spectral Rider CD in a live set. As the first band of the day, at 3:30pm no less, Ravage were in a tough position. But they succeeded immensely and I heard several buzzes about Ravage after the set indicating they’d swept up some new fans. And I saw CDs being purchased as well! This Boston band’s twin guitarist’s harmonies played off each other very well, great job guys and I hope to catch Ravage again!
Next up on the larger Rock Club stage, we found Mega Colossus. The fists raised quickly and early, these guys had my attention. Personally, I don’t overly take to their choice of moniker. But the band was tight and delivered a great set. They could use a lesson from Ravage in the marketing department, however. I’m not being cheap but when you’re a small, relatively unknown band I believe that your CD should be reasonably priced. $10 is a good amount and certainly enticing to buy. However, Mega Colossus had their’s priced at $15 (so like $18 CDN) which is a little too rich if you ask me.
And now for the highlight of the day for me. And so damn early as well. Savage Master was one of my main targets this weekend. Not that I hadn’t seen them before (Savage Master Toronto) but they are an awesome and fairly recent band that’s accomplished a lot already.
The Savage Master stage performance is an Alice Cooper-ish spectacle. It really adds to the already strong musical output. Surrounded by her guitar playing men in black hoods with heavy chains padlocked around their necks, Stacey Savage‘s stage costume stands out. I noted that there were no candelabras set up on the backline amps, which they set up but were not allowed to ignite in Toronto. Probably too many fire risks and perhaps they have been removed from the show. Added this second time witnessing Savage Master is Stacey drinking a goblet of “blood” and spitting it out Gene Simmons-ish. See later on for more comments on this (Bitch). So polite and friendly and rather short in person, Savage turns incredibly evil on stage…and seems to grow a couple feet in stature as well!
My only complaint here is the already short set time, unfortunately, saw one song casualty with time constraints. Savage Master could have raged on for two hours and I’d be happy! Definitely check this band out, they’re always “Looking for a Sacrifice”!
Not knowing so much about Redd Barron, or actually, nothing if we are truthful, I wanted to see what they were about. Basically going on the word of Mikael the Swede, after all, he likes them so much that he had me buy him a shirt! Apparently, Redd Barron hasn’t been on stage together in something like 30 years. I guess they had some albums back then that have recently been re-released by Heaven and Hell Records. The set was decent given that I did not know the material. The hooks sunk in at the off with “The Barron’s Here To Rock”. I shall have to have Mikael educate me
Getting weak…and tired….time to Ravage the VIP buffet. A fantastic option and this year a great area laid out for VIP in the former record store. Each and every time I was in there, however, I found I had it nearly to myself!
Back down to The Music Joint, Transylvania was ripping it up on stage. A stage that’s not large to begin with seemed even smaller given that Transylvania featured three guitarists plus bass, drums and vocals! I enjoyed what I heard which was, unfortunately, not a great deal. Yet more researching upon arrival home. Their full set is available in a YouTube video found on the Facebook page 🙂
On the big stage Phantom was holding court. Again new on my radar these boys seem to be another resurgence from the past. I think they said it’s been 25 years since being on stage together. Lead vocalist looking sort of Lord of the Rings wizard-ish with long white hair pulled back in a ponytail higher on his head and long white as Canadian snow goatee or beard, still has a lot of power in his lungs. He even at one point rhetorically queried the crowd “not too bad for an old guy”! Again though with the pricey CDs 🙁
As much as I enjoyed Phantom I elected to retire to the outer patio. Getting older each year, my feet simply just don’t have the endurance they once did. That and (I’m pretty sure it was) the pasta did not sit well. Terrible gassy farts and bloated indigestion…and not from beer! Not the only one with the fresh air and sitting idea, Dustin who I’d not seen much of today, joined me.
Somewhat of a cult act I guess, Detroit’s rock and roll horror show, Halloween apparently rarely play. They were very entertaining to watch during their Alice Cooper-like stage show influenced act. Vocalist Brian Thomas using different props each song usually involving a staff or wand. His white facepaint and belt of skull heads added to the shtick. All the while bassist George Neal tossed a never-ending amount on guitar pics to the audience. He gave them out like candy at Hallowe’en! At one juncture he pointed at me and flicked his candy. I actually caught it mid air….that’ll probably never happen again! A very engaging set and yet another band I’ve found thanks to Legions of Metal II!
Wow! These guys aren’t messing around. The trio hit hard and fast, leaving you breathless. After hearing a lot of buzz on Bewitcher, this was to be my first live experience. Indeed my first listen to their craft. The intensity is unfathomable! Blackened death speed thrash to the max. Now I see the hype is real. I only wish that these guys were on the bigger stage affording a short kid like me a better vantage point. And I failed to check their merch stand for CDs…to the internet Batman!
I’ve been listening to Bitch for many years. The band fronted by Betsy have the distinction of being the first signed to Metal Blade. And briefly meeting Betsy last night for a quick photo, she seemed very nice. All of this added to my anticipation of the Bitch set. I was getting immeasurably tired however. C’mon Meister, hold out mate! Opening with the iconic “The Bitch Is Back” seemed a great choice. The band and vocalist all sounded awesome! The after song banter as Betsy de-tangled her mic cord was humorous and right in line with what you may expect from Bitch. Unfortunately, however, the shtick got old really quickly for me. Between every song became a monologue of tongue in cheek humour, that while at times funny caused the set to feel like it was dragging on. I would have much preferred more music and less banter. Although I really did love the obviously unplanned bit where Betsy looked down at the stage and asked “What the Hell happened here”? She claimed it looked like brain matter and blood all over the stage. Savage Master!
Heading outside for some air proved a fatal mistake in my bid to see the final act on the Reggie’s stage at Legions of Metal II. I was tired and the Uber app basically screamed at me as I took a seat on the patio and opened my phone. Yep, you win Uber. Time to go home…well, I do have to be at the airport by 5am as well!
Once again another incredible rock and metal filled day that cannot be described properly with simple words. Thanks to Bob Byrne and Shane Merrill for organizing, Reggie’s Rock Club for hosting, each and every band who came packed with their “A” game, and the Legions. Fans from around the world, all of whom shared this magical experience called Legions Of Metal II Festival…..and now bring on Legions III!
Another awesome day at Legions of Metal II Festival. This event gets stronger each year and Reggie’s is a great and endearing venue as well. Check out my Pre-Party Report and Day One! For 2017’s adventure you can read here: Legions Of Metal Festival 2017.