CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY: Evan J. Thomas recently covered Black Label Society at the House of Blues in Chicago, IL - Check out his bad ass photos - CHECK IT OUT HERE
CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY & REVIEW: Mongolian metal band The Hu recently played the Park West Theater in Chicago, IL and Evan J. Thomas was there to capture the spectacle - SEE IT ALL HERE
Another highly anticipated show for me in 2021 was here and this time it was the buzz around the Mongolian metal band The Hu. Using traditional Mongolian instrumentation including the Morin khuur, the Tovshuur and Mongolian throat singing the band calls their style of music "hunnu rock", hu inspired by the Hunnu, an ancient Mongol/Turkic empire, known as Xiongnu in Mongolia. Some of the band's lyrics include old Mongolian war cries and poetry. Thank you Wikipedia for that info!
With a band like The Hu and their eclectic sound, it was only fitting for the crowd to be as diverse in nature for as many shows I have been to in recent years. Now lets talk about the show. Unfortunately I wasn't able to photograph the show from the photo pit since there apparently wasn't one so I had to photograph from the crowd so I wandered around the Park West trying to get the best angle as i'm rocking out to the bands set. The Hu moved the masses kicking off the show with "Shoog shoog", and bringing us their cross over favorites "Yuve Yuve Yu" and my personal favorite "Wolf Totem". The Hu finished their set and walked off the stage to thundering applause for an encore and the band didn't hesitate to come back and go all out with their rendition of the Metallica classic "Sad But True".
I love the whole aura of what the band brings, I think they have 9 members in the band including 2 drummers. The various traditional Mongolian instruments and the throat singing is something I have never experienced before and it was a bad ass change of pace. Great band, great energy! Rock On!
CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY: Evan J. Thomas recently covered guitarist Bobby Keller and his band New Dilemma, check out his bad ass photos! - SEE IT HERE
CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY & REVIEW: Evan J. Thomas covered Joyous Wolf and Of Limbo at Top Fuel Saloon in Braidwood, IL, check out his photos and review - SEE IT ALL HERE
This was yet another show that has been circled on my calendar since the day it was announced due to the fact that Joyous Wolf is one of my favorite live bands over the past few years and the boys know how to put on a rock show. Secondly, Of Limbo, a rock band out of Long Beach, CA who I have been dying to see since i've heard of them and did some work with them earlier this year.
Of Limbo survived a horrible van accident a few years ago just days before I was supposed to see them at The Forge in Joliet but they finally made it to the Chicagoland area on this Tuesday evening. Meeting vocalist Jake Davies and guitarist Luke Davies, bassist Rob Gravely and drummer Christopher "Bug" Bristol prior to the show was a lot of fun to get to know the guys before their set. Of Limbo live show is highly energetic and they bring the party to the stage as they rocked out to their single "Get On It", and their cover of the Beastie Boy's favorite "Fight For Your Right" and to finish off the set a bad ass rendition of fellow Long Beach rapper Warren G's "Regulate".
Capping off the evening was one of my favorite bands, Joyous Wolf as Nick, Blake, Greg and Robert brought one of their best performances I've seen to Top Fuel Saloon. Vocalist Nick Reese is an incredible frontman as his distinct voice belts out "Quiet Heart", "The Mechanic" and their new single "Fearless" throughout their hour plus set that had the masses rocking and bobbing their heads. Nick has a knack for being "fearless" on stage as he is known to climb scaffolds (he didn't do that this show), jump off stages and is limber enough to do flips and the splits during Blake's guitar solos.
Bad Ass rock and roll music with great stage presence and a party like atmosphere gave this show everything I was hoping for. I go into shows without expectations but when you have seen some of the best out of bands recently I have gotten a bit spoiled with what I have been experiencing. Rock On!
CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY & REVIEW: Evan J. Thomas recently covered the Sold Out Badflower show at Bottom Lounge in Chicago, IL - Check out his bad ass photos and review - CHECK IT OUT HERE
One of the fastest rising bands in the hard rock genre, Badflower, made their way to Chicago, IL on an early October Saturday in front of a SOLD OUT raucous Bottom Lounge.
I had first seen Badflower in 2019 at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville and was able to catch their mid afternoon set. Badflower is a band who connects with their fans through their incredible lyrics that delve into subjects that hit deep with emotions like suicide, mental health, sexual abuse, addiction and other topics that are tough for many to discuss.
On the heals of releasing their brand new album "This Is How the World Ends" the band emerged to the darkened stage as they got the masses lathered up with one of their many new rockin singles "Fukboi". After a brief technical issue, Josh broke into their mega hit "30" which I absolutely love and the video is awesome as well. For the next hour and a half we were treated to "Jester", "Stalker", "Family" and the intense and emotional song about suicide "Ghost" among others. That song is amazing and to see them play it live just gives you the chills. Badflower finished off their set with "My Funeral" to a rousing ovation.
I was able to bring my son Brandon along with me and with his limited knowledge of the band and their music he told me how energetic and great the show was and how well Josh connects with the audience. I would have to agree with him on his assessment. Incredible lyrics and music, fun and energetic live show, a connection with the audience... isn't that what we want as live music fans? I do and Badflower gives it to you. Rock on!
CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY & REVIEW: Ice Nine Kills recently played at The Forge in Joliet, IL and Evan J. Thomas was there to capture the spectacle - SEE IT ALL HERE
It's that time of year with the crisp cool air infiltrating, the calendar about to hit October, Halloween stores open so it was only fitting that Ice Nine Kills played at The Forge in Joliet, IL in front of a Sold Out crowd that was just buzzing.
Ice Nine Kills whole aura is based around Halloween and their music has been fueled by the Horror Movie genre. Their stage show is a theatrical experience with horror imagery on 2 LED 15 foot screens, various costume changes for the band, props and various characters joining the fray throughout the set.
The band emerged and rocked out to their new single "Hip to Be Scared", a song dedicated to the Christian Bale 2000 movie American Psycho donned in suits and looking spiffy. Vocalist Spencer Charnas has the audience in the palm of his hand throughout as he transitions through the various characters for the songs he sings. The next hour plus we were graced with the likes of "Savages", "A Grave Mistake", "Rocking the Boat", "The American Nightmare" before disappearing into the darkness as the masses voiced their excitement for one more song. I9K reemerged as "It Is the End" as their encore to a deafening applause.
Ice Nine Kills shows has it all, the passion and dedication to not just the music but to their theatrical set up, the masterful lyrics that goes along with their catchy hooks and riffs and they know their audience and they give them exactly what they want. Rock On!
CONCERT REVIEW - METALLICA @ METRO: A week later, Evan J. Thomas reflects on the events that led up to epic night where Metallica played the 1100 capacity Metro Chicago - READ IT HERE
It has been just over a week now since that epic surprise show from the legendary Metallica at the 1100 capacity The Metro in Chicago that I was so lucky to attend. Metallica was using this show as a prep for their 2 night set coming up at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, KY. There were many circumstances that led up to me being able to go but it had all worked out and wow, I'm still reveling over the fact I was able to attend what would be the most talked about show of 2021.
It all started on Monday morning September 20 at approximately 8:43am when I was flipping through Facebook and saw a post saying "rumor has it Metallica is playing Metro tonight". A minute later I received a DM from buddy Dan Hardman stating the same thing and he shared an image of 2 semis outside of The Metro. I told him thank you but I wasn't really interested in going and I legit had zero intentions in making the trek out there but then things happened.
I finished my morning work shift at 10am and I took my usual after work nap for over an hour. Then I made some breakfast and after decided to do some Uber driving to make some extra cash. I had one pickup a few minutes from my house that put my destination about 1 1/2 miles from The Metro. I got down there just around 1pm and by that time the local radio station had announced the show and that a line has been forming since late morning. I thought to myself "WTF, why not take the chance and get in line". I put my destination on and arrived 7 minutes later and found some street parking. The line went down Clark Street and around the block down Racine spanning a full block. I realized that I had a slim chance of getting a ticket.
There were some rules though on attending, 1) you must be vaccinated AND have your Vax card on you and must show it, 2) Cash ONLY and holy shit it was only $20, lucky I had 6 $5 bills on me and 3) you MUST wear a mask in the venue at all times. I was 3 for 3 so now the wait. I stood in line chatting it up with a few people but mainly one guy behind me, we joked that if we did get close enough that we could potentially sell our spot for big money. The line would sporadically move and it was fun watching people get dropped off and run their ass off to get into line for this opportunity. I waited close to an hour and was getting closer to Clark St. That was the turning point, once we hit Clark Street we were about 20 people from the front door. There was a guy working at the Metro telling those in line "YOU MUST have your vaccination card out when I come up to you or I will send you to the back of the line". Well, I had mine ready and in a blink of an eye I was up to him and he was checking my card and stamping my hand to prove my vaccination. Moments later I was brought into the Metro and to the woman taking the $20 for the ticket. I paid my fee and when I turned around there were 3 guys who slapped the wristband on me then walked me out the side door. We were handed instructions on what would ensue that night. At that moment I realized and said "Holy Shit, I'm going".
It was now about 2:45pm and I had to run home and change since I was just wearing a workout hoodie and workout shorts, definitely not the best look for an epic concert like this. I arrived home just after 4 and got into my concert garb, grabbed a quick bite to eat and snagged a bottle of water and hopped in the car. I had found out that 3 other friends of mine had gobbled up a wrist band and were in route or already in line for the doors at 7pm.
It was time for the doors to open, we scrambled in and there were 3 check points for our wristband before we could get to the stairs. Once we made our way up and to the main floor we noticed there were 2-3 people deep almost all around the rail, except for a spot just to the left and by the speaker. This is where me being shorter worked out for me, that speaker was about 6 1/2 feet high so I was able to lean under and see the stage clearly and get some incredible video and photos. The buzz and anticipation grew as it got later, then the lights went dark and the guys made their way to the stage to kick off their set with "Whiplash" which they did back in 1983 when they first played The Metro. I sang, I screamed, I head bobbed and I watched in awe of the legends as they were mere feet away from me.
For about the next two hours those 1100 people witnessed a unique 16 song set from the mighty Metallica that we will never forget and will be talked about for generations. I was just glad things worked out for me being there. Rock On!
Check out my LIVE PERFORMANCE video of the finale.
CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY & REVIEW: Evan J. Thomas covered Motionless In White as they made a stop in Joliet, IL at The Forge to a SOLD OUT crowd, check out his bad ass photos and review. - SEE IT ALL HERE
The Forge was buzzing Sunday night as a sold out crowd anticipated the triumphant return of Motionless In White to Joliet, IL. Fresh off of their Blue Ridge Rock Festival appearance and just days into kicking off their fall tour supporting their 2019 album Disguise, this show has been sold out for weeks and other shows on their tour are also sold out so if you are interested in catching Motionless In White get on it!
Motionless In White is arguably one of the most popular acts in the hard rock/ theatrical performance bands and for good measure with their bad ass music and brilliant lyrics. With the masses buzzing, Vocalist Chris Motionless strolled his way onto the stage wearing head to toe a pure white suit and donning a Saw mask as he crouched down at the front of the stage glaring back and forth before slowly removing it and exposing his painted white face to massive screams from the masses. The band kicked off their set with their new single "Thoughts and Prayers" and in the next 1 1/2 hours slammed through "Voices", "Another Life" and coming back to a crowd that was bursting at the seams for the finale of "Devil's Night" and "Eternally Yours".
This was my first time seeing Motionless In White in something other than an early afternoon festival slot and wow did they impress me. I've listened to a lot of their music over the years and even played some of their newer songs on my radio show but holy shit the overall ambiance of the stage set up, their energy, stage presence and passion MIW possesses blows the pants off lots of bands in their genre. and that is what I love about live music! Rock On!
CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY & REVIEW: Evan J. Thomas trekked up to Milwaukee to cover Shinedown and Zero 9:36 at the legendary The Rave/ Eagles Ballroom, check out his bad ass photography and review. - SEE IT ALL HERE
Shinedown at The Rave/ Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee was a date I had on my calendar for months when this show was announced and I was excited for a few reasons. 1) I've never been to the legendary The Rave/ Eagles Ballroom but I have heard such cool things of this venue, 2) Shinedown headlining, last time I saw them was one of the BEST shows i've EVER seen so the anticipation was high and 3) I got to experience both with my son Brandon as he also got to see one amazing show!
Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Matthew Cullen or as he is known by Zero 9:36 was the opening act at the sold out The Rave. Zero is a rapper firmly building a name in the rock genre and his style can be reminiscent of legendary rapper Eminem. Zero dashed his way back and forth across the massive The Rave stage as he belted out his 30 minute set that featured his hit "Adrenaline". Zero grabbed the crowd and pulled them in throughout and received an awesome response. After his set, Brandon and I got the opportunity to meet and talk to Zero for a few minutes and he was gracious to take a photo with us. It was a great experience for the both of us.
The anticipation grew for the headliners Shinedown, the dim blue light engulfing the drum set was a cool effect before the lights went dark as vocalist Brent Smith along with band mates, guitarist Zach Myers, bassist Eric Bass and drummer Barry Kerch emerged to the sounds of the rocking "Cut The Cord". Lathering up the masses was just the beginning of an incredible set.
To me, Smith is one of the best frontmen in rock music as he commands the audience and connects intimately like he's talking to you and just you even though you are surrounded by thousands. With nearly 20 years of experience Shinedown has a catalog of music that ranges from hard and heavy to the softer more ballad type where everyone can just sing along. Shinedown graced us with "Save Me", "State of My Head", "45" but for me the song that got me was their rendition of "Get Up" where Smith asked the crowd to pull out lighters and/or cell phone spotlights that lit up The Rave light fire flies as he belted out the memorable song (see the YouTube video I took). Finishing off the night the guys rocked out with their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" and wrapping it up with "Sound of Madness" that had the masses in a tizzy.
Shinedown has been known for having amazing shows, their 2018 show I covered was one of my favorite shows every and tonight was right up there with that with their performance. The Milwaukee faithful were not disappointed on this night and as my son Brandon said after and I have to agree, "That was amazing". Yes it was. Rock On!
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