The Masquerade on Monday, August 27th hosted a slew of both local and international talent at their Hell stage, personally my favorite stage at Masquerade due to its intimacy and balcony view. Surprisingly, the Masquerade was packed out from when the doors opened, an oddity for a such an off night for concerts. However, this was just a testament to the appeal of the artists that took the stage that night. On the docket, we had the one and only CKY with Slaves, Royal Thunder, and Awaken I AM on CKY and Slaves’ co-headliner North American 2018 Tour, and as an added bonus the tour had an additional act, Atlanta’s own Get Those Nerds.
Opening up the night, Get Those Nerds took to the stage. Hailing originally from Marietta but now based in Austell, these guys define their sound as nerd punk, with their songs primarily based around the nerd culture of the band members. Catching a quote from their lead singer and guitarist Caleb Kirshner, the band “wanted to give everything they had in 20 minutes or less” as they had a shortened time slot. And honestly, Get Those Nerds delivered and then some. They even got in a cover of “Godzilla” by Blue Oyster Cult with an added Godzilla and gorilla mascot on stage.
As the second act of the night, and the opening act for the tour, Brisbane’s own Awaken I Am jumped right into their set, with a warm reception by the crowd as they continued to rock out to the onslaught of artists slated for the night. These guys have a heavy, alternative sound that creates a soundscape worthy of headbanging, with their frontman vocalist Jimmy Alexander pumping up the crowd. Each song Awaken I Am played had that beat that rocks the soul, serving as the heartbeat that all rockers in attendance synced with while thrashing to the music. It’s good to know that on the other side of the world, there are artists that can rock out just as hard as artists in America.
Holding down the middle set, Royal Thunder kept the energy alive with their southern, soulful rock. Being from Atlanta, these guys, and gal as they have a frontwoman, were in familiar territory on this stop of the tour. Royal Thunder has some killer tunes that really shine due to the talent behind each instrumental voice in the band. Their drummer put out some catch breaks while both of their guitarists were bantering back and forth with cascading riffs and solid solos. Meanwhile, their lead vocalist and bass player slayed the low end on her axe, playing her bass more like a guitar with heavy strumming and chord progressions. On the last song of their set, Royal Thunder really brought down the house, ending the night with a band group hug.
Next up was the first of the two headliners, Sacramento’s own Slaves, a post-hardcore group formed by vocalist Jonny Craig, a former member of Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance with a colorful history. It was obvious that many attendees were waiting for these guys to take the stage as the crowd turned up to 11 when the band came on stage. From their first song, it was hard to tell who sang louder, Slaves’ mic’d lead vocalist Jonny or the crowd as everyone in the pit seemed to know the lyrics to each song. On a few occasions during the set, Jonny even threw the mic to the crowd. The bands’ two guitarists displayed some serious chops as they played off one another to form some intricate melodies. Holding down the guitarists, Slaves’ bassist and drummer kept a tight beat going with the drummer showcasing the full range of his kit and the bassist laying down a solid foundation on the low end. Playing some of their beloved songs such as “Warning From My Demons”, “True Colors”, and “I Know A Lot Of Artists”, Slaves really showed their dominance as headlining artists.
As the last act of the night and co-headliner, CKY took the stage. Getting their start in 1998 with help from the Jackass TV series, this band has had a history riddled with lineup changes and even a hiatus. However, their colorful history has not kept them from playing shows 20 years after their inception. From West Chester, Pennsylvania, CKY is a wild blend of grunge, skate punk, and hard rock that doesn’t hold any punches when they perform. With the band’s current lineup being a three-piece act with their founding member Chad Ginsburg on vocals and guitar, each song had epic trade offs between solid guitar licks and vocals. These trade offs in their songs are further highlighted by their drummer and founder Jess Margera and bassist Matt Deis keeping the beat loose yet steady. CKY played some of their classic heyday songs such as their classic “96 Quite Bitter Beings” to the crowd’s delight but also touched on some of their newer tunes such as the opening track of their new album The Phoenix titled “Replaceable”. Although different from the original sound of CKY both in the old and newer tracks they played, this current lineup keeps with the original vibe of the band and doesn’t stray away from the sound that originally captured CKY’s fans ears back in the 90s.
As CKY and Slaves’ North American 2018 Tour is coming to a close in the next few weeks, look out for CKY, Slaves, Royal Thunder, Awake I Am, and Get Those Nerds the next time any of them pack out a show in Atlanta.
Photo Gallery – Get Those Nerds
Photo Gallery – Awaken I Am
Photo Gallery – Royal Thunder
Photo Gallery – Slaves
Photo Gallery – CKY