Iced Earth at Baltimore Soundstage

After the immense high of seeing Judas Priest in concert, and with news of an impending snow storm coming the following day, I was excited to chill out for one more great concert with Iced Earth at Baltimore Soundstage on March 19, 2018. What’s more, they were bringing Sanctuary with them, a great metal band who recently had experienced turmoil, but were persevering to bring their music to the masses. Opening for these two respected metal acts were Kill Ritual, and a particular delight to me, MindMaze, a group I’ve had the pleasure of seeing several times before.

MindMaze: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | iTunes 

Pennsylvania-based MindMaze is a talented foursome, featuring siblings Sarah (vox) and Jeff Teets (guitars), bassist Rich Pasqualone, and drummer Mark Bennett. Having seen them open for Udo Dirkschneider (ex-Accept), as well as attending a headlining show of theirs, I’m familiar with their intricate, melodic brand of heavy metal. Opening for Iced Earth was a great chance for them to showcase this to a new audience, and their six-song set brought a huge response from the crowd. Bennett’s monumental beats crashing down supported the meanderings of Jeff and Rich as they attempted not to get their fingers tied in knots wandering their fretboards. Sarah’s banshee wail closed out the final notes of “This Holy War,” widening eyes and ushering applause from the audience.

 

Kill Ritual: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | iTunes

Next up were West Coast metallers, Kill Ritual, supporting their newest album, All Men Shall Fall. Though only four of the quintet were present (bassist Jim Pegram being on tour with Mudface, so guitarist Chris Lotesto took up bass duties), they put on a solid set. They were very relaxed, feeling at home on stage and off! In fact, during the third song of their set, vocalist David Reed Watson disappeared and suddenly showed up in the photo pit with us. Soon he was standing on the barricade, screaming into the crowd, while Lotesto and guitarist Steven Rice commanded the stage alongside drummer Seamus Gleason.

 

Sanctuary: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Sanctuary has had a rough time in recent memory. In December 2017, frontman Warrel Dane (ex-Nevermore) passed away. However, with the tour already in place, the band decided to continue, dedicating these performances as both a tribute to Dane’s life and as a farewell tour for the band. Joined by Witherfall vocalist, Joseph Michael, they put on one Hell of a show for Baltimore, drawing on equal amounts of material from their three studio albums, Refuge Denied, Into The Mirror Black, and the most recent release, The Year The Sun Died. The songs were nailed down tight, and Michael hit high note after high note, while guitarists Lenny Rutledge and Joey Concepcion (Armageddon) seared through dual guitar solos. All in all, it was a wonderful send-off for the band and I wish them all the best of luck on their next endeavors.

 

Iced Earth: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Iced Earth, on a world tour in support of their album, Incorruptible, took the stage to a roaring crowd. The setlist was a mix of extremely early and extremely recent material: while the plurality of songs came from Incorruptible, the majority of tracks came from 90s releases, with the focus on the band’s sophomore album, Night Of The Stormrider. But early or old, the crowd was ecstatic to be in attendance. Every hand in the audience was thrown up, pounding forth to the rhythm of the music in the form of a clenched fist or horns. “Do we still have energy out there?!” vocalist Stu Block screamed to the crowd, who cheered back a forceful wall of affirmation. “Good, that’s the key,” he responded, before going into The Dark Saga tune, “Vengeance Is Mine.” Soundstage was suddenly filled with chants of “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!”

Something unexpected and truly special for fans occurred during the encore. As the group tore into the heavier portion of “Watching Over Me,” former vocalist Matthew Barlow emerged onstage and joined in. Hitting the highs of the chorus while Block took the lows, they sang shoulder to shoulder, then let the music drop off suddenly, allowing the audience to continue the chorus A Capella. The night closed out, all members, including Barlow, bowing to that same roar of the crowd which had greeted them when they first took the stage.

We Love The Underground at Baltimore Soundstage (Aug 17, 2017)

Sweat was beginning to trickle down the side of a brow.  Anxiety…nervousness…it was apparent in the eyes of all those who gathered ‘round.  Time was running out.  Suddenly appearing – as if apparating into existence – a man hoisting a tray of tacos and quesadillas.  Rapture coated those previously dread-filled eyes, as We Love The Underground dug into its pre-concert meal, voraciousness overtaking their anxiousness.

“It’s 8:25!” one exclaimed.

“What!?” exclaimed guitarist, Eric McCullough, scrambling for his phone to discover it was merely 8:10, a decent 20 minutes until they were all set to take the stage.  His narrowing eyes pierced his fellow guitarist, Patrick Sise, who had initiated the panic, before all involved burst into a chuckle.  A light ribbing of one another seems to be the norm amongst these partners in crime.

With tacos eaten and quesadillas quite finished, we hurtled out of the restaurant near Baltimore Soundstage, sprinting across the street between herds of cars and rushed in the doors.  Now, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing We Love The Underground perform quite a bit throughout the years, ever since attending their second-ever concert together at The Circuit in Essex, MD back in 2014.  They’ve come quite a long way since then, and each set has seen them grow exponentially in both talent and ambition.  August 17 was no exception, with vocalist Brad Cox belting out high notes and the group debuting a brand new song entitled “Sevens,” along with plenty of older fan-favorites.  Despite being an opening band that night, you could see the delight upon the faces of those in attendance, and quite a few people rushed forward to shake the band members’ hands following the closing notes of their half-hour set.

Needless to say, if you’re given the chance, don’t miss this great act. And make sure to get those tacos to-go.

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The Temperance Movement rocks Baltimore Soundstage

Better B# - TAM Logo 2


Last Sunday evening, Scottish rockers The Temperance Movement, brought a wave of good feelings to the U.S.’s East Coast when they played the Baltimore Soundstage.  Supported by The Sheepdogs, and local act, The Milestones, the three bands poured their souls on the stage for their audience.

The Milestones, though performing a short opening set, laid out a few surprises for those in attendance.  The most notable of these was the final song, which featured a closing drum solo by the extremely energetic John Love.  While drum solos in general are usually regarded as poor judgment, I thought this one was particularly well done – serving nicely to wrap up their set.

Next up was the Saskatchewan-natives, The Sheepdogs, currently touring alongside The Temperance Movement.  This group blew me away with their classic rock sound – reminding me of Boston with their vocal harmonies and dual guitar melodies.

The Temperance Movement closed out the night, full of energy and gratefulness for those who had come to see them on a Sunday night.  As they played, frontman Phil Campbell moved around as if he was in a trance, spurring a number of audience members to join him with a variety of their own dance steps in front of the stage.  It was clear that this band evokes a strong connection with their listeners, and the group extended a whole-hearted thanks to all those in attendance while blasting out one hit after the next.

The Milestones: Website | Facebook

 

The Sheepdogs: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

 

The Temperance Movement:
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