It’s weird to see a band more than 15 years into its career still opening shows; not because those bands may think they are too good to open anymore, but because they usually have enough material and experience to upstage headliners. In the case of Sevendust, who have eight albums, had a band member leave and return, played thousands of shows, hopped labels and more, it would seem to be insanity to have them open if you’re anybody this side of Metallica. Indeed, they have proven themselves just about any way a band can.
Be here we are.
The headliner of the show was Avenged Sevenfold with Seether in the middle spot. While I’m sure there is a certain camaraderie among bands, especially bands who have been around as long as these bands have, I think it would be remiss to assume that there isn’t still the desire to come out and set the bar really fucking high… if for no other reason than simply because you can.
To be fair, this opening stint was a one-off show from their own headlining tour. With close to 100 songs in the catalog, and only time to play about seven or eight, the set list was a bit of a surprise. One might expect to hear the classics like “Black,” “Denial,” and “Enemy,” as those would the safe, tried and true choices. Those songs were noticeably absent. As they closed with “Face to Face,” however, it became clear. Sevendust wasn’t there to be predictable; they were there to decimate.
They played about seven songs, all designed for maximum impact. They weren’t their best-known songs. They included songs from some of their less-popular releases. All of the songs, however, worked toward the same goal. With a longer set, they’d have time to create an ebb and flow of songs, alternating between more melodic and heavier songs – weaving in classics with cult favorites. With only 30 minutes to play, however, they tore through the Soaring Eagle Casino’s Outdoor Venue like a tornado – fast and furious.
What fans got was a well-oiled machine. Drummer, Morgan Rose, has been on the cover of just about every drumming publication in the world. He’s continually a fan-favorite in reader’s polls. It’s no wonder why. If there is a drummer that hits the kit harder, I have yet to see him. And his trademark yells that have been the yang to Lajon Witherspoon’s yin were in full effect.
Lajon Witherspoon was the quintessential frontman. In addition to delivering vocals with his signature combination of melodicism and growl, his ability to interact with the crowd as part of the performance, as opposed to generic “Is everybody having a good time tonight” – isms, shows the mark of a veteran performer at the top of his game.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came from bassist, Vince Hornsby. As a bassist, he held it down effortlessly, but his ability to work the crowd complemented Witherspoon perfectly. Charisma is something you can’t teach. You have it or you don’t; Hornsby has it.
In all, Sevendust took 30 minutes and turned it into a clinic on rock music. The only thing wrong with the performance… it was only 30 minutes.