Saturday, August 26, 2017

Some Great Music and Some Great Ink (Hellyeah & Kyng)

I got a great chance to see a great band a couple weeks ago, when Hellyeah came to the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo. The group consists of Chad Gray (Mudvayne) on vocals, Vinnie Paul (Pantera, Damageplan) on drums, Tom Maxwell (Nothingface) on guitar, Christian Brady on guitar, and Kyle Sanders on bass. While the line-up might read as a super-group side project, Hellyeah is the full-time band of all five members, having released five albums in the last 10 years.

Having  released their fifth album, "Unden!able" just last year, Hellyeah kicked off the show with its opening track "X," and that set the stage for what was to come. With the style of vocals that they do, it can sometimes be tough to replicate on the stage, especially when done repeatedly on tour, but Gray really brought his very best to this show.  He is able to really scream on the songs that need it, and he is also able to tone it down when other songs of theirs, like "Love Falls" call for him to sing. As a lifelong Pantera fan, it was also great for me to see Vinnie Paul in person, as that is the main reason that brought me there. Despite being at it for so long, and all he has had to deal with during his career, the dude lives heavy metal, and was absolutely amazing to see live.

I also stopped by the merch stand after the show, as any good fan would, to further support the band, and walked away with a really cool item to go right on my wall. I've noticed that one item bands have begun to really use a lot is decorated drum heads. It allows them to print an image of the band on something that looks music-related, and makes a really cool collectible. They had two different options, but featuring Vinnie Paul, and I picked this one up, that is autographed by him, along with the year, and an "X," which may be in reference to the song that they opened the show with.

Opening the show was Cane Hill, a metal band out of New Orleans, and they were followed by Kyng, who I became a HUGE fan of by the end of the night. Kyng is a three piece metal band from Los Angeles, and is on the verge of a major breakthrough in the genre. I would describe them as what you would get if you took Mastodon and had Brad Delp from Boston singing for them. The vocals from singer/guitarist Eddie Veliz were amazing, bassist Tony Castaneda contributed to some amazing two-part harmionies, and drummer Pepe Clarke was an absolute animal from start to finish. They are a phenomenal band, and you all should check them out, if you have not already.

Like with Hellyeah, I made a stop to their merch table, which wasn't even staffed until after their set. The reason is, Kyng is a three-piece outfit in every aspect. From travel, to sound check, to management, to merch, the band members do it all. So, when I was able to purchase something from them, it was Veliz who was selling their wares, not some hired hand. I got to tell him straight to his face how great I thought they were, and purchased a cd and a shirt. The shirt, by the way, was perfect, as it is a take-off of the L.A. Kings silver and black logo, which is perfect for me as a hockey fan.

I also got to meet all three band members, which was really cool, and had them sign my cd cover. Each one of them ended up having a different colored Sharpie, which made the cd cover look even cooler. I also got pictures take with Veliz and Castaneda. I could have gotten a picture with Clarke, as well, but most everyone had already left, and I was just happy to have all three sign my cd cover.

What a great show! I got to see some great bands, listen to some great music, and get some great ink! The next concert on the horizon is Reverend Horton Heat on Sept. 4. Not sure what the autograph or memorabilia possibilities will be there, but either way, it'll be a blast!

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