101 WRIF brought together some of the best Detroit’s hard rock and metal bands for Motor City Riffs Live at The Token Lounge.

The night was full of music during and between sets. The crowd got to test one of a kind bass and speaker cabinets with Blackport Speaker Cabinets. Along with May Custom Basses displaying their amazing axes, Guitar Grip showcasing their handy guitar holders, Tone Shop LLC with custom amps, King Custom Guitars with unique guitars, and Dead in 5’s James Trunko demoing his drum kit with Detroit Custom Drum Co., the fusion of instrument lit the darkening blue sky that night.

Downfall opened the show. This four-piece hard rock band takes influences from every aspect of rock, melding it together to create a heavy hitting sound with melodic vocals. Their high energy music has a slight dark, macabre feel to it, giving it that much more dimension. You can feel the chemistry of the band; they are a crazy family, and you become part of it throughout their entire set. Their talented lineup, St. Betty (vocals), Scott Rochon (drums), Jesse Olenski (bass), and Bill Burbidge (guitar), makes this band one to see.

Rolling Blue was up next, and came out like a thunderstorm. The three-piece consists of Joe Worrall (lead vocals and guitar), John Juco (bass), and Brianna Ray (drums and backup vocals). Their banter in between songs showed their calm demeanor, which would disappear the minute they started to play, punching out good old fashioned, bluesy rock n’ roll with high energy. They are a band with talent well beyond their years, and these young musicians have a classic sound that takes you back to Jimi Hendrix and The Doors.

Taken Aces came out next. Formed in December of 2013, this band is a raw, talented, hard rock band with an amazing sound reminiscent of the classic 70s rock. Taken Aces won Detroit Live Magazine’s 2014 Blow Up My Band contest, winning a cover spot on the magazine and help recording their first EP. After hearing this band, it’s no question to how they won. The lineup includes Adam Hetchler (vocals), Jon Neville (guitar), Alex Orlando (guitar), Tanner Hetchler (drums), and Phil Steuer (bass). Hetchler is a powerhouse behind the mic and leads the band with their genuine, irresistible rock n’ roll sound. Taken Aces created a fantastic party mood among fans and kept the energy up with their amazing tunes. Their debut EP, Crossing The Line, is available now.

Blind Season was next onstage. Formed in 2012 by lead guitarist Shane Sigro, this band has gone through numerous personal and name changes. Now, with Sigro (guitar), Mike Paraski (bass), Adam Ross (drums), and Leah Guerrero (vocals), Blind Season finally found its dream team. Guerrero was a contestant on the 13th season of American Idol, but has now added her voice to this focused group of talented musicians. Playing their songs “Creep Boy,” “Here We Are,” “A Bitter Taste,” and more, these young musicians have a style that Detroit loves. Guerrero is an amazing frontwoman. She exudes feminine power and her sultry, powerful voice gives Blind Season the sound needed to stand out among other bands in their genre. She may be small, but her vocal performance and body language are certainly not. The band will be back in the studio this week to continue recording their new EP.

The final support act was Traumatize. This relentlessly brutal metal band wasted no time stirring up the crowd with their custom blend of metal and thrash. Each song built upon the last, the energy from their set blending with that of the crowd growing stronger and stronger. Traumatize members Mike Lankford (guitar and vocals), Jef Dickinson (drums), Joey Davis (guitars and vocals), and Aaron Morisette (bass) were tight and in sync, clearly feeding off each other. Davis’ guitar skills were matched only by his dominating presence. His stare could pierce through to the fan at the back at the bar.

Then, with smoke pouring out from the stage, the crowd rushed forward as Dead in 5 emerge. The band lineup includes Robert Libres (vocals), Dana “Deadly” Forrester (bass), Brent “X19” Hall (guitar), Peder “The Terminator” Seglund (guitar), and James Trunko (drums). Libres possesses powerful vocals and effortlessly commanded the stage proving his skill as a frontman. As they launched into their set, the five-piece group pumped out their pure hard rock, playing with a raw energy and unmatched power. Their music is powerful, surpassing current music trends. Dead in 5 played their hits, such as “Wreck Your World,” “Last Tragedy,” and “Still Remains.”

Dead in 5
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Traumatize
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Blind Season
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Taken Aces
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Rolling Blue
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Downfall
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101 WRIF
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Token Lounge
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About The Author

Calling Detroit, Michigan home, Sami has been photographing for many years and has been with National Rock Review since near the beginning. She works freelance contributing to National Rock Review as well as being the owner of Sami Lipp Photography. Capturing the excitement of live music and the passion of musicians is something she lives for. She looks forward to expanding her career in music photography.

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