Goth punk and death metal, One-Eyed Doll with Hung Like a Martyr, Hero for a Day, Lyluth, OSG, and Slampig took over the stage.

One-Eyed Doll are edgy metal with aspects of goth, punk and ephemeral beauty at the same time; adding showmanship, storytelling, and witty lyrical content makes it a recipe for success. (The proper use of a semi-colon is dedicated to Junior and Kimberly of One-Eyed Doll).

Saying One-Eyed Doll are one of the hardest working DIY bands I have met is an understatement. Describing them as one of the friendliest and humble bands I have had the pleasure of meeting is also an understatement. In fact, there is little I can say that accurately portrays One-Eyed Doll and their crew as the closely-knit, gracious, friendly, innovative, talented, and fun bunch of people they truly are.

I was greeted with a warm hug from Junior (Jason Rufuss Sewell, former producer turned drummer), then I followed him to the band’s bus to sit down for a short chat with him and vocalist/guitarist, Kimberly Freeman, before their performance.

While the duo talked about their influences and some good and bad experiences while on the road, I also met their crew, and it was obvious this bunch is more like a family they each chose than just employers/employees.

The two recounted living in the Redwood Forest for a month, writing new material on a banjo and mandolin, the ‘folksy’ sound translating surprisingly well into metal. Junior commented that there are notes that would not have been held so long if they had written the material on guitar and drums, which added some interesting and different elements to those songs. Kimberly added it was like living in a magical fairy land during that time and the atmosphere certainly influenced the writing.

Both were very humble regarding their musical talents: Junior says he began playing drums at the age of about 4, but stopped when he picked up a guitar at age 15, and contends he remains a 15-year-old drummer to this day, and Kimberly told of being influenced by her Grandpa Bernie, a consummate entertainer, showman, musician, singer, and nearly everything under the sun. After hearing her stories and seeing her performance, it’s plain to see Grandpa Bernie living on through Kimberly.

A One-Eyed Doll show is so much more than a band playing songs for their audience, it is a performance that should be experienced from beginning to end. Kimberly’s stage persona is fluid, an act that merges inspired wide-eyed innocence and naïveté, but with an undercurrent of chaos.

A One-Eyed Doll show is more than just a band playing songs, it is a performance that should be experienced from beginning to end. The show begins with Kimberly initiating a dialogue with the audience that continues throughout the performance, setting up a narrative and introducing the next song at the same time. The life-sized talking doll transforms into a whirling dervish once the music begins, and this cycle is repeated for the length of the set, including multiple forays into the crowd while playing and bringing audience members onstage and including them as elements of the show.

One man was touted as being Klaus Meine of The Scorpions and two women came onstage to lead the audience in dance, and bringing crew members onstage to introduce them to the crowd. As I said earlier, they are more like people who have chosen one another as family than employers/employees.

At the end of the show, Kimberly invites the crowd to follow her to the merch table where she and Junior spent a lengthy time talking, posing for photos, and signing until the venue’s timetable forced them to take it outside… where the band had a long line of fans waiting for them outside the bus. Although I was unable to stick around any longer, there is no doubt in my mind that each and every one of them were treated like royalty by One-Eyed Doll, cast and crew alike.

The band will make a major announcement regarding a record label in the near future, so check back for details on this fantastic news.

St. Louis area locals, Hung Like a Martyr, played just before One-Eyed Doll, debuting a new lead singer, Bruce Morrison. Many in the crowd had not seen this local gem before, but were quite impressed with the band’s classic metal sound without sounding dated.

I’ve covered this band before at other venues, and it was a treat to see them on a somewhat larger stage. Bassist Adam Fuchs needs the room, as he is as active as Morrison, and with Curtis Toler’s huge drum set and guitarists Paul Dontigney and Spiller, he finally had more room.

This is one St. Louis band to keep an eye on, as they are making quite the name for themselves landing opening spots with some heavy-hitting national acts. Check out their website for videos, an EP, and other merchandise!

Hero for a Day is a five-piece St. Louis area (Roxana, Illinois) band who shared the stage with One-Eyed Doll. They are a newer band, formed nearly 3 years ago as a collaboration among friends. An album release should be coming soon as the group has recently finished a studio album.

Lyluth are a technical/melodic metal band from Farmington, Missouri, and another band I have had the pleasure of seeing as an opener on other tours.

OSG (On Sacred Ground) are a hard rock/metal band whose members hail from all over the country. The band itself is new to the St. Louis music scene, having formed just two years ago. As part of their publicity for this show, they held a raffle for those that purchased a ticket and gave away a signed guitar to one lucky winner.

An original band whose members all play multiple instruments, their professionalism and musical abilities come through in their performances. The members (Vance Townes, Brian MacCaull, Buddy Hobbs, Christopher Pyatt, Rob McMillan) met one another while each was working on other projects, but the shared work ethic and chemistry brought them together to form a band that I can certainly recommend as a must-see.

Slampig, another St. Louis area band, opened the show, unfortunately, I was unable to make it in time to see their set, but I have been lucky enough to see them in the past. They are a four-piece band from Arnold, Missouri, and describe their sound as ‘swamp metal,’ heavy groove and riff oriented that fuel a sleazy lifestyle. From seeing them in the past, I can say they are every bit of that and more. Their sound is back to the roots of rock ‘n roll and the audience gets caught up in the groove.

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One-Eyed Doll: 
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Hung Like a Martyr:
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Hero for a Day:
Austin Probst: Lead Vocals/Rhythm guitar
Brandon Jones: Lead guitar/Vocals
Jake Reising: Keyboard/ Tom foolery
Jake Hanfelder: Bass
Will Hanfelder: Drums

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Brandon Boyd: Vocals
Justin Hafner: Bass
Steven O’Nea: Guitar
Stephen Bradley: Drums

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Randy Benedict: Vocals
Jeff Geist: Guitars
Shawn Hicks: Bass
Mitch McAllister: Drums

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About The Author

Colleen was always the kid with the camera, taking snapshots of anything and everything she found interesting. Fast-forward to her teen years, where she spent much spare time and money on seeing as many live rock 'n roll acts as possible, both established and up-and-coming bands, and having a camera in hand. Colleen works to capture those moments that draw the viewer in and define the mood and energy of the artists and their performances.