The short, yet brilliant, career of metal band Speedgod culminates with a no holds barred music extravaganza at the Michigan’s capital.

It is a sad day when a supremely talented group of musicians decides that their path in life leads to the end of their band. Such is the case with Lansing, Michigan-based Speedgod who has become one of the preeminent metal bands in the region in just three years while only releasing a single EP. In a show of appreciation for all the love and support they have received in the metal community, the band threw a farewell party at the Avenue Café.

The doors have only been open for a brief time and already there is a swelling of people congregating near the bar. They move toward the stage as From Blue To Gray hustle to get in a quick sound check before starting their set. The small stage can barely contain this band’s explosive performance. Dan Graham’s blistering pace on the drums is matched with the fleet bass lines of Jordan Myers. This dynamic rhythm section allows the twin guitars of Dave Jaber and Tim Drexler to unleash cascading riffs adorned with compelling solos. The vocals of Dale Fewless complete the sonic landscape with a deafening roar.

After The Minor bring rage and delicate beauty wrapped inside a storm of metal music. Their performance is precise and crushing with heavy riffs that bear down upon the audience in waves. Drummer Dan Rodgers and bassist Josh Paris work as a unit delivering battering rhythms. While the entire band is animated, singer Nic Ward and guitarist Mike Caudle take moving to the music to a new level. The music travels through them and amplifies the emotional context of each song. Lead guitarist Alex Ricketts is a monster technician with great feel delivering masterful and evocative solos.

Bringing to mind the greats of metal music such as Sanctuary, Testament, and Exodus, Past Tense draw a frenzied response from the expanding crowd at the Avenue Café. They are coming off the heels of winning the Homegrown Throwdown at the Loft in Lansing. Right out of the gate, this band plays metal that is fast and furious. The twin guitar lead work of Tony Garza and Rich Bates brings to mind Randy Rhoads and Gary Holt with their blazing legato style. The vocals of Shannon Strobel are outstanding and shine brightly on a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Hey You.” Keeping this fine metal machine running at top speed is the work of drummer Matt Noe and bass player Banzai Ryan.

As if from a Monty Python skit where John Cleese would say “And now for something completely different,” the Jonestown Crows make for the stage. Armed with a banjo, washboard, guitars, drums, bass, and a hammer with a chain, the Jonestown Crows turned the tables on an evening of metal with punk music steeped in the roots of bluegrass and gypsy Americana.

This is not your typical hootenanny with light folk music and pleasant dancing. The Jonestown Crows imbue a sense of humor into a sound that is darkly energetic and very entertaining. The crowd loves this band and quickly gets a mosh pit going. People are bopping around, spilling beer, and having a great time.

The members of Speedgod gather on the stage with beers in hand and raise their glasses in a toast and then turn toward the audience who cheer with gusto. As the beers are set down, the band erupts in a boisterous uproar. Hair is flying as guitarist Kris Finison and bassist Ivy Jenkins let the music propel them. Quickly, the crowd follows suit and bodies are hurtling across the floor with the members of Speedgod delivering body blows with their music.

Geoff Jenkins takes a moment to thank all the bands and especially the enthusiastic crowd that has gathered to celebrate this beautifully brutal music. As a farewell present, the band wrote a new song for this onetime performance. In Speedgod fashion, the new song is fist clenching, yet tempered with a melody and tons of hooks to grab the listener. Geoff’s vocals are flush with intensity and harsh with rage.

As if a new song wasn’t enough, the band launches into a cover of “Disciple” by Slayer. It is easy to hear how much drummer Mattsquatch sounds like the mighty Dave Lombardo as he blisters the skins on his toms while pounding the kick drum.

Speedgod asks the crowd to gather up toward the stage for a keepsake picture of this night of metal music and friendship. It is a great night of music, one filled with the passion of live performances by musicians who bring us these gifts and only ask that we join them in celebration.

Speedgod
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Jonestown Crows
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Past Tense
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After The Minor
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From Blue To Gray
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Avenue Cafe
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About The Author

Chuck is a native Michigander. He grew up in Detroit, and later Pinckney. He now calls Ann Arbor home. Running is in Chuck’s blood. He has run several marathons and numerous other races. His favorite race is Dances with Dirt in Hell, Michigan. Chuck was first exposed to photography in 7th grade. He has been a photographer ever since, honing his skills shooting landscapes and most recently concerts. In addition to experiencing music from behind the camera, Chuck is a musician in his own right. He has been playing guitar since his teen years. He played in Detroit area metal band, Battalion, recorded two independent releases, and toured. Today when not covering concerts, you can find him online at his blog, Life In Michigan.

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