Sevendust rocks a sold-out The Machine Shop along with support from Tremonti, Cane Hill, Lullwater, and Kirra.

Nothing like an evening of hard rock from 5 great bands to bring some heat to what has been a cold winter so far with a high wind storm in the forecast.  The Machine Shop should be a great showcase venue for these bands as it has some of the best sound and lighting of any smaller venue across the USA.  And the fans always bring the energy, adding to why so many bands love to play here.

Opening the show is Kirra from Oklahoma City.   Led by singer Gabriel Parson and guitarist Daxton Paige, they tear through a 30-minute set of melodic and hard rock.  Their current release is the 2018 EP Fight or Flight and their set tonight includes several songs from it.  Citing Alter Bridge, Tremonti, and Sevendust as some of their influences, it is no wonder they fit in well with the lineup tonight.  The early crowd certainly likes them judging from the applause.  Expect more great things from this band in the future.

Next up is Lullwater from Athens, GA.  They get the crowd revved up with a driving set of rock that kicks off with “Dark Divided” from their brand new release Voodoo.  Their set also includes some other songs from that album including the hard-hitting “Empty Chamber” and the bluesy “Godlike”.  They follow these with the ripping tune “Albatross” from the 2013 release Lullwater.  Singer and rhythm guitarist John Strickland and lead guitarist Daniel Binnie provide the riffs while bassist Roy Beatty is hard to miss with his bright pink bass and thrashing his hair about.  They close out their set with an extended guitar jam at the end of “A Forgotten Name”, while John lets his hair fly wildly from headbanging.  The crowd shows their appreciation with loud cheers and throwing their horns in the air.

Keeping the growing crowd fired up, Cane Hill from New Orleans jumps right into “Lord of Flies” from the 2018 release Too Far Gone.  With a stage barely lit except for some backlighting and occasional blasts of white, they tear through a high-energy set of metal.  Vocalist Elijah Witt rarely stands still as he works the stage and gets the fans amped up.  With a sound that brings to mind Powerman 5000 and Slipknot, they get the fans moving to the pulsating “Ugly Model Mannequin”.  Guitarist James Barnett provides the powerful leads while Ryan Henriquez (bass) and Devin Clark (drums) lay down the pounding groove.  They have the crowd fully engaged with many pumping the air with their fists and horns.  Closing out their fast-moving set is the title track “Too Far Gone” that has many singing along and bouncing.

Anticipation is growing for guitar whiz Mark Tremonti and his band Tremonti to take the stage.  There are many fans that have arrived well ahead of the door opening time to make sure they can stake out a spot up front.  Several diehard fans were also here for the first show the night before.  As the lights dim, the band takes the stage to a huge round of applause and cheers.  They waste no time launching into the title track from the 2015 release Cauterize.  The sound is dialled in tight and the band is on fire with Mark and Eric Friedman shredding the guitars and Mark’s vocals sounding great.  Fans are in awe as Mark’s fingers dance effortlessly across the fretboard.

Keeping the momentum going, “You Waste Your Time” has fans waving and reaching out toward Mark in a show of appreciation.  This song finds drummer Ryan Bennett laying down a blistering rhythm.  They slow it down a bit with the next song, “Another Heart”.  Bassist Tanner Keegan, however, is on the move during this song as he leaps in the air several times.  In between songs, Mark introduces Eric Friedman who proceeds to show off some of his chops with a brief guitar solo. 

Mark takes a moment to announce he has a request to play a song for one of their biggest fans who lost her puppy.  They then play the song “Traipse” for her.  Next up is “Flying Monkeys” from Cauterize, followed by the rapid-paced song “Throw Them to the Lions”, as well as the title song from A Dying Machine.  Mark thanks the crowd for coming out before they wrap up their set with the popular song “Wish You Well” from the 2014 album All I Was.  

The time has finally arrived for Sevendust from Atlanta, GA to rock the sold-out venue for the second night in a row.  Sevendust is one of the hardest working rock bands out there today.  With a career spanning 25 years and across 12 albums, they continue to put out great albums and wow fans with their killer live performances.  And the fans tonight are ready to rock hard having already been primed with 4 great bands.

Taking the stage, lead singer Lajon Witherspoon immediately steps out onto the post in the photo pit and gets the fans moving.  They start off the set with “Dirty” from their latest release All I See Is War and follow that up with the hit “Denial” from the 1999 album Home.  The stage is hit with smoke cannons, engulfing Lajon completely.  As a change of pace, they mix up the setlist from the night before and throw in a few different songs including “Too Close to Hate”, “Feel So”, and “Skeleton Song”.

Having been together as a unit for so many years, they work the stage and play up to the crowd like the veterans they are.  Bassist Vince Horsby makes his way up front throughout the set and points out to the fans.  John Connolly and Clint Lowery are highly animated as they crank out the riffs and leads on guitar.  They not only power the songs with their crunching guitars but also add vocals on many songs.  And providing the pulse for the songs is drummer extraordinaire Morgan Rose.  Morgan is a machine on the skins.  His drum set is huge with a large ensemble of cymbals, but he makes it looks easy as he pounds away and lets his braids fly around.

After playing “Splinter” and “Trust”, Lajon takes a bit of time to talk to the crowd.  He tells the fans that if someone asks you tell them you didn’t just go to a concert, you went to a family reunion. He also thanks The Machine Shop owner and staff and lets everyone know that it is one of the greatest rock venues.   Getting things rolling again, “Enemy” from the 2003 album Seasons has the fans bouncing, waving, fist-pumping, and even singing along.  That is followed by “Shine” and one of their most popular songs “Decay” from the 2013 album Black Out the Sun.

After a short break, they return to the stage to close out the evening with the thrashy song “Bitch” and the fan favorite “Face to Face” with its familiar chorus.  The latter has the crowd bouncing like crazy.  It’s a great ending to an awesome evening of hard rock and metal that has surely left these fans pleased, but exhausted.  The fans won’t have to wait too long to see them again as they already have 2 sold-out shows scheduled in May at the same venue.

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Cane Hill
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The Machine Shop
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