Metal Allegiance were supposed to hit the stage around 10pm and my buddy Anthony and I had some stuff to do before hand so we met inside the Chance at about 9:30 and the first opening band (of three) was still on. Ugh...it was going to be rough getting up for work the next day.
The opener (I didn't catch their name) played a very short set and there was a quick turn around between bands and Chains Over Razors were up next. Good straight ahead metal three piece with just drums, guitar and a vocalist. Hell, who needs bass? They played to the small crowd like they were playing to a packed house really working to get everyone involved. Good stuff, they did about a half hour.
Next to None was next and again very quick breakdown/setup between bands mainly because all they had to do for the drums was uncover Mike Portnoy's set because his son Max is the drummer in this band and played on his dad's kit.
I bet these kids (well, to mid 40's me they're kids) destroy on say the warped tour - super energetic, all obviously good musicians, just not the genre of metal I like - although their Slipknot cover was good and the insane running leap keyboardist/vocalist Thomas Cuce took off his keyboard stand down into the pit was one of the craziest things I've seen at at the Chance in quite some time. He had to have been easily 12 feet in the air and must have just missed hitting the back of the pit barricade when he landed. Definitely kept you watching. I will say as well that even though this crowd was small, Next to None definitely had a contingent of fans there to see them instead of the headliners. Just seemed an odd fit but has to be cool for the Portnoy's to tour together so rock on. I think they played about 35 minutes. (one note, the mix for them was HORRIBLE. The bass kept overblowing the rest of the band and the drums had the sounded like he was hitting the plastic lids of garbage cans. There were no issues with the mix for the rest of the bands, so not sure why they suffered)
So finally at probably around 11:30 Metal Allegiance hit the stage and oh man...all I can say is if you're a fan of classic metal you NEED to see this band.
If you look on their website, you'll see they list 25 artists as part of the Allegiance and you never know who is going to show up at a particular show. At the Chance there were no "Special Guests" just the core band touring at this time which is:
Mike Portnoy on Drums
Mark Menghi on Bass
Alex Skolnick on Guitar
Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal on Guitar
Mark Osegueda on vocals
Chuck Billy on vocals
Mark sings I'd say about 60% of the songs and Chuck does the rest with a couple of tunes where they trade off. Alex does a bit more lead work (including Van Halen's "Eruption") but Bumblefoot has plenty of time to shine throughout on his doubleneck guitar.
While they have an album and would play three originals, all of which were great, especially the unbelievable showstopper "Pledge of Allegiance", what they really are is the greatest metal cover/tribute band you will ever see. Check out this amazing setlist:
The Hellion (pre-recorded intro)
Electric Eye (Judas Priest)
The Ides of March (Iron Maiden)
Wrathchild (Iron Maiden)
Can't Kill The Devil
Balls to the Wall (Accept)
Heaven & Hell (Black Sabbath)
Creeping Death (Metallica)
Pledge of Allegiance
Into the Void (Black Sabbath - video below)
Iron Fist (Motorhead)
Runnin' With the Devil (Van Halen)
Eruption (Van Halen)
Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC)
Seek & Destroy (Metallica - video below)
I believe it was after "Pledge of Allegiance" that Mike Portnoy took the mic to address the crowd and said how the band had discussed backstage that at this point they would decide if they would do the whole set or not or end it early. Hell maybe this is the standard rap at every show, but it didn't seem like it and I think the cheers of those of us who came out, along with the fact that these guys don't get to tour and play together a whole lot gave us the full deal.
So there you have it. I have no clue why this show wasn't packed. Testament sells this place out when they play here and this was almost like "hey Chuck and Alex from Testament are coming to town and bringing their incredible musician fans to play all of your favorite tunes." How this was not packed out boggles the mind...maybe word just isn't out yet on who/what Metal Allegiance is. I know those of us who were there will be spreading the gospel and hopefully Metal Allegiance will give us another shot on their next tour.
Bonus, at one point Chuck Billy came over and grabbed one of Alex Skolnick's Guitar picks and threw it to me. Nice! Thanks Chuck!
Check out the rest of the photos below
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