Saturday, May 14, 2016 – Boise, Idaho: The Shredder
Saturday served up a beautiful evening in Boise for some much needed headbanging, and The Shredder was the place to be. Canada’s Striker made its Boise debut bringing along Portland’s Spellcaster and Weresquatch, and SoCal’s Night Demon. Though somewhat small, the crowd on hand represented some of the Treasure Valley’s most fervent metalheads, and no one seemed to notice or care including the fans or the bands about how many were in attendance.
Oregon’s power-thrashing trio, Weresquatch, opened up the night pummeling through a tight set of tracks from their debut album, Frozen Void. Frontman/guitarist Eric Eisenhauer’s vocals got a bit buried in the mix, and occasionally it seemed as if the band got slightly out of sync, but overall they made a pretty impressive showing. Unlike the bands that would follow in a traditional metal vein, Weresquatch delivered up high energy thrash to give the show a swift kick up the backside.
Ventura-based power trio, Night Demon hit the stage next, and they just blew everyone off their feet with their retro NWOBHM sound. The band, powered by the thundering stick work of Dustin Squires, hammered through seven tracks pulled from their 2012 EP and last year’s debut album, Curse of the Damned. Vocalist Jarvis Leatherby’s bass tone struck like a throat punch, as it rumbled the venue. When guitarist Armand Anthony dropped out to play his lead solos, Leatherby’s bass filled the void perfectly. A couple of the highlights included a wickedly heavy cover of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”, and the grim reaper joining them on stage for “The Chalice”. The band also performed “Ritual”, “Mastermind”, “Screams in the Night”, “Full Speed Ahead”, and “Night Demon”. These guys are a must see live.
Portland-based Spellcaster is about to release its third full length studio album Night Hides the World on July 8 through Prosthetic Records. The quintet came out blazing on their new single, “I Live Again”, one of three cuts performed from the new record; the other’s being “Betrayal”, and the title track. The guys also played two songs, “Ghost of My Memory” and “Bound” from their 2014 album, Spellcaster. The remaining three songs from the set, “Power Rising”, “Chainsaw Champion”, and the show closer, “Spellcaster”, came from their 2011 debut, Under the Spell. While all the songs were fantastic, “Chainsaw Champion” stood out for me as one of the highlights with its driving rhythms and gang chorus. The entire set rocked the crowd, but a combination of Tyler Loney’s vocals being too low in the mix and the fog machine kicking out entirely too much smoke for the small room, put a bit of a damper on things. Despite this, Spellcaster delivered a fantastic performance: The rhythm section of bassist Gabe Franco and drummer Colin Vranizan seemed particularly locked in, and guitarists Cory Boyd and Bryce Vanhoosen delivered some shining fretwork.
Making their first trek to Boise (and the US for that matter), Edmonton, Alberta’s Striker came loaded for bear. The band recently unleashed its critically acclaimed fourth studio album, Stand in the Fire. Much of the set drew from the new record, including “Phoenix Lights”, “Out for Blood”, “Too Late”, “Locked In”, and the instrumental guitar onslaught, “Escape from Shred City”. They opened their set with two tracks, “Crossroads” and “All for One”, from their 2014 album, City of Gold. They also played the title track from that record. From their 2010 debut, Eyes in the Night, they fired up “Full Speed or No Speed” and “The White Knight”, and from 2012’s Armed to the Teeth they hit the crowd with “Lethal Force” and the show closer, “Fight for Your Life”. Every member of the band gave 110%, smiling throughout, and fully engaging the crowd. At one point guitarist Tim Brown had his guitar so close to my face I could have Jimi Hendrix’d the strings with my teeth. His brother Adam Brown slayed his drum kit like a marauding beast. Vocalist Dan Cleary worked the crowd as if it were packed to the rafters, and William “Wild Bill” Wallace, in the words of one fan, gave “great bass.” Even the band’s new touring guitarist (whose name I failed to catch) played like a man on fire.
The only thing that could have made this concert better would have been for more Boise metalheads to have packed the house. This line-up and these performances deserved to be seen by far more people. Each band tore it up, and those in attendance were treated to one hell of a metal show. Hopefully, each of these bands will be back sooner rather than later, and more people will get a chance to experience how spectacular they are live.
All photos © 2016 Suzette Mansfield and EyeRock2 Photography