It was a Monday night, not that you could tell by the crowd on hand. They were exuberant in their anticipation of the nights lineup featuring California hardcore legends Suicidal Tendencies, New Orleans, Lousiana’s sludge masters Crowbar, and Denver, Colorado thrash metallers Havok. It was an impressive mix of young and old in attendance, with more than one parent with child in tow.

Havok opened the show around 8pm with a solid, but short set. Playing material from their three previous releases, as well as some new tracks from the forthcoming Conformicide LP, Havok is made up of some fine musicians who obviously love what they do. Pulling from threads of thrash metals past, Havok is more than a throwback act. Rather they have their own sense of purpose when it comes to rocking your face off. It seemed to me that other than a gaggle of fans wearing Havok t shirts, this was the first exposure for much of the crowd on hand. Nevertheless, the band was warmly received as they capably warmed up the crowd.

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Crowbar followed Havok with a crushing nine-song set. The band is promoting their new album The Serpent Only Lies, but for this short set they only played one song from the album  (“Plasmic and Pure”) and a selection of songs across their other 10 releases. With original bassist Todd Strange back in the fold, the band sounds as good as they ever have. Vocalist/guitarist Kirk Windstein engaged the crowd between songs, inciting “Crow-bar” chants and mosh-pits, as his band made the floor shake with mammoth-sized riffs. Being the sludge band sandwiched between a thrash act and a hardcore punk act, the band delivered a set that had more up-tempo numbers than usual, keeping the crowd on and off their feet.

Suicidal Tendencies went on a little after 10pm and brought as much energy to their show as anyone I’ve seen in recent memory. Of course, Mike Muir was all over the stage, hyper-actively dancing, shadowboxing, and defying father time in every way imaginable. His band, likewise, all over the stage. Constantly circling each other, pumping fists, kicking the air, these guys must have been exhausted after the set.  The band played everything you would want to hear, “I Saw Your Mommy,” “Institutionalized,” “Trip at the Brain,” as well as “Clap Like Ozzy” from last years World Gone Mad. It wouldn’t be far to single out drummer Dave Lombardo, because the entire band was spot-on. But, damn Dave Lombardo is a great drummer and a ton of fun to watch. As a unit, however, the band destroyed Gas Monkey Live. Easily one of the most ferocious pits I’ve seen (ever!), the adoring crowds only complaint was the set wasn’t longer.

This is a great tour package with something for everyone. Be it the thrash of Havok, the sludge of Crowbar, or the punk of Suicidal Tendencies, this lineup is sure to deliver. If the tour is coming to your town, we highly recommend  checking it out.

– J. Kevin Lynch

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