Sevendust coming to Nashville is a rarity, despite the show with Disturbed and Korn at the beginning of the year. If you’re keen on Sevendust history, you’d know that lead vocalist Lajon Witherspoon is Nashville-born. However, in 2002, his brother Reginald was shot and killed here, and the band had been reluctant to play many shows here throughout the last decade. It seems things are a bit more relaxed in the Sevendust camp these days, and Nashville opened her arms to welcome them back again.
There’s a general rule of thumb on lines for shows. For a major band, the line will double in length every twenty minutes about an hour before the doors open. For The Cannery Ballroom on the 21st, that line stretched out quite a ways as fans lined up to get in. Sevendust had brought tour-mates Adelitas Way, Seven Day Summer, and Violence To Vegas. It was to be a packed show in a hotbox of a venue.
The Cannery Ballroom isn’t a venue known for its air conditioning and hospitable seating. It was standing room only, and you’re lucky if you aren’t drenched in sweat and having trouble breathing the thick air by the end of the show. Nevertheless, people packed the place in droves all the way back to the merch tables. Violence To Vegas opened the show.
Seeing the guys from VTV pile onto the stage, my friends and I were confused as to what was in store. The lead singer was clad in a leather jacket and blonde mohawk with facepaint, while the rest of the band looked like average Joes. What we heard when they started playing was a combination of bad sound mixing and nasally higher-register vocals. The band had energy, but the sound problems overshadowed their set, with guitars being barely distinguishable from a mucky sound mix. The singer showed great crowd interaction, but didn’t seem to suit the music with his vocals. At the end of their set, I was confused as to what sort of sound they were aiming for.
If you’re hearing a band for the first time, you want them to impress you enough to make you get their albums. Neither VTV nor Seven Day Summer did that for us. Seven Day Summer took stage soon after VTV, bringing some more energy that the crowd fed off of. The singer was the best part of the band, but it was anyone’s guess as to what pitch he was aiming for with multiple songs. The audio mix was a bit better, but not much. If you want to impress crowds, get a good sound guy and make sure your singer’s able. He could have been having a bad night, but I wouldn’t have known that.
Adelitas Way, WWE Superstars-endorsed heavy rockers, were on just before Sevendust. Clearly in command of a large portion of the crowd, they were able to connect with the audience and rock the place. It was almost entertaining seeing the band members, who were a bunch of short waifish twenty-somethings, backing the tall and imposing lead singer Rick DeJesus. The lead guitarist threw in his share of adept guitar solos while the band blasted through their songs. The music wasn’t my style, personally, but it was very commercially viable and the crowd seemed to dig it.
Sevendust finally took the stage just after 10 PM, opening up with “Splinter” from their latest album, “Cold Day Memory.” The big staple songs like “Waffle” and “Home” were absent from the set list, but “Praise,” “Enemy,” “Suffocate,” “The End Is Coming,” “Face To Face,” and “Angel’s Son” were on tap for the night. The crowd pulsed with the rhythms as the band burned through the set.
Lajon, in his dreadlocked glory, had the crowd riveted with his headbangs, going up on the beat rather than down, and looking as if he were “possessed,” as my friend said to me. Many crowdsurfers made their way up front over the crowd, and one girl actually had passed out and was evacuated by means of crowdsurfing. The sound problems weren’t all cleared up for Sevendust, but they brought the house down anyway. “Angel’s Son” was especially moving, considering the band had dedicated it to Lajon’s brother after he was shot in Nashville.
This tour comes through Mobile, Alabama tonight, and moves on to wrap up in Lancaster, PA on the 26th at the Chameleon Club. Sevendust’s ability to really move each person in the audience is definitely impressive after fifteen years as a band. A photo album from the show will be up shortly in the Photo Gallery.
Frank Serafine is an avid writer, music producer, and musician, with five albums to his name. While completely enamored with metal, he appreciates a wide range of music. He also works in the field of Music Licensing for the American-based company SESAC.