It was a chilly Midwest evening (2/19), but Arizona's Dropout Kings brought some much needed heat to the Waiting Room!
Dropout Kings had amazing support from 333 Wreckords artists Guerilla Warfare, and the band VRSTY (pronounced Varsity) from NYC. Omaha band The Tale Untold rounded out the bill, providing a killer soundtrack for the evening.
This tour was presented by the pride of Omaha's alternative music scene, 89.7 The River. I had such a blast catching up with the River crew. Amplified Afternoons host Corey was on hand to talk upcoming shows and reminisce about the early days of Nu-Metal. I got to meet the new host of the Morning Fiasco, Nelson, and even the O.G. Sophia John made an appearance! She strutted up to the stage in an all black jump suit, lookin fresh. She announced that not only River Riot is in the works, but we'll be getting a Rock Fest too! So keep an eye out for those, you know Stories from the Crowd will be there to capture all the action.
The first band up were the locals The Tale Untold. It's no surprise these guys and gals have been nominated for an OEAA award for best metal band. They sounded super polished as they blasted the crowd with a sonic assault of crunchy guitars and guttural vocals.
Lead singer Eliss did a great job balancing the roles of serious screamer and pepped up cheer leader. One moment she was shredding her tonsils and the next she had the biggest smile. Shout out to guitarists Jon and Jack for bringing the heavy shred with a side of technicality. They too had enthusiastic grins for most of the set, and why wouldn't they? The fans were already starting to pack it in and they had the crowd moving!
Let's not forget the rhythm section of drummer Ashlee and Brandon on Bass. They're the time keepers and the heart of the groove, so, much love to those two! Talking about love, the band had tons of support from friends and family too. I saw so many The Tale Untold shirts walking around the Waiting Room. I had to stop by the merch booth three times before I could talk to the band because they were so busy. So expect to see even more fans the next time you catch a set from The Tale Untold!
While I was waiting for The Tale Untold I heard some fans getting pretty wild towards the back of the bar. I turned around to find Nick and Cody, two guys who drove all the way from Fargo! After chatting for a minute I quickly realized it was Nick who was the rowdy one, while Cody was a bit more reserved. Nick said he had been a fan of Dropout Kings for a couple years and was finally getting the chance to see them live.
During The Tale Untold Nick was the first one to try and start the circle pit, and also offered to buy the band shots. Lead singer Eliss said "Um...We just drink water", haha. Fair enough. Nick and Cody were fun dudes. They're hoping to come back to Omaha for Puscifer at The Admiral on July 5. I too am excited for that show, hopefully I'll catch them there.
Next up was a band I've been wanting to catch for a while, Guerrilla Warfare. Now if you've been following Stories from the Crowd, you know that we're Fever 333 super fans. 333 Wreckords label is the brain-child of Fever 333 and former Letlive front man Jason Aalon Butler. The label aims to bring people of color in rock and metal to the forefront.
Normally the band tours as a three piece, but the band's bass player Trever had to fly back home to take care of a family issue. Never fear, these dudes are hardcore. They put together some bass tracks and pushed through with just drums, guitars, and vocals.
Before the set drummer Garrett Hood removed his shirt to reveal a 333 tattoo on his neck. I about lost my mind and tried to start the 333 chant. I don't think anyone around me had any idea what I was talking about, but guitarist and vocalist Foster Lucas lifted up his pant leg and had the same tattoo! He gave me the nod like "IYKYK".
Guerrilla Warfare proceeded to burn down the stage with break-neck drums, shredding guitars, and wicked rap flows. Even with a man down they packed so much energy into their performance and had the circle pit moving. These guys are a force to be reckoned with!
Standout tracks included "Run It Back", "NU.Wav", and "BBB". "BBB" in particular had such a passionate delivery with lyrics focused on the police killings of POC. While the music might come across to most as just angry youth rock, the message underneath reveals something much deeper. I'm sure most people in the audience were experiencing the band for the first time, but there was one guy next to me who was rapping along with every word. I made sure to catch up with him after the set and we had a nice chat in passing about Guerrilla Warfare and Fever 333.
I was also able to catch up with Foster outside after the set and the dude was super chill. We talked Fever 333, Guerrilla Warfare's debut album coming out April 22, and upcoming tour plans. I know Fever 333 typically doesn't have opening bands when they do headline shows, but I would be thrilled to see them play with Guerrilla Warfare. They have a similar D.I.Y vibe that would compliment Fever 333 well. I'm looking forward to their debut album and where they go from here.
After catching my breath there were two bands left, starting with VRSTY from NYC. These guys had their work cut out for them as Guerrilla Warfare had just laid down some fire, but they were up for the task.
By the time they were ready to take the stage the crowd had filled out nicely and had to be over 300. VRSTY came out to an energetic mob ready to rock. As soon as the first song hit there were a ton of people bouncing along, singing every word.
After the heavy hitting hardcore sounds of Guerrilla Warfare, VRSTY seemed to move in another direction bringing a more pop-metal vibe, but I was here for it. Lead singer Joey and crew had the perfect mix of djent guitars and soulful pop vocals. The song "Closer" was like a throwback of New Kids on the Block mixed with Linkin Park. It sounds crazy, but it totally works and the crowd, myself included, ate it up.
VRSTY played several cuts from their latest album Welcome Home including "Closer", "Finesse", and "Sick", but the standout for me was the one-off single "Shameless". It starts off heavy with drop tuned guitars and a scream vocal, "Go on and bury me!" but quickly transitions into some rapid-fire bass reminiscent of Michael Jackson or The Weeknd. It's just a super polished track ready for the next super hero soundtrack.
After VRSTY's set I was outside talking with the tour's sound engineer. VRSTY bass player Javy came out to talk to a young fan and her parents. Javy was saying how they were playing in Davenport, IA the next night (2/20), about a four hour drive from Omaha. I spoke up and jokingly said "Hey it's a holiday weekend, have them put you on the guest list!" The mom looked at her husband and daughter and they said they were down! I sincerely hope they make the trek. Talk about making fans for life. I guarantee they'll remember that moment for years to come.
As I waited for the band of the evening I noticed that someone in the front row had a Dropout Kings tattoo! I just had to get the back story here. Eno Miriam and her husband started following Dropout Kings a few years ago and had already seen them like 8 times! They drove all the way from Madison, WI for this show. I love seeing the dedication of fans especially when it's a band that's in the early stages of their career.
Not only did Eno have the tattoo, it was done by the band's bass player Rob. Eno said it was the first fan tattoo he had ever done. Talk about having a piece of history. I can only hope Dropout Kings become completely massive and Eno will have the ultimate bragging rights. Maybe they'll do that thing where if you have the tattoo you can get into all the headline shows for free. Sure beats spending hours editing photos and writing articles, (well maybe).
Eno mentioned that this one of the biggest Dropout Kings headline shows she had been to so far and I felt an extreme sense of pride for our music scene. I heard similar sentiments from some other fans and even some of the band crew.
Dropout Kings came out swinging with blasting guitars, pounding bass, and hip hop flows. This was my first time experiencing Dropout Kings outside of hearing their single "Virus" on 89.7 The River, but I had an awesome time.
There was a general progression of energy throughout the night, with each band taking things up another notch, but now the Kings were here to rule. As soon as the first song hit I was blasted from behind as the circle pit got a little too close. Luckily whatever liquid spilled on me was clear and not the glass of purple drink the guy behind me was holding.
After tearing through the first song, the band announced "This song is called "Virus", you can hear it on 89.7 The River!" Of course the crowd exploded since this was their big radio single. I was surprised to see it played so early in the set though. I thought for sure they would save it for last. I talked to a few folks in the back and they said they watched a handful of people leave after they played it. Talk about fair-weather fans!
But that's ok, there were plenty of people still packing it in as the Dropout Kinds played through the rest of their set. The Suburban Noize records act played through another 35 minutes of supercharged Nu Nu Metal (I'm coining a new phrase, it's Nu Metal, but for the new generation), before thanking the crowd for coming out and showing such great support.
The crowd chanted for one more song and Dropout Kings dropped a bomb, playing the title track from their album GlitchGang. The place erupted as the band delivered spitfire flows over heavy guitars waving the flag for the next generation of angry youth.
You can check out GlitchGang wherever you stream music and you can hear "Virus" on 89.7 The River. Huge shout out to 89.7 The River for brining these bands, 1% Productions and the Dave Campbell crew for running the show and to Dropout Kings management for photo access. Also shoutout to Omaha Taco Co. (not sponsored) for the amazing pre-show tacos.
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The Tale Untold