Sometimes I end up in the most random of places covering acts I've never heard of. Though it's fun to mark things on the calendar and wait for months in anticipation, getting the call to check out a band and report back can be a great experience.
I received an email early last week that the band Vampires Everywhere! from L.A. were going to be in Lincoln. I had recently been to Gray's Keg for Joyous Wolf so I was familiar with the venue. For being a sleepy little neighborhood joint, Gray's does have a pretty decent stage, lighting, and a sound system that will make your ears bleed. All the ingredients needed for a wicked poison on such a spooky October night.
As I was pulling up I heard Motlen from Omaha finishing their set. I was a little bummed since I had seen them before and they put on a good show. The info said doors at 7:00 so I assumed the show would start at 8:00. Luckily I was in the door and plenty ready by the time the second local support band, Till Hell from Lincoln took the stage.
With a name like Till Hell I assumed these guys would be super scary and satanic or something. While they did have some gritty lyrics, I didn't feel like I was being dragged to hell. It was more like hanging my head out of a 1950s dragster with the wind in my hair on the way to the beach. Till Hell had a strong surf rock vibe but in like a dirty metal kind of way. If Rob Zombie and the Beach Boys had a baby you'd be pretty close to Till Hell. The band sure looked like they were having fun up there and I know many in the crowd were too.
Next up was the first of the touring bands, Fate Destroyed from L.A. and they had the walls shaking! Their mix of loud, drop-tuned guitars mixed with mostly scream vocals and a little bit of hip-hop brought something unique to the metalcore genre. They've been busy during quarantine sending songs back and forth across state lines. Singer Franccesca mentioned that one of the songs they created during lockdown "Crave" has become one of their most streamed songs to date. Fate Destroyed did a great job pumping up the crowd and keeping the spooky party vibes going!
The last band providing direct support was another L.A. outfit, Assuming We Survive. I can't say enough great things about this band. AWS leaned a bit more pop-punk than some of the previous acts on the bill but they lit Gray's Keg on fire. Lead singer Adrian mentioned that they used to play Warped Tour every summer. As soon as they broke into their first song I was immediately taken back to the days of sweaty crowd surfing, circle pits, and getting baked in the hot sun for hours just to hear a band play a 25 minute set. What fun!
But seriously, Assuming We Survive just made it onto my radar in a big way. I was glad I got to talk to all the guys after the set and they were just as nice off stage too. I can't wait to catch them again, possibly on a headline run or maybe a bigger opening slot. Much like Warped Tour, their set was only about 25 minutes and that's just not enough! Check out Assuming We Survive on all streaming platforms now, and if you're on the West coast there's a few more dates on left on their tour. Get those tickets!
After getting my ears blasted with the pure joy of AWS's pop-punk awesomeness, it was time to get creepy. There was a pretty long break between AWS and the final set. The night was already going on almost 11:00, so in my tired state I started making up commentary in my head as to what could be taking so long. Long after the vampires in the band did a soundcheck they waited around just making small talk. I imagined they were like "We're gonna Helsing this singer dude, what is taking so long?" I also thought, "Maybe the head vampire has a familiar in every city of the tour and he just happens to be running late". That's a call out to the Vampire TV series What We Do In The Shadows, by the way. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out, it's hilarious.
Finally, the star of Vampires Everywhere! "Michael Vampire" took the smoke-filled stage. The band broke into their blood-soaked metal giving the crowd a fright!
While Vampires Everywhere! has a mix of styles from straight up rock, metal, and even trap metal, it's hard not to make the comparison to Marilyn Manson. Not only in sound, but in my opinion, Michael Vampire has a striking resemblance to a younger version of the famous shock-rocker.
And just like Manson, from the start, the band pushed their shocking theatrics to the edge. The DJ for the night "DJ Alleykat" danced burlesque on stage as the Vampires blasted through their first song. "Say your prayers, say your prayers" Michael screamed, while rolling his eyes back in his head. The fellow vampires shredded their guitars in unison as the show kicked into high gear.
Most of the songs were pretty straight forward rockers, but the band had a unique mix of covers including a "trap-metal" version of The Weeknd's song "The Hills Have Eyes". The Vampires kept Gray's Keg rocking until almost midnight! For those that stuck it out and partied to the end, they'll have a wild tale to tell their friends.
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