Sevendust have been releasing music and playing live shows for the better part of 20 years and some change. After seeing the reaction from those in attendance during the band’s sold out show at House of Blues in Chicago, there was no doubt that a multitude of them have been with the band on this lengthy musical journey.
By the time Sevendust were to take the stage, the venue was absolutely packed and trying to move around was next to impossible. While most bands have some sort of hype music playing for a minute or so prior to taking the stage, Sevendust started the night off with the most unexpected intro song; Modern Day Cowboy by Tesla. The entire song. I thought it was a great coincidence as Tesla had played HOB earlier in the month.
Fans cheered as the band walked on stage. They started their approximate hour and 20-minute set with Dirty, the only song from 2018’s, All I See Is War. The rest of the night was filled with songs spanning the band’s 20+ year career. Front man Lajon Witherspoon held a lot of power in his stance, command of the stage and how well he interacted with the crowd. His facial expressions and body movement were as much a part of the song as his singing. At one point he even asked for a circle pit. Some fans obliged and a couple popped up a time or two during the rest of the night.
With Denial, the second song out of the gate, they took it back to 1999’s Home album and the crowd was every bit into it. All across the front barricade, fans of various ages sang along, smiled and rocked out. Guitarists Clint Lowery and John Connolly, appeared as tall pillars on opposite sides of the stage, although, neither stood perfectly still. Whether playing in a crouched position or jumping in perfect time to the beat, these two made it look easy.
Prior to the next song, Lajon shared how shocked he was that it had been 15 years since they last played this particular venue. (Note: Although not the Chicago area specifically as they did play one of the Western suburbs just last year.) They continued on and he asked everyone if they wanted to go back in time 20 years. This time they played two back-to-back songs from Home, Feel So and Reconnect. By this point in the show, drummer Morgan Rose had pummeled his kit so hard from aggressive playing, I was surprised it was still standing. All joking aside, the guy is a madman on drums. All night, both his arms and hair were flying within his personal space and from time to time you would hear his backing vocals.
Once again, Lajon spoke to the crowd, although, this time with a high level of gratitude. He commented that he wasn’t sure what was going on, but shared that a lot of the shows on this tour were sold out. His comments were genuine as he thanked everyone. They slowed it down a bit with Skeleton Song and it was a powerful moment during a mostly non-stop and chaotic sounding set.
“I’ll stay right here with all these familiar faces
And shut-out everyone else from the world we created
Instead of becoming the sick and twisted
I’ll lose myself in a song again”
They picked up the pace again with Splinter, before getting to Waffle, another twenty year old song that clearly had the hearts of many. To me, this was THE loudest fan sing along during the entire night. During Enemy, Morgan and bassist Vince Hornsby chose to have a little fun. As Vince moved around the stage, Morgan would toss him sticks, grab another one to continue playing and then repeat. Not that Vince needed a reason to move around the stage. All night, the man was everywhere; at the front of the stage, to the side and back of the stage and even and behind the drums.
They wrapped up the end of the regular set with a power trio of Shine, Decay and the only song from 2015’s Kill The Flaw, Thank You. While the band left the stage for a few minutes, the crowd got a little breather before the band returned for the encore. Given their intensity of playing all night, Sevendust still had more to give. First was Bitch, from their 1997 Self-Titled debut album that started it all. As the band played, I witnessed many in the crowd with a huge smile on their face as they sang along.
Before the last song of the night, Lajon got the crowd to chant, “Sevendust has arrived!” a long-standing phrase in the band’s career. Finally it was the start of the last song, Face To Face, with its extra crunchy guitar intro and that first line you can’t help but want to scream aloud, “You can’t stop f-cking with my head, Stop f-cking with my head.” The band and the crowd gave every last ounce of energy they had left in them.
While this particular tour is coming to an end, Sevendust have more dates planned for May. Check out all of the dates and VIP options with the band, guitar experiences with Clint Lowery and John Connolly or a drum experience with Morgan Rose here.
Read our review of openers, Tremonti, here.
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