Awaken I Am, a band from Sydney, Australia, started off the night. Before they took the stage, I overheard their guitarist speaking to someone about how stoked they were to play to what he assumed would be the largest crowd of tour so far; he wasn’t wrong. They had a solid audience for being the opener. The boys played a solid set. I had never listened to them before, but it was clear that they were the right choice as an opener.
Next up was Royal Thunder. Once again, a band I had never heard of. Comprised of four members and a female vocalist/bassist with a ridiculously ferocious voice, they easily stole the night for me. The heavy rock/grunge sound was especially refreshing for me, as I normally find myself around hardcore shows that all start to sound the same. Royal Thunder were so captivating that I ended up listening to them all the way back home from Detroit. Check them out!
Slaves followed the four-piece, and it was clear that many in the room were waiting to see Jonny Craig and his most recent band (including myself). As he walked across the stage prior to the line-check, the room started cheering. Backed with their own LED light props and a moody reddish front lighting, their set was entertaining. It seemed to me that their live show/mix is mostly focused on Jonny, as I believe it should be. There is absolutely no denying that he has a fantastic voice, and he pulls it off live almost effortlessly. Slaves definitely got the crowd into it and had many singing and screaming before the end of their set.
Finally, CKY. A band that I’d always heard of due to Bam Margera and Viva La Bam, but never actually got into during my youth. That being said, everyone around me was clearly a huge fan. It didn’t take long for chants of “CKY!” to begin shortly after Slaves finished. The switchover time between Slaves and CKY was lengthened due to what seemed to be a faulty guitar cab (as far as I could gather from just watching on the floor), but that didn’t prevent the three-piece crew from coming out strong. These guys are clearly professionals that have been doing this for a long time.
Opening with “The Human Drive in Hi Fi,” the crowd was immediately involved and party mode was activated. The remainder of the set was filled with older hits such as Rio Bravo, 96 Quite Bitter Beings, Escape From Hellview, Flesh Into Gear, as well as three songs from their newest album “The Phoenix.” The band finished out the night with “Bite It You Scum,” a GG Allin cover for their encore. It was an awesome night that everyone at St. Andrews seemed to enjoy.
After the show ended and I was driving home, I was contemplating the huge appreciation I have for “mixed bill” tours. Pop band, punk band, pop band, punk band. The lineup made sense, and it helped break up the sounds throughout the evening. It’s also beneficial to everyone’s collective attention span when there are a multitude of different styles, rather than 5 bands that all sound the same.