Friday night at the Knitting Factory demonstrated once again how loyal local music fans are for heavy music in the valley. Hundreds of fans showed up to support the five acts chosen for the X Fest Battle of the Bands promoted by 100.3 The X. The night showcased some of Idaho’s premier talents in the form of Vault 7, Ripchain, Ghostbox, Traitors Gate, and Breakdown Boulevard. As difficult as it was to narrow the field to only five bands waging riff-laden war to win a coveted spot opening the 2016 X Fest on August 26, picking a winner from among the finalists would be a brutal affair. Fortunately that was left to the fans.
The mood at The Knit Friday night was one of camaraderie and rock and roll revelry. While all the bands wanted to win, they were all supportive of each other as well. That attitude and unity is what sets Boise music apart from so many of the cities I have lived in over the years. Rock and roll is a brotherhood (and sisterhood) where we all raise the flag (and horns) together.
Vault 7 kicked off the show in proud fashion, and the crowd responded emphatically. The newly installed sound system at The Knit is a dynamic beast and pushed every performance to a new level. Ripchain delivered perhaps the tightest and most explosive set I have seen from the band. Ghostbox added another dimension to the night with their unique brand of dark and heavy groove. Closing it all out was Breakdown Boulevard, who delivered a powerful set to end the night.
Ultimately, only one band could walk away with the prize, and on this night, Traitors Gate gave everything they had leading up to the show, and they left it all on the stage. The newly formed unit comprised of several notable Boise talents, took ownership of the moment and grabbed it by the throat.
Guitarist Ken Mansfield offered his thoughts on the evening’s festivities:
“I had so much fun playing for everyone last night, and to just be included with the incredibly talented line up that was presented was amazing in itself. We have been working very hard the last few months to develop the band’s sound and I think we won over some new fans to the TG camp, winning the night was a huge bonus for us on top of that.”
Bassist Colby Dees echoed the sentiment:
“It was an honor to be one of the five bands selected. The X Fest Battle of the Bands was our third show as a band, so it blew my mind we won! I’m ecstatic to bring the Traitors Gate thunder to the stage at X Fest!”
Drummer Tim Allan concurred as well:
“I’m proud and honored to represent Boise at X Fest 2016! I went into the finals feeling already like we won just to play that show, so to win was a huge surprise and I was blown away against that line-up of bands. Feeling very proud to be member of Traitors Gate!”
Traitors Gate may be the newest band on Friday’s bill, but they are no stranger to the Treasure Valley music scene. The band consists of members of previously successful regional bands including Mansfield’s long tenure in Gypsy Saints, Allan’s time with Brutal Season and Colby Dees from Vault7. Despite such veteran talents it is perhaps their vocalist whom they affectionately call Mister ‘Y’, who has been the tempest for the band. They dynamic front man owns the stage the moment he sets foot in front of the crowd.
Four defiantly strong personalities make up this band which draws on its varied creative backgrounds when writing the powerful and edgy material that can only be Traitors Gate. The band incorporates its metal, heavy rock, punk and technical influences to create both a visual and sonic experience. Traitors Gate recently completed its debut 3-song demo which includes the crowd favorite, “Killing Fields”.
Huge props to Gary Pike and the Knitting Factory staff and Big J and Nic from The Morning After show, plus all the X Rocks staff that were on hand for the event.
Now, buy your X Fest tickets for this amazing show which will feature Breaking Benjamin, Saint Asonia, Avatar, Shaman’s Harvest, Stitched Up Heart, and of course, Traitors Gate. It’s worth the price of admission for any one or two of these bands, but 100.3 The X is bringing us all of them. Let’s keep this happening every year by supporting this show in droves.