Last Friday, July 28, Traitors Gate made a grand return to the stage as they hosted their first headlining show at the Knitting Factory. Taking the stage before them were 57 Heavy, Faded Leroy, and Break Surface. The latter opened the event. I’m a huge fan of guitarist Brian Denney. The man is insanely talented. Beyond that I will simply say that the crowd seemed to enjoy their set and I respect anyone who puts themselves out there as a performer, and recognize we all have different tastes.
Faded Leroy was next to come out. They put on a stellar performance. Frontman Jeremy Cummings is a very energetic person, and that tends to wash over the audience. Mosh pits are sure to ensue, and a roar of voices is bound to echo off the walls between tunes. Brendan Nickel (guitar/vocals) formerly of Breakdown Boulevard, has amazing clean vocals, as does bass player Beau Kolar. Altogether, Faded Leroy has a very tight, well-rehearsed sound, and continues to impress the hell out of me every time they’re put in the limelight. Be sure to grab a copy of their latest EP, Have Hope.
In contrast, 57 Heavy delivered a performance that was a bit more loose. The trio knocked out a happy-go-lucky and carefree set. Frontman Shane Horsley came out barefooted with a big smile on his face and was very friendly. He has an almost stereotypical rock n roll je ne c’est quoi feel to his voice. Their roots surely show (as should any good band’s) in their style. The best part about 57 Heavy, for me, is drummer Jeff Bartkowski. This guy is a madman behind the kit. His presence is almost distracting from Horsley. I have to say that the funniest part of their set was standing next to Hand of Doom frontman Gary Glaesemann and seeing the look on his face when they whipped out a cover of “War Pigs” and watching him almost gingerly sing along.
And of course, the band of the hour: Traitors Gate. Where do I begin? They absolutely killed it! The band opened it up full-throttle with “Killing Fields,” “Blitz,” and “Eater of the Dead.” Other crowd favorites included “Plausible Deniability,” Dear Ms. Kelly,” and “Acceptable Losses.” Don’t let singer Mr. Y’s stature fool you, with his thundering voice, the man is a force to be reckoned with. I also appreciate his enthusiasm. He was all over the damn place. I was getting exhausted just watching. Bassist Colby Dees has a very idiosyncratic tone to his instrument, and it is ungodly powerful. His synchronization with new drummer Jayce Keffer is very admirable. Guitarist Ken Mansfield isn’t a shredder. No, to call this man a shredder is an insult. His fretwork is insane, and he does it without even flinching! The coolest part of their set came at the end when the audience called for an encore. Everyone came and took the stage, and Mr. Y stepped up to the mic.
“Since we’ve been working with a new drummer, we were only able to nail down our set,” he explained apologetically. “But why don’t we end the show like we started it!”
And just like that, they kicked into their first song and played it with as much heart (if not more) as they did the first time. Not a bad way to spend an evening I would say. Especially because I had the opportunity to once again support local metal, and that is a wonderful feeling.
We were fortunate to have two photographers on hand for this show and you get the best of both:
All photos © 2017 Suzette Mansfield @ EyeRock2
All photos © 2017 Courtney Holmes Photography