Words By: Kevin Akers | Photography By: Estil Robinson
Lexington Kentucky decided to celebrate Halloween a day early as DevilDriver brought their Outlaws til the End Tour to the Manchester Music Hall. The venue has hosted a bunch of hard rock acts in the past year including Sevendust, All That Remains, and Trivium. But it has never hosted a tour this heavy before. In fact, it may be the heaviest tour to ever play in Lexington.
The show started with 2 local bands. Muisti was up first and were one of the 3 female fronted bands to play on the night. Being the hometown band that plays at many of the local bars in town, they had a nice crowd show up to see them even though they started playing just as the doors opened for the show. They were definitely in the Halloween spirit as each member dressed as a Warlock, Warlord, and the “Sexecutioner”.
After a quick set change, Downtrend brought their “Southern Fried Hell Ride” to Lexington. This was the band’s first appearance in Lexington in many years. Downtrend recently welcomed lead singer Mike Jackson back to the band and he electrified the crowd with his vocals and harmonica playing. The crowd was mostly still coming in but the ones that were there really seemed to enjoy the band. The set included Downtrend staples such as “Wasted” and “Trick Bitch”.
Raven Black played next. I wasn’t too familiar with them before seeing them but the best way to describe them is members of a dark carnival who just escaped from a psycho circus. The band used many props on stage including spider umbrellas and giant teddy bears. The first mosh pit of the night opened up during “Twinkle Twinkle Little Scars”. Not really my cup of tea, but the crowd seemed to enjoy the theatrics of their performance.
It was now time to get into the main acts of the tour. The Ukrainian metal band Jinjer brought the house down with their blistering 40 minute set. Even though the show was in Lexington and Jinjer may not be as well known with the crowd, they had their fans there who were ready to mosh and rage with their absolute brutality. Lead singer Tatiana Shmailyuk is so unique in the fact that she has a great clean vocal voice but she can also scream with the best in the business. The band played their new single “Ape” from there forthcoming EP as well as their headbanger “Sit Stay Roll Over” and their mega hit “Pisces” which showcases both of Tatiana’s vocal talents. My favorite set of the night and I’m sure there were folks in the crowd that came away as fans of the Jinjer.
During the short set change, the crowd had filled in nicely and were eagerly awaiting the band that they’ve all come to see, the mighty DevilDriver. They took the stage to a thunderous cheer and immediately went into “Ruthless” and played nearly nonstop for their 14 song 60 minute set. Lead singer Dez Fafara stated once “why talk when we can keep playing songs”. The crowd formed a set long mosh pit which kept getting bigger and faster as the set progressed. Dez constantly urged the pit on during the songs and several times showed off the chills on his forearms because the crowd was bringing so much energy. The set started off with newer selections from the bands catalog including a cover a Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River” from their new ‘Outlaws Til The End’ album. After playing their cover of “Sail”, in which Dez said meant a lot to him because of his ADD issues, we really got into the meat of the set. Such DevilDriver classics as “Clouds Over California”, “End of the Line”, and “The Mountain” were played with raging approval from the audience.
For a town that doesn’t get many true heavy metal shows, Lexington was more than ready for the incredible sets put on my both DevilDriver and Jinjer. Hopefully the promoters responsible will see that Lexington is a heavy metal city and more shows of this caliber will happen again soon.