It’s not often that you get to see two iconic New Orleans bands together in a small intimate venue. This night had several extraordinary factors. The co-headliners were none other than the all mighty Crowbar and the ferociously aggressive Goatwhore. The two bands have not only similarities in geography but have also had intermingling members in the bands or side projects. Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet was a member of Crowbar from 1998–2002, and was an integral part of Crowbar’s iconic album ‘Odd Fellows Rest’. Crowbar drummer Tommy Buckley and Goatwhore vocalist Ben Falgoust are also members of the band Soilent Green together. So of course the bands have a great camaraderie. Of course these weren’t the only bands that would grace the stage on this heavy metal showcase. The opening band Lillake formed in 2015, so they are just beginning their musical journey. However, the members of this band are by no means new to the metal world. Drummer Eric Moore is one of the most revered drummers around. Both Eric Moore and Lillake vocalist/guitarist Nico Santora were members of Suicidal Tendencies. Eric Moore was in the band from 2008 – 2015, and Santora was in the band from 2012 – 2016 and left the band to focus his time on Lillake.
Lillake took the stage in an effort to hold their own against a roster of veteran talent. Listening to the band prior to the show I was immediately drawn to their sound. They have a great contrast between the sounds of Goatwhore and Crowbar. Their music filled a void that night that the other bands may not been able to do. Lillake have a precise style and sound and they achieve exactly what they set out to do. The slowed down temperament of songs like “Half Dead” really define the bands ability to change tempo. Though drummer Eric Moore can play any style proficiently the percussion element he adds to Lillake really sets the band apart from others in the realm of metal. Moore is not just a drummer he is a entertainer, and during his drum solo or just throughout songs is mind blowing. Lillake’s jaw dropping performance had the entire crowd’s attention. Playing songs from their debut album ‘Become’ they band didn’t skip a beat. Everyone was moving non-stop. If their goal was to get the crowd warmed up then you can certainly say mission accomplished. Nico Santora led the band throughout their set and raised the bar for what was expected for the upcoming bands. Not only Lillake’s album impressive but their live set comes across with that same satisfactory feeling.
Goatwhore are no strangers to Johnson City, Tennessee, but you could say that this trip to the tri-cites was somewhat new. After playing The Hideaway several times this was the band’s first appearance at Capone’s. Vocalist Ben Falgoust also took the time on stage to say thanks to the people who came to see them before down the street. Though The Hideaway is a much more intimate venue (and a personal favorite venue of mine) Capone’s is a step up when it comes to venues. The band opened their set with “An End To Nothing” from their 2012 release ‘Blood for the Master’. The moment the band ceremoniously took the stage it was all chaos. Fists were in the air, mosh pits were moving and everyone was head banging from the front rail to the back of the venue. Watching Sammy Duet shred on stage is a magical thing to see. His havoc filled riffs grab your soul like a harpoon and pull you to the dark side. He of course isn’t the only man on stage that is a site to see. Ben Falgoust is the frontman of all frontmen. Never does he need to ask for your attention, he demands it without uttering a single word. He not only acts as vocalist of the band but conductor of the crowd. The hauntingly eerie track “Cold Earth Consumed In Dying Flesh” showcases Falgoust’s baritone howl in contrast with Sammy’s screeching screams. This track is a slowed down tempo in comparison for the majority of the song. Watching drummer Zack Simmons relentlessly pound on his drum kit during this song is breathtaking. The band just wrapped up recording their new album that is yet to be named. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear any new music, but it just makes the anticipation for the new album even greater. Of course no Goatwhore show can be complete without playing on of their most popular songs “Apocalyptic Havoc.” This is the very moment when their blackened thrash sound takes over. The lyrics “Who needs a god when you’ve got Satan” was screamed by over half of the crowd in harmony with Falgoust. By the time the set was over everyone was drenched in sweat and their souls turned to black.
Crowbar has set the standard for all that is heavy. The definitions for Crowbar doesn’t stop at heavy, they also are one of the pioneering bands of the sludge sound. The band has also recently welcomed former bassist Todd “Sexy T” Strange back into the fold. Not only does Sexy T add proficient bass playing, he also adds chemistry to the band. The band recently released their 11th studio album ‘The Serpent Only Lies’ in October. Crowbar is one of the few bands that has been around for over 20 years and still breaking ground while maintaining their signature sound on every new album. Crowbar took the stage and immediately showed their dominance with the song “Conquering” from the album ‘Broken Glass’ (1996). Lead singer and guitarist Kirk Windstein has one of the most unique voices in metal. His gravely pitch resonates perfectly with their slow sludgy riffs. Crowbar is a band that is much greater than the sum of its parts. While each musician is extraordinarily talented with their instrument it’s their talents combined that make the band so amazing. There was a moment within their set where time almost stood still. It came when the band played “The Cemetery Angel.” From the breakdowns in the song or the Riff Lord Kirk Windstein’s vocal dominance the entire crowd was in awe of the heaviness bestowed on them. From one high to another they followed that up by playing “Walk With Knowledge Wisely” which is one of the stand out tracks from 2014’s ‘Symmetry In Black’. Guitarist Matt Brunson shreds away on his guitar with a stone face, flawlessly making everything look simple. It must be noted that the band is somewhat of a super group. Not because they are in other bands or their popularity, but because each member is intrinsic to the Crowbar sound. It was a set jam packed with amazing riff after amazing riff. But it wasn’t over yet. The band began playing one of the fan favorites “Planets Collide” and we got a little something extra this time around as Goatwhore’s Sammy Duet joined the band on stage and sang backing vocals alongside Kirk. The same song in which he played on back in 1998 when the album ‘Odd Fellows Rest’ was released. It added an element to the song that made the hair on your neck stand on end. The crowd erupted in applause. It’s a moment that every fan in the building will forever cherish. Crowbar went on to end their set with yet another hit “The Lasting Dose”, and at that point they had given the crowd everything they could have ever wanted and more.
It was a night that no one will soon forget. Outstanding performances by everyone that took the stage. Crowbar and Goatwhore showed their veteran abilities and played flawlessly. The show was of course rounded out by the newly formed band Lillake who played like they have been together for a decade. They were an amazing addition to the tour. By far one of the best touring lineups I have witnessed in years. The show wasn’t a normal event, but more like a moment in history that will forever be imprinted in our memory.