St. Valentine's Day Massacre KILLS

02/15/2012 00:00

   On the nights of February 10th and 11th a legion of fans flooded the streets of Bricktown for the biggest show that the local Hard Rock/Heavy

Metal scene has ever seen before. All day you could feel the excitement and anticipation building in the air as the concert was nearing.

   “I swear, right when I woke up Friday morning for work , I started counting down the hours!” said Amber Williams. “I couldn’t stop talking about it! I wanted to get off early from work and start heading out!”

   “I actually called in from work just so I could do everything I needed to do before the show,” said JD McDavis. “I just didn’t want to be rushed. Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate at work because I was so damn excited and I just didn’t care for work.”

   To be honest, I know how Amber and JD felt because I, myself, didn’t really want to go to work! But I did and all I can do was count each hour until it was time for the show! Hell, I couldn’t even shut up about! But once final hour struck and I was finally on my way, the anticipation changed from the nearing of the show to seeing all the local hard rock/heavy metal bands in one huge venue.

  I never realized how many talented local hard rock/heavy metal bands there are here in Oklahoma until last Friday and Saturday night when I witnessed a horde of local bands gathering at the Coca Cola Convention Center for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre show.

   One thing that I loved about this show was that it admitted all age groups! Kids ranging from the tender age of five to their late teens and the more seasoned adults from the age of 45 all the way up to their late 80s, and all ages in between were at the show. I was more impressed with the children there, all rocking out to the music, dancing and starting their own little mosh pits. And what I found even more awesome was no matter how loud or brutal the music got the kids never complained, never whined and never acted uninterested in the performances. There was one child there, maybe 5 or 6 years of age, right in the middle of the action! Later I asked him if he was frightened by all the people screaming, shouting and surrounding him and he stated that he was never scared. That he was with his mom watching his daddy perform on stage. He continued to say that he always enjoyed seeing his dad sing on stage and that someday he wanted to be right there with him. Just like Rusty Wigham, the rhythm guitarist for Lock-17, and his son Chris; who evidently sings in his own band, Breaking Silence.

Right in the middle of their set, Dewayne Clifton, the lead singer of Lock-17, announced that they were bringing someone new on stage to help him sing Sugar Momma and that it was his first time performing at a big venue.

   “I was really nerves but once I got out there on stage all my nervousness went away. It made me realize that I can be a front man.” said Chris Wigham. “It was a great feeling performing with my dad! He was the one that got me into music. It was truly incredible.”

   Once Chris started singing and interacting with the band, the audience went wild, cheering and singing along.

   “It was like Chris gave the performance a whole new energy and watching him sing Sugar Momma with Dewayne was incredible!” said Sarah Ligget. “Chris Wigham truly has a strong presence and was born to be on stage. I will definitely be looking for his band.”

   No doubt Rusty must have been jazzed and proud to have shared a stage with his son.

   “It was a very special moment for me!” said Rusty. “Steve Lamb, a photographer that was there, captured that moment and it means more to me that I can ever describe.”

   Lock-17’s performance was awesome and with Chris performing along side his dad elevated their show to a whole new level of greatness. In my opinion, if seeing the kids at that show rocking out to the music doesn’t show how truly amazing the next generation is then I don’t know what would.

   Majority of my time was spent watching the crowd of people and how they interacted with the bands. Observing if there was more of a crowd at one stage or the other or if a mosh pit was trying to start. And if I was in a crowd, I would try to look around and see if the crowd was singing and moving/swaying with the band. I remember at one point when Left To Die was performing the crowd was singing and moving a long with the band to almost every single song. And at the end of a Breed of Violence, Jeremy “Gutter” Wise , the roadie and long time friend of Left to Die, jumped off the stage into the crowd of people! Of course the crowd caught him and everyone cheered. It was amazing! I was very impressed with Soul Crisis and Left To Die! Their performance was very energetic and hard! Both bands had full blown stage effects that both surprised and shocked me.

   Left To Die had stage smoke and a full red and black themed wardrobe. Jason Waller came out with a red and black boa wrapped around his neck, Jeremy Waller wore a red button up shirt with a white and red tie and black pants, tony Bucher also wore a red button up shirt with black short and George Wilkes wore a red shirt with some type of flashy design with a black over shirt and black pants. It was great and very new to see.

   Soul Crisis had flashing lights and the lead singer, Riley Hahn, who also bartends at the Roxy, took off his shirt and was twirling his dreadlocks. Every band member of Soul Crisis were insane! Running here and there, posing and head banging together in unison! It was pure madness! What was really amazing was the guitarist for Dark Ascent, Keith Wingfield, performed with Soul Crisis!

   There’s something that I noticed about the local bands and forgive me if I’m being a little harsh and in no way does this exclude my love for the well-known bands that I have been listening to since I was a child, but the local bands have a deeper connection with their audience than the well-known bands do. The local bands just interact with their fans/audience a lot more! Letting a fan sing a few lines of a song during a show or letting them bang on a keg with a baseball bat for no reason but to have the audience interact with the band. I’m not sure what it is about the local bands but the connection they have is more profound than anything I have ever experienced! It actually brings up a thought, that maybe the well-known bands have forgotten what a true fan really is. That a true fan would freeze their ass off just to see the band that they love or would subject their hearing to horrible bands just to see and hang out with the band they have a strong connection with. What I noticed is that the local bands always make time for each and every fan.

   And I think this is what I love most about local bands, or the one that I personally know and hung out with, is that no matter how many comments and praises they get, they never let their egos get the best of them. They all take constructive criticism well and they always surprise their fans with something new. The local bands that I have seen never disappoints and never leave their audience with a hollow appreciation.

   I would have to say that the biggest crowds that I seen for both Friday and Saturday night was at the stage of Atrus, Dark Ascent, Lock-17, Left To Die, Revolution Pariah, Before Your Blackest Memories and Soul Crisis. Not that the other acts weren’t as good. No! All the bands did a killer job! I just noticed that there were a lot more people that came to see these certain bands.

   “My soul purpose of going to this concert was to see Dark Ascent on Friday night and Warneck on Saturday night,” said Skyler Sweis. “The other bands were all good but I don’t sway away from my bands.”

   But there were some people there that only wanted to see one band but stayed for the whole show because they wanted to support the bands that were performing.

   “I use to be in a band when I was living in San Antonio. So I know what it’s like to have the support of the people,” said Juan Alverez. “I went to see Soul Crisis and left a fan of three more local heavy metal bands, Warneck, Revolution Pariah and Against The Damned.”

   There’s a certain appeal to Atrus, Left To Die, Dark Ascent, Lock-17, Soul Crisis and Beyond Your Blackest Memories. I never get tired of hearing or watching them perform. The complexity of their music and the transitions from one genre of Rock/Metal to the next is so smooth that the notice factor is not even there! I have to say, and yes I might be a little bias, but I know that these bands have a talent that is so special that most people find so common. I honestly think that these bands have a bright if not straight forward future ahead of them in the music industry. No red tape involved. Something tells me that even if these bands make it to the “big times” that nothing would change in the manner of their music. I just find these bands extraordinary and every time I see them perform I adore their music even more.