Midnight @ Reggies, Chicago (US)

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MIDNIGHT / AFTERMATH / FUNERAL NATION / LIVING TERROR

Date: 07th September, 2018
Venue: Reggies Rock Club
Ticket:
$15 / €13 (in advance) - $18 / €15.5 (day of)
Promoter: Sound Zero Productions


It was Friday night and the weather was quite good to get your arse off the couch. If those things were not enough to convince you, then MIDNIGHT should definitely seal the deal. Yeah, if you have seen the band from Ohio before, then you know the chaos reigns in every show, and if you haven’t… well, you were up of a real twist with an evil twist...

The show started with LIVING TERROR whose set unfortunately I missed aside from one song and a half. And that turned out to be a shame since their blackened Thrash was served with ferocity and with the type of riffs that brought CARCASS to mind. I don’t know whether the other songs had the same vibe, but the setlist closer did. Yeah, I really enjoyed “Warfare” with the snare drum being the perfect guide for mosh-pitting. However and to my bewilderment there was a no-man’s zone in front of the stage with people keeping a “safe” distance from the band. Well, sometimes people feel awkward getting closer to the stage, especially during the first set of the night, and it takes some “courage” to break this habit which - I am sure - make things weird for the opening band. At any rate, I did check LIVING TERROR after the show, and now, I am on the look for the next chance to catch them onstage.

I know it is better to have done your homework before a show, but sometimes it is quite fun to get surprised. So yes, I did only know FUNERAL NATION by name, and hence I had no prior idea of their music and let alone how they were doing from the stage. Watching how the front rows were – at last – and how some metalheads looked (and sounded) excited about the coming set, I realized that I was among the few who had no prior knowledge of the Chicago-based three-piece lineup. Well, I was soon to find out what was this band’s deal with the riff of setlist opener “Visions Of Hypocrisy” making it quickly clear that early SLAYER Thrash was upon us. Yeah, the trademark Thrash snare drum action along with bassist’s harsh singing were the strongest points in FUNERAL NATION’s CV. “How are you Reggie’s, we are FUNERAL NATION and we are gonna bring some evil to our fucked up world” were the introductory words for “Before The Dawn” that started off with a nice riff, before letting a heavy foot fall on the gas pedal getting the bpms to the Thrash speed.

There is no blackened Thrash band who respects itself without having the word ‘Satan’ in the lyrics… Yeah, “Before The Dawn” did check this one out the list and gave the right reason to warm-up for the moshing activities that were in the menu. It was cool to see how eager was the Reggie’s audience to participate into the singing by doing the “Hail Satan” part... If that was not fitting to a band supporting MIDNIGHT, then I do not know what is. Watching the first moshers of the night getting the pit running was a strong indication that FUNERAL NATION had succeeded in their supporting band role and then some... Of yeah, the title track from the “Funeral Nation” EP added VENOM on the band’s influences and so did “Sign Of Baphomet” with an absolutely old-school thrashin’ rhythm section during the fast breaks. “Satan’s Prey” was the appropriate way to drop the curtain and in hindsight  I think FUNERAL NATION should have been higher in the billing (before MIDNIGHT), simply because their music fitted better the Ohioans, but I will explain this below.

FUNERAL NATION setlist:

01. “Visions Of Hypocrisy”
02. “Reign Of Death”
03. “Before The Dawn”
04. “Midnight Hour”
05. “Your Time Has Come”
06. “Funeral Nation”
07. “Eternal Promises”
08. “Laceration”
09. “Sign Of Baphomet”

FUNERAL NATION

Funeral Nation @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Funeral Nation @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Funeral Nation @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Funeral Nation @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Funeral Nation @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


Next on the bill and right before MIDNIGHT was AFTERMATH; a band that I knew as a name after going through METAL KAOZ’s ‘HOA’ report from 2015 (click HERE to read). So, we were about to be treated with some old-school stuff, right? Well, yes and no, because the setlist opener “FFF” (song-title copied directly from the taped-onstage setlist) was a bit difficult to follow. There were parts where Crossover came to mind but the overall structure sounded like walking the Progressive path with lots of changes. So, it took me some time to figure out what was going on, and the faster “Meltdown” kind of helped me out. The crazy-fast tempo and the Hardcore / Punk vocals kicked the show on the highest gear and kind of cleared (for me) what was going on. And this is how their set went on mixing things all around the Hardcore / Thrash / progressive spectrum but this is kind of understandable as AFTERMATH resurfaced somewhere around 2011. The good news is that the Chicago-based band is working on a new LP, and listening to “Scientist” helped me even more to get a clear vision of their musical direction. Apparently, I was not the only one inside Reggie’s who needed additional time to get his bearing, something that changed during the second part of the setlist with “Worlds That Echo Fear” giving us a good headbanging warm-up with NUCLEAR ASSAULT / VOIVOD type of heaviness.

As it seems AFTERMATH are dusting off their sound and will hit the scene with a brand new album, and it will be extremely interesting to check that out and see how the band sounds anno 2018 / 2019.

AFTERMATH setlist:

01. “FalseFlagFlying”
02. “Meltdown”
03. “Chaos”
04. “Scientist”
05. “Gaslight
06. “Words That Echo Fear”
07. “Smash Reset”
08. “When Will You Die”
09. “Dysthanasia”

AFTERMATH

Aftermath @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aftermath @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aftermath @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aftermath @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aftermath @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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The schedule had MIDNIGHT to appear on stage at midnight, something that was absolutely fitting to the occasion, even though the fatigue from another working week had started to show its ugly face... Anyways, the music has the unique ability to instantly recharge one’s batteries, and we were about to learn if MIDNIGHT would do this. The fun fact to notice is how calm the band members look (especially Athenar) while they were setting up their gear, and how much this changes once the hoods are in place. One more thing that was different was that the onstage lineup featured two guitarists, something I cannot remember seeing in previous MIDNIGHT shows.

Some minutes before kicking off the set, the front lines became packed and this was a undisputable indication that MIDNIGHT have a strong following in Chicago, and this show could have been easily a sold-out if only there wasn’t a ridiculous number of Metal shows happening in 15 days. Once the hoods were on, the atmosphere inside Reggie’s took a turn for the worst; four different persons than those prepping the gear showed up onstage, and with “Penetratal Ecstasy” started spreading chaos all around. Clearly the audience has done its homework and it took some minutes into the set to get the mosh-pit going with lots of pushing around. Oh yeah, the band as if it was feeding from that, turned the heat up with the three guys roaming the stage that looked extremely small to hold them. The way Athenar approaches the front rows taunting everyone is what makes the MIDNIGHT set so unique and fit the music like inverted crosses outside Black Metal LPs. I mean, can you imagine a band playing “Endless Slut” or “Lust, Filth And Sleaze” wearing colorful t-shirts and smiling like it’s raining unicorns and rainbows? Nothing of the above, and in fact, the show felt like driving with your gas pedal glued to the floor, and it was awesome seeing the audience doing the same thing (getting a couple of bruises in the process was kind of expected).

“Some of you may have noticed that we have an extra hood onstage” said Athenar pointing to the guitarist on his left before revealing his “true” identity: “his name is James Hetfield and he is also in another band that is not that good”... Before letting this joke sinking in, “Black Rock'n'Roll” erupted in the usual MOTÖRHEAD meets VENOM to have some nitro-infused alcohol”. There was chaos both on and off stage and at some point one of the drummer’s cymbal stand fell missing Athenar by an inch but that was nothing to stop the MIDNIGHT going, and I am sure if no one would have put it back in place, the band would have kept playing... Once you are in that mood, there is no way to get out of it, unless you have fired up every song on the set. “Woman Of Flame” and “Rabid!” came back to back and there were no signs of slowing down, even though it was getting a bit late, something that Athenar noticed and commented in his way: “we have to finish this because we have another show in Joliet at 2am later tonight” and trust me, if that was true, I am sure there would have been a lot of crazies eager to keep the Thrash ferocity going deep into the wee hours. I believe following this statement with “You Can’t Stop Steel” was the right thing to do. Things were going crazier and crazier and there were some decent attempts to stage-dive and one should appreciate Athenar’s unique ability to connect with the fans in the front rows by biting their hands... After all, it is common knowledge that Black Metal bands feature flesh-eating vampires and hardcore Satanists, right? Because in the end of the day whoever goes to such shows, he can be nothing more than “Unholy And Rotten”.

Pyros and indoor shows are a no-go in the US and, in fact, this is extremely difficult to have on outdoor ones too... Hell, this did not stop Athenar to abuse his bass by setting on fire a small piece of cloth and placing it on the headstock. I know, it is not much but it did have an old-school feeling in it, reminding us those days when bands had to improvise to make their shows look cool, no matter what. This is how the encore started giving us the final blow with the highly requested “Satanic Royalty” and the MOTÖRHEAD-esque “Rip This Hell” that sealed the deal for us; this was another crazy-ass MIDNIGHT show and even though it went for a sigh of an hour, our bodies felt like it was pounding for two... If you don’t believe me, I still have a couple of scratches and bruises to back up my saying, and this means that we had an awesome time sharing the (same) Metal craziness with this band.

MIDNIGHT setlist:

01. “Penetratal Ecstasy”
02. “Endless Slut”
03. “Lust, Filth And Sleaze”
04. “Evil Like A Knife”
05. “Black Rock'n'Roll”
06. “All Hail Hell”
07. “Woman Of Flame”
08. “Rabid!”
09. “You Can’t Stop Steel”
10. “Death Scream”
11. “Unholy And Rotten”
12. “Satanic Royalty”
13. “Rip This Hell”

MIDNIGHT

Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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