Saturday night >> I find myself in the middle of the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. It’s palatial architecture and 'John Wilkes Booth' balconies serve as a backdrop to a sea of angry young primitives thrashing their greasy hair back and forth with every strike of a power chord. I turn my head to witness a mass of black hoodies, Goth chicks in corsets, and white guys with goatees and dreads.
As Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia’s haunting voice sails over the aggressive and emotional chorus of 'Trip The Darkness' I ask myself some very important questions. How have the years since '98 turned me into such a pussy? How has my favorite instrument become a laptop? And why the fuck am I wearing khaki’s to a Sevendust concert?
I worry that they will spot me, label me a poser and an imposter. Then, as the Rottweiler vocals of Coal Chambers Dez Fafara bark 'we don’t need no water, let the motherfucker burn' and the double bass explodes as they played 'Sway', my feet lift with every guttural guitar riff, compelling me to curl my middle and ring finger towards the heel of my palm. I raise the devil horns in the air for the first time in years and bang my head in unison with the crowd. I realize it’s not too late for me, I am not an imposter.
Coal Chamber and Lacuna Coil did there fair share to set the energy in the room to 11 before Sevendust opened with 'Decay', a track off their new album Black Out The Sun which the tour is named after. The rest of their set was primarily all older stuff. They clearly understood that their best days may be behind them and it was clear by the crowd reaction that they were expecting some of the familiar classics as well.
By the time the intro to 'Bitch' started to play, the collective angst and excitement of the crowd had been whipped into a frenzy. The mosh pit, which had been up to this point playful shoving and pushing, erupted into a cyclone of limbs and bodies flying and crashing into each other with reckless abandon.
Lajon Witherspoon did not disappoint. Whipping his predator like dreads around as he strangled the mic, he attacked every lyric with the soulful precision of a trained vocalist. It was always this mix of hard and heavy rock with Lajon’s clearly talented voice and focus on melody that set Sevendust apart from their contemporaries. I always said that they were the closest thing to In Living Color that people my age and younger could experience.
This concert served as a reminder, that with all the hybrids, iPhones, 808’s, ironic hair cuts and keyboard driven dance pop that we love…..we should never forget how important and cathartic it is to rock hard as fuck.