Powerman 5000, Hed PE, Beyond Threshold, and Everybody Panic
Cavalier Theatre | La Crosse, WI | April 1, 2016
April 1st is a date synonymous with pranks. The Metalheads of the Midwest were not punk’d this past April Fool’s day, instead, they were gifted with a Heavy Metal concert like one they have never experienced. Four hardcore, high energy bands graced the stage at the Cavalier Theatre Friday night, and all made sure that no fan went home unsatisfied. The venue, a converted community theatre, was wall to wall Metalheads, and the energy was of the charts. The show sold out well before the venue doors opened, and for a very apparent reason – the magnitude of talent on the bill.
The first band to hit the stage was Oklahoma City’s very own Everybody Panic. A relatively new band to the metal scene, this Cavigold Records recording artist have learned quickly how to grab the audience’s attention and keep it. Gritty voiced frontman Ty Gay exudes a powerful energy that seems to radiate into the crowd. The demeanor of the crowd was one of almost shock and disbelief as the band barreled through their first song. In other words, the crowd was overwhelmed with the sheer talent that stood before them. Everybody Panic has not seen much commercial radio play in the Midwest, so most of the spectators in the crowd had never heard a note from this band. Guitarist Provo, sporting dreadlocks he has been growing for 19 years, simultaneously headbanged and delivered brutal riffs. The band, though they only have 2 albums out, showed the crowd that sometimes it doesn’t matter how many years you have been a band. Bassist Pat, effortlessly laid a powerful backbone for guitarist Provo and drummer Levi to build upon throughout the brief set. Their set may have been short, but the guys jammed every last ounce of Metal goodness into their time on stage while playing their solid underrated hits like “When It Burns” and “Such A Waste.” Everybody Panic will still be with Powerman 5000 and Hed PE on select tour dates through April, so don’t hesitate, get out there and CATCH THE PANIC!
Rockford, Illinois natives Beyond Threshold took command of the stage once Everbody Panic slayed the crowd. These guys are a more familiar group, and have enjoyed some regional success through their presence at many high population music festivals. The Beyond Threshold guys joined this tour just for a couple of dates, but they brought their A game. Front man Erik Virgin sang to the sold out crowd of 400 like he was delivering his lyrics to 100,000 people. The band was connected and in sync with each other for the entire duration of their set. The crowd definitely reacted positively to the band’s delivery of their original tracks, like the hard hitting “Who We Are.” Overall, a good solid set from these Illinois boys, and they kept the crowd in high Heavy Metal spirits and eager for the next act.
How many lead singers arrive to their sound checks on skateboards? Jahred, Hed PE‘s frontman extraordinaire, is one. Jahred has long been known as one of the most entertaining, attention commanding singers in the heavy metal music world, and for good reason. From the moment Hed PE arrived onto the stage, until the last note escaped from Greg Zilla’s guitar, the crowd was entranced by this four-piece Idaho-based band. Veterans of the road, Hed PE, played to the crowd like the seasoned pros they are, never holding back their fervent love of their craft. The air in the venue was thick with anticipation as the band played solid fan favorites like “Broke” and the always mosh inducing “Renegade.” The crème de la crème of their set was of course “Bartender.” Every person in attendance sang along to what is arguably Hed PE‘s biggest hit. Hed PE is still playing on select dates with Powerman 5000 and are definitely worth the ticket price themselves.
Powerman 5000 took the stage in a whirl of fog and laser lights amidst the screams and cheers of the hordes of longtime fans. Frontman Spider stepped into the spotlight of center stage and the electricity in the air from the crowd’s excitement erupted into a simultaneous wave of jumping bodies. For those of you naysayers that deemed it necessary to say things like “the band is past their prime” and “they should just give it up and retire” need to go to a show, immediately. Spider showed as much energy and charisma at this show as he did when I saw him in 1999. The other members of the band all fit together like a well-oiled machine, making it hard to believe they have not been this lineup for eons. The bass player by far is one of the most supercharged five-stringed ax wielders I have witnessed in many moons. Murv Douglas, whom is extremely noticeable with his big mop of afro-ish hair, has the unique talent of being able to bounce unbelievably high while still playing effortlessly. Newest member, guitarist Ty Oliver, took command of staple songs like “Bombshell” and “How to Be Human” like he had been playing them since birth. Drummer DJ Rattan made keeping the momentum going look like a cakewalk. The guy was able to create his own unique sound and rise above the chaos of the prerecorded sampling. Veteran Guitarist Nick Quijano attacked each note deliberately and brutally in each song but he outdid himself delivering the badass intro to the finale, “Revolt,” which bled into “Supernova Goes Pop.” The uber-talented supervillains of the Heavy Metal scene gave 100% of their very souls during their performance. If there were any people in attendance that doubted the magnitude of this band’s showmanship and unique talent, witnessing the song “When Worlds Collide” performed live most definitely changed those doubters to believers. There is no way a person could walk away from a show that included fog, strobe lights, laser beams and amps equipped with snow machines and not be awestruck, plain and simple. Lucky for all of you, Powerman 5000 continues to be on tour. I urge you to click on the link below, and find a show nearest to you and hook yourself up. Even if you have never been a fan, now is the time to take a chance and check out a band that you know deep down in your heart HAS to be fantastic. These guys are the real deal folks, in a world where genuine talent seems to be a thing of the past in the music industry, Powerman 5000 are still 100% what you see is what you get.