Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
By Rob Perez
“I need us to do the right thing,” Sevendust frontman Lajon Withersoon stated firmly to loud applause in a break between songs, “We all need to do the right thing, so we can continue to do these sorts of things for y’all.”
For a band who rarely makes such a statement, none seemed to feel the gravity of the current moment harder than Sevendust. Playing to Destin, Florida’s Club LA sold-out crowd, on a tour that has been jam-packed full of them, one of the world’s hardest working hard rock bands gave that brief moment of clarity. But it was also with thanks repeatedly to the crowd – for making their most recent album “Blood & Stone” one of their most successful in recent years, and for doing so even amongst the most trying of times. This band above all knows comebacks are not easily given and the Dust seemed incredibly grateful to a return to a world coming back into focus – while delivering their brand of music in a punishing, pummeling, career-spanning set.
In what seemed like a non-stop bullet train of a set list, this was a Sevendust re-energized from a year’s worth of isolation and performing strictly to livestreams. The boys from Georgia have never been tighter or louder. Guitarists Clint Lowery & John Connolly were in complete rhythmic lockstep with bassist Vinnie Hornsby & drummer Morgan Rose when they needed to be and branched off into their diverse, swirling, guitar back-and-forth when they didn’t. While most fans of the band would state that’s standard operating procedure – it’s a formula that’s only gotten better with time. Witherspoon’s and Lowery’s voices have never been better and were showcased properly on tracks like “Skeleton Song” & “Dying To Live.”
As for the song selection, Sevendust were somehow able to reach a touchstone of most of their 12 electric records. Anyone looking for material off their acoustic album, “Time Travelers & Bonfires,” was left high and dry, but even fans like myself were shocked that a deeper cut like “Inside” from their “Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow” collection (see: one of the albums made during Lowery’s short-lived absence) made it to the front lines while equally omitting the standard crowd-pleasing staples such as “Angel’s Son.” While never a band to “shut up and play the hits,” this was definitely the more diverse set of heavier material we’ve seen from Sevendust in recent memory, and this fan is all the more re-energized as well for it.
Their current supporting cast for this tour is impressive as well. Sevendust has never shied away from bringing on bands that match their influences. Direct support Austin Meade brought a laid-back, southern-fried flavor to the proceedings that openly challenged the energetic crowd. However, if Meade represented their more southern side, it was Oklahoma City stalwarts KIRRA who matched 7D’s metal mayhem punch for punch and proceeded to open (see also: steal) the show handily. Led by a full throated, Anselmo-like performance from vocalist Gabriel Parson, KIRRA tore through their latest single, “Crutch,” as well as a selection of songs from their latest LP, “Redefine.” Like an unholy cross between Shaman’s Harvest and Nothing More – KIRRA and the songs coming out of them seem to be primed for a breakthrough, and the attending crowd sure enough clamored for more.
Sevendust Set List
Dying to Live
Blood From a Stone
Face To Face