Tonight was a rather festive evening at Reggie’s Rock Club, located at State and Cerakmak. Reggie’s is a staple for anyone who wants a taste of the local, modern Chicago hard rock scene. This evening, the crowd got a taste of a local band, took on some true-to-form Heavy Metal, thrashed in the pit with a pack of pirates, then lollygagged and twirled the night away, a beer in the hand of one arm and a fellow audience member tucked under the other.
The doors opened as the typical sea of youth-filled black came trickling in, one clique followed by another. After lining up along the foot of the stage it was no time before Waves of Amphitrite picked up their instruments and kicked off the festivities. Hailing from Elmhurst, Illinois, the band describes their sound as “epic, atmospheric metal.” This genre label holds true for their sound finding that for thirty minutes the ambience of Reggie’s was filled with a continuous and lulling tone that caused more than one concertgoer to make an appointment with the sandman. Their playing track after track along with a synthesized recording did not aide their cause either. The young band has a steady image and a lot of heart. “Waves” clearly knows where they want to go and are on their way – but they just are not there yet.
The second of the five bands for the night was LA’s own, White Wizard. This NWOBHM sounding band is highly true to form and certainly woke up the crowd. Drummer Giovanni Durst dealt the thunder while guitarist Chad Bryan shined on through his rhythms all the while having a solid back beat held up by bassist Jon Leon and Wyatt, (AKA The Screaming Demon) taking to his name, wailed a tornado of notes. Most notable of White Wizard was lead guitarist Erik Kluiber and his remarkable solos exercised with extreme precision. White Wizard played an intricate part in keeping this Heavy Metal show in touch with its musical genre roots.
Then the mood of the evening began to travel towards the extensive folk metal subgenre that was quintessential. For this, pirate thrash metal band Swashbuckle took to the stage, with beards, pirate hats, and, naturally, a parrot on the shoulder. Swashbuckle was both entertaining and educational. Who knew pirates came out of New Jersey? The sword-slinging brigade’s ability to whip up a chaotic mosh pit all the while maintaining a pirate on the high seas theme is nothing short of remarkable. If the raider rock does not entertain you, Swashbuckle’s showmanship and banter will certainly make you grin. The comments and commands exchanged with the audience demonstrate such an X-rated hilarity to the extent that would cause Sam Kinison to smirk and Black Beard to cry. Swashbuckle was a treat for everyone and proved to all that they can certainly whale.
The next group traveled to Chicago all the way from the Faroe Islands. Viking metal group Tyr came charging out holding back any signs of mercy. The audience was elated with their Nordic sound. Soon the entire pit rejoiced and, rather than moshing, everyone danced carefree with one another as if it were, in fact, the merry days of yore once again. By the time Tyr’s set came to an end, Reggie’s was packed with a hundred sweaty, jovial, rambunctious rockers; all of which were ready for more.
Finally, headlining group Korpiklaani came to play. Armed with two guitars, a bass guitar, a drum kit, a violin, and an accordion, the Finnish folk metal band brought the place to its knees. When lead singer Jonne Järvelä sings, in a mic garnished by the skull of a six-point buck no less, the crowd listens. When a beer can is raised, everyone will share in a toast. And when the group jams for nearly an hour, there will not be a single lonesome wallflower at the venue. Korpiklaani rocked, rolled, and charmed the crowd. It was truly a radiant evening.