For the past few years, the Atlanta, GA-based hard rock band Sevendust has performed a year-ending “homecoming show,” giving friends, fans and family a chance to see them live and in action. This year was no exception, and the band even expanded the home-stand to three nights at Atlanta’s Masquerade concert venue. The first two nights were labeled as “Deep Cuts” and “Deeper Cuts” respectively, while the last night (New Year’s Eve) was saved for a front-to-back playing of their 1999 album Home, which was the album that really broke Sevendust out to a wide audience. I happened to attend the Saturday night “Deeper Cuts” show, so many of these tracks were relatively new to me, and I was curious to see how they would go over in a live setting.
After solid support by the bands Killakoi, Otherwise and Madame Mayhem, the members of Sevendust came on stage to a large roar and a house full of devil horns in the air. The stuttering intro to “Black” filled the hall as lead singer Lajon Witherspoon’s burly vocals and intense delivery cut through the twin-guitar attack. “Born To Die” picked up where “Black” finished; a one-two punch from the band’s debut self-titled record.
“Reconnect” and the bass heavy “Pieces” followed, each delivering a wallop of low frequency sound waves straight from The Masquerade’s new sound system to my now rattling intestines. Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but most of Sevendust’s songs are tuned down a step or two, so the overall effect is a thick, pummeling mix of guitar and bass that hits you deep in the gut, with Witherspoon’s vocals and Morgan Rose’s drums breaking through the mix. “Praise” from their 2001 album Animosity got the pit moving, even if it was a little too packed in for a decent circle pit to form.
After thundering versions of “Too Close To Hate” and “Grasp,” the band finally slowed things down a bit to perform the melodic “Skeleton Song” from their 2003 album Seasons. The slight let up in the pace didn’t last too long, as the band launched right back into the aptly named “Headtrip” from the album Home, highlighted by guitarist John Connelly’s trippy, swirling guitar effects. “Prayer” would be the last slight rest for the Atlanta faithful, as the band clobbered them with the final three tracks punch: “Dirty,” “Splinter” and a thunderous version of “Face To Face” that brought the night to a frenzy ending.
Twenty plus years into their career, there looks to be no slowing down for Sevendust. As these hometown shows have proved, the band has seemingly achieved a nice balance between work and family, and as long as they’re game, Atlanta will be always there to welcome them home.
Black / Born To Die / Reconnect / Pieces / Praise / Too Close To Hate / Grasp / Skeleton Song / Headtrip / Prayer / Dirty / Splinter / Face To Face