GIG REVIEW: Fozzy, Kyng & Sons Of Texas Live at The Machine Shop, Flint, MI
Tuesday nights don’t tend to be a popular night for going out, but for all of those who got out to The Machine Shop on May 23rd, 2017 sure had a hell of a rocking good time. I was stoked to see Kyng who I had seen last October and I’d heard buzz about Sons of Texas and of course I wanted to see the Chris Jericho fronted band, Fozzy. So, getting out early in the work week didn’t faze me because I was sure I’d have fun.
Sons of Texas took the stage to start the evenings show. I had been hearing through the grapevine about this band for some time. And as I waited for the show to begin, The Machine Shop owner, Kevin Zink told me “these guys rock”. So, I was intrigued about this band, Sons of Texas and what has people buzzing about them. Well it didn’t take long after Sons of Texas began playing that I got it. The music is tight and the vocals are sharp. Musically this band has that classic heavy metal hard rock sound but infused with modern styles of today. Just listening to them jam; I could close my eyes and easily slip back into time of when bands like Pantera were ruling the rock world.
Consisting of Mike Villarreal on drums, Nick “Rat” Villarreal on bass, Jon Olivares on rhythm guitar and Jes De Hoyos on lead guitar, this band played like a well-oiled locomotive that’ll bust through anything daring to get in its path. All I suggest is, grab on and enjoy the ride. This is all tied together with vocalist Mark Morales who possesses strong vocals that resonates to everyone in the venue. The great chemistry of this group is palpable as these guys are all smiles as they jam. Pretty much a brotherhood vibe, especially when Mark took off his shirt, I don’t know if the shirt was sweaty, I’m thinking it probably was a little bit sweaty. But Mark wrapped the shirt around Jes’s head and held it there as Jes played on without missing a beat. Personally, I’d be planning payback of some kind, but it’s cool to see the comradery between the guys.
Sons of Texas formed in 2013 and their set consisted mostly of songs off their debut album ‘Baptized In The Rio Grande’, which was released in 2015. A new song,“Expedition”, was played and well received. Leaving me and many others ready for their next album titled, ‘Feed The Need’, expected to be released in September this year. Look out for Sons of Texas, this talented band out of Texas is ready to break out, so catch them live and find out what the buzz is all about. And to top it off, lead singer Mark Morales put his drawing talents to use as he draws caricatures, which my lady and I had done of us, it’s very cool.
Keeping the good vibes going was Kyng. This trio out of Los Angeles, California has been rocking for nearly a decade now and they just keep getting better. Combining stoner metal with traditional metal, Kyng has a sound that is different from many rock bands. A sound, I’ll admit took me some getting used to. Last year I reviewed Kyng’s latest album ‘Breathe In The Water’ and the songs grew on me. Many of the songs from that album were played tonight; I talked to bassist Tony Castaneda after the show and asked why they didn’t play my favorite song off the ‘Breathe In The Water’album, “Show Me Your Love”. He said they wanted to keep the beat going with the heavier and faster songs. That they sure did and with Pepe Clarke on drums driving the percussions, he at times seemed like an angry beast as he loomed over his drum set. Kyng did slow it down for one song though as they paid their respect to Chris Cornell who recently passed away as they played Temple Of The Dog’s, “Hunger Strike”. Kyng’s lead guitarists and vocalist Eddie Veliz displayed his vocal range as he and Castaneda did a wonderful rendition in memory of Chris Cornell. Seeing Kyng was a treat and getting to chat with them afterwards was even better. I mentioned to Eddie how I shared a photo of him from when I covered their show the previous October and someone commented on how nice his hair looked and asked if he used Pantene. To which Eddie responded back, “No, I use Pantera.” I thought that was pretty funny. These guys are genuine good guys and I’m looking forward to hearing more from them.
“Fozzy, Fozzy, Fozzy” chanted the crowd as anticipation built up and then the band one by one steps up onto the stage. Drummer Frank Fontsere took his place behind the kit. Following him are guitarists Rich Ward and Billy Grey and bass guitarist Paul Di Leo. Then the biggest cheers went out as Chris Jericho appeared. Clad in a studded leather jacket, Jericho had all the charisma and pizzazz in the wrestling ring brought to the rock stage.
Fozzy hit right into their 16-song set list with their latest single ‘Judas’, which will be released on the album under the same name in September this year. The crowd was pumped and all throughout the night Jericho’s energy kept the fans very much involved with fist pumping and jumping up and down. Jericho is quite active and damn near turns his stage time into a workout routine. I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything less. His fellow bandmates were just as active if not livelier than Jericho. Billy Greygets intense on the guitar as does Paul Di Leo as he whipped his hair with frenzy. One of my favorite band members to photograph to date is guitarist Rich Ward. This guy is an animated hoot. With a big smile, bright eyes and air kicks, I was having a blast during my time in the photo pit. I ventured back near the front to capture Ward playing the Theremin. An instrument that is best known for the Star Trek theme song. Ward’s had a Yoda figure near it and it was like watching a kung-fu scene as Ward chopped, kicked and danced around to create the sounds.
Playing the songs, “Sin and Bones”, “One Crazed Anarchist”, “Sandpaper”, “Start a War” among many others, Fozzy covered a host of songs covering their catalogue spanning over 18 years. With much of the crowd sticking around late into the night, Jericho addressed the situation. He knew it was a week day and that many of us had to be to work the next morning. Jericho asked us if he wanted them to stick around and keep playing. To which the crowd said yes. So, Jericho told us he’d make us a note to give our bosses. I paraphrase as Jericho said, “Dear boss, so and so is late to work because they were up late last night rocking with Fozzy, so go fuck yourself.” The crowd gave a resounding roar of approval.
Not one for doing encores where they leave the stage, Jericho explained,“why leave the stage if you guys know we’re coming back to play another song, so let’s skip that and just play the last song”. But Jericho had some fun with it as he told the crowd to pretend the band left the stage as he covered his head with a towel and gestured his hands in a maestro like fashion to direct the audience to amp up their cheering as he slowly lifted the towel on his head until the final reveal and the crowd goes wild as Fozzy ends the show with “Enemy”.
This was a night full of adrenaline pumping rock n roll courtesy of Sons of Texas, Kyng and Jericho. There was no shortage of fun and good times as each band brought it and then some. This was a Tuesday night turned up on its heels and made into having a blast. Who cares if we must be to work in the morning, tonight we live, tonight we rock!