Saturday, February 18, 2023

Slaughter Brings It All Back With High Energy Set

Recap and photos from Metal Mike (Feb. 17, 2023)

The search for live music continues….it seems like 2023 will go down in the history books as the year live music came back to the masses on all levels. Sure a lot of arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters were booked last year making up the previous two summers of make up dates since the Covid shutdowns and protocols, but now an even better thing has happened... Clubs, Casinos and Bars are back in business like back in the day. These are the venues the true OMM (Old Man Metal) scour and make note of since those are the venues the artists of the 80’s and early 90’s tour with some regularity.
The local Casino was where Slaughter popped up on a Friday night in the Pacific Northwest….and it was a great outing for the fans that made it out. They know where their bread and butter is with the fan base, meaning the first two albums (although I’m sure if they’re playing a longer set they more than likely add in some deep tracks from the rest of the catalog), with an unexpected cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” in the middle.
I can’t recall an 80’s based band with as much energy from their “heyday” as much as they have now. Lead vocal/guitarist Mark Slaughter, bassist and co-founder Dana Strum and long time guitarist Jeff Bland (who took over in '98 after original guitarist Tim Kelly passed away), all worked the stage and crowd with a crazy amount of energy (as well as Mark getting the crowd to sing along with almost every song), and as a fan, you felt right from the start of the set that there was no “mailing it in”.
The secret weapon of the night was fill-in drummer Will Hunt. Apparently the Evanescence drummer will sit in when original drummer Blas Elias (who rejoined the band in 2019 after a 16 year absence) is unavailable, and he is a top notch entertainer. The steady diet of stick twirls and other visuals behind the kit added perfectly to the on stage theatrics the band performs in their shows. I heard from talking to several people after the show that Hunt’s solo was the highlight of the night.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well Mark's voice has held up compared to what I had seen on YouTube in previous years. If I had a dollar for every time he screamed, let’s just say I could go to the roulette wheel and put a couple hundred on red, lol. However, he still mostly kept everything in tune and those high register tunes are difficult songs to sing every night. My only suggestion would be to move “Fly To the Angels” and “Real Love” into the first half of the set when his voice is a bit more fresh since those rely on some harmony vocals especially in the choruses.
Overall it was a fun night of great tunes from a great time of life when they were originally made. I’d love to see these bands of that era do longer sets but I’m sure we’d need to see a two or three band bill to get that. Until then, get out to the venues and see these bands, you just might be pleasantly surprised and glad you went!