Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Warbringer, Iced Earth and Symphony X @ The Garrick Feb. 9th, 2012

A few weeks ago, one of the metal show hosts at CKUW, Tyson, approached me with the rad notion of having none other than WARBRINGER on my show for the day they were to play with Iced Earth and Symphony X. This was pretty much a dream come true, having an internationally acclaimed band on my silly little metal show at a university. The guys in Warbringer aren't much older than I am, so it wouldn't be hard to connect with them and compare the trials and tribulations at our age.

The excitement boiled over for me, and I was determined to make this a special interview for them and to bring them food to show my gratitude. I spent the day of and day before layering lasagna for them, baking banana bread and baking German rolls. I even made my new pad immaculate, in case they had time to hang out and jam. The time had almost come to prepare at the station for their arrival, when I was informed that they had hit a deer carcass and wrecked the rear axel of their tour bus. Few times has such anguish and fury come over me... I almost tore Tyson a new one simply because the situation sucked so bad, and I was sure my efforts were ruined. Tyson decided he would still co-host with me, which was excellent! And so I paid a visit to my record store first, which is War On Music, to go pick up my prize pack for the fundrive show at CKUW.

By the way... donate to that shit if you want to keep metal on the radio in Winnipeg... you can also listen to us from anywhere in the world!

and listen to Rock n' Roll Damnation here! --->

Talking to Charley Justice and getting that promo sleeve for Sacrifice's 198666 double LP helped calm the dragon that was still threatening to breathe fire from me, but I still couldn't help but feel screwed over. I began to walk from Albert street to the U of W via Ellice, and I happened to just pass the Garrick when... I see tour buses parked in the alley; So I look at the time, and decide I still have some to investigate. I walk over and see some guys, and simply ask where Warbringer is, to which they reply "Dunno. Go ask Andrew, in there." Now, I don't know who this Andrew guy is, but taking an invitation to simply walk into the back of the Garrick while the bands are getting set up for the show tonight, now that's a sweet offer. I go in, and right off the bat, some gentlemen from the stage asks if I need anything, and so I go up, wondering, of course, about Warbringer, because they were supposed to be on my show. The man in the bandanna shakes my hand and introduces himself as Stan, and takes me along to find Iced Earth's tour manager, Theo. We find him at the back of the main theater, and there's some chat about being surrogates on my show, but they assure me they don't talk to Warbringer until they actually reach the gig. Bunk, man.

I told Stan and Theo about the buttload of food I made for the boys, and they simply say "It won't go uneaten!" Which actually perked me up a bit. Stan asked what cheese was in the lasagna, to which I replied "Feta and mozzarella."

"Will you marry me?" was what Stan said to me, which was a good sign, I would say, and I said no, simply because the man in my life (yes, I'm going to say it) is the one for me. Taken, frankly.

Anyhow, I was told to be back there at 5 pm with the food, and so I took that with much joy and went off to do my show without the band, and apologize to Tyson. The show itself went very, very well but we had to let Dustin Clyde know, there was going to be no Warbringer to interview for his moshing documentary. So we all decided that it would be best to spend some time at War on Music before heading 'er to my apartment to haul the food to the show.

Fast-forward a few hours- Dustin and I haul the food and the video equipment to the Garrick, let it be known we have lasagna! I stand around for a bit in the Garrick, and Jon Schaffer and Micheal Romeo are just walking around, and I sort of eye them a bit, a little in astonishment. So they stand around, looking at the stage being set up, and I asked them if I could just have a picture with them. Bam. Pic with the main guys from Iced Earth and Symphony X makes a very happy Liz. Troy is also just chilling out, and then Stan finds me and takes me to the tour bus with Dustin to preheat their convection oven and sit for a bit with their drum tech. He technically babysits us, but gives us his lonely perspective on the tour and tells us how he's qualified as well as how fucking trashed everyone got on their night off on Wednesday. Good times had by all, we thought.

I stick the lasagna in the oven, spread some banana bread, which pleases Stu Block and his fiance' as well as Freddie, and then I head back into the Garrick. Tyson gives me a call and informs me that Warbringer is there, which is awesome! We see John Laux by his guitars, so we simply ask if we can conduct an interview about moshing with him, and of course he agrees. So we head to the back part of the theater, watch him restring his jackson, and ask him some questions about the related subject of metal and moshing. The interview goes fabulously and Iced Earth does their sound check and meet and greet. The lasagna was almost complete as well...

Back on the bus, when the lasagna is almost fully cooked, I inquire about whether I can have a press pass, and I'm told to find the chicken man, which is Theo. I find him, and he writes me a press pass, which pretty much says security can't fuck with me for taking pictures! Ecstatic and full of bliss, I head back to the bus to dine with Schaffer, Troy, Stan and Brent. Stan keeps saying how my significant other is a dead man, and everyone thoroughly enjoys the cooking. But soon it is time to start my methodical work of photo taking, and I head into the Garrick to see Warbringer's half hour set. The set was incredible, and they always end with Combat Shock, as well as playing Living in a Whirlwind and Shattered Like Glass. Regrettably, I informed Carlos of the lasagna that was intended for them, but also added Iced Earth was a bit protective of it now. Warbringer very eagerly made faces for me to take pictures of, and man, did the camera eat it up.

After Warbringer's set, I flitted around the venue with all the giddiness and alacrity of a six year old girl who just got an actual pony. I had left the bulk of my things on Iced Earth's tour bus, anticipating to hang out with them after their set. So I peeked at the merch, and delighted in some of the selection- but alas, no girly shirts for Warbringer... Seeing many of the people I know also brightened up this already amazing evening. My significant other just missed Warbringer's set, but was totally stoked about me being the only person with a press pass for Warbringer and Iced Earth... Now to mentally prepare for Iced Earth's set.

Generally, a press pass will only get you taking pictures for about three songs, then security tells you to jog on. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to take pictures for their entire set! The space between the guard rail, and the security guard thick stage was exhilarating, being the only one to occupy this typical no-mans-land.  I just marvelled at the already intimate area I occupied with Iced Earth on their tour bus, seeing them as normal rock gods, rather than suited up ones- and now I was seeing them in their real element, for the first time. This line-up of Iced Earth was glorious, especially with Stu Block fronting and doing every single song justice. After the show, John fortified this idea, saying that Stu absolutely belonged in Iced Earth, and brings his own thing to really makes the band great. I asked Stu's fiance' if she knew exactly how stoked Stu was to be in Iced Earth, and if he ever could have imagined... By the way, Stu's fiance' is a super duper nice lady! Congratulations to them both!

With my bounty of photo's, I was dying to look over them and see how well I actually caught the performances so far. But as I finished Iced Earth's set in pictures, one of the security guards informed me that I was not allowed to take pictures during Symphony X! Lame! So I talked to Theo, and he told me he would try, but generally, it was out of his hands and up to Symphony X's tour manager... I even asked Jason Rullo if I could take pictures, and he said likely not, and that it was something that needed to be arranged ahead of time, but he was very nice, and took a picture with me. Then he continued his warm up, and I was just happy that I was getting to see everyone from all three bands...

I said hi to Iced Earth again on the bus, and showed Brent some pictures, telling him I would send them soon.  I made it short and sweet however, because I wanted to attempt to capture some Symphony X on camera, but from a less prestigious place in the crowd, where I was actually more acquainted.

Not much really compares to the mind-blowingly crucial and technical playing of Micheal Romeo and his talented meat fingers. I mean, the guy plays with sausages for fingers, and still hits the frets like there's no tension. That isn't to say that the other band members are completely overshadowed- Mr. LePond really holds his own on bass, and I wish I had stuck around longer to look and listen.  I was in awe, and I couldn't help but share these moments with a certain local guitarist, but soon the good vibes ended when he overstepped his bounds, and I was forced to seek shelter by the merch table, away from this creep. I ended up speaking with the new guitarist from Warbringer for a while, and we talked about rights, libertarianism, and how he really doesn't like being cornered by chicks who want to bang him. He was a really nice guy, and had a lot of intelligent things to say- also, a worthy replacement and a step up from their last guitarist.

My cohort Charley made it into the show, and so we spoke of the show thus far, and then talked to John Laux about our record store. We decided we wanted a deal on the records they were selling at their merch, which were: limited edition splatter vinyl copies of Worlds Torn Asunder. I ended up throwing up my own cash for five copies. All of which are now available at War on Music. Soon, we were off to the record store itself to show John around and get him some records of his own for getting us such an awesome deal. Smoking cigarettes, pricing records and listening to Manilla Road's Necropolis off Crystal Logic was a pretty sweet time while Symphony X probably melted over a thousand faces. Back again to the venue, to see how the gig was going, and soon I found Christopher, because the band had stopped playing.

The best, or at least funniest part of the evening was about to unfold, and so I invited my significant other to come fetch my things with me on Iced Earth's bus. We entered to a big friendly greeting from the band, and I introduced Christpher to Iced Earth, and then Stan said with a chuckle "Is this the guy we have to strangle?" oh, Stan. Everyone was all comfortable after cooling down from their set, and Mr. Schaffer was a good bit through his bottle of Walker Whiskey, which he very graciously shared with us. Soon, the farcical antics of walky-talky talk ensued as Theo left to help the crew pack up the gear. Brent and Troy were also not present, and for some time, it was Chris, John and I sitting there, laughing about "Fuck your couch." Did I mention that this is now the "Fuck Your Couch" Tour for Iced Earth? John spent about fourty-five minutes haranging his crew by walky-talky. I won't get into details about what he said, but I laughed the entire time, and I couldn't imagine the playful harassment ever coming from someone like John Schaffer.
Fuck your motherfucking couch, motherfucker!

At the very end of the night, I ended up getting my Iced Earth CD's signed, and giving everyone hugs. John was quite randy and emptied his crystal skull with fervor. He didn't let me leave until he informed me of how attractive I was, despite Christopher being right beside me. All we could do was laugh, hug and shake hands. I really, really enjoyed hanging out with Iced Earth, and I would cook them another meal in a heartbeat. Sometime soon, I'll be doing a podcast with them, to find out how their tour is going, and perhaps get an idea of when they'll come back! So tune into Radio Active Metal with Snowy, Roch and Myself, for exclusive interviews and some generally interesting metal talk!

Clearly you will be able to see the entirety of all the good pictures right here!

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