After roughly 24 hours of traveling half around the world and finally being home, I can post about this. I didn't even know about this until the day it was supposed to happen. I drove up for 2 hours and got lost a couple of times but I eventually made it
I arrived late at the show and lost most of Hatchet's show. They looked pretty solid but I didn't see enough to get me engaged.
Bonded by Blood put on a great show. The bassist had a problem and had to switch basses after the first song but that didn't hinder their performance. They played their hearts out and got the crowd moshing quite a few times.
Blackguard were a real surprise for me. I had never heard of them before and didn't know what to expect. I was intrigued by the fact that their drummer is a chick, as most of the people there were After kicking into their opener I was pretty much sold. This band is FUCKING TIGHT on stage. Very energetic performance especially by the frontman. I loved the dual guitar melodies and the interplay between the two guitarists. The drummer was also a treat to watch, she was hitting those cymbals so hard that it would be safe to say there were a few dudes with a boner out there
When Jeff Loomis took the stage... I honestly have no words to describe how fucking amazing he is. It's not that he can play his heart out, no sir no, it's the way that he does it, making it look effortless all the while he bangs his head. You just have to see it to really understand what I'm trying to put in words here. It was interesting see that he was playing one of his newest guitars through a Kemper and it sounded pretty fucking good I'd say. Travis (the 'other' guitarist) seemed to be playing on Loomis' older gear. He had a satin Loomis guitar going through an Axe FX 2 and his tone was also pretty good. The rhythm section was really tight, even though I felt like the drummer was about to die a few times A few minutes after their show was over Jeff came down to the merch booth and I managed to have a little chat with him. He is really a down to earth guy and genuinely appreciates all the fans. Keith Merrow was also there and it was pretty cool to meet him as well. Looking forward to hearing whatever these two come up with.
And then... fucking Soilwork bitches They kicked in with a track from their new album which I wasn't familiar with but man, what a fucking intro. People just went nuts, bodies going back and forth. Song after song they delivered the goods. It really shows when you're an experienced live act. Strid can easily get a crowd going with his powerful presence on stage. Both of the guitarists were using an EVH5150 amp and matched cab and they sounded ferocious and their playing was right on. Dirk, their drummer, was far back and I couldn't see him clearly with all the people in front of me but you could hear every little hit, gotta love his playing.
A few songs of what they played: Weapon of Vanity, Figure Number Five, Black Star Deceiver, Like an Averaged Stalker, Final Fatal Force, 3 new songs, amongst others that I can't remember now (fucking jetlag). They played Soilworker's Song of the Damned as the encore which pretty much wrapped up a hell of a night. I left with a big smile on my face and took the 2 hour drive back to Eugene which ended up being a little bit longer than that, after getting lost a few times
TL;DR - If there is a show near you and you're remotely interested, do not miss the chance.
Here's a few crappy phone pics:
I was pretty bummed that I couldn't make it out to this tour, it's definitely a good line up.