Written By Braddon S. Williams
It recently occurred to me that as a rock ‘n roll journalist, I now have the privilege and the obligation to do an overview of my year in concerts and what a year it was! Not only did I attend more shows in 2019 than in any other, I also got to see the biggest band on my bucket list.
That’s right, I finally saw The Rolling Stones, and they proved that not only do they still have it, they also still rightfully lay claim to their longstanding title of The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n Roll Band. I saw the Stones at Soldier’s Field in Chicago, IL.
Later in the summer I would attend the 15th annual Riot Fest in Douglas Park (also in Chicago), and then made a 3rd trip to the Windy City to witness John 5 And The Creatures, Jared James Nichols, and Reverend Jack at Reggie’s Rock Club.
2019 was definitely a year for new venues and travels to nearby states. During a 5 day stretch in November, my girlfriend and I made two separate trips to Louisville, KY to take in a pair of amazing shows. First up was our final Slayer concert (with Primus, Ministry, and Philip H. Anselmo And The Illegals performing a set of PanterA classics) at the KFC Yum! Center, followed by an amazing King Diamond show at The Louisville Palace Theatre (supported by Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats and Idle Hands).
Speaking of Slayer, I saw them in 3 different states this year (front row at Riot Fest!) and counting the show in Ohio last year, I wound up seeing them 4 times on their final world tour in 4 separate states.
My roommate and I caught the up and coming sensation Jinjer (with The Browning and Sumo Cyco) at a cool venue in Cincinnati, OH called Riverfront Live.
One of my favorite discovery artists was Baroness (with Torche) at Old National Centre’s Deluxe, completing the Triple Crown of stages at the Old National.
Later in the year my girl and I saw Alice Cooper at the Murat Theatre and Steel Panther at the Egyptian Room. Alice Cooper also played a great show earlier in the summer at the beautiful Honeywell Center in Wabash, IN.
I also saw UFO and Last In Line at the Honeywell in another outstanding night of old school hard rock.
Piere’s in Ft. Wayne is now out of business, but the Clyde Theater has taken up the slack, and I made my first visit to this outstanding venue to see Static-X, DevilDriver, Dope, Wednesday 13, and Raven Black. Although I hadn’t been there since 1982, Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne brought back fond memories as I saw Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson for the second consecutive year as their Twins Of Evil hit the concert trail once again.
My beloved Deer Creek (or Ruoff blah blah blah) received a number of visits from me this year; Slayer, Lamb Of God, Amon Amarth, Beck, Cage The Elephant, Spoon, Wild Belle, Heart, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Elle King, Slipknot, Volbeat, Gojira, Behemoth, Iron Maiden, The Raven Age, Kiss, David Garibaldi (the prancing painter…”I’m painting!”) all performed sets in the warmer months.
The final Deer Creek show was another special bucket list treasure, as Willie Nelson brought his Outlaw Music Festival with featured performances by Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters and Allison Krauss.
I almost forgot another first time experience (and this one is super important!). My first concert date with my new girlfriend (who coincidentally loves going to shows possibly even more than I do!) was at the Lawn at Whitewater State Park to see REO Speedwagon and Sister Hazel. I broke a self-imposed 40 year ban on REO, so that should prove how special this woman is to me.
In addition to the festivals, regular concerts, and traveling to neighboring states and exploration of new venues, we also caught quite a few club shows. Two venues in particular that I fell in love with were the venerable Melody Inn and the Rathskeller. As a matter of fact, we will be seeing the wildly amazing Rods and Cones tomorrow night at the Rathskeller for the second reunion show this year.
I feel like I should spotlight some of the bands we saw at the 3 day Riot Fest, but I already wrote a super long feature on that one. Just rest assured, we will be attending again in 2020! Well, that about wraps up 2019….it was EPIC in every sense of the word. Looking forward to another remarkable year of music beginning soon.
As always, thanks for reading and commenting on my reports from the musical field!