What a great way to kick off the weekend with a night filled with hard rock, punk, and thrash up in Longmont Colorado. Denver-based band Lola Black went up north and showed the state’s northerners why they are rising to the next level. There was a strong sense of energy at the historic Dickens Opera House as everyone was in party mode and ready for the weekend.
Starting off the evening was Denver band Scarlight. A hard rock sound with vocal harmonies mixed in with some screams, this group of young musicians gave their all and had a great time as they were often seen smiling with each other and chatting with the crowd in between songs. Their sound has enough bite to not only get your attention, but keep you enthralled as they take you through their catalog, including 2014 EP Gliding Over All. They’re certainly a fun, young band to keep your eye on.
Next came Longmont’s “hometown heroes” Smackfactor. With the exception of the lead vocalist Payden Browning, the rest of the band resides in this northern Colorado town. I was excited to see these guys perform again: their sound is visceral and heavy, and their live performances are definitely something to be seen. Barefoot bassist James Boyd has a very animated and entertaining persona onstage. He mentioned to me before they went on that he puts himself into the same mental state one would be in if they were entering a brawl. As he stomped and growled through their set, it was clear that he was “in the zone”. Both guitarists John Palmer and Shawn Wolf shred on harmonies and put down their heavy right hands to produce the king of chugging riffs that remind me why I love metal. Vocalist Payden has a great range of screaming that cuts through the room and demands your attention. Drummer Loren Honstein’s drum kit it something to be reckoned as well, as his enormous kit can be described as beautiful as easily as it can be called punishing. Loren thrashed on his kit effortlessly as the drum pummeled the crowd. These guys know what they’re doing and their performance should not be missed by true fans of metal.
Headliner Lola Black, fronted by their vocalist of the same name, came ready to rock. Their hard rock/punk sound is very catchy and heavy. The crowd was primed for Lola and crew thanks to their opening acts; fans felt right at home. Wasting no time, the band burst into their performance the minute they hit the stage. Bassist Yosh Yoshikawa (a phenomenal shredder on the seven string) is a true showman: thrashing, stomping and interacting with the crowd like a seasoned veteran. Drummer Ryan Oakes tight, punchy drums were on point all night long. The groups three guitarists Paige O’Meara, Scott Kennedy and Chris Dellinger all have their own sound yet blend awesomely as to not sound muddy. You can easily see the fun they have on stage together.
Lead vocalist Lola Black was in great form as her powerful voice did not falter even once. Very thankful for the great crowd and their enthusiasm, there was plenty of playful banter between Lola and the crowd, as well as her bandmates. Lola and the guys clearly know how to let the fans know that they are appreciated and respected.
This was a great night for live music by all of the bands as each one clearly brought their ‘A’ game. No fan left the venue without a smile plastered across their face at the end of the night. A great way to start the weekend for sure.
- Dave Burke/Mammoth Metal