EPIC Night of Rock: The Violent, Post Traumatic, and Sweetalk Deliver Unforgettable Performances in Green Bay on December 12th, 2023

GETTING VIOLENT AT EPIC EVENT CENTER

 

Words/Photos: Chris Rugowski

https://www.chickenortheeggphotography.com/

 

Even though it was a small crowd for a Tuesday, the energy from the crowd was there, and the energy from the bands was equally present.

THE VIOLENT Mike’s voice was great; he could hit all the notes, give it that grit, push, go low, stay high, and it still sounded good all night long. The guitars and bass were amp-modeled, so the stage was pretty low-key, but that’s okay. Once you got used to not seeing any amps on stage, it really kind of worked in favor of the music. The instruments and voice were mixed perfectly for the space, and I noticed the bass had quite a nice tone all around. That room can be tricky to get the bass to sound exceptional in. They played a cover of “People Are Strange,” which was really good. I wasn’t expecting a cover of that manner to rock like it did.

During the fifth song, I really liked the lighting that was given; it provided the visual space for the song to do what it did and get heavy. Up until this point, this was by far my favorite tune.

Once we got to “Bitter End,” I was really getting into the set, having been done photographing my three songs and finding a spot to watch the show. I began to notice their harmonies during this song; their voices sounded similar enough that it had me double-taking at points.

Moving onto “Follow Me,” their recently released single, and it brings the volume down a bit for the first 40 or so seconds, as it’s an emotional song, then bam, it hits, and I really enjoyed the performance of it. Plus the words, I liked them.

“Counting Sheep” was a nice switch in the program; this song has a pop-rock feel, noting the lighting especially. I found myself moving back and forth to this song.

Back to the heavier emotional rock. During “Virtue,” the lighting went down to a magenta and yellow look, which gave it the eerie feeling that the song has, but I liked it. The drumming in this song is unique, definitely different than the rest of the songs I had heard so far. The live version was a little different than the recording too. I like the heavy part in this song. Ultimately, this became my favorite song of the night.

“Fly on the Wall” – This was the first song they released during the pandemic. As Mike said, “Not sure we’d ever be able to play it live, but here we are.” I really liked the harmonies on it.

Ending with “Impression” was a good choice, certainly a head-banger. I loved the scream into soft bridge; in the venue with the reverb on the voice, it just seemed to carry beyond.

To top it all off, the band took the time to come out and meet everyone that stuck around, talk to them, and just embrace their fans. I always appreciate when bands can do that, and they do. Good guys all around, and great music.

Give their Facebook page a follow and go listen to their music and buy it, https://www.facebook.com/theviolentmusic.

POST TRAUMATIC A Green Bay, WI, USA local band you’d never guess. These guys ripped it from moment one. Singer Jacob Janus has a growl that is on par with all the top metal vocalists right now. I’ve seen them perform live many times, but something about this performance had their set and stage presence tight as hell, and it showed they were enjoying themselves. They had a circle pit going from the first song to the last song. The guitar solos sounded great. I feel like every time I see them live, they get better and better. They played two new songs as well, which was a joy to hear. They also played an old song “Traumatic,” and if they hadn’t said anything, I wouldn’t have known; it was very good. The band gets better and better and more animated on stage with time. They’re a fun band to shoot. They get into the photographers; they get into the crowd; they engage; they have fun.

Give their Facebook page a follow and go listen to their music and buy it, https://www.facebook.com/PostTraumaticband.

SWEETALK Another Green Bay band. Heavy rock there’s everything to love about it. If you go listen to their songs, they have an almost Deftones, Thrice, At the Drive-In, and even a Chevelle-esque sound. Lead singer Jamie Koebe has a really good voice, both clean and gritty. The drummer has a really good finesse with his style, and it complements the staccato guitar work Jamie does. The bass tone was perfect and it carried very well.

Overall, they had the crowd singing along with every word, moshing when it was time, and fists up. Every song was on par and the sound, the lighting, especially for an opener (who doesn’t usually get the benefit of both of these like they did), all I can say is it really worked well. If I hadn’t known any better and didn’t know them, I’d honestly think they were exclusively a touring band; they’re tight on stage.

I’ve known about these guys for years, literally. This is another case of every time I see them on these larger stages they just shine. They’re one of my favorites regionally, and it’s really cool seeing them play at EPIC. Jamie is so animated on stage as well.

Give their Facebook page a follow and go listen to their music and buy it, https://www.facebook.com/sweetalkband.

FINAL THOUGHTS I know I mentioned animation and lighting a lot in this review, but this was one common theme throughout the night. All the singers were actually animated; they didn’t just stay in one place. Movement helps everything. As for the lighting, so many times metal bands are all about that dark light vibe, which is cool, but it was really awesome to see the lighting attention given to all these bands from openers to the main act. To me, it enhances the experience more than just as little light as possible.

And a shout out to the parents who brought their kids on a school night; this is one venue where I’ve seen so many parents bring their kids to all sorts of rock shows, and it’s just…parenting done right. There was a little girl who ran up to one of the bands after their set and said, “You’re the best band ever!” And she was rocking out the whole time just like everyone else.

The crew at EPIC deserves a shout out just as much as the bands; they did an excellent job.

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