Richmond Virginia Proudly Presents 2011 Chili Cook Off

Written by on April 21, 2011 in April 21, 2011, Interviews, Live Reviews - Comments Off on Richmond Virginia Proudly Presents 2011 Chili Cook Off


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Featuring Seether, Sick Puppies, Saving Abel and more

Photos by: Stephen Gibson Photography
Review by: Melissa Gibson

The show must go on.

April 16, 2011 amid thunderstorms, tornado watches, and torrential rains, the fans came out by the thousands to the Richmond Raceway Complex to 102.1 The X Chili Cook Off and a fantastic concert lineup.

First up was a local band that won their way onto the stage.  The Chuck Schaffer Picture Show.  Even though they’re a local band, I liked their style.  Their stage show is energetic and the music had a great sound.  I hope to hear more from them soon and will be watching for another time to go see them again.

Saving AbelSaving Abel took the stage next.  Jared Weeks greeted the crowd, “How Ya’ doin’ today?” “You came here for a rock show and just so you know, we ain’t fu**in around!”  First songs were “Hell of a Ride”, “Miss America”, and “Stupid Girl”, all from the album “Miss America” that was released June of 2010.  These were followed by “Drowning (Face Down)” from their self titled debut album “Saving Abel”, “Sex Is Good” also from the Miss America album, “18 Days”, and “Addicted” which are both from the “Saving Abel” album.

Throughout the show, Lead Singer Jason Null engaged the audience constantly.  He was joined front and center by Lead Guitarist – Scott Bartlett, Bassist – Eric Taylor, and Rhythm Guitar – Scott Bartlett.

Their newest single “Sex is Good” was played acoustically and the vocal harmonies with Eric Taylor were fantastic and he allowed the crowd to sing the last chorus with him.   Before they rolled into “18 days” Jason told us they had the honor of playing for the troops in Iraq and he asked the audience to help him sing it to the men and women who made this here concert possible and to sing it loud in their honor.   Lastly was “Addicted” and as soon as the opening line was sung, the crowd went ballistic.  They were moving in waves in unison while the song was being played and singing in tune to the band.

After that last song, Jared Weeks thanked Richmond and reminded us that “We Are Saving Abel”.

Next band up was Dirty Heads and aside from their single “Lay Me Down”, I had never heard of them but I did like their music style.  They’re kind of a mix between, Rock, Hip/Hop, and Reggae and rolled into one.  I enjoyed listening to them and hope to hear more of them on the radio.

Saving AbelSaving AbelSaving AbelSaving AbelSaving Abel

They were followed by Ten Years.  These guys were great.  I have heard a few of their songs and I do like them.  I will say that their stage performance is extremely energetic and magnetic.  They draw in the crowd from the first moment and even some of the band members came down into the audience, much to the dismay of the security guards.  This is another band that I am going to look for future dates to see them again, hopefully with a longer set.

Sick PuppiesFifth band was Sick Puppies.  Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Shimon Moore – Lead Vocals and Guitar, Emma Anzai – Bass and Vocals, and Mark Goodwin – Drums, Percussion, and Vocals gave this crowd one hell of a show.   They performed many of their songs including “My World”, “All The Same”, “Odd One”, “Maybe”, “Riptide”, and “You’re Goin’ Down”, to name several but not all.

Shimon Moore kept getting the crowd involved by telling them to put up their hands.  Then instructed them that from that point on, when he asks “How do you feel” they were to answer “Fu** Yeah”, and he says bounce, they bounce together.    They performed a couple more songs and then they got a little serious telling the audience that he remembered “the first time we came to this beautiful country you guys get to live in”.  “It’s all about making your dreams happen.  Even though everyone around is telling you what to do with your life.  The voice inside your head is the only voice you need to listen to.”  He then went on to thank the crowd for making it happen.

When they started playing “Maybe”, the crowd literally drowned out Shimon Moore.  He gets the audience to high five each other and bouncing together.  The audience was really getting into the flow and connecting with the band and he tells them that “Ladies and Gentlemen, you are a testament, that no matter what the fu** is thrown at us, rock and roll will never die”.  Last song was “You’re Goin’ Down” to which the audience was screaming, clapping and singing word for word with the band and there was a total wave throughout the Amphitheater with the way they were bouncing up and down.

Sick PuppiesSick PuppiesSick PuppiesSick PuppiesSick PuppiesThese guys put on, like I said, one hell of a show.  They really connect well with each other on stage and complement each other at the same time while making the crowd feel like they are talking to you like a friend, at one point in the show Shimon got a camera from backstage and told the crowd that he was only going to take 5 snapshots and he wanted every member of the crowd to go to their facebook page and tag themselves in the photo to win free stuff.

Emma Anzai is a monster on the bass guitar, I need to mention that.  She’s up there with the best of them in my book, and not just because she’s a woman but just because you don’t see very many female bassists that can beat you into the ground with the way she plays the bass.  This band is well deserving of the following they are building and that is only going to get bigger.  I can’t wait until they come back and do another show.  I hope to be right there once again.

SeetherLast but certainly not least was Seether.  After a lengthy delay due to severe weather, which by the way didn’t chase away the crowd in the least little bit, TV screens counted down from 10 and the audience was counting with it, ready to start chanting “Seether, Seether.  “

Shaun Moore, Dale Stewart, and John Humphrey strolled on stage with some of the biggest Hartke and Mesa Engineering Amps that stood a good 6 to 8 feet tall so you know they came to get down to business.  Not a lot of conversation between them and the audience unfortunately but I think that was because they were there to play music and they did just that.  They performed quite a long set, including “Fine Again”, “Driven Under”, and “Broken”, which Shaun Moore asked the audience to help him sing to which the crowd definitely obliged while Shaun took some time to show his skills on his Shecter guitar while Dale got a little more intimate getting closer to the crowd by taking a seat on the stage and showing his skills on his Schecter Diamond Series bass.  I would love to hear this one live with Moore and Amy Lee, but the crowd did a great job filling in and Shaun was seen smiling while the crowd sang along with him.  There was a massive drum solo after “Broken” and John Humphrey amazed the audience on his drum set by doing a lot of it sans sticks, just using his hands, I was quite impressed as I had never seen this before and he’s got skills, let me tell you.  After the drum solo, the band reunited on stage and performed, “Gasoline”, Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box”, Country Song”, “Breakdown”, “Rise Above This”, “Fake It”, and “Remedy”, the only song I wished they would have played is “Careless Whisper”;  I think Shaun’s rendition leading off and the riffs and hooks they did on this song just revives it to such another level that I really wished they would have put that one on their list, but maybe next time.

These guys don’t mess around when they’re out there.  They come out, say hello, and do their thing, and they do it in awesome fashion and I hope I am able to see them again in a bigger venue, although this concert was originally planned to take place on the infield of Richmond International Raceway where there would have been at least 10,000 plus in attendance but Mother Nature had better plans to make this a more intimate show and I am glad she did being the first and hopefully not the last time I see them.

SeetherSeetherSeetherSeetherWe would especially like to send a big Thank You to the bands first of all for coming out and proving to the crowd that the Show Must Go On, no matter what, it’s a real testament to all these bands who stuck it out in some of the worst weather when most bands would have said this isn’t worth it and either cancel or reschedule the tour, but NO they came to give the fans what they paid for and for that I say Thanks.

We would also like to say Thank You to the great people at Wind Up Records and EMI Records for allowing us the opportunity to cover what was a great start to the concert season.