2012 Avalanche Tour

Written by on May 24, 2012 in Cover Story, Live Reviews, May 24, 2012 - Comments Off on 2012 Avalanche Tour

The National
Richmond, VA
April 24, 2012

Art of Dying

2012 Avalanche Tour - Cover Story

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“Hello Richmond, how the hell are you all doing tonight”? Asks Johnny Hetherington of Art of Dying as he, Tavis Stanley, Greg Bradley, Jeff Brown, and Cale Gontier take the stage of the National by storm tearing the crowd up with the first song of the night “Straight across My Mind”.   Johnny then tells the crowd who is still filling in the seats upstairs and what little open floor is left to “Make some fucking noise” and the crowd does as he requested and shouted back at Johnny.  “It’s good to be back here in Richmond guys and dolls, we want to let you know how much we love being here and we are here to rock your face off, but first I want to tell you that ever since the Avalanche tour started we are the only band to ever play on this tour back to back and we have all of you fans out here to Thank for that, so welcome to the 2012 Avalanche Tour.

We have had the pleasure of covering Art of Dying at least 3 or 4 times so far and I will be the first to say that they definitely are the type of band that deserves bigger stages and better lighting and their fan base is definitely growing, but that is also what I love about this band, they are simple enough that they don’t care who is in the audience they are there to give you what you paid your money to come see.

Art of DyingJohnny’s vocals on every song he sings are so spot on and he is always making sure he is acknowledging all the fans across the stage and just keeps the crowd so pumped up that you just can’t not like what you see, Jeff Brown is great on the drums and shows real talent when playing every song in their set list.  I think my 2 favorites of the band would have to be Cale and Tavis, only because they can shred you within an inch of your life playing their guitars, Cale not only moves like an energizer bunny all around the stage but he can pound you into oblivion with how he plays his bass, and Tavis is just so masterful on his BC Rich guitars that it amazes me each time I see him play.

Set list of the night included “Whole World Crazy” to which Johnny says to the crowd, “Come on Virginia, I wanna hear you sing cause I remember your beautiful voices and I wanna hear ya, then they roll right into “Get Thru This” all the while Cale is playing bass and taking pics for Facebook at the same time and Greg is just slaying the crowd with his talents on his Solo 6 Custom Schecter and Tavis is tearing em down as this is one of the many hard rocking songs they had for the night.

Johnny steps to the back for a brief refreshment and comes back and pours the same refreshment via a bottle of Jack Daniels down the gullet of Tavis as the lights go dim and they roll into “Sorry”, which is more of a ballad than a hard core in your face rock song but still the crowd still loves everything they are being shown and they respond by turning on their lights of their cell phone or firing up the old Bic lighters to light the National up.

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Last but not least they take a break to say thanks to everyone that came out and spent their hard earned money to come see the band from the Canadian Prairies and Tavis brings out this most beautiful red BC Rich Bich Double Neck guitar that I had never seen till this tour and he just tears into this sweet solo that would make your mama proud switching between the dual necks of the guitar back and forth right in front.  They end the night with “Die Tryin” and when Jeff starts out on his Yamaha Drums he just pounds them so hard you can feel it all the way in the balcony and everyone is just awed in how he is slamming em down.  Johnny and the band finish up and then asks one last time “Who here has seen us before” and most of the crowd raises their hands, then he says “Well we hope the ones that didn’t raise their hands come back to see us, but most of all Thanks to all the “DIEHARDS” for putting us on this stage tonight, We love you Richmond and Good Night”

Adelitas WayNext up was a band I have barely heard of before except for their mainstream song “Invincible” but when Rick DeJesus, Keith “KWB” Wallen, Robert “Rahji” Zakaryan, Derek “DB8” Johnston and Trevor “Tre” Stafford stormed the stage I just knew I was in for a night of fun.  They started the night hot with “The Collapse” and Rick is all over the stage jumping up and down pulling the crowd even closer to the stage and every time “Tre” pounds his Pearl Drums, he makes you feel like you are “collapsing” where you stand.

Before they roll on through their set list Rick exclaims to the standing room only crowd, “Our Goal tonight is to give each and every one of you standing here tonight with us the best fucking night at a Rock Show and thanks everyone for coming out and he says we put out another album called “Home School Valedictorian”, and we will be here all night long and would love for you guys here to listen in with us and we will be waiting for ya when you leave to sign anything you want us to sign.

Adelitas WayNext up they roll into “Dirty Little Thing” where Derek jumps up on the top of the speakers and plants his foot on the symbols of Trevor’s drum set and just pounds the hell out of his bass it would make your ears ring and the talent that this band has just makes me like them even more in only the first 2 songs of their set. They roll into “Hurt”, “Alive”, and then “Cage the Beast” and this song I think is the perfect fit for Keith due to the fact that he is an absolute Beast that will tear you limb from limb with his talents slaying his Gibson Guitar so hard I was in complete shock and awe watching this young man play, I have seen some talented guitarist over the years I will admit but this young man is just plain awesome.

Rick’s vocals are so rock hard but not to the point that you can’t understand what he is saying but to the point it makes you want to listen to what he is singing and they are just great and he definitely commands center stage but at the same time he has fun with his band mates and even stands beside Keith while he is singing and watching Keith slay the crowd even more and is loving every minute of it, gives a big smile and says to the crowd “Welcome to the 2012 Avalanche Tour we want to Thank Art of Dying for being on this leg of the tour with us, we want to Thank You for coming out and this isn’t our first dance here in Richmond and you guys right here tonight mean more to us than you ever know, but I have a question for you?  Are we living up to our goal of giving you the best fucking night at a Rock Show?  Crowd responds with “HELL YEA”.  They roll right from there into “Criticize”, where at one point at the end of the song Rick tells the crowd, I’m thinking about jumping into this crowd right here, would ya’ll catch me if I did, Crowd responds again “HELL YEA” but he was just teasing “for now”, next up was “Sick” which was definitely sick watching all the band just keep the crowd on their feet jumping up and down, fist pumping and head bangin and definitely living up to their goal of the night.

Adelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayAdelitas WayLast song of the night Rick takes one more glance at the crowd and points dead center and says “Richmond Get Ready” here I come and they roll into “Invincible” which is the official theme song for WWE Superstars and one hell of a song to be seen live because these guys are definitely “Invincible” with their stage presence and they way they interact with the crowd, Rick says, “Thank you once again Richmond, let’s hear it for Shinedown and as “Invincible” is nearing the end Rick jumps from center stage straight into the waiting arms of the crowd standing on the floor and the crowd goes absolutely nuts when this happens and he continues to sing as the crowd “surfs” him back to the stage.

He gets back to the stage and says thank you Richmond we love you and good fucking night.

I can tell you this much I can’t wait to see how this band progresses, if they stay on the track they are on so far they are definitely going to be a band to be reckoned with and I am excited to hopefully see them again anytime they come through here, and as they promised they were standing outside at the end of the night signing shirts, CD’s, posters or anything else that came their way as well as they were greeting every fan that stopped by and was happy to oblige with taking photos with their fans. Class Act band that stands behind what they say they will do, not only by achieving their goal but also by giving back to the fans.


The lights in The National go completely dark and you see strobes pop on and off and the crowd is going ape shit shouting “Shinedown”, “Shinedown”, “Shinedown” and out comes Brent Smith, Barry Kerch, Zach Meyers, and Eric Bass and Brent takes center stage as if he is “The Big Kahuna” standing tall on the riser starting the night out with “Sound of Madness” and it sounds just so awesome I feel like I was listening to them in the studio it was just so crystal clear and Brent’s voice is one of those types of voices that you just can’t escape, it hits you so hard but yet so easy, the whole band is just working every single angle of the stage early and just slaying the crowd even harder than they had been slayed by the previous two bands, from there they roll into “Diamond Eyes”, to which the audience helps Brent out be singing along with every word and they are just totally rocking the crowd and the crowd is loving everything they are seeing and hearing.

Brent says “There is no way you are getting out of here tonight without us telling you all how honored we feel to be here in front of each and every one of you, it has been way to long for us since we saw you and we just want to say first off thanks to Art of Dying and Adelitas Way for being here with us, but most of all Thank You for coming out and seeing us tonight we absolutely love this shit and we love you.”


“We are dedicating this next song to all the sexy ladies in the crowd here tonight and want you all to know we love each and every one of you and they roll right into “If You Only Knew” and all the ladies in the house were screaming and singing every word with Brent as Barry, Zach and Eric bury the rest of the men in the crowd into complete oblivion with their masterful skills on guitars and drums.

Next up in the set were hits such as “Save Me”, “Devour”, “Nowhere Kids”, and one of my personal favorites “The Crow and the Butterfly” which I can say is just phenomenal to hear at a live venue with the right sound tech as they had because it sent chills down my spine as I stood there watching Brent and listening to his voice, from there they just kept the night hot with more of their songs like “Unity” and “Amaryllis” off their new album titled “Amaryllis” during which I took a stroll upstairs to get a better perspective of what it sounded and looked like from the balcony and there was not a soul sitting in their seat and looked like the seats hadn’t seen much action all night long and the sold out crowd of more than 1500 were definitely getting what they paid to come see.

Brent takes a minute to again thank everyone for coming out while Barry and Eric take a much needed breather Zack brings out an Acoustic guitar and he and Brent sit in chairs side by side and the crowd goes absolutely ballistic when Brent starts out singing “Send away for a priceless gift One not subtle, one not on the list” from “45” and I must say I have never heard the Acoustic version of this song before but to hear it live and with the passion and conviction that Brent puts behind it is nothing short of Amazing Period.

ShinedownNext up which is getting tons of radio play currently from their new album was “Bully” which they all put so much energy during this song even more so than they have all night long, Zack is tearing your eyes out with the shreds from his Signature Model SE Zack Meyers Paul Reed Smith guitar all the while Barry Kerch is pounding your eyes into the back of your head from him killing it on the drums and Eric just cuts you so deep with how he plays his Dean Signature Hillsboro Bass Guitar.

After “Bully” they say “Thank you Richmond, we love it every time we come here because you are all so beautiful and we can’t wait to do this again.”  And they step off stage and the lights go out again, was this the end?  Don’t bet on it.  The crowd starts stomping and clapping and shouting again, “Shinedown, Shinedown, Shinedown” and nothing, the band still stays in the back, the crowd gets louder and louder begging the band to come back out you can’t even hear yourself think the crowd is so loud.


The band comes back on stage and Brent says “We think of ourselves as fearless when it comes to making records, but we came to the realization that Rock and Roll has taken a back seat for far too damn long, it will never stray from Drums, Bass, Vocals, Guitar and one Bad Ass Song.  Rock and Roll is a way of life, and has been there for you far too many times and here tonight in this place I bring to you that One Bad Ass Song”

And they roll into “Simple Man” that was one of the greatest tributes I have ever heard any one band sing besides the originators Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brent’s vocals along with every member of Shinedown poured their soul into this cover song that I’ll be honest, it sent tears down my eyes it was just that Amazing.

To close the night out they finished their 16 song set with “Second Chance” and “Fly From the Inside” and after all was said and done they all came center stage and said “Thank you so very much Richmond we are truly honored you came to see us tonight and we love you, Good Night”.

The crowd didn’t leave right away because I think they just experienced one of the best nights of Rock and Roll that they had seen or at least in my opinion I know I saw one of the best nights of Rock and Roll music that I have had the pleasure to see in quite some time, I knew that Art of Dying would deliver as stated before I have seen them 3 or 4 times now and they are always spot on and give the fans what they paid to come see, this was my first time seeing Adelitas Way and Shinedown and I truly hope it will not be my last.

I would especially like to thank the management and the publicity dept of Atlantic Records for allowing All Access Magazine to be at this concert tonight and for allowing us the opportunity to share in one hell of a night of great Rock and Roll music.

Review and Photos by: Stephen Gibson Photography