Man, I don’t even know where to begin with SEVENDUST. One of my favorite bands for almost 20 years now, albums such as Seasons, Next, and last year’s Black Out the Sun have been some of those years’ best offerings, pretty much slaying the competition. And live, few can match their intensity. I know this because I am a five-time (now SIX) veteran of the SEVENDUST live experience, and I have left each one of those gigs sufficiently pummeled and ready for more. But in a surprising turn of events, the band recently embarked on an acoustic tour in support of their new crowdfunded album Time Travelers & Bonfires (look for our review of that one soon!), featuring reworked as well as new tunes, all done acoustically. YES, PLEASE!! Oh, and did I mention that this magnificent beast rolled into Trees Dallas on Saturday night? No?
Before I go any further, let me just say how happy I was that there were no opening acts. It’s not that I don’t love seeing some of the best that Dallas has to offer, but this night was about seeing the guys in SEVENDUST in a relaxed, intimate setting while allowing the older tunes to take on a new life of their own, and to give us a peek at the new stuff before the record comes out on April 15. The stage was adorned simply with stools and some candles as we waited for 9 PM, the Witching Hour.
The band emerged and immediately went into “Trust” which sounded even better this way, as well as “Prayer”, “Crucified” and “Xmas Day”. I can’t stress enough how much better the songs from Animosity sound stripped down, it was mind-blowing. The first of three new songs, “Under It All” was next. This is one of my favorites off of Time Travelers. I love drummer Morgan Roses’ slight off-beat that he puts in there and the chorus is sweeping and reached the highest levels of Trees. “Skeleton Song” was ANOTHER song that I now prefer acoustic because the arrangement was fantastic, and “Denial” was totally redone and I could see people who haven’t heard it making faces of recognition as soon as Lajon Witherspoon opened his mouth. And for those not quite as quick to catch on, the chorus quickly brought them up to speed. Another highlight was “Rumble Fish”. It’s not often you can say a song shredded in an acoustic setting but this sure as hell did. Never in my life have I seen so many bodies bouncing to this type of tune, but it was fuckin’ awesome!
New song “The Wait” really showed why Lajon has one of the most passionate and soulful deliveries in rock. It is impossible not to get caught up in what he’s singing about. The other new track was “Come Down”. It’s got a bounce rhythm to it and harmonies that are like syrup-covered waffles, just delicious. I can’t wait for the rest of you to hear this album, you will be amazed, trust me! Speaking of my favorite albums, the other two Seasons songs, “Gone” and “Disgrace” were outstanding as well. And of course, I HAVE to commend Mr. Clint Lowery for a “knocked-it-out-of-the-park” rendition of “Hurt” from NINE INCH NAILS. I don’t say this often, but…goosebumps.
Cold Day Memory was well-represented in “Karma”, one of my favorites by the band no matter which version they play. This one however still packed a punch, as did show closer “Black”. Sandwiched between them was “Got a Feeling” and of course, “Angel’s Son”. If they tried to leave Dallas without playing that one we were liable to have a riot on our hands and a flipped tour bus! All in all, this was one of those nights where you just HAD to be there. Magic was in the air, and this was a Once In a Live-Time event. It was only the fourth gig of this run; you’d do well to catch SEVENDUST acoustic when they come to your town. Plus, as is par for the course at one of their shows, I walked away with some great new friendships (great to meet you, LeeAnn and Thomas!!). What a night!