Throughout his musical career, Adam Dutkiewicz has held several titles: Killswitch Engage
guitarist and album producer. A producer of many other bands. And the unlikeliest of them all -- $50,000 showcase winner on "The Price is Right."
On Saturday night in Austin, the man they simply call Adam D. added another moniker: pizza summoner and on-stage eater.
Co-headlining the "Killthrax" tour across the country with Big 4 members Anthrax, Dutkiewicz and Killswitch Engage unofficially came away from Grizzly Hall as the best band of the Texas Independence Fest. Although Killswitch Engage and Anthrax are taking turns closing each night and Anthrax did the honors this time, Killswitch demonstrated to a parking lot full of fans -- plus those across the street and on rooftops watching for free -- how it rolls.
The 15-band, two-stage festival, which also featured The Devil Wears Prada, Dead To Fall, Shattered Son, Sons Of Texas, Fire From The Gods, Cerebral Desecration and Psychostick, provided South Texans with a full day of metal. But it was Killswitch that stole the show.
Opening with furious yet still sing-along-able "Hate by Design" from latest album Incarnate
, the Killswitch machine was on point throughout its set. Showcasing his goofy on-stage persona that belies his attention to detail in the studio, Dutkiewicz hopped around on stage, unleashing guitar licks while wearing a flowery bandana and an "Impeach Goodell" shirt aimed at the commissioner of the National Football League. Vocalist Jesse Leach, guitarist Joel Stroetzel, bassist Mike D'Antonio and drummer Justin Foley tore through 16 songs old and new (watch AXS' footage of "This is Absolution" here
But it was their humorous intro to blistering tracks "My Curse" and "Strength of the Mind" that really got the ball rolling. Leach told those across the street they were free to come inside, even though they took "free" to mean something else. Then when the vocalist asked, "Where's the party at after this?," Dutkiewicz responded, "Dude, there's a pizza stand right there." Dutkiewicz then beckoned a worker to crowd surf a slice of cheese. The rest, as they say, is history (AXS footage here
Dutkiewicz was given thanks and congratulations from AXS prior to taking the stage for his game-show winnings and subsequent interview (more here
). He's produced several Killswitch albums, including Incarnate
-- which D'Antonio addressed with AXS here
-- and has worked with the likes of All That Remains and others.
Some might say the Killswitch and Anthrax tour pairing is a contrast of styles and eras, but the latter didn't see it that way in a pre-show interview (watch here
). Killswitch and Joey Belladonna proved as much for the former's encore finale cover of Dio's Holy Diver by having the Anthrax vocalist join in (AXS footage below). Belladonna can be considered Anthrax's biggest Dio fan, having sung "Man on the Silver Mountain" at his memorial service and always touting the legendary singer whenever he can.
Anthrax's festival-closing show wasn't too shabby either, of course. Marking 30 years of the album widely regarded as its best, Among the Living
, Anthrax performed five of the nine tunes on that 1987 effort, opening with the title track. As he's prone to do, southpaw Jon Dette filled in on drums for Charlie Benante, who only plays about 3-4 weeks at a time due to his carpal tunnel syndrome, something he discussed with AXS at the 2015 River City Rockfest (watch here
). On this occasion, Benante, who also spoke with AXS on February's 70000 Tons of Metal voyage (watch here
), dropped off the Killthrax tour 24 hours earlier. Dette also filled in for Benante during Anthrax's visit to Austin last October at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (coverage here
The second stage of the Texas Independence Fest had its own share of fun and was not to be outdone.
Alice, Texas, natives Shattered Sun
unveiled four songs from its upcoming sophomore album as well as tracks from debut Hope Within Hatred
. Vocalist Marcos Leal, who joined San Antonio band Darkness Divided at last fall's Texas Revolution Fest in Austin (more here
), and his bandmates are one of two Texas finalists -- joining Immortal Guardian of Austin -- battling with eight other bands from around the country in a contest to open five cities for Metallica this summer. That would include Wed. June 14 at the Alamodome (tickets here
While The Devil Wears Prada
, which has also been produced by Adam D., and Sons Of Texas rocked the main stage with their Christian metalcore intensity and straight up Rock N' Roll, respectively, it was the second-stage act of Psychostick
that brought something different to the stage. They call it humorcore. We'll call it ComiCore.
Although the group was formed in Phoenix in 2000, singer Rob Kersey pointed out (with sticks pouring out of his head) that he and guitarist Joshua Key grew up in Odessa. Bassist Matty J "Moose" didn't exactly go unnoticed while wearing a moosehead nearly as wide as the stage. Performing tracks such as "The Beer Song" and "Dogs Like Socks," Psychostick's highlight may have been when it asked for a "tough" volunteer to wear a sombrero -- then promptly told the mosh pit to "get the sombrero." To be fair, the band was kind enough to instill rules (comedic ones, of course), such as no pinching or ball-grabbing, to spare the unlucky victim a trip to the hospital that he probably would've deemed worth it regardless.
Psychostick's humor wasn't relegated to its live show. The band penned a funny sign aimed at autograph seekers and merch purchasers (see slideshow above), and even sold a T-shirt parodying Iron Maiden's Fear of the Dark cover adorned with "Psychostick: Fear of the Duck."
A full day of metal on two stages. Crowd surfing with pizza. Psychosticks. Sure, the festivities may have been a bit cramped inside and immediately outside of Grizzly Hall. There was no denying that the Texas Independence Fest provided a bevy of entertainment you don't always receive at a mini-festival. For that, Killthrax Day was undoubtedly a more ideal way to spend Tax Day than the alternative.