Twelfth Gate / Ion Vein / Rival

Penny Road Pub - Barrington, IL
September 25th, 2004
by Joe Who?

Friday - The prelude to the day all of us "Weekend Warriors" call freedom! While it's pure agony waiting for those final hours and minutes to go by, the big pay off comes when we all can relax on Saturday.

Being a big music fan, I have always enjoyed going out to see shows. For me it's a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, that sometimes leads to anxiety, tension, and stress.

Living fairly close to Chicago, we get our fair share of shows and tours to choose from. The city is a major "Market" for many national bands, due to their being so many loyal fans.

We must not forget the local scene. A lot of these bands work really hard to get their name out to the masses in hope of catching a break. In the Chicago area they have these "Entertainment Guides" listing club dates in and around the city. Between the internet and these informative guides, I always keep myself up-to-date on what's going on out there.

So that brings me to this particular show. I actually learned about this one talking with Scott Huffman of Twelfth Gate at their show in Milwaukee back in July. Finding out this most excellent news, I kept checking their web-site, and "Entertainment Guides" for the date and venue info. I finally found what I was looking for one day, the show was announced as: Twelfth Gate, Ion Vein, and Rival.

What a great package show, I thought to myself. This was definitely a show I wanted to see. Not knowing where this club was at, I relied on my bud "Map Quest" to help me along on my travels.

The night of the show arrives, and I'm ready to rock! Making my way to the club was a snap (way to go MQ!). It was just off of RT 59, and kind of secluded from city life in the country. My first look of the club from the parking lot, it kind of looked like an old Road House. Once inside I got more familar with the place. It definately has a Pub feel going, like the Regal Begal from the old tv show "Three's Company", but a lot bigger in size. They have a good size stage near a bar, with a lot of tables and chairs. They also have a stage down stairs, where other bands can play as well.

Kicking off the show was Chicago's Rival.

RIVAL - This was my first time seeing them live, and they did not disappoint. Some excellent Power Metal mixed with Thrash. These guys have been on the scene since the early ninties. Where the hell have I been, under a rock? I was aware of them, but never got out to see them live. A big mistake on my part, as they kicked ass! Their set was great, a nice mixed bag of goodies - old and new. The majority of it being from their latest release "State Of Mind" (On Metal Blade). My favorite new song they played was "Hell Train". This song rules! It starts off with a drum roll intro, (like a train getting ready to move) then goes into this Metal Thrashing Frenzy! "Half Alive" from their "Modern World" cd was a excellent live song as well. Great performance.

I'd say if you're a fan of Power Metal, Thrash, or "Old School" Traditional type Metal - definitely go see this band play live.

Rival - Set List:

1. "The Last Rebellion"
2. "Half Alive"
3. "Reach"
4. "Tides Of Fate"
5. "Tyrants"
6. "State Of Mind"
7. "Insane"
8. "Death Stalker"
9. "Brink"
10. "Hell Train" - (This song rules supreme!)
11. "Beast Of The Night"


ION VEIN - From Chicago was up next. This was a band I was real interested in seeing. Their "Reigning Memories" cd from last year is a superb release. (I'd describe as Queensryche meets Fates Warning) I heard that they were down to a four piece band, and that they were going to debut some new songs at this show. The rumors were indeed true as the band hit the stage as a four piece. After seeing them play live, I would say as a four piece band they have a more stripped down sound now. (without a second guitarist) I'll admit I miss the extra guitars, but you know what? I saw a band that played with a lot of heart, dedication, and gave 100% to their fans. Their set consisted of a few songs from "Reigning Memories", and five new songs they were playing for the first time. (That got a good reaction from the crowd.)

Overall I thought Ion Vein was a great live band. I look forward to seeing what they have to offer us in the future, and am eagerly awaiting the next chapter of their career.

Ion Vein's Set List:

1. "Another Life"
2. "Spiral Maze"
3. "The Power Of You"
4. "Faith And Majesty"
5. "Against The World" (New)
6. "In The End" (New)
7. "Alone" (New)
8. "Face The TRUTH" (New)
9. "Enough" (New)

TWELFTH GATE - From Chicago, finished off the night as the headliners. As I was saying earlier I caught one of their previous shows up in Milwaukee, and learned about this show. Twelfth Gate are a amazing band, if you have heard their "Summoning" release you know what I'm talking about. In the live seting they are no different.

The musicanship is incredible. The guitars range from soft melodic parts, to a crushing Metal Assault. Big hails to the band for adding a second guitarist to the line-up. (Jim Stopper formely of Oppressor) I'm not saying they were bad with one guitar player, it's just now with two guitar players, the energy and intensity are unbelieveable!

Can't forget the bass section as they hold down the fort, keeping it tight and heavy, as well as those blast beats placed in the right spots, to give it that extra kick in the ass.

Last but not least - Those tremendous vocals that send a shiver down your spine, and make you want to sing out loud.
Twelfth Gate delivered a great set, that all the fans appreciated and enjoyed. Their brand of Metal was a great way to end the night on.

Twelfth Gate's Set List:

1. "Sugarcoated"
2. "Desire Brings"
3. "Wheel Of Life"
4. "Inner Core" (New)
5. "Human Swine" (New)
6. "Loyal" (New)
7. "Orpheus"
8. "Malevolent Sky"
9. "Black Robe" (New)
10. "Innocent"

This show was a blast, I had a great time, and thought all three bands did a fantastic job. Power Metal seemed to be the theme of the night, but you know what? I saw three bands that were all differenrt and unique in their own ways. They did all share one common trait - playing good quality Metal.