Sevendust with Drowning Pool, House of Blues, Anaheim, 3/13

Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon roars
Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon roars
Andrew Youssef
The Hype: A rare heavy metal show at the House of Blues Anaheim featured the one-two punch of Sevendust and Drowning Pool. Sevendust is gearing up for the release of their eighth album, Cold Day Memory due April 20 while Drowning Pool are set to release their fourth album, a self-titled disc scheduled for April 27.

The Show: Sevendust have to be one of the hardest working touring bands in the country. After signing a horrid record deal with TVT Records, Sevendust realized the best way to make a living was through relentless gigging. The years of constantly being on the road have made Sevendust razor sharp in the live department.  

Opening with "Black" from their 1997 debut album, Sevendust came out of the gates swinging. Singer Lajon Witherspoon had his dreadlocks flailing while griping his gold-painted microphone stand and screaming the lyrics with metal fierceness. In the guitar department, Clint Lowery and John Connolly viciously interlocked in their rapid-fire, palm-muted power chords. 

"Driven" is a perfect example of how Sevendust vacillates between passages of melody and skull-crushing guitar riffs.  The buzzy, wah-pedal-drenched riff of "Crucified" kicked the audience in the teeth as the front rail of people were looking behind them due to the high volume of crowd surfers passing overhead. 

Sevendust realizes the importance of their fans and throughout the evening pointed to multiple people in the audience, directly connecting with each attendee. It made a lasting impression as they would celebrate with their friends after being acknowledged. Sevendust understands that those moments prompt people to buy that extra T-shirt and keep the crowds returning each time they pass through town.

Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon stares down Andrew
Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon stares down Andrew
Andrew Youssef

A double dose of "Trust" and "Suffocation" had Morgan Rose working overtime bashing on his drum kit and using his headset microphone for background screams. Rose would get a break when Witherspoon and Lowery took the stage by themselves for an acoustic set of "Xmas Day" and "Angel's Son". Another sign that the audience was stoked to see Sevendust was that they cheered loudly when asked if they wanted to hear a new song. 

"Unraveling" and "Forever Dead" were the new numbers in the set that didn't stray from Sevendust's fine blend of heaviness and melody. My highlight of the night was their white-hot rendition of "Denial" replete with screaming guitar harmonics and machine-gun guitar explosions. The crowd renewed their energy for the encore when Sevendust teased the audience with the main riff of "Master of Puppets" from Metallica and "Walk" by Pantera before knocking out "Born To Die" and "Face To Face". I think Witherspoon was being sincere when he thanked the crowd for this "beautiful experience."

Drowning Pool did an excellent job of warming up the crowd. Despite the unfortunate passing of original vocalist Dave Williams, Drowning Pool has soldiered on with Ryan McCombs taking up the vocal duties. The energy from the band and crowd during "37 stitches" impressed but the audience went absolutely bonkers during "Bodies," with the whole floor swirling in a giant mass of humanity.

The Crowd: Metalheads were in abundance. My favorite spotting was a nine-year-old boy in a Motorhead t-shirt on his dad's shoulders throwing out the devil's horns singing along to "37 Stitches" and "Bodies" by Drowning Pool. Parenting at its finest!  

Overheard: "I'm surprised House of Blues Anaheim let Drowning Pool hang their banner since it has a pentagram on it" was mentioned. Surprising indeed.

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