Article & Photos by: Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
The city of Anaheim, Calif., does not have a lot of clubs that play exclusively to the heavy metal community. There is one place that has been a popular spot for the fans, but it is not one of my favorite joints to catch a concert at. I am of course talking about the venue called the Chain Reaction. It is an all ages club that caters to not only well-established groups, but also up-and-coming bands as well. Personally, I feel that the sound quality is not the best and they do not serve alcohol there. However, my good friends in Stitched Up Heart were stopping by from a month long tour with rockers Hell or Highwater. Between seeing them in Anaheim or in Hollywood at the Whisky a-Go Go, I chose to cover them in my own backyard. It is always fun to see them play again and they have come to give Anaheim an unforgettable night of metal.
Officially kicking off the festivities was a singer-songwriter by the name of Darling Jameson. She sat on stage with an acoustic guitar, and serenaded the crowd with some cover tunes. Jameson has an incredible voice, very gentle and subtle. She graced us with songs from “Broadripple” by Death Cab For Cutie, to “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. I thought it was really cool to see an unplugged performance on a night we are to be rocking out. Jameson had the opportunity to play an original she wrote, entitled “Infinity.” She usually travels with Stitched Up Heart and they gave her the chance to showcase herself. She has great style, and I feel she can go far in this business.
Full Darling Jameson Slideshow Below:
Coming up to the stage next was Fresno’s own Fall of Silence. Now these guys are a pretty interesting group to watch. They have themselves a good mix of classic hard rock and progressive metal. Frontman Walter Figueroa has a soaring voice, it reminds of Queensrÿche’s former singer Geoff Tate. A lot of their music does remain of the rock music played during the 1980s. Corey England rips it on guitar, while drummer Paris Bierk and bassist Branden Dehaas were invigorating with their rhythmic beats. I did not get a chance to catch the song titles, but I remember the fans cheering them on with each new tune being played. Fall of Silence is the pride of Fresno, and I will see them again.
Full Fall Of Silence Slideshow Below:
Chasing Desolation was next to grace Anaheim with their brand of L.A. alternative rock/metal. This is a band that was formed in 2005, and has just recently reunited to take aim at the music world. I enjoyed watching Seth Perez sing his heart out that night. His technique reminds me that of Shinedown’s own Brent Smith. Lead guitarist Jimmy Strimpel, the band’s founder, was smoking it up with some killer solos. Rhythm guitarist Vahan Ashlanyan is a riff master I am familiar with, from his days with Blackmore. They had a vitalizing set list, which included “Malice,” “Human Disease,” and “The Roots Are Dying,” to name a few great tracks. They come off their newest release, Malice, which I plan on giving a listen to. Chasing Desolation is chasing glory.
Full Chasing Desolation Slideshow Below:
This next act is one of particular interest. They call themselves Hell or Highwater, and they are unlike anything I have seen before. They are a hard rock group that was dressed in matching hula shirts. It was like watching the Beach Boys go heavy. I am not saying I did not like it, I actually dug their uniqueness. Vocalist Brandon Saller had outstanding chemistry with the fans, going down the floor and getting them involved the fun. There was one point where he puts lead guitarist, Jon Hoover, on his shoulders, and then proceeded to put him on top of the merchandise stand, all the while performing sick guitar licks with rhythm player, Joey Bradford. All of the songs they played, “Don’t Stop. Get Up.,” “Another Good Time,” “Walk Out In the Rain,” etc., came from their most recent album, Vista. For a band calling themselves Hell or Highwater, they produce positive energy and stimulating songs that is fun for everyone. I can see why Stitched Up Heart joined up with them on this tour.
Full Hell or Highwater Slideshow Below:
Stitched Up Heart finally took to the stage and the crowd went bananas. The room filled up with smoke, thanks to the smoke machines they brought with them. I rather liked it because the smoke gave them a sort of mysterious ambiance about them. Vocal Goddess Alecia Demner, aka Mixi, brought such passion to her singing, which engrossed the crowd with metal pleasure. Combine that with the energetic guitar work of the duo Merritt Goodwin and Nick Bedrosian, the songs they played was chalk full of vigor and lust. Bassist Randy Mathias and drummer James Decker tore it up on the rhythmic side with electric beats and booms. While I was shooting them, Bedrosian looked over to me and gave the camera some love. I loved every song they played, and so did their loyal following. From “Event Horizon” to “Monster,” there was a reason why I made their 2016 release, Never Alone, one of my Top 5 choices. What really wowed me was their cover of Drowning Pool’s “Bodies,” which I actually helped sing.
Full Stitched Up Heart Slideshow Below:
I will always be a fan of Stitched Up Heart, and thank God that I got to hang out with them 3 years ago. They bring a lot of appeal to Goth metal, and the fans love them for it. Although I am still not a fan of the Chain Reaction, I was glad to attend the show. All the bands that performed exceeded my expectations. Darling Jameson is a wonderful singer, and I wish her nothing but my kind of success. Fall of Silence and Chasing Desolation left their mark in Anaheim, and Hell or Highwater surprised me with their entertaining rock ‘n’ roll show. Most of all, Stitched Up Heart still knocks me off my feet. They have recently been chosen to play at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest this year, and I hope to see them make the Metal Gods proud. To Stitched Up Heart and friends, I salute you. Horns up!!!