It’s not often that fans get hit with a good old “one-two punch” of music from bands nowadays. Even the double headline bills during the summer sometimes result in a one sided event. But last week at The Gramercy Theatre those in attendance got their money’s worth by Next To None and Metal Allegiance as both bands delivered and cranked the dial up the eleven.
Next To None, for those who don’t know, are one of the new bands on the scene making a name for themselves by winning fans over show after show. Sure their drummer Max Portnoy (whom I interviewed back in October) is son of Mike Portnoy but it’s not why they’re gaining fans. Their music and performance is why they are becoming fan favorites, and they’re only in high school. They’ve taken their love of rock and metal and channeled their influences into their debut album A Light In The Dark and deliver it live. My favorite song from the album “You Are Not Me” sounded great live. Absolutely no let down live, which for high schoolers is impressive as there are veterans of music that can’t deliver great live. Add in the energy of a group of kids who are hyped up on being on a stage doing what they love doing together and you can’t help but become a fan of Next To None.
With a crowd pumped it and ready to go it was practically the perfect setup for Metal Allegiance to come out and knock everyone down. Well they didn’t knock everyone down, they rocked everyone in the building from the second they hit the stage. On this night Metal Allegiance was; Chris Jericho, Bumblefoot, Mark Menghi, Alex Skolnick, Mark Osegueda, Chuck Billy, and Mike Portnoy.
From the moment Metal Allegiance began with the Judas Priest classic “Electric Eye” you could feel the night was going up to eleven on the dial. Each member adding their own uniqueness to each song throughout the night. Of course Chris Jericho hit the stage as first to the microphone and he wasted no time in making sure everyone in attendance was as fired up as he was.
Throughout the night Chris Jericho, Chuck Billy, and Mark Osegueda would take turns on vocals. Each being the perfect choice on the respective songs chosen. Though I found myself getting chills during “Heaven And Hell” as Mark Osegueda sounded almost identical to the late great Ronnie James Dio, so close that you could close your eyes and might envision Dio actually there. Not only a sign of how influential he was to everyone but shows how under appreciated Mark Osegueda is as a vocalist.
I’ve been honored the know Bumblefoot for a few years now but hardly get to see him play but when I do he reminds me and everyone that he’s possibly one of the most underrated guitarists (along with Mike Orlando) today. Throughout the night I’d look over to Bumblefoot and see the pure enjoyment on his face as he played every note. That becomes something everyone feels and resonates throughout.
By the end of the show everyone was having a blast. The fans and the band just rocking out as one group enjoying the music we all love. And I might seem biased because I’m honored to call Bumblefoot and Chris Jericho friends. And I might be biased because during “Whole Lotta Rosie”
I found Bumblefoot jamming by my side and looking up to see the rest of Metal Allegiance in front of me at the side of the stage playing to me. But as biased as it might sound it’s still the truth. It was full on fun jam by the end that had everyone feeling like one.
When all was said and done it was a night of music I think everyone will remember for a long time. With Next To None being the future of rock and metal and Metal Allegiance covering the past and present its safe to say there’s plenty to stand up and shout about if you’re a rocker today.