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Birthday Bash at The Ballroom

posted Aug 30, 2011, 2:50 PM by Sarah Brehm

There’s really no better way to celebrate a metal head’s birthday than to headbang with them, and that’s just what went down at The Ballroom on August 26th. The show celebrated the birthdays of Reason’s DJ Stuman, “Pappy” Eubanks, who made a cameo appearance with Reason, and Beyond Bethel’s Jonathan Bowden.

Morior Invictus, a Christian metal band from Knoxville, TN, led off the lineup. Lead singer Joel Rainwater’s dynamic crowd interaction was an excellent way to kick off the show.  About halfway through the set, an energetic round of moshing commenced, and Joel surprised us all by dropping his mike to join in the fun.

“We love playing in Chattanooga,” said Joel, “and we always look forward to coming back.”

The band is currently down a guitarist, but they continue on without a hitch with a fill-in named “Fuzzy.” “Fuzzy” pulled off the six song set with at most two weeks of practice, an impressive feat indeed. Also impressive about M.I. is the female bassist, Kristy Walker. Four bands played at this show, and the only woman to take the stage was Kristy. She isn’t impressive simply because she’s a female in a predominantly male musical genre—the girl can play some mean bass! Overall, Morior Invictus put on a great set and got things off on the right foot.

Cleveland natives The Flood Shall Flow were up next. Lead singer Corey Pettit introduced their set, playing off the long set up time with jokes about none other than the long set up time. The humorous interjection was a welcome change of pace. The entire ambiance of the room shifted once The Flood got ready to start. These guys had by far the most enthusiastic fans of the bands represented at this show. The self-proclaimed “Flooders” and  “Floodettes” cheered, screamed, sang, and cracked jokes with the band throughout the set, raising the energy bar a couple of notches despite the stifling heat in the venue (yes, we love our consistently 100+ degree weather this summer). I was pleasantly surprised when drummer Nick Curry joined in with some spot on backup vocals in their song “Dance Like a Super Saiyan.” Lead guitarist Evan Goins gets props for some crazy fast riffs in their fourth song of the set, “Frank Wilson.” I could not keep up with his fingers flying across the strings! It may have been a while since The Flood did a show as they went through some changes, but they reentered the scene Friday with a bang.

“A lot of bands have broken up and got back together, changed members, changed their names, and everything else,” drummer Nick Curry commented, “but The Flood has stuck with it and kept the name going. We’ve made some changes, but we’re still determined to get where we’re going.”

One of the highlights of the evening was the official return of Reason.

“We took a four year hiatus,” lead singer Dustin Curry introduced their set, “but we’re officially back!”

And back they are, folks! Reason played an eight song set interspersed with humorous commentary from Dustin. The crowd seemed more than ready to welcome these guys back to the stage, and Reason didn’t disappoint. The band recently brought in Alex Cahoon (also a guitarist for The Flood Shall Flow) to play for them. Alex said the double duty is “fun and totally worth it,” and that he loves playing in both because he gets to play two entirely different styles of guitar. I was impressed by how well he pulled off the long set considering he only had one full band practice under his belt at the time.

As much as I love all the bands that played Friday night, I have to give the best vocals superlative to Mr. Dustin Curry. There are many good metal vocalists in this area, and all the vocalists that performed at this show were talented. However, there was just something special  and exceptional about Dustin’s performance at this show that blew me away.

When I spoke to the guys of Reason after their set, I asked them what they wanted their fans to take with them when they left a Reason show. Drummer CJ Maples said they always wanted fans to “take the music and the lyrics with them.”

 “We want to ‘beat their brains in’ with the music, but still remind them with the positive lyrics not to turn to hatred and to look out for each other,” CJ commented.

Headliners Beyond Bethel took the stage last. Their set list included their entire first album, A Fire Before Him, minus the two ballads on the album. The big highlight of the performance for the crowd was the infamous wall of death in the middle of their last song, “Enemy,” a song that reminds us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers…(Ephesians 6:12).” The song was introduced by a heartfelt word from lead singer Jonathan Bowden about the song, salvation, and hope. Such speeches aren’t common at Bethel shows, but the message was consistent with the band’s mission, which is spelled out in their very name.

“We just want people to have a great time and leave knowing Jesus loves them,” said drummer Shawn Walker after the show.

“We want people to enjoy themselves and feel the energy,” added bassist JD Cason “but we also want them to leave with truth.”

The Bethel boys were in for a surprise when the crowd demanded an encore, forcing them to pull out their ballad, “Awake the Day.” Though it was a change of pace from most of the evening, the song was beautifully executed and well received.

Overall, it was another awesome night of metal in Cleveland, TN. Happy birthday indeed to Jonathan, Pappy, and DJ!
Words by: Amber Boring
Photos by: Amber Boring
Morior Invictus
The Flood Shall Flow
The Flood Shall Flow
Beyond Bethel
Beyond Bethel