Photo and Review by Chris Besaw
Saturday night in the eclectic little city of Rochester NY, while most were getting ready for the big football game on Sunday and for Valentine’s Day the following day. The Photo City Music Hall was host to the second installment of Rotting IN Rot-Chester 2022!
Photo City Music Hall which opened in 2016 and located just on the outskirts of the Neighborhood of the Arts is a unique venue not only because of the vast variety of music artists that play there, but also because it’s like walking into a modern punk art gallery. The venue has paintings and other artwork adorning its walls. Prior to the start of the night’s entertainment, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Danny Neilsen, who greeted me personally and was a very gracious and personable host. I really appreciated that because I typically do not see venue owners out in the mix.
Opening the show was the local metal – punk band, Snakebit. To be honest I was not sure what to expect being this was my first was my first time seeing them. Their blend of heavy-handed metal and punk laced music drew a nice amount of early concert goers who immediately got into it singing along and moving about. I mean how could anyone just stand there with songs like “Kill Me” and “Bar Fight?” After what felt like a quick 30-minute set, it goes unsaid that they did a great job warming things up!
Up next was the Syracuse area metal band, DeadrideR! The three-piece metal outfit consisting of Johnny (guitars) Dante (drums) and Mortis Loki (bass) did an amazing job keeping up the momentum of the crowd. From the opening riffs to the final echoes of their last song, I really enjoyed their fast and furious classic style of metal. For those who have not seen them live before, you will not be disappointed. I look forward to my next time seeing them live!
If you are a fan of classic metal such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, then Dyspläcer is a must see! It was refreshing to see a newer, upcoming metal band play with such precision, style, and an enormous sound! Vocalist Justice Blaze Bragg has a powerful voice and does a tremendous job of actively engaging the crowd, fist bumping and getting them to sing along. Let’s not forget to mention the extraordinarily talented rest of the band, Zachary Bushey (guitar), Tyler Healt (guitar) Drew Wood (bass) and Zach Healt (drums). Some of the more memorable songs they played were, “Blood Sport” and “Way of the Ninja.” How can you not raise your fist to the air and sing along! This was another first for me. I really enjoyed their set and look forward to seeing them again.
The next band on the lineup can be described as a fusion of classic UK punk with the post-apocalyptic Mad Max films and behold you have Rotten UK! Hailing from Rot-Chester NY this Lovecraftian apocalyptic punk band has been tearing up stages since 2011. Lead by vocalist James Von Sinn the band hit the stage and wasted no time sonically barraging the crowd with their classic and riot inducing punk sound. Von Sinn not only has a commanding and bigger than life stage presence, but he is backed by an equally monstrous sounding band consisting of Matt Sexx (guitars), Anarchy Jake (bass) and Fran Damage (drums). I cannot think of another recent show that I had been to where the crowd was going completely off the walls from the front of the stage to back of the venue. Not only is Von Sinn a formidable and talented singer, but he is also one hell of an artist. Von Sinn designed and screened a limited-edition concert poster (only thirteen made) for the show. Glad I grabbed one or in this case two! Aside from taking several punches and kicks I was blown away by them and very much glad I was able to catch their set. They are definitely worth checking out!
As the dust settled from the previous band, Rochester natives Necrostalker took the stage. If you are fan of Cannibal Corpse and Obituary you will most certainly dig Necrostalker’s heavy groove infused blend of metal! The band led by vocalist Jon Tavares along with Aaron Nicholson (guitar), Alex Zillioux (drums) and Oz Asbjorn (bass) provided the thunderous and rib cage rattling sound that the audience craved. Despite getting short-changed on the length, the band pounded out a fast and ferocious set. I personally would have liked to have heard more by them, but due to time constraints they had to move the show along to make way for the evening’s headliner. I am looking forward to seeing them again that is for sure.
Time for the moment the crowd has been waiting all evening… Midnight! The stage goes dark, and the smoke rolls into the crowd as the intro plays through the speakers. You can sense the packed crowd getting amped up. The lights come up, and Athenar was standing on top of the bass cabs pumping his fists. SS takes the drums and Commander Vannik charges the stage with his guitar. With the force of an atomic bomb Athenar explodes from the bass cabs leading the set with the blistering track “Lord in Chains” followed by the raunchy track “Endless Slut.” The fans erupt, and it was total chaos from the front to the back of the house, an awesome site to see. Midnight is currently touring for their heavily anticipated album Let There Be Witchery, which will available worldwide on March 4th. And speaking of new tracks, Athenar and company played “Szex Witchery” the most recent single off their upcoming album. One aspect of Midnights performance I enjoyed was Athenar and Commander Vannik’s willingness to interact with their fans. They not only get into the crowd but literally throw the audience and themselves at each other, fist pumping and head banging along. After a blistering set, the band left the stage leaving fans screaming for more. and yelling fans for more. After a brief reprieve, they came back out cranking out the fan favorite “Satanic Royalty.” I have to say if you have not seen Midnight before you definitely should. They do not disappoint live, and this is my third time seeing them!
Thank you for reading and please check out the shows highlights in the gallery below.