Metal Church/Doro – May 9, 2019 – The Chance Theater, Poughkeepsie, NYSaturday, 11th May 2019
A billing that sure to please old school metal fanataics, Metal Church and Doro teaming up for a 2019 tour with Images of Eden as support offer plenty of evidence that veteran traditional metal acts can still bring the house down. This scribe has managed to miss shots at catching Doro for a number of years to date, and with this tour, things finally aligned. As imagined, these three acts did exactly as predicted, making it a night to remember for those in the crowd.
Getting to The Chance just as local openers Dark After Dawn were taking down their gear, the stage was set for Images of Eden. Touring in support for their latest album, Soulrise, which is also their first album since 2011, it came as no surprise that they would stick to tracks off of said release for their support slot. The heavier tone to their guitars set them apart from the two main acts, and it was also clear the band was giving it their all to work over the crowd. A goal that they visibly accomplished by the end of “Twice Upon a Time.” Some genuine, heartfelt words of wisdom from vocalist Gordon Tittsworth between a few songs (“Only Human” and “Shield Me”), catchy and groovy rhythms, and strong hooks solidified the band as a great reason to show up early.
The first of two headlining sets for the night, Doro took the stage and brought a stadium-size show into the club arena. Doro Pesch herself full of energy, along with all of her bandmates oozed charisma. The band immediately took to engaging with the crowd for chanting/fist-pumping/high fives/etc and were all smiles as “I Rule the Ruins” blasted through the speakers. As expected, they played a large chunk of Warlock cuts (“Burning the Witches,” “Earthshaker Rock,” and “East Meets West” being some highlights) alongside Doro’s solo material, including newer cuts “Blood, Sweat and Rock ‘n Roll” and “All for Metal.” Guitarist Tommy Bolan and drummer Johnny Dee were given some time to shine with extended solos which were both playful and showstopping in the best way. Much like the band’s presence and attitude on stage – it was just plain fun. Constant interactions with the crowd, already won-over at the first note, the sing-a-longs (particularly on closer “All We Are”), and the songs themselves just made for an experience that you don’t often get with some of the more modern acts of today. Pesch herself an enigma on the stage, constantly moving and engaging with the other band members – it’s quickly evident why she has been able to stay a relevant force in the scene for over 35 years (as well as holding the title of Metal Queen). As she said to the rather packed Chance crowd, let’s go for another 35 years!
Rounding things up for the night was Metal Church. A different sort of presence to them than Doro before, but one that was clearly soaked in steel and full of energy. Particularly from frontman Mike Howe, who had a certain charismatic vibe as he weaved his way around the stage (again, all smiles) and interacting with both the band and the crowd. Not to be outdone by Doro either, the act also contributed an extended guitar solo, and a later drum solo with Stet Howland wildly hitting everything on the kit, from his hands to empty bottles in a stunning display. As for the songs themselves, the band had a wide reaching set, with a few tracks from the recent Damned if You Do and XI‘s “Needle and Suture” to some older songs like “Watch the Children Pray” and “Hanging in the Balance.” The band firing on all cylinders, the crowd basked in metal glory as the night came to a close.
While some veteran acts tend to survive on nostalgia, this night’s double feature offered plenty of proof that there are just as many of these acts that go out there simply for the love of the music. It wouldn’t matter if there were five or five thousand in the crowd, they use their experience to provide a night of heavy metal that is memorable and engaging. Something that never grows old.