Judas Priest Spearheads Heavy Metal Assault At Warlando In Orlando Florida Sept. 11th 2021

 

 

 

If you are going to host a heavy metal festival, especially one called Warlando, you’ve got to have all the right components to ensure its success. First and foremost is a bulletproof lineup that is sure to please and who better to headline that lineup than the original pioneers of metal, Judas Priest. Stage Left Entertainment went above and beyond to compile an all-star supporting cast of 11 head banging bands that came ready to blow things up. I arrived early and began surveying the layout for today’s event. Two stages were positioned at opposite ends of the venue with numerous vendors set up in between. The line at the merch tent was already long as fans rushed to grab souvenirs from their favorite bands. As I looked over the set times I knew that 12 bands alternating between 2 stages meant a lot of back and forth with very little down time. This day wasn’t going to be a sprint. It was going to be a marathon and it was going to be epic.

 

 

Madzilla , a melodic thrash metal quartet from Vegas was on tap to start things off. With an abbreviated set time to work with, the guys wasted no time getting started. With lead vocalist David Cabezas leading the charge, Madzilla set the tone for the day with their latest single “Endless Damnation.”  Madzilla is heavy on quick and powerful riffs and Cabezas’ vocals bring it all home. Bassist Daniel Gortaire wasn’t fazed by the Florida heat as he was fired up and clearly happy to be back on stage. “Asphyxiating Cries” is the name of the band’s new album and their performance of the title song was masterful and right in line with their rhythmic and thrashing style. The set concluded with “Destiny’s Eyes” which is from the band’s first album. Madzilla has been on the music scene for right around 3 years and are well on their way to carving their own niche in the heavy metal world. Be sure to check out their new album, “Asphyyxiating Cries.”

 

Madzilla:

David Cabezas: Lead Vocals, Guitar

Daniel Gortaire: Bass, Backing Vocals

Dane Haws: Guitar

Luis Zevallos: Drums

 

 

Setlist:

Endless Damnation

Vengeance

Asphyxiating Cries

Destiny’s Eyes

 

 

The next act up comes straight from the Big Apple. Sworn Enemy has been grinding it out for almost 25 years and have gone through several name and lineup changes. The one thing that has remained consistent is their dedication to producing hard hitting metal that the fans devour. Singer Sal Lococo hit the stage sporting a Cuttthroat t-shirt and went right into my personal favorite, “Prepare For Payback” from their 2019 album “Gamechanger.” There was no letting up as the band followed up with songs like “As Real As It Gets” and “Sworn Enemy“. The guitar work from Matt Garzilli and Jeff Cummings was on point and there were no fans standing still. The set concluded with the 2006 single “We Hate.” If you’re looking for some nail grinding metal that you can really sink your teeth into, these 5 guys from Queens will not disappoint.

 

Sworn Enemy:

Sal Lococo: Vocals

Matt Garzilli: Guitar

Mike Pucciarelli: Bass

Jeff Cummings: Guitar

Taykwuan Jackson: Drums

 

 

Setlist:

Intro

Prepare For Payback

Sworn Enemy

Here Today

As Real As It Gets

Scared Of The Unknown

We Hate

 

I made my way over to the main stage just in time for the beginning of Twin Void‘s set. I knew these guys were from Spokane Washington, but didn’t really know what to expect. A quick Google search the day before revealed two descriptions that left me with more questions than answers. The first was ” a psychedelic/stoner metal/doom band” and the other was ” an acid trip with a punk rock twist.” Consider my curiosity peaked. Twin Void is fronted by vocalist/guitarist Nathan Bidwell and as he took the stage in a white t-shirt and overalls he was quick to point out that his bass player was the coolest guy in rock n’ roll, his dad Mike. Also joining the band was Travis Hewson on guitar. The band’s 6-song set started off with “Hellcat” and the fans loved it. Cory McCallum provided the beats all while wearing his Suicidal Tendencies Charlie Manson shirt. Other songs included “California Death Rattle” and “You Can Hear The Devil Walking” and Nathan and company sounded great. I think that this is a band where labels don’t really apply. Twin Void will appeal to music lovers of all kind and their style really does cross into different genres. I’ve read that the lyrics are the most important thing to Twin Void, after all that is the heart and soul of a song.

 

 Twin Void:

Nathan Bidwell: Vocals, Guitars

Cory McCallum : Drums

Mike Bidwell: Bass

Travis Hewson: Guitar

 

 

Setlist:

Hellcat

Sharper Than A Switchblade

California Death Rattle

Poor Ol Me

Domination Breakdown

You Can Hear The Devil Walking

 

I raced back to Stage B to check out the band Cutthroat. These hardcore rockers are from the streets of Los Angeles and their music is heavily based on their environment and the chaos going on in the world. Having been around for close to 20 years these guys know what it’s all about and as the first song of their set states, they have “Nothing To Prove.” The music was fast and furious and with songs like “Overthrow” and ” Murder Ring” the circle pit was going strong. Lead vocalist and founder Neil Roemer was pumped from the start and the crowd fed off the band’s energy. It’s a shame that the set was only 6 songs deep, but that’s life at a festival. 

 

Cuttthroat:

Neil Roemr: Lead Vocals

Bobby Blood: Drums

Ben Levi: Guitars

Jason Boccia: Guitar

Robert Madrigal: Bass

 

 

 

Setlist:

Nothing To Prove

Brothers

Into The Light

Overthrow

Murder Ring

We All Bleed The Same

 

 

After a sprint back t0 the main stage I was ready to catch Orlando’s own Rising Up Angry. These guys are a product of the Chicago music scene, but have been rocking Central Florida for years. “Nothing Sacred” started off the set and the bone crunching power riffs supplied by guitarists Chris Williams and Mick Vega were on full display throughout. Singer Ray Reyes was outstanding and when he flashed the devil horns he sort of reminded me of Ronnie James Dio. Performances of “Mothra” and “Psycho” had the crowd slamming and the band closed out the set with “Shotgun.” Rising Up Angry has toured with many national acts and seem right at home on the big stage. Be sure to check them out live.

 

Rising Up Angry:

Chris Williams: Guitar

Mick Vega: Guitar

Ray Reyes: Lead Vocals

Eric Frate: Bass

Justin Dunlap: Drums

 

 

Setlist:

Nothing Sacred

Faces

Mothra

Psycho

Shotgun

 

I literally ran back to Stage B because there was no way I was going to miss The Convalescence. I have to admit that I’m a sucker for dreads and face paint and when you combine that with some good old fashioned death metal you have the ultimate trifecta. Vocalist Keith Wampler took center stage and launched the band into “Parasite” from their 2014 album “The Process.” The pit was ignited and the bodies were crashing. Katie McCrimmon’s keyboards were up front and resembled a preacher’s pulpit, except for the fact that it was decked out with rawhide and a goat’s skull. The band pounded out “One Of The Dead” as guitarist Zac Lunsford’s dreads took on a life of their own. The band had to find a replacement drummer at the last minute as their drummer fell ill. Cameron Olalde from the band Cerebral Cortex fit the bill and joined The Convalescence with only minimum time to rehearse. Bassist Ronald Buckley and guitarist Toby Wright completed the ensemble and the image they create is like something out of a Rob Zombie movie. The set ended with a pulverizing performance of “Scum.” There was no time to rest for the band as they were off to perform in the Inkarceration Festival in Ohio tomorrow.

 

 

The Convalescence:

Keith Wampler: Lead Vocals

Katie McCrimmon: Keyboards, Vocals

Ronald Buckley: Bass

Toby Wright: Guitar

Zac Lunsford: Guitar

Cameron Olalde: Drums (Touring)

 

 

Setlist:

Parasite

I Dreamer

One Of The Dead

Reflections

Scum

 

The hike back to the main stage seemed to be getting further and further, but I made it just in time for Uncured’s set. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t know much about these guys and from the pics I saw I thought they might be a Swedish or Norwegian metal band. Turns out they are four Jersey guys who were about to blow this place up. Founded by brothers Rex and Zak Cox, Uncured has been cutting their rock n’ roll teeth for the last five years. Rex came out and greeted the crowd with his guitar which he simulated as a rifle. The band started things off with “Resist The Infection” from their 2019 album “Epidemic.” The melodic yet heavy “All Alone” had the circle moving while bassist Micah Smith provided the thunder. Zak shredded the entire set and I really enjoyed “Living Like I’m Dead.” Drummer Liam Manley was in full beast mode and it was especially evident during songs such as “Opium Den.” Every once in a while you go to a show and see a band that you’re not familiar with but when the show’s over all you can say is wow. Today was one of those days and Uncured is one of those bands.

 

Uncured:

Rex Cox: Vocals. Guitar

Zak Cox: Vocals, Guitar

Micah Smith: Bass

Liam Manley: Drums

 

 

Setlist:

Resist The Infection

All Alone

Myopic

Cut Me Open

Take Me Away

I Won’t Break

We Are The Antidote

Living Like I’m Dead

Opium Den

Set The World Ablaze

 

The last act to perform on Stage B was Tommy Vext, founder and former lead vocalist of Bad Wolves. Tommy took time to reflect on today’s date, September 11th, and those that lost their lives on that fateful date 20 years ago. From then it was all about kick ass rock n’ roll. The band that accompanied Tommy was pure fire and it seemed like that had been playing together for years. The band nailed a performance of “Learn To Live” and also did their version of Linkin Park‘s “Crawling.” Before performing “Sober” Tommy took a few minutes to address the subject of addiction. He mentioned that he had been sober for 12 years and also gave a shout out to Five Finger Death Punch singer Ivan Moody for his continued sobriety. Tommy filled in for Moody back in 2018 while Moody was in rehab. The fans really enjoyed this performance and at one point a chant of “F*** Bad Wolves” was heard loudly resonating throughout crowd. I’m not sure what Tommy’s plans are for the future, but with his skills and desire, along with the band he brought today, I’d say all the pieces are in place.        

 

Tommy Vext:

Tommy Vext: Lead Vocals

Neil Swanson: Guitar

Kevin Creekman: Bass

Dusty Boles: Guitar

Michael Levine: Drums

 

 

Next up was ill Nino who had a 5:25 set time. The remaining 4 bands were all on the main stage which meant the sprinting back and forth was done for the day. ill Nino was formed in 1998 and hail from Union City New Jersey. They are a metal band that is percussion driven, complimented with powerful vocals and guitar riffs. ill Nino began their set with smoke billowing from the stage as they performed “If You Still Hate Me” from their debut album. I counted at least 5 drummers including founding member Dave Chavarri. As hard as I tried I was unable to get a decent photo of Chavarri but you rest assured that I will at the Rebel Rock Festival later this month. The band played with passion and songs like “Mascara” and “God Save Us” had the pit rocking at a fevered pitch. Singer Marcos Leal had the charisma to keep the crowd fired up and the rest of the band followed suit. ill Nino is going on tour with Drowning Pool so be sure to catch them live.

 

ill Nino:

Dave Chavarri: Drums

Lazaro Pina: Bass

Daniel Couto: Percussion

Marcos Leal: Vocals

Jes De Hoyos: Guitar

Salvadore Dominguez: Guitar

 

 

Soulfly is an LA band who loves to bring it hard and carries a hefty resume of accomplishments with them. They have 11 studio albums under their belt and have toured the world. Along the way they have had the opportunity to work with the music world’s very best. As I entered the pit prior to the set I noticed several items hand from the mic stand, a gas mask, an ammo belt and what appeared to be a wooden African mask. If there were any doubts about whether or not this set was going to be interesting they were now erased. Vocalist Max Cavalera came out clad in all black including a studded vest with ammo on the pocket. The crowd responded as the band opened with “Eye For An Eye” off their 1988 debut album. The band turned things up a notch with “Prophecy” and “Back To The Primitive” as bodies could be seen crash about throughout the crowd. There were no pauses during this 30 minute set and Soulfly ended things on a high note with the pulverizing “Jumpdafuckup.” The word is that Soulfly will possibly have a new album coming out but until then there are plenty of kick ass songs in their library to hold you over.

 

Soulfly:

Max Cavelera: Lead Vocals, Guitar

Zyon Cavalera: Drums

Mike Leo: Bass, Backing Vocals

Dino Cazares: Lead Guitar

 

 

Setlist:

Eye For An Eye

Prophecy

Bleed

Refuse/Resist (Sepultura Cover)

Back To The Primitive

Replica (Fear Factory Cover)

Jumpdafuckup

 

Sabaton came to be just over 2 decades ago. The band calls Falun Sweden home and have amassed a legion of loyal fans. The majority of their songs focus on battles, wars and the heroes that lived and died during them. As I stood in the pit I found myself trying to take in all the sights on the stage. Each of the mic stands was outfitted with a rifle and military helmet. The backdrop was the cover art from the band’s 2019 album “The Great War” and depicted tanks, planes and fighting soldiers. The centerpiece features a crying soldier and the entire piece is littered with skulls. The crowd erupted as the lights went out. As they slowly started to glow, drummer Hannes Van Dahl could be seen standing triumphantly above his drum kit. He raised his fist in the air as the rest of the band took their positions. The hour long Swedish assault had begun and the band jumped right in with “Ghost Division” from their 2008 album “The Art Of War.” Singer Joakim Broden’s gritty vocals, military haircut and camo fatigues sum up what this band is all about. Broden took a minute to say how happy the band was to be here in Orlando but the heat was killing them. For their performance of “The Attack Of The Dead Men” the band came out with their signature gas masks. The crowd, which had grown enormously throughout the day, was loving every minute of it. Sabaton went on to complete their 12 song set and included fan favorites “The Last Stand” and “Bismarck” before ending the night with “To Hell And Back.” If you love heavy metal, history and a great, entertaining live show, then Sabaton is your band.

 

Sabaton:

Joakim Broden: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards

Par Sundstum: Bass, Backing Vocals

Chris Rorland: Guitar, Backing Vocals

Hannes Van Dahl: Drums, Backing Vocals

Tommy Johansson: Guitar, Backing Vocals

 

 

Setlist:

Ghost Division

The Attack Of The Dead Men

The Last Stand

The Red Baron

Bismarck

Fields Of Verdun

Carolus Rex

Steel Commanders

Defence Of Moscow

Primo Victoria

Swedish Pagans

To Hell And Back

 

After making it through the heat, a little rain and a lot of walking, 9:30 had finally arrived. From what I could see of the stage it appeared to be the inside of an old factory complete with brick walls and chains. Even a JP Metal Works sign hung on the wall. The only thing that looked out of place was the giant “Devil’s Tuning Fork” that was suspended horizontally just a few feet off of the stage. After War Pigs finished playing over the house speakers, the lights went out and “The Devil’s Tuning Fork” started to rise. After reaching its peak the enormous symbol lit up in a bright red with blue lights emanating from within. It was only then that one of the original heavy metal gods hit the stage going right into “One Shot At Glory” from their 1990 album “Painkiller.” It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact the Priest is out on the road celebrating more than 50 years of creating some of the best heavy metal music ever. What’s even cooler is that the crowd was so diverse in age. Rob Halford and his iconic voice were on point hitting all of his trademark high notes. Halford looked right at home and even had time to show off his numerous outfits that he has made famous over the years. He started off the night in a gold and black leather studded jacket but soon traded it for the tradition all black jacket and eventually a denim and leather duster covered in Priest patches. When the band performed “Hell Bent For Leather” Halford rode out on his motorcycle much to the fans’ delight.

 

Ian Hill looked great as he pounded out the bass and Scott Travis was monstrous on drums. Although Glenn Tipton is still with Priest, Andy Sneap handles the guitar duties while on the road. Guitarist Richie Faulkner can shred and watching him work was amazing. With his long blonde hair blowing about it’s almost impossible not to draw comparisons with original guitarist K.K. Downing. The band’s 18 song set was basically a collection of greatest hits although if there wasn’t a time limit they could’ve played all night. The encore featured “Electric Eye“, “Hell Bent For Leather” and “Breaking The Law.”  This epic event ended with one of the band’s biggest hits, “Living After Midnight.” It was a shame to see night close but I’m not convinced this will be Judas Priest’s last tour. The band has a lot of tour dates on schedule so don’t miss out on seeing some true heavy metal legends.

 

Judas Priest: 

Rob Halford: Lead Vocals

Ian Hill: Bass, Backing Vocals

Glenn Tipton: Guitar, Synths, Backing Vocals

Scott Travis: Drums

Richie Faulkner: Guitar, Backing Vocals

Andy Sneap: Guitar (Touring)

 

 

Setlist:

One Shot At Glory

Lightning Strike

You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Freewheel Burning

Turbo Lover

Hell Patrol

The Sentinel

A Touch Of Evil

Rocka Rolla

Victim Of Changes

Desert Plains

Blood Red Skies

Invader

Painkiller

Electric Eye

Hell Bent For Leather

Breaking The Law

Living After Midnight

 

Today was an important day. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives during the terror attacks 20 years ago. No one has forgotten that and no one ever will. Music has always been instrumental in bringing people together even during the most difficult of times. Today was no different. Stage Left Entertainment put together an incredible event that allowed people to come together and celebrate the wonders of music. Every single artist took the time to make mention of what had occurred 2 decades ago and to pay tribute through their words and music. 

 

 

 

 

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I've had a love for photography since I was young. Whether it was a Polaroid or a Kodak 110, I was always the kid with the camera. My love of music goes back even further. Nothing beats being at a show when those lights go down and the crowd goes nuts.

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