With a dedicated following, The Metal Grill is quickly becoming a hot spot for talented hard rock and heavy metal musicians playing the Milwaukee scene. Though every night at The Metal Grill is special, this night was the Banana Bash, a birthday celebration for Shane the Bananaman’s’ birthday, which drew in four of Wisconsin’s best rock and metal acts.
Though the show kicked off with Once the Sun, life’s commitments sometimes get in the way of even the most dedicated of local music fans, often times leaving the opening band in the shadows for latecomers. And so, for this local music diehard, the Banana Bash opened up with a Milwaukee favorite, Slowburn.
Playing tracks from their latest EP ‘Blind’ and a few from the upcoming, yet to be titled new album, Slowburn rocked The Metal Grill with a mix of tunes that ranged from heavy and thunderous to melodic and heartfelt. Singer, Christian Corchado showed a great deal of passion in his performance and his voice remarkably similar to the record giving Slowburn an edge over even the most well-known international acts. But a singer is nothing in the rock world without his band, and Slowburn’s musicians were nothing short of excellent. Alongside Corchado, guitarists Luke Vitkus and Nick Corrao worked the audience well, standing atop risers at the front of the stage and striking poses on their monitors, while drummer, Seth Dougherty powered through the show in a drum-fed daze, giving the band’s live sound a hard hitting, heavy sound. And while the rest of the band did well to play to the crowd, bassist, Jarod Glenn, noticeably sat out most of the show in the background, playing atop of stool due to a debilitating foot injury. But as the show carried on and the adrenaline began to surge, so did Glenn’s lust to get in the action. Towards the end of the show, despite clear signs of pain, he pushed off from his perch and joined his brothers-in-arms to finish the show with an atmospheric, almost haunting tune from the upcoming album. In the end, the band’s dedicated fan base, the “Burners,” some of which coming from as far as St. Louis, showed their support with roaring cries after every song marking the night’s performance an astounding success.
Following Slowburn with a dynamic performance was Left with Tomorrow, a hard rock band hailing from the Wisconsin-Illinois border region. Like Slowburn before them LWT unleashed a slew of hard hitting hard rock tunes intermixed with emotionally driven ballads and unforgettable stage charisma, many of which come straight from their forthcoming new album, Rise. Lead vocalist, Aaron Antczak consistently revved the crowd, often times offering the mic to those in close proximity and dousing the red hot crowd with a splash of water while addressing his bandmates. At one point during a instrumental section, Antczak grabbed a bottle of water and issued a splash to each member, giving fans a glimpse at how tightly knit this act is on and off stage. And while their music earned a glorious reception, it was the interference of the Bananaman that immortalized their set, for as an unsuspecting Antczak performed his vocal duties, the aforementioned Bananaman snuck up behind and proceeded to grope and reveal his abdomen. The Bananaman might have gone a bit too far with a groin grab, but all was set right at the closure of the set with a celebratory round of Jager bombs.
The night was finished out with Divyded, a female fronted four piece out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bringing a heavier sound than the previous bands with a focus on heavily distorted guitars and technical drumming, demonic growls coupled with angelic singing, and atmospheric keyboards, Divyded ensured the adrenaline was pumping until the final moments.
Playing tracks from their EP’s “Sanity” and “Brutality,” as well as a few tunes from their upcoming album, Divyded stole the show with their well-polished music and domineering presence. Led by singer Kelly Animosity, Divyded scored big with the crowd this night, whipping the metal heads in attendance into an unrelenting frenzy. Unfortunately, due to the small size of the venue, no mosh pits or circle pits broke out. Despite the absence of those particular metal staples, one was hard pressed to not to see hair cutting through the air in a neck breaking head bang or a mass of devil horns reaching high as fans and newcomers alike were blown away by Divyded’s unforgettable performance.
As with any night at The Metal Grill, few left disappointed. The beer was cheap, the bands were great, and the music was loud as can be without inflicting serious auditory damage. The presence of the Bananaman made for a night of outlandish fun, especially when he utilized his ninja-like skills to sneak up on an unsuspecting performer to deliver a grope or massage mid-performance. The reactions of his victims were simply hilarious and the level of professionalism displayed by the performers during the Bananaman’s interruptions was second to none.