It was a rather warm first day of October is Dallas, Texas when I arrived at Canton Hall for an exciting night of rock and heavy metal. As I parked and approached the venue you could see different shirts and patches on battle vest from all the bands that would be playing here tonight. The lineup for the night consists of some heavy hitting rock and metal bands. As the time approached for the first band to take the stage people started lining up and piling in the venue to see the incredible line-up that consisted of Witch Mountain, The Mothership, The Skull and the headliner The Almighty Corrosion of Conformity.
The first band to kick off this night was Witch Mountain from Portland, Oregon. Everyone in the club was right up against the barrier to see what they had in store for us tonight. As the first beat dropped you knew we were in for an amazing night of back to back stellar performances! The opening song from Witch Mountain was “Burn You Down” off of their self-titled album that was released last year The lead singer Kayla Dixon was not what I was expecting she let out some of the most amazing notes. Kayla has such an amazing range in all is her songs they performed at this show. She could belt out some choruses with very high melodic and soulful notes and then turn right around let out some low guttural and gritty growls on the next line. Kayla would also get down close to the ground and interact and toy with the crowd throughout their whole set. The next song up on the night was “Priceless Pain” which a single that released in September 2019. The guitar player Rob Wrong was amazing and was all over the stage entertaining the crowd and interacting with them giving little nods and acknowledgments to the fans. The bass player Justin Brown had a bass sound that was so intense that not only could you hear every note he struck you could feel it in your entire body with waves of energy. The drummer Nate Carson was back there on the stage going to town beating away at his drum kit keeping everything tight and in time sounding fantastic. The final song of the night was Veil of the forgotten which was originally written on an adult swim album that they re-recorded on their third full length album Cauldron of the Wild released in 2012.
The next band up for the night was a native Dallas, Texas band a supersonic intergalactic heavy trippy rock trio The Mothership. As soon as they stepped out onto that stage you could tell that they were happy to be playing in front of their hometown crowd full of familiar and friendly faces. The mighty Texas trio kicked off their set with one of their original heavy hitting songs and the crowd erupted with yelling and cheers while singing along to the words of their song. Mothership’s crazily entertaining lead guitarists Kelley Juett that came out from the back of the stage with no shirt wielding a remarkable flying V guitar. Kelley was very entertaining and playful with his hometown crowd going back and forth with them giving faces and guitar solos from all over the stage. On the other side of the stage was his brother Kyle Juett keeping the low end on lock down on his bass who also took care of the lead vocals for the band. These two brothers were all over the stage getting together playing their guitars and continually hyping up the crowd and interacting with them. The third member of this amazing trio was the drummer Judge Smith that you would see thrashing on his drums keeping everything moving along. You would see him making faces to the crowd in between the drumming and headbanging. With such an incredible show going on with them on stage you would still find yourself looking and watching all the graphics and trippy videos that would be playing behind them on the screen as they performed.
Next up in this fantastic line up was doom metal band The Skull that was formed in 2012 from three former members of Trouble. This band was incredible to watch and when the lights went down and they were about to take the stage the crowd began to yell and starting chanting Skull, Skull, Skull while waiting for them to take the stage. The band starting walking out as the lights came up and the crowd erupted in cheers and yelling thrusting their devil horns to that sky and they took their place on the stage. The band began to play as lead singer Eric Wagner strolled in from the back of the stage and took his place at the microphone and stared out through his hair at the crowd. Eric asked if Dallas, Texas was ready to rock, and they kicked off their set with heavy riffs and drums beating from the back of the stage. Guitarist Lothar Keller was on the move all over the stage jamming on his guitar and headbanging with his long hair going all over the place. Bass player Ron Holzer was going from one side of the stage to the other strumming on his bass with a low growl that you could feel as he played every note. The other guitarist Dallas, Texas native Alex Johnson could be seen headbanging and whipping his hair all around as he jammed away on his guitar. At the back center of the stage you could the Skull’s drummer Henry Vasquez looking like a maniac insanely thumping away on his drum kit. You could see him making faces all the time whipping his hair all around while keeping the perfect beat to the songs. The Skull wrapped up their set and thanked the crowd for rocking out with them that night.
Finally, the moment we had all been waiting on the Almighty Corrosion of Conformity was about to take the stage and rock Canton Hall to its Core. The lights were dim and the COC banner was up and everyone knew we were closer to a night of incredible Rock and Heavy metal that will never be forgotten. The lights went down to where you could barely see the stage and from the side of the stage you could see Mr. John Green take the stage and sit upon his throne at the helm of his drum kit at the back center of the stage. Following that you could see long time bass player Mike Dean take his place on the stage to the left. Behind Mike you could see the longest standing member guitar axe wielding the amazing Woody Weatherman with his ESP SG white guitar in tow. Finally, the vocalist and guitar wielding mad man Pepper Keenan took the stage with his red guitar strapped on ready to rock the night away. Pepper approached the microphone and said welcome to the show Dallas and the crowd went crazy, he stated we are going to get the show going now. As soon as they struck the first chords to Seven Days everyone was yelling, cheering and singing along moving all around. The band sounded fantastic and was rocking like wild men having a party on stage. After a few songs Pepper told the crowd I hope you guys are ready to rock and thank you for coming out on a school night to party with us. He followed that up with I hope you don’t have to get up early tomorrow because we are going to be here awhile because our set list for the night is all over the place. Their setlist was all over the place as they played songs from their albums spanning from 1994 to 2018 and it was a truly amazing experience seeing such a wide range of years played all in one night. The song that he followed up that statement with was off their 1994 album Deliverance titled Albatross one of my personal favorites of theirs. As soon as they hit the first riff to Albatross the crowd broke out into the chorus jumping all around when Pepper sang the first line of the song. The band was continuing playing through the night from one amazing song to the next while toying and playing with the crowd keeping them engaged. Mike Dean was all over the stage jumping around jamming on his bass and taking care of backing vocals also. The drummer was set back in hit kit going to down beating around the drum set keeping everything going as the night kept going. You could see the amazing guitarist Woody going all over the stage and coming right up to the edge playing his solo parts and making faces and playing with the crowd and the barriers at the front of the stage. Pepper was taking the care of the vocals and rocking out on his guitar all over the stage keeping the crowd engaged and ready for the next song they were going to play. One of the last songs they played was one of my favorite’s titled “Who’s got the fire” off of their “Americas Volume Dealer” album that is packed with great songs. The screen behind them with their logo on it had flames going all over it during this song and as they finished, they thanked the crowd and walked off the stage. The lights came on and the crowd did not move because no one wanted this night to end and they were chanting COC, COC, COC and hoping that we would get an encore. The lights went out and you could see some movement on the side of the stage, and we knew something was about to happen and could be getting some more songs to finish up the night. After a few minutes the band came back on to the stage and Pepper walked up to the microphone and asked if we were wanting to keep going with more music. He then told us that we were in for a real treat because The Skull has a guitar player from Dallas, Texas that is also a steel guitar player and were going to play a couple of songs that they haven’t played live in about 15 to 20 years. Pepper also told us he was going to slow it down a bit and play some slower tear-jerking songs for us. The first song they played with Alex was Shelter and as soon as he started playing that steel guitar you knew we were in for a great song and then they followed that up with Stare to Long and it sounded so amazing getting to hear some heavy metal with steel guitar mixed in there with it. He told us that they hadn’t played those songs in so long because one the Allman bothers guitar players had been on the original recording and up until now hadn’t found someone who could play, and Alex Johnson was able to get those songs done. They also told the crowd that they had only rehearsed it one time before they played it that night and it was amazing to say the least. After the two slower tempo songs COC closed out the night with a definite crowd favorite Clean My Wounds and from the time they kicked off that song to the last note they played of the night the crowd was moving and singing along non-stop and the band thanked the crowd said good night and exited the stage.
This was such an amazing experience that you could tell all these bands on the bill that night unquestionably brought their A-game for us to enjoy. Every show that I have seen at Canton Hall has been great from their security team to the ticket window attendants have been very respectful and welcoming to the fans that pour in there and spend their hard-earned money. This is a night that I will remember for years to come from the performance of the first band all through to Corrosion of Conformity closing out the night for us. If you ever see any of the band in your town, I would highly suggest you get out there and check them out, you will not be disappointed even when it is on a school night. I will be watching for them to come back close to the house so that we will be able to go get another great experience from these bands the way we did this night.
Words and Photos by Craig and Paula Youmgblood