Sevendust w/ Tremonti
Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
Thursday, September 9th, 2021
Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Sevendust and Tremonti blew the venue rust off Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on September 9, 2021. This was Starland’s second show after reopening from their 18 month hiatus due the pandemic. The show was around 80% capacity which is a sign of the times.
The last time I saw Sevendust at this venue it was at capacity. I believe AEG’s COVID requirements are keeping some concert goers at bay, at least according to their social media posts. The venue however was filled with eager fans that were insanely happy to be there and showed the bands a lot of love. The only thing missing was the usual sea of crowd surfers barreling over the barricade. The security team did a great job keeping the bands safe and keeping the fans on the other side of the rail.
The night started off with an hour long set from Tremonti, headed by Mark Tremonti (vocals, guitar), Eric Friedman (guitar), Tanner Keegan (bass) and Ryan Bennett (drums). The set list spanned their entire catalog including 3 songs from their 2012 debut album “All I Was”; “So You’re Afraid”, “Decay” and they closed the night with “Wish You Well”.
Conversely they played two new songs from their upcoming release “Marching in Time”. Included were the title track and “If Not for You”. Mark who has spent the better part of his career as a guitarist in Creed and Alter Bridge, shines on stage as a frontman. Mark’s vocals and guitar playing were stellar all evening long. He interacted with the crowd with the biggest smile, you could tell that he was so happy to be back on stage.
It was a treat to watch guitarist Eric Friedman, one of the best in the business, play. I believe that if it was safe to do so that Tanner would have been walking on the hands of the crowd while playing. He performed at the edge of the stage most of the night, grabbing the intense energy from the crowd. Ryan was the most subdued of the band. He was in the back of stage right behind Tanner, covered in a cloud of smoke for most of the show. He played with great intensity and soul throughout the set.
The set was amazing, the crowd danced, sang and threw their horns in the air. It felt great to be in the moment again with so many fans on their first night out in a year and a half.
What can I say about Sevendust that I haven’t before? This band is truly amazing and one of a kind. They came to f*ck sh!t up and they did it in royal fashion. The band had so much pent up energy that they were bursting at the seams.
Sevendust is led by Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Clint Lowery (Guitar), John Connolly (guitar), Vince Hornsby (bass) and Morgan Rose (drums). They played songs from their expansive career starting with “Dying to Live” from their latest release “Blood & Stone” and ending with “Face to Face” from their 2003 “Seasons” album, one of my personal favorites.
Lajon’s vocals ripped all set long. The pandemic rest seems to have breathed new life into many vocalists and Lajon is no exception. Every note was tight, clear and filled with hope. Clint, who is one of my favorite performers also did not disappoint. He is always so passionate about his guitar playing, his mood is infectious. His vocals are also featured on their song “Angel’s Son”, it was such a treat to hear that song live again, it’s touching and definitely pulled at the heartstring of a hardcore audience.
John and Vince were the bands rally leaders for the evening. They spent nearly the whole set at the edge of the stage playing and reaching out to the audience. Vince especially kept pointing to audience members and continually hyped up the crowd. It’s this type of interaction that has made Sevendust such a fan favorite band. Last but not least, beat master, Morgan Rose. The happiest guy in hardcore. He will give you a smile and the middle finger every time. His drumming was impeccable, as usual. If you want to be a drummer in a rock band someday, study Morgan.
Another great night of pure rock and roll at Starland Ballroom. I’m glad one of my favorite venues survived after the shutdown, and I am glad that Tremonti and Sevendust were part of the reopening week. Be on the lookout for Tremonti’s new album “Marching in Time” and new material from Sevendust coming in the next year.