As soon as I landed in Milwaukee this past Saturday, I made my way to The Eagles Club/The Rave, where I was greeted by Twelve Foot Ninja and their tour manager. While they were in the best of spirits as I boarded their tour bus (my resting stop for the night, but their home for their four week jaunt across North America), the group was also recovering from last night’s fun. They explained that though they tend to not act too crazy on the road, the previous night’s show in Minneapolis was one of the best of the tour and left them inspired to celebrate. The following day, though, they were feeling the ramifications of that decision.
The band mustered up enough energy to do a sound check and an interview with Digital Tour Bus. However, to say that some of the members were not feeling up to playing a 2pm set in their current condition is an understatement. Yet despite this, they pulled themselves together, made their way onto The Rave’s stage, and performed a powerful 25 min set. In fact, if I had not been on the bus and witnessed the state they were in beforehand, it would have been impossible to tell that a single member of the band was feeling anything less than 100%. And it certainly wasn’t obvious to the enthusiastic crowd either. Despite being the first band on a bill that promised a long day of metal and hardcore, Twelve Foot Ninja attracted a large audience to the stage, many of whom could be seen singing along and headbanging to songs off the band’s genre-bending album Silent Machine (which recently received its official U.S. release in anticipation of the tour).
Following the set, Twelve Foot Ninja made their way back to the bus to catch their breath, amazed that they survived the show. From there, some of the members stayed on the bus, taking advantage of the rare downtime they had to rest, while others roamed The Rave/Eagles Club to check out the other acts playing on the multiple stages. While I was walking around with singer Kin Etik and bassist Damon McKinnon (in awe of the upstairs ballroom’s space and ceiling), fans constantly stopped the members to take photos and tell them how much they enjoyed their set (one female fan even asked Kin to autograph her boobs). If there was any doubt that Midwest fans wouldn’t love Twelve Foot Ninja’s injection of unlikely genres (including reggae, Latin and jazz) into the metal spectrum, these fans helped squash that.
As it slowly became night time, an important question arose aboard the bus: did we want to get a pizza delivered to the bus or brave the city’s windy cold and get fast food? In order to ensure we caught Sevendust’s set, drummer Shane “Russ” Russell and I opted to bare the cold and get Taco Bell despite our desire for pizza. To my surprise, this was only the second time Russ had ever walked into a Taco Bell, with Periphery’s Misha Mansoor introducing him to the franchise just a few days prior. Such excessive access to fast food was one of the many new things the band discovered upon arriving in the States (along with the massive amounts of commercials solely promoting the unhealthiest of food options). “There’s no way that’s only a large size,” the band said in awe as Dead Letter Circus drummer Luke Williams came aboard the bus with his jumbo-sized McDonalds ice tea cup (the standard large size in our fast-food culture).
I caught Sevendust’s entire set with Kin, Damon, Russ and guitarist Rohan Hayes, and after catching a few songs of Asking Alexandria, we made our way back to the bus. Before calling it a night, though, we realized that the venue was for some reason serving full pizza pies in addition to slices. With great pleasure, we dove into a Papa John’s pie, marking a nice end to a long day for the Aussies in Milwaukee.