Labor Day weekend in Center Point, Iowa. For those who are not familiar with the area, you might picture a quiet family gathering over burgers and some brats. If that is what you pictured, you must not not be aware that Blitzcreek is located in Center Point. And where you find Blitzcreek, you are sure to find bikes, booze, bands, buddies, and brothers.
To get you up to speed, here is a little of the history of Blitzcreek. During a 4-month period of time in 2009, a group of friends suffered the loss of several people close to them. Trying to heal and looking for a way to smile again, they turned to music, both as way to remember those they had lost as well as a way to work through their grief. In September of the same year, BJ and Jennifer Taylor moved into their dream home in Center Point- plenty of land, as well as a creek running through the property, which has become known as Blitzcreek. Since that time, the Blitzcreek Crew has produced many shows, with the proceeds benefiting multiple families in need and charities.
As of 2012, there has been an annual event hosted on their property that has continued to grow as the years have gone on. Tragically, within the last year, the patriarch of Blitzcreek, BJ Taylor, passed away. So this Labor Day weekend, Blitzcreek hosted a massive party, the Blitzcreek Final Bash, with proceeds going to a scholarship at Center Point-Urbana Schools in memory of BJ Taylor and Triston Randall. According to Jennifer Taylor, “Blitzcreek Final Bash is a collaboration of all the bands we have worked with over the years, along with new bands that we had met through Royal Bliss and American Hitmen. Basically, we felt like the bands there for this show were the best- locally, regionally, nationally and internationally- that we had personally worked with.”
Bands traveled from near and far to take part in this two-day event- local, regional, national, and international acts. The festivities began Saturday, September 3rd, with a motorcycle ride that ended at the property. Each day of music also started with a performance of the National Anthem. The day’s lineup included INCH75, Section Hate, and Black Star Alliance. Nick Roberts of October Rage then took the stage for an acoustic set. Next up were Blitzcreek veterans Brutal Republic, followed by the first bands of the Salt Lake contingent, Berlin Breaks. Slap ‘n’ Tickle got the crowd up front with with their spandex, wigs and energy-and their version of Eruption with two guitars playing in unison. Closing out Saturday night on the stage were American Hitmen. You might remember them from their appearance on America’s Got Talent a few years back. This band is definitely a Blitzcreek favorite. Hailing from Utah, they have been staples at Blitzcreek shows for the last several years.
The music on Sunday, September 4th started earlier in the day to fit in even more bands. The day started off with a trio of bands with female vocalists: Four Day Creep, Zamtrip, and Lipstick Slick. Pullman Standard made it all the way from California to perform next. Progressive rock/metal band Divinion took the stage next, debuting several new tunes that will be appearing on their much-awaited second album. Heavy hitters Violent Intent performed several cloud pleasers, including Ten High Dreams. Next up, a familiar face, as the band Flex shares a vocalist with Divinion. As Flex played, the sun was finally on it’s way down and the stage lights started to take over. Skin Kandy, fresh off of a weekend full of performances including the main stage at Conesville hit the stage next, followed by Behind the Black, another local favorite. And let me tell you, their singer is certainly expressive!
Although they have now played many shows in the area, October Rage was finally able to make their debut on the Blitzcreek stage. A favorite of BJ Taylor’s, according to Jennifer Taylor, “October Rage had been booked for the last three years for this event. Red tape and visas have prevented them from attending until this year.” A particularly emotional moment occurred when October Rage dedicated the tune Giants to BJ. Their new album, Eye of the Storm, will be released at the end of September. And to wrap up the weekend of fun, Bobaflex rocked late into the evening. Also close friends of the Blitzcreek family, BJ was actually buried in the coffin from their video, I’m Glad You’re Dead.
Many of the members of these bands had known BJ Taylor for decades, and even those who didn’t, understood his impact. As his wife shared, “BJ was a well-loved guy in the community and his death impacted many people, including those that had never met him. But his love of music will live on in his memory.” The banner above the stage, with the words “This one’s for you BJ” was a constant reminder. Too many times to mention, members of one band got up and performed with another band. Jennifer Taylor was there pouring Ten High shots, and many songs were dedicated to the memory of BJ. Raffles, food, camping, and bonfires until the sun came up. And to top it off, members of the Blitzcreek crew/family spread some of BJ’s ashes in front of the stage, so he will always be a part of the music that he loved.
And don’t worry. Blitzcreek will continue to put together amazing rock shows. In fact there are already more scheduled. But as far as parties at the property, this was the last hurrah. Find them on Facebook for all the pictures of the event, as well as their website, www.blitzcreek.org.
CLICK HERE to view more pics from the event.