Riding on the strength of their latest release, The End Of Chaos, Flotsam and Jetsam performed a full reversal at the Whisky a Go Go on Thursday, June 13th. Nearing the end of a five-week excursion across the United States, they instilled a healthy dose of pandemonium onto a surprisingly, less than capacity West Hollywood crowd. Taking the stage at 11:00 pm on a Thursday evening is not exactly prime time for a concert start. This start time might explain the underwhelming attendance. Not being packed to the gills like the iconic venue can be on a Friday or Saturday night, did not stop those who were there from joining in on the theme of the evening…chaos.
When the gang of five hits the stage, they immediately tear into Prisoner of Time, opening their show with the opener of The End of Chaos. From the beginning you get the sense that this is not going to be one of those shows where the band lifts you up and then plays a ballad to balance out the energy level. This show is really more of an assault than a performance. They pummel the room with song after song which carry titles befitting their purpose. With songs like Desecrator, Iron Maiden, I Live You Die and She Took an Axe, Flotsam and Jetsam roll through 90 minutes of face bashing metal. Eric “A.K.” Knutson’s voice is the perfect weapon for this battery. He growls out his lyrics with a paradoxical harmony. He crouches and leans out into the front row and imparts his lyrics like the uncle your family doesn’t talk about, giving advice your parents would shudder at.
Guitarists Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley both go about their business in a very businesslike and matter of fact manner. Neither are overly flamboyant in the stage personas, but make no mistake, these two ax wielders purvey riffs like snow cone vendors at a carnival in August. Although Conley primarily provides the leads, Gilbert takes a few of those along the way. One of the most memorable moments comes when both Gilbert and Conley gather front and center and trade solos for about three minutes. Missing from this particular performance in bassist Michael Spencer, who is filled in for, more than capably I might add, by Bill Bodily, formerly of Toxik. An interesting note on Bodily, as he is witnessed signing an autograph after the set, he is left-handed, but plays right-handed.
The last member of this quintet is drummer Ken Mary. It’s hard to reconcile the thought of a quiet drummer. Perhaps this is because he is obscured behind two cymbals and is barely visible. Whatever it is, he remains mostly unnoticeable, except for the fact that he weaves the warp and the weft into a sonic canvas on which the remaining members can paint. This auditory landscape is a work in progress and even though there was a set list taped to the front of the stage, Knutson would paint whichever strokes he seemed to fancy, and broke from the list on a few occasions. As for the chaos of the evening, and the fact that the floor was only about half full, some of those in attendance must have taken this as a sign to mosh in a very violent manner. So, not only was there chaos on stage, but there was anarchy occurring in the audience. Flotz ’til death, I guess.
CLICK HERE to see more pics from the show.