Road Reports

Kreator / Rhythm of Fear
1904 Music Hall . Jacksonville, FL, USA

By: Eric Compton
Show Date: 3/9/2018
Published: 4/20/2018
"Kreator played just as hard and fast in this phone booth as they do in European football stadiums. It was a convincing performance and one that I certainly won't forget. The band were energetic, lively, happy and at the end of the day...thrilling entertainers."
Rather than sit on the bus or an all-night Denny's, Kreator gave Jacksonville a show to remember. The iconic German thrashers washed up on North America shores with the Gods of Violence tour, a massive campaign that started in Europe and crossed the pond on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise. Arriving shore-side in February, the band hit 12 dates in 12 cities with co-headliner Sabaton. The band found themselves with a night off in Jacksonville, conveniently between Raleigh, NC and St. Petersburg, FL dates with Sabaton. Mille and the boys are some of the hardest working guys in the business, so a night off just wasn't in the cards.

I arrived early to stalk the side streets and sidewalk looking for anyone with an obscure metal shirt. After bypassing the Slipknots and Lamb of Gods, I snuggled by a window and found a Kreator fan from South Carolina. He made the solo journey by car, 426 miles, to see HIS band. After disputing the validity of my own shirt, RAVAGE (no, it's not the same as the 80s Ravage), the doors opened and the crazy train chugged on in. Surprisingly, the front stampers didn't have access to a credit card machine. A fan behind me didn't have paper money, so my $25 in beer money went to him instead of tossing him out in the street Kreatorless. Metal kindred always helps metal kindred. Remember that kids.

After a luke-warm warm-up act of growling and three chords, the always entertaining Rhythm of Fear local thrashers moshed it up. By this point the joint (the size of Starbucks) was rubbing shoulders and the beer brand was a-flowing. I'm solo against the boards, and unfortunately never spoke to a soul in the place. But, once Kreator hit the stage, conversations were immediately silenced by a wall of sound. The Violent Revolution was on.

The band had a dazzling light show, complete with enough fog to build Frosty from thin air. In fact, even from the sixth-row back (the sixth-row in this place is the front row anywhere else) I could only see outlines of the band members within the fog and lights. It was originally puzzling, but as the pulse and ears started pounding, it all made sense...I think. The band stuck to their national tour set, which was rehearsed and honed to perfection due to many nights of bus, fret, and gear domestically and abroad. The new stuff was fully represented including burners like "Phantom Antichrist", "Army of Storms", and "Satan is Real". The boys went back in time with "People of the Lie" and "Flag of Hate", complete with Mille waving the flag and professing his love for Jacksonville. Mille is absolutely an entertainer first and foremost, and I'm speculating that he said "Jacksonville" at least 86 times. He even told us that in Germany everyone told him that Jacksonville had the biggest mosh pits in...Florida. Kudos to him for a first for me. He personally thanked both local bands BY NAME. I can't think of another band that I've seen do that.

After a good 14-15 songs, and an hour or more of heavy, heavy music, the band came back for an encore (the place is so small they really just stood in the corner at lights out). Mille nonchalantly asked, "How about some new shit?" This gave the band an opportunity to mix it up and play non-campaign tracks. They nailed down "Totalitarian Terror", "Fallen Brother", "Betrayer" and an added "Pleasure to Kill" for the 40-year olds. The band finished, posed with guitars pointing up, green light illumination and fog...lots of fog. Black out, roll credits.

Kreator played just as hard and fast in this phone booth as they do in European football stadiums. It was a convincing performance and one that I certainly won't forget. The band were energetic, lively, happy and at the end of the day...thrilling entertainers. That's what really matters the most, right?

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