(Live Review) ACCEPT + NARCOTIC WASTELAND - Arcada Theatre Illinois, October 14/22
Review by Mark McQueen
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. Tonight, The Beard and Little Johnny reach the milestone 200th band review of 2022. We are almost local tonight here in Saint Charles Illinois (at the Arcada Theater) for 80’s rockers Accept and special guests Narcotic Wasteland.
No general admission tonight, so both The Beard and Little Johnny are upstairs in row one of the balcony, granting a nice unobstructed viewing of the show. I told Johnny no circle pits in this venue. Drink your beer and take it easy. Enjoy the music for a change. He sneered a bit and called me a pansy ass, but he is sitting and drinking his double IPA while The Beard has a double Elijah Craig on the Rocks.
Got to say, the Arcade is a nice venue after the remodeling of a few years ago. Better bathrooms, better bar facilities, you can even eat at a few locations here. Ron Onesti has done an impressive job of making this a "go to destination", however there are not a lot of pure metal shows, as this venue caters to all sorts of musical interests. Tonight though, we rock.
Narcotic Wasteland is the brainchild of Dallas Toler-Wade (longtime guitarist from Nile). Returning to “old school” death metal like Gorguts, Suffocation and Immolation, Narcotic Wasteland is a return to what Dallas loved about death metal in the first place, or so he says. Dallas is a very tall and somewhat imposing man, but has a very friendly nature about him and is glad to spend a few minutes explaining what he is trying to do with Narcotic Wasteland.
Touring behind their Delirium Tremens release, (and yes that IS also the Belgian beer with the iconic elephant on the bottle), Dallas doesn’t want the songs to all be lightning fast, but to also contain a heavy dose of chunky thrash. The lyrics are largely about addiction and the trial and challenges Dallas has faced in his lifetime under the lights and in the public view as a metal guitarist and songwriter. He said the music and the lyrics are deeply personal to him and this band is a labor of love, as well as a way to tell his story and release energy out into the crowd each night. It has been about four years since Delirium Tremens was released and Dallas says he has new material, but it isn’t finished yet. He hopes to have a third Narcotic Wasteland release up and out soon.
The show was pretty much exactly what he described, the songs “could” go super-fast, as both Dallas and Edwin Rhone can definitely churn out some solos, but most songs were not just straight-ahead blast beat Death.
“Bleed and Swell” was slow for death metal. Heavy, but slow. The clearer vocals also put points on the board for me. The Beard is used to not ever understanding a word in these death metal bands' lyrics without a cheat sheet. Example: Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth writes some serious Shakespeare type stuff, but I never understand anything he sings. With Narcotic Wasteland, I actually had a clue what they were singing about.
This is certainly not to say material was all that way, some songs were definitely more traditional death metal. “Victim of the Algorithm” was very death and I thought for a second I might have to restrain Johnny. “We are in a theater little dude, and it is about a fifteen-foot fall from the balcony. Mosh in your chair and quit elbowing me. The Beard don’t mosh."
Right after “Algorithm”, came an acoustic lead in for "The Best Times have Passed". A very introspective and almost moving little piece that then went heavy immediately afterwards. There’s definitely something unique in what these guys are doing with the merging of styles.
The Beard is going 87/100 because I remained interested and invested throughout the set. I enjoyed hearing what they were going to be doing and then seeing it happen. “Hey Boss, more all access passes please. Makes the reviews better lol.” (Ed: I'll do my best you live-reviewer-beast-you!)
Accept hit the stage with that 80’s beat and drive that has been recognizable for over 40 years. Mark Tornillo continues to have both that mid-range voice with the high pitch wail similar to David Wayne of classic-era Metal Church. Looking at the forty plus year career of Accept though, they seem like the German AC/DC as they continue touring behind their 16th album. They create Accept music and that’s largely the groove they stay in. Changing singers from Udo Dirkschieder to Mark Tornillo did ultimately alter the sound somewhat, but not to any real detriment. Again, like AC/DC, Brian Johnson was different than Bon Scott, but it’s still distinctively AC/DC.
Wolf Hoffman (lead guitar) continues to be the essence of Accept and has been with them every time the Beard has seen them. He still plays with joy and command, owning the classic hits “Restless and Wild”, “Fast as a Shark”, “Metal Heart” and, of course, “Balls to the Wall”, which has become an 8+ minute crowd sing-along during most encores.
Much of the rest of Accept is a bit new to the Beard as bassist Martin Motnik and new third guitarist Phillip Shouse have both only been in the band since 2019. Uwe Luis (rhythm) and Chris Williams (Drums) have been in since about 2015 and have been a part of three of my Accept shows so I am used to them at this point.
Essentially, Accept comes out, rocks the house, and moves on.
This is an 80’s classic hard rock/heavy metal band that was at the forefront of speed and thrash, but I don’t think they belong in any one sub-genre. Accept is just metal. (Ed: Yeah, I'd say they are a trad metal band with power metal leanings and proto speed moments.)
A fun show throughout the entire evening and Johnny was thoroughly entertained even while being “grounded” to his assigned seat. The Beard also awards Accept an 87/100.
This is it for almost two weeks, but it is NOT it for the season. Remember, the Reviews never stop in 2022. So, check out The Beard on: The Mighty Decibel: (For Reviews) Facebook: Mark McQueen: (For unedited stuff) TikTok #thebeardandlittlejohnny. (For video footage)
Until next time ... Horns Up!!!