(Live Review) SOLICITOR + SUPPORT - Chicago, 9/22/23
The Beard & Little Johnny
Tonight, awesome readers, followers, fans, and Metal aficionados everywhere, your favorite twosome, and (nominees for top reviewing duo of 2023), the incomparable Beard and incorrigible Little Johnny, have made our way once again to Chicago’s south side home for metal, (Reggie’s) to take in show #54, and bands #239-242 on the 2023 The Reviews Never Stop Tour. (When you can start a review with a 50+ word sentence, you just know Mighty Decibel is NOT paying us by the word.) (Ed: The whole paragraph would be erased if that was the case!)
For this evening’s entertainment, we will be checking out Solicitor, Accrcy, Idol Throne and Evil Blade.
The Beard is joining Johnny for a pre-show beverage as we prepare for a Friday night of metal mayhem. War Pigs Pilsner for the Beard, and an Alter Ambigram IPA for Johnny. “What’s that Johnny? I think Ambigram is a visual palindrome relying on symmetry.” “Really Johnny? The middle finger? If you don’t like my definition, try a dictionary ya clown.”
First up are local Chicago boys Evil Blade - whose debut show was only three months ago, so they are fresh on the touring circuit. In fact, this is their second ever show and they have already lost two members from their first one. (Ed: Classic case of addition by subtraction - we hope.)
Three-piece band, (thanks to the two-member defection between show one and show two), presenting mostly clear and clean vocals. Evil Blade demonstrates traces of 80’s style rock/metal. Not hair metal, (but having that eras “feel.”) For example, the singer has a touch of Vince Neil’s tonality, but just a touch. The rest of the band was okay, but clearly not polished as of yet. “Devils Child” sounded like a decent garage band song. “Kings of the Night” was better. A good, structured song with a hook. “Cursed by the Witch” still seems like it needs work despite the nice mini-drum solo fill.
Overall, this is a starter band, and we will see how it goes for them as they develop. For tonight, 72/100.
Next up from Highland Indiana were Thrash/Power Metal act.
Idol Throne are also relative newcomers to the touring scene, releasing their first full length The Sybyline Age in 2022. A five-piece (with the dual guitar attack of Jason Schultz and Martin Bowman), Idol Throne hits quickly with the power metal approach to songs, (The power metal credo is “There’s always room for one more guitar solo”). Singer Jake Quintanilla has adequate range, but less clarity than top power acts. His high voice lacks a true “piercing” quality, and his regular voice could be clearer. (Note: Reggie’s small room is notorious for muddy sound, so I will need to hear them again at next week’s Blades of Steel Metal Fest to reassess that thought.)
Bass player Trevor Kuta, however, is impressive in both look and style of play. Normally you don’t often watch the bass player, but his work is worth watching.
The Idol Throne songs were decent power/thrash, but I did think the transitions were often either sloppy or just not smooth. The crowds have not pitted yet, so Johnny is three IPA’s in already. The Beard is calling Idol Throne a 78/100, but I did enjoy that bass player.
Next up were Chicago based prog metal from ...
Acracy was a five piece with keys, (although honestly, I do not think the keys lent much to the live sound.) Vocalist Albert Rybka has the best range of the evening. He seems to want to go to Geoff Tate land, but his visa isn’t approved for that lofty world. Still, it is a Queensryche-style sound.
Like most prog rock/metal, the songs tend to meander. Sometimes that is good as it allows for creative expression. For Acracy though it was often like an excessive (but not altogether necessary) supposition to the plotline.
Although I was not a fan of the “funk laced bit” in their final number, I did like the “Metal Opera” aspect of it. Kind of like what Deep Purple were doing in the late 60’s, except this was not Gillan, Blackmore, and Lord. Ultimately, I find myself going 77/100 for Acracy.
Headliners Solicitor, from Seattle, are the veterans of this small tour (having started in 2018.) They also only have one full length release, (Spectral Devastation). You are right Johnny, that is a cool album title.
This is speed metal with some musical similarities to bands like Brocas Helm or maybe Liege Lord, except with a female singer. Amy Lee Carlson looks like in her spare time she might manage a Seattle bondage club and frankly I wouldn’t disrespect her.
The rest of the band can play some speed metal, and my guess is Solicitor will be popping up on festival lineups regularly in 2024. They have a look, a sound, and produced a nice set. Patrick Fry & Matt Vogan blaze away with speedy guitar licks and animated movements while Carlson dominates from the center with her powerful look and build.
Although they were brave enough to try covering "Electric Eye" by Judas Priest, they played the song at a speed metal breakneck pace (which, YES, I get it, they’re a speed metal band), but, (with respects to a decently played “The Hellion” intro), if you are going cover a Metal Mount Rushmore vocalist, you must be amazing. Solicitor was good but not amazing at this one.
Fortunately, the encore song was very good, and that song was the one I walked out of the club with. I will get another crack at hearing this band next week in Madison, but for tonight the Beard is calling it 82/100.
This closes stop #54 on The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023. A lack of crowds and pits left Johnny a bit despondent, but he said he felt “Solicitor did tear it up tonight.” I reminded him next up for us is the three day 25-band Blades of Steel Festival. The lad has been looking forward to that one. In the meantime, stay tuned each Wednesday and Thursday for all the new Beard and Little Johnny reviews on your home for metal - The Mighty Decibel ... and of course follow our TikTok at thebeard0728 or #thebeardandlittlejohnny Until next time.