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Sevendust Rumbles Bay Area Crowd at the Regency Ballroom

In an era where many bands of the post-grunge, so-called "nu-metal" genre are arguably starting to lose some momentum, Sevendust looked refreshingly energized and inspired during its March 9 performance at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.

The Atlanta-based group kicked things off with its trademark opener, "Black," as vocalist Lajon Witherspoon, bassist Vincent Hornsby and guitarists Clint Lowery and John Connolly stomped all over the stage, igniting the crowd and setting the stage for a high octane evening.

Sevendust brought its headbanging start to a borderline old-school thrash metal level with "Driven" and "Alpha" coming next, a pair of cuts from its highly acclaimed 2007 release, Alpha. The pace kept up the intensity for most of the show, as drummer Morgan Rose and his bandmates played a balanced set of songs from most of Sevendust's albums, leaving only 2008's Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow on the sideline.

The one break in adrenaline came with a brief, but emotional acoustic performance about midway through the set. Witherspoon and Lowery, known for their trade-off lead vocal lines, came out alone for a stunning rendition of fan-favorites "X-mas Day" and "Angel's Son," with the rest of the band joining in on the latter toward the end of the latter track.

Curiously, Sevendust neglected "Unraveling," the lead single from its forthcoming eighth album, Cold Day Memory, due out on April 20. With the song making the rounds on modern rock radio and promoted heavily online, it was a strange omission from the set, as one would naturally assume that Sevendust would make it a point to promote the tune.

Despite that oddity, the night did feature one new song, however. "Forever Dead" was included in the set list, a cut from Cold Day Memory that currently is available for streaming on Sevendust's MySpace page. The song received an enthusiastic response and featured a good blend of thrash-oriented riffs to keep the mosh pit rumbling.

On the downside, while the performance itself was electric and highly entertaining, the shortness of Sevendust's concert left a lot to be desired. For a headlining band with eight albums of original material, the paltry 75-minute set shortchanged longtime fans and kept key songs from band's rich catalog on ice.

There is no questioning the effort Sevendust puts forth while on stage, however. Although not known as virtuoso musicians, the band's hardcore fans could beg to differ, given the instrumental precision on display, particularly by Rose, who was honored with the No. 1 Metal Drummer and No. 1 Recorded Performance awards by Modern Drummer magazine in 2004.

Combined with Sevendust's interaction with the audience, the show provided an entertaining night, right through the encore of "Born to Die" and the angst-riddled "Face to Face."

Sevendust (with Drowning Pool, Digital Summer, The Flood)
March 9, 2010
Regency Ballroom
San Francisco, Calif.

- Brian Heaton

Vincent Hornsby, Morgan Rose and Clint Lowery of Sevendust
performing "Driven" at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.
(Brian Heaton/March 9, 2010)

Morgan Rose winds up for a crushing blow on the drums as
Sevendust bandmates Clint Lowery and Lajon Witherspoon
sing "Suffocate" at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.
(Brian Heaton/March 9, 2010)

Copyright 2010, Brian Heaton. All Rights Reserved.