R.I.P. JEFF WINDISCH
Date: August 13, 2016
Venue: Neisen’s Sports Bar & Grill
Location: Savage, Minnesota, USA
Reviewer: Metal Headz Media
Photos: Metal Headz Media
Videos: Janice Dee
This concert review is written with a heavy heart.
I will do my best to honour the life of Emperors And Elephants‘ guitarist Jeff Windisch. Jeff went into cardiac arrest while watching Lynch Mob’s set. The concert was abruptly stopped and the show ended. At first I was compelled not to write a concert review to respect Jeff, his family, and his band; but after talking with the promoter Viking Rocker Productions‘ representative, he told me that the band would still like me to write one.
I want to take this time to send a huge thank you to Viking Rocker Productions LLC for allowing us to cover the concert. Viking Rocker Productions is a Minneapolis/St. Paul based company that brings in a lot of the ’80s “hair” bands to the Twin Cities. We are so lucky to have a company that is still passionate about this type of music and wants to bring it to the fans. Next up for Viking Rocker Productions is Faster Pussycat with Don Jamieson on August 24th and then the voice of White Lion, Mike Tramp, on September 21st, both at Neisen’s Sports Bar and Grill. Both are shows that can’t be missed.
The first band this night was Matrekis. They are a local band that have shared the stage with many bands that have come to the Twin Cities. They were doing their best to get the crowd going, but their best wasn’t working. They still played hard and loud as if the room was packed, but the small crowd of about one hundred people was slowly growing as they played their set. Vocalist Mike “Longhair” Annis sounded really good on the mic and could do a metal growl along with clean vocals as well. Ty Hall was keeping the rhythm tight with his bass, playing along with Corey Kirk, who was pounding away on his drums. The highlight of the band was Mick Rotella’s shredding guitar solos. Matrekis put on a great set with original tunes as well as an awesome cover of the Five Finger Death Punch’s version of “Bad Company.”
02. I’m Solitaire
03. Extinguish The Flame
04. The Unknown
05. Bad Company
07. Shotgun Jacket
08. Kill Your Captor
09. I’ll be Your Demon
10. The Trooper
11. Fist To The Face
Next up was Chicago’s Emperors And Elephants. They started out in 2010 with their first release and have another completed album that will be released soon. As I am about to write my review of their performance, I still can’t believe that this was the last show that Jeff Windisch would play. This would be my first exposure to this band and I was blown away at how great they sounded. They came out like they owned the stage and were meant to rock our faces off. Jesse Andrews (vocals) did an amazing job getting the crowd involved in the group’s performance. He interacted with the crowd between songs and also explained the story behind each of the songs that they were going to play next. Drummer Jason Meudt was a lot of fun to watch behind the kit. He was playing like a madman by spinning the sticks, waving his hands in the air, and hitting those drum heads really hard and showing off his mad drum skills. Guitarist Jeff Windisch was celebrating his birthday at this show and everyone could tell that this is where he wanted to be on this day. He was playing some mean heavy riffs, blazing solos, and having a blast on stage. Ron “Stoppable” Vanders was playing his bass with a thumping sound and matched the energy of the rest of the band.
Emperors And Elephants playing “Porcelain Kiss” live:
See posts, photos and more on Facebook.
Emperors And Elephants‘ set list was a mix of songs from their first album, Devil In The Lake, and songs from their upcoming release (didn’t get the album title). Like I mentioned before, Andrews liked to explain the meaning behind their songs, and before performing “Porcelain Kiss,” he told the crowd if they listen to one song that night, this should be the one to pay attention to. It is a song about a dysfunctional relationship that he was in, and he wanted to share his own story with others that could relate with him. It was an amazing song to hear live and I can’t wait to hear it again on their album. Next up was a well done cover of Chris Isaac’s classic song “Wicked Games,” which they made their own. By this time, they had the crowd in the palms of their hands and were killing it on stage.
“The Cracks In the Walls” is another special song for Andrews. It was a song he wrote when he was sixteen years old and he said it wasn’t perfected until Windisch added his special touch on guitars, which made the song what it is today. Andrews was touched that the band liked the song so much that they wanted to record the song for their new album. The last two songs of the night for Emperors And Elephants were singles they released from Devil In The Lake — “Change” and “Who You Are.” “Who You Are” is a song that got Emperors And Elephants some popularity in the Chicago area. It was played regularly on their local rock radio station and because of that song, they were able to tour the US and live their dreams of playing music live for their fans and to gain new fans as well.
I was so impressed on how well the band sounded that I became an instant fan. Andrews has an amazing voice and has a phenomenal band to match. Windisch owned that guitar and he was meant to be on stage playing guitar for a living. Vanders and Meudt did a great job keeping the beats in rhythm and had a fantastic groove to their sound. Not only did I become a fan of theirs, I am sure they won over most of the crowd as well.
Emperors and Elephants’ setlist:
01. Not Today
03. Dead Sleep
04. Porcelain Kiss
05. Wicked Games
06. Hit Of Red
08. The Cracks In the Walls
12. Who You Are
Emperors And Elephants playing “Change” live:
See posts, photos and more on Facebook.
Headliners, Lynch Mob came out to a rowdy crowd that was excited to watch none other than George Lynch on guitar. The first song of the night for them was “She’s Evil But She’s Mine,” and we could tell the sound wasn’t quite right and it was hard to hear Lynch’s guitar. Halfway through the song, they got it fixed and the band was ready to rock. Next up was the fan favorite, “River of Love.” This got the crowd singing along and standing in awe watching Lynch play his guitar. Oni Logan was sounding great and felt most comfortable standing in behind his mic. Sean McNabb was stage left playing bass and Jimmy D’Anda was the man behind the drum kit. After “River of Love” were two more tracks from Lynch Mob‘s debut album Wicked Sensation — “All I Want” and “Hell Child.” The next song played was “Believers Of The Day” from the album Sun Red Sun. This slowed the crowd participation down a bit as most of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with the song, but Lynch still had a blazing solo that got the crowd cheering. The single “Testify” from Rebel was next and the crowd seemed to know this track as I heard some people singing along.
One thing with live shows is that there can be mistakes or miscues. That was the case with “Where Do You Sleep at Night.” As the song was beginning, we could all tell they were not in synch, so the band stopped the song and started it over. Lynch announced to the crowd that he “fucked up” and that they wanted to start over as this is the first time in years that they have played this track live. Once it was over, Lynch made another announcement, that he thinks the people in the crowd are ready to hear some old shit, and he was correct. I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing as they ripped right into Dokken‘s “Heaven Comes Down.” Next up was another song they said that they have never played live before, and that was Dokken’s “Alone Again.” Logan was not all that familiar with the lyrics as I could see him looking at some sheets of paper on the floor with the lyrics. The crowd didn’t seem to mind and loved every minute of it. Both of those classics sounded great live. The last song of the night (due to unforeseen events that happened after this song) was “The Hunter.” This one has been a staple in the Lynch Mob set for years and they nailed it once again. Logan did a great job singing the classic Dokken tunes and seemed to enjoyed singing them as much as the Lynch Mob material.
Lynch Mob playing “When Heaven Comes Down” live:
See posts, photos and more on Facebook.
When “The Hunter” was over, I saw the promoter run onto the stage to tell the band to stop playing as someone had collapsed to the floor. Within minutes the police and emergency medical technicians arrived to assist the man in need. The room was silent as everyone was worried in fear of the events that were taking place. Then we were told to clear the room and that the show would be over out of respect for what just happened. Once outside, I stood in shock at what I had just witnessed and couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ll never be able to un-see what I saw and I am still in shock. The man who collapsed to the floor and sadly passed away turned out to be Emperors And Elephants‘ guitarist Jeff Windisch who was in the audience enjoying Lynch Mob‘s set after tearing up on the same stage with his band.
I am saddened to write a review of a great concert with such great bands in light of the events that took place. My condolences go out to Emperors And Elephants, Jeff’s family and friends, and everyone else affected by his death. I have seen numerous posts about how wonderful of a parent, husband, son, and band member he was. He has touched many lives and will be sorely missed by all of them. R.I.P. Jeff Windisch.
Lynch Mob’s setlist:
01. She’s Evil But She’s Mine
02. River Of Love
03. All I Want
04. Hell Child
05. Believers Of The Day
07. Where Do You Sleep at Night
08. Heaven Comes Down
09. Alone Again
10. The Hunter