THE LONG WAIT IS OVER
History was made in Ottawa, Ontario on the evening of May 4, 2013. How many bands take 28 years to release their first CD? I know of only one — Canadian based power metal band Shock. In celebration of their debut album ‘Once Denied’, Shock was playing only its second concert since reforming in 2011 after a 20+ year hiatus. The band chose the intimate confines of The Dominion Tavern for the occasion and the venue turned out to be a good choice as it was packed to capacity.
With little to no stage props aside from some amps, a few lights and a huge black backdrop, Shock clearly let the music do the talking “old school” style. It helps of course to be armed with one of the best debut CDs in a very long time from which to choose songs to play. The evening started with local cover band Adrynaline, who promised and delivered a set of “heavy material” consisting of mostly well known and some more obscure cover songs from Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses. The heavier the material, the better the crowd reaction that Adrynaline received.
The stage set up between bands was kept to a minimum mostly because Shock‘s drummer Chad “Captain Killdrums” Walls was pulling double duty as Adrynaline‘s drummer as well — so there was no need to change the drum set between bands that evening. Who is this madman by the way? “Captain Killdrums” was certainly living up to his name as he was simply a beast on the drums that night, pounding the shit out of them, particularly during Shock‘s set. Walls had all the tricks down — from throwing and catching his drum sticks while playing, a la Tommy Lee, to balancing an extra drumstick on his head while drumming away. Impressive performances from Walls, who took center stage later on and was the architect of an impromptu switch up during the final closing number — more on that later.
Shock kicked off their set with “Fighting Chance” and “Flaming Towards Earth”, showing everyone how power metal should be played — in your face, heavy, no holds barred and full throttle — from one song to the other. The entire ‘Once Denied’ CD was played, albeit with the songs in a different order. Highlights for me included “Driven To Kill”, “I’m Dangerous”, which seemed much heavier than the version on the CD, the single “Slashing To Live”, and show closer “Paths Of Glory”. Guitarists Tony V and John Tennant were in fine form trading solos during songs — although it seemed that Tony V was handling most of the guitar solos. At one point, and although Tony V advised the crowd that “these are not happy songs”, the smiles everywhere in the audience and the frontman’s face clearly implied that despite the song’s sometimes darker or more serious themes, everyone was very happy to be there! The two guys in the band who had their game faces on from start to finish, and clearly adhering to the mantra “these are not happy songs”, were bassist Steve Monette and drummer “Captain Killdrums”. Shock also treated the audience to the song “Ringleader” which did not make it onto their debut album. Why that is I don’t know — because it is great song that would have fit quite nicely with the rest of the tracks on ‘Once Denied’. In any case, both founding members Tony V and John Tennant advised that that song would be on Shock‘s next CD. All who were present on this night should be holding both of them to that “promise” because there has to be a follow-up to the stellar ‘Once Denied’.
After leaving the stage, likely to dry off a little bit from the sweltering heat and a great set, Shock was back onstage for an encore dating back to their “club days” from the late ’80s — resulting in a rousing rendition of Metallica‘s “Seek & Destroy”. I thought that the band would be finished after that but I was glad that one more song, the Motorhead classic “Ace Of Spades”, was going to be played. That is when drummer Chad Walls took center stage while getting someone from the audience (apparently a drummer who is in a Motorhead cover band) to play drums. Very shortly after, Exciter bassist Rob “Clammy” Cohen was onstage while someone reassured the rest of the band that he knew all the words to “Ace Of Spades”. Shock, along with Walls and Cohen trading lead vocals, then closed out the evening by tearing the place down with a spirited and heavy version of “Ace Of Spades”. That is what rock ‘n roll is all about and it was a great ending to an awesome night of power metal.
The one thing that I would have liked would have been more songs played from Shock. I counted only nine songs played in the regular set (all of them being from ‘Once Denied’ plus “Ringleader”) and two cover songs for the encore — the opening band Adrynaline likely played about the same amount of songs as Shock! Eleven songs from any headlining band is on the light side. That being said, Shock did not try to extend their set with needless solos from individual band members. The one advantage with playing fewer songs was that there were no dull moments during Shock‘s set, given that everything they played was really good. At the end of the day, unlike some “big name” bands that I have recently seen play live, I will have absolutely no hesitation to go see Shock in concert again!