Drowning Pool and Adrenaline Mob rock the Altar Bar Mar30

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Drowning Pool and Adrenaline Mob rock the Altar Bar

Melodic metal act Drowning Pool are currently out on the road bringing their Unlucky 13 Anniversary tour of their seminal debut Sinner to the metal masses. Joining them are Adrenaline Mob, in support of their Dearly Departed Tour for the covers album of the same name.

Tragically, it was announced on Friday March 20that Adrenaline Mob drummer A.J. Pero had died from an apparent heart attack while he slept. Rather than canceling the tour, the band didn’t miss a beat. Instead they held a memorial concert, grabbed Chad Szeliga from Breaking Benjamin and continued the tour as planned, knowing all too well that’s what A.J. would have wanted.

So now, by a strange twist of fate, both tours were now about fallen comrades.

The tour hit Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar a mere four days later and despite the pain being so fresh, Adrenaline Mob put on a performance of a lifetime show that would have made A.J. proud.

Morgantown, WV natives Worst Kept Secret set things into motion that night with an extremely-well received set of southern punk metal that would make any fan of Pantera or Texas Hippie Coalition stand up and take notice. Their songs were solid and so were their performances. The evening was off to a great start.

Up next was Pittsburgh’s own Shrouded In Neglect, who delivered an impressive high energy set of strong melodic metal. Even though it was a Tuesday, the entire band played like it was a Saturday night at a 50,000 seat outdoor pavilion and the crowd ate up every last morsel.

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Better still was the fact that somehow that night they seemed louder than any band that had played there before them, shaking the in house monitors and cameras to the point that they were virtually unwatchable.

Kudos gentlemen, job well done.

Then Tennessee’s Full Devil Jacket took the stage and upped the ante even further, unleashing a powerhouse set of heavy southern rock sure to please any fan of the Cowboys From Hell.

You would never know watching them tear it up like they did that they had taken over a decade off, as they are back, sounding better than ever and should be playing much larger venues.

Their show was also bolstered by excellent sound and lighting and vocalist Josh Brown was quite comical when he apologized for saying the word “fuck” so much. When their set was done, the band just mingled in the crowd, chatting, drinking, posing for pictures and signing stuff.

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Not surprisingly, it was very early into Adrenaline Mob’s impeccable set that frontman Russell Allen paused to dedicate the evening’s performance to his fallen brother in arms- A.J. Pero- taking time to share a few stories of what a fantastic human being and great humanitarian A.J. really was.

As always, Allen owned the stage, recalling great frontmen of the 70’s like Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey and Freddie Mercury. He even stopped to toast A.J. and sip a little whiskey from his glass before “Judgement Day.”

One of the true highlights of their set was their cover of “Devil Went Down To Georgia,” during which Mike Orlando manhandled the hell out of his guitar, playing so aggressively that you were waiting for him to snap the neck clean off and making it easy to see why he was chosen as one of the featured guitarists on the new season of That Metal Show.

Allen also took time to give a shout out to drummer Chad Szeliga from Breaking Benjamin for filling in on such short notice and doing such a killer job, before having the crowd sing Happy Birthday to bassist Erik Leonhardt. There was even a Big Bird birthday cake.

The band has a monster sound for just a trio and tracks like “Undaunted” and their Black Sabbath medley were clear fan favorites that brought the house down, garnering massive sing alongs as Allen commanded everyone to “Get the fuck up!”

The band also hit a few shirts out into the crowd with a baseball bat, before heading out to the merchandise booth to hang out with the adoring fans. This would be a very hard act to follow for any band.

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Although Drowning Pool’s intro music choice of “I Got 99 Problems and A Bitch Ain’t One” seemed somewhat out of place, it meant the show was underway and the fans were primed and ready, responding with deafening applause and screams that shook loose the plaster from the ceilings.

The band gave a command performance of the highest caliber, but issues with the sound system and all too frequent dim lighting sometimes distracted from an otherwise flawless set. It probably didn’t help that a portion of the crowd seemed to thin out after Adrenaline Mob’s portion of the evening.

Another issue was that, although hard to understand and hear at times, new vocalist Jasen Moreno absolutely crushed it, but when hearing the songs from Sinner, you can’t help but wish original vocalist Dave Williams was singing them.

None the less, classics like “Sermon,” “I Am,” “Tear Away” and earth-shattering closer “Bodies” alongside newer tracks like “Step Up,” “Feel Like I Do” and “Hate” drove the fans into a frenzy and guitarist C.J. Pierce, bassist Steve Benton and drummer Mike Luce were at the top of their game, playing better than ever before.

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If the tour hits your town, it is a moral imperative that you attend and show your undying love of A.J. Pero and Dave Williams. This is dedicated to them, the bands and their families. R.I.P. and God bless. Your music will live on in our hearts forevermore.

-Eric Hunker

Pre-show interview with Adrenaline Mob’s Mike Orlando: