Due to lighting I was unable to get any usable photographs of drummer Morgan Rose. My apologies. We will have to wait until they come around again! :)
The year was 1997 and I was in my senior year of high school at BMHS in Billerica Massachusetts. That year Powerman 5000 released their “MEGA Kung Fu Radio” album and went on tour to promote the album. That same year a largely un-known band called Sevendust also released their debut self titled record. I was more familiar with Powerman 5000 and when they were making a tour stop in Boston at the Avalon I knew I had to get tickets. When I picked up my tickets I saw the supporting acts were Sevendust and Coal Chamber. I knew who Coal Chamber was and had heard a Sevendust song on the radio but was not really familiar with their music. Well, it all changed that night and Sevendust became one of my favorite bands of all time. Sevendust left a long lasting impression on me with their music, vocal style, heavy guitar melody and stage presence.
Now 20+ years later I am lucky enough to be a music and concert photographer and of course Sevendust was on my bucket list of shows to cover. Clutch was making a tour stop in Raleigh NC at the Ritz music venue and on the ticket supporting the band was Sevendust.
If you are not familiar with Sevendust lets give some history provided by Wikipedia.
Sevendust is an American alternative metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, formed in 1994 by bassist Vince Hornsby, drummer Morgan Rose and guitarist John Connolly. After their first demo, lead vocalist Lajon Witherspoon and guitarist Clint Lowery joined the group. Following a few name changes, the members settled on the name Sevendust and released their self-titled debut album on April 15, 1997. They have attained success with three consecutive RIAA gold certified albums, a Grammy nomination, and have sold millions of albums worldwide.
Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow (2008)
Cold Day Memory (2010)
Black Out the Sun (2013)
Time Travelers & Bonfires (2014)
Kill the Flaw (2015)
All I See Is War (2018)
The Show at the Ritz in Raleigh
The lights went low and the crowd started to scream in anticipation. I stood in the pit waiting for them to walk on stage with this excitment building. I looked at the fans and one fan looked at me and yelled “fucking sevendust!!!”. The first to come out was drummer Morgan Rose. He walked out, sat down behind the drums and got his microphone set up. Then followed guitarist Clint Lowery, bassist Vince Hornsby, lead singer Lajon Witherspoon and then guitarist John Connolly. Lajon grabbed the microphone and stared out into the crowd while waving to fans as Clint walked to the front of the stage and stood on a small platform looking out into the crowd. As the first guitar riff and snare hit the crowd went wild and you could see the excitement eminating across the venue. The band mixed some older tracks with one or two new tracks from there most recent release called “All I see is War”. Lajon sounded on key and also let the crowd join him while singing the chorus to songs like Bitch, Denial and Dirty. Bassist Vince Hornsby would come up and point out to the crowd with a big smile while simulatnily mouthing the lyrics of the song being played. The stage was a bit small for them so the band could not really move around as much as they would have liked too. Lajon would talk with the fans and he yelled a few times “How is fucking Raleigh doing tonight!!” and the crowd would reply back with a very enthusiastic scream and fist pump.
The band sounded great and came on stage with excitement and you felt they really wanted to be there with the fans. The only thing was the lighting was sometimes to dark and the use of blue lights was out of control but that is not the bands fault, that is the venues who I believe controlled the light display. During part of their set Lajon looked out into the crowd and said “You guys have to meet someone, this little girl has melted my heart and she is just amazing” he then looked at Clint and asked if he could bring her out. Clint went to the side of the stage and a woman brought out this adorable little girl who was wearing big sound cancelling headphones that engulfed her entire head. Lajon walked over to her and said to the crowd “isn’t she just awesome”. He then introduced her to the crowd and said hi to her and had the fans wave to her. After the little girl and her mom left the stage Lajon looked out to the crowd and said “Family is what it is all about. I am a father and husband, my band mates are husbands and fathers. Family and love is important and precious. You guys out here tonight are like our family. We thank you so much for your love and support” I might not be exact on the wording but the crowd gave a resounding fist pump and expression of love right back to Lajon and the band.
Sevendusts is a band that has not only lasted 20+ years but has also maintained their core value and musical style. Sevendust’s influence and creative musical talent has helped forge a path for future metal bands to walk down. They are unique in their sound and continue to be one of the best metal bands of my genre. Go see Sevendust live and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
All images are copyrighted and taken by lead photographer Chris Sturk.