By Brian Wyner
February 22nd 2017, The End, Nashville TN: Nashville’s nickname is Music City USA and the state of Tennessee is home to all thing country music. So Music City USA is the heart of this country theme, making it the place to be for all things “cowboy’. When it comes to heavier music in this town, the scene is much more intimate. The End is a venue located in an area called Elliston Place, far away from the Honky Tonks downtown. Elliston is a little more relaxed, less touristy, and the place where you might find that rare Nashville native. The End is one of the only clubs in the city listing its capacity at 200 and one of the only places that plays and hosts heavy music. With all that said, and it being a Wednesday night, a lot of local punk and hardcore kids came out to see the mighty Iron Reagan.
First band, Tank Rats, could be described as The Casualties type of punk. When they played it was generic, sounding like the thousands bands that have come before them. They had almost no movement from the crowd, but I can’t blame them since the band was about as full of energy as a bag of potatoes. The lead singer seemed drunk, because the talking duties were left up to the guitar player in between songs. When he asked the crowd a question, the only response was the dude’s girlfriend who stood alone in the front. When a band tells the crowd to “get up and move”, but proceeds to play standing still, don’t be surprised when no one responds to you. The drummer was the hardest working member of the band, singing part time and drumming at punk rock speeds. They started to come alive during their last song, but it felt too late. Tank Rats seems like they want nothing more than to be just a local band.
Waxed was up next. When you are a young, local band, a lot can be forgiven. You may not have the best equipment, you still might be developing your sound, or you could just straight up suck. It is never okay to take 30 minutes to set up your equipment. A sure way to piss people off is to show no sense of urgency. With only three bands on the bill and everything but the drums are backlined, it should take you 15 minutes max to get your shit up there, boys. But when the music finally started, we almost forgot about the painful wait, because they put the first band to shame. They had everything you want from this type of crossover music. The angry vocals, breakdowns, and good interaction with the crowd. Waxed was really putting on a show, but ended too soon. They barely played 20 minutes and when your set up time is longer than your actual set, you have some growing up to do.
Iron Reagan is a band formed of folks with legacy. They started in 2012 with member from Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour, Cannabis Corpse, and Hellbear. The name Iron Reagan is a pun on Iron Maiden and president Ronald Reagan. That gives you a good idea what these dudes are about. Energy, energy, energy! Something you need and they had for their punk/hardcore/thrash crossover sound. When a whole band comes out firing and hitting hard, the crowd eats it up. Lead singer Tony Foresta didn’t waste any time talking too much, he just brought aggression. The first six songs were off of their new album ‘Crossover Ministry’ (released February 3rd via Relapse Records), but when they played ‘Fuck the Neighbors’ the crowd chanted along while circling the tiny venue. Not forgetting to have some fun amidst the anger, they played the 15-second song, ‘Your Kid’s an Asshole’. They were keeping things funny, hard, and fast, and every member was amazing at their instruments. They seamlessly blend so many different genres into their own, individual sound. They played ‘Miserable Failure’ as their encore, and The End turned into one big circle pit front to back and it was a sight to see. While the night as a whole might have been a bit of a slog, the last 45 minutes made all the waiting worth it. It was a intimate experience not to be forgotten.
Related MA link: Album Review: Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry
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Iron Reagan remaining tour dates (with Power Trip):
02/25/2017 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
02/26/2017 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
02/27/2017 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings
02/28/2017 – Richmond, VA @ Broadberry
03/01/2017 – Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
03/02/2017 – New York, NY @ Marlin Room at Webster Hall
03/03/2017 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Spirit
03/04/2017 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
03/08/2017 – Montreal, QC @ Les Foufounes Électriques
03/09/2017 – Ottawa, ON @ Brass Monkey
03/10/2017 – Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
03/11/2017 – Detroit, MI @ Marble Bar
03/12/2017 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
03/13/2017 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock
03/14/2017 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
03/16/2017 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
03/17/2017 – Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street Collective
03/25/2017 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk