Sometimes when you go to a concert, things just go right. On Saturday, April 7th 2018, The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan was host to a sold-out show that featured Adelitas Way, Sons Of Texas and Taking Dawn. Musically you learn why this show was sold-out. The other element of the sell-out was the people. From fans to staff to a wedding and a former staff member making a one night only appearance as she was in town from Los Angeles, this night was shaping up to be memorable.
Taking Dawn took the stage with authority as lead singer/lead guitarist Chris Babbitt led the crowd along through some rip-roaring tunes that had fans pumping their fist in the air to the songs “Save Me”, “Time To Burn” and “Take Me Away” to name a few. Then had the crowd singing along to a rocking version of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”. Duniel Puente on drums, Andrew Cushing on bass guitar and Steven Anderson on lead guitar had this group leading the charge. Babbitt is a sparkplug as he was all over the place as he wailed away on guitar and even ran and jumped off stage into the crowd. Such a great opening to kick off the night.
As we waited for the stage to be set up for Sons Of Texas, a wedding was commenced. Two rock fans who frequent The Machine Shop have chosen to tie the knot in front of fellow rock n roll fans. After being informed by a friend of what was about to take place, I got into the photo pit and snapped some photos of the couple sharing their moment with us. I couldn’t help but be happy for the newlyweds and how cool it was they got married at a rock show.
With the crowd celebrating the newlywed couple, things shifted into high gear as Sons Of Texas hit the stage. I saw these guys last year for the first time and just like then these guys had me grooving to the beat as I was shooting photos in the pit. I had to remind myself to focus on capturing what I can in the pit before my first three songs was up. Mark Morales has intense vocals that grips you by the throat and demands your attention. Like a thundering herd, Sons Of Texas is out to wrangle you up into their surge to take over the world. Their latest album, ‘Forged By Fortitude’, released in September 2017 is a shining example of the talent that is Sons Of Texas. With songs, “Expedition To Perdition”, “Feed The Need” and “Wasp Woman”, among others, you’ll feel that Southern groove metal with a tinge of blues. Nick Villarreal on bass, Jon Olivarez on rhythm guitar, Mike Villarreal on drums and Jes De Hoyos on lead guitar have a great chemistry and brotherhood that is palpable and that’ll drive this band to new heights. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you have a chance to see Son Of Texas in concert, do it!
Headlining is Adelitas Way, this is called the ‘Notorious’ tour, aptly named in support of their latest album of the same name which was released in October 2017. This band from Las Vegas, Nevada seems to be winning against the odds in a tough music industry. With hits “Sick”, “Alive”, “Invincible” along with new material “Ready For War”, among others, this set list was going to be a surefire crowd pleaser. Fans were wrapped into the vocals of Rick DeJesus as he crooned and belted out song after song keeping the crowd hungry for more. I love the bass drum skin on Trevor Stafford’s kit, it’s a very menacing looking T-Rex dinosaur and there was a small T-Rex figure on top of the bass drum for added flair. It reminded me of how I had some toys on my drum set. Andrew Cushing on bass guitar was in harmony with Stafford as the rhythm session gelled like butter. Tavis Stanley joined on lead guitar and fit right in like a glove.
This was one show from start to finish that was amazing. I was glad I was able to cover and witness this great night of music and see a fellow rock couple get married and hang out with people I’ve come to know at The Machine Shop. I was amazed that Mark Morales remembered me. Soon after we started chatting he asked if he had drawn me. Mark has a talent at drawing caricatures of people. Last year, he had drawn my now wife and myself. Mark said he has a deeper connection with the people he’s drawn. It’s awesome to have night’s like this, where all these people who look so different come together and get along to enjoy a great concert and mingle with friends and making new ones. It’s easy to see why The Machine Shop is a favorite among bands that play there. Get out there and enjoy the ‘Notorious’ tour while it’s still running my fellow concert junkies. You deserve a great night of live music with friends and fans alike.
– Mike Shaler, Photojournalist for Go Venue Magazine