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KSE gives supercharged performance at Saltair

March 24th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

Review and photos by Ben Hansen
Special to the Hard News Cafe

SALTAIR–Killswitch Engage (KSE) is a popular metal/hardcore band that recently made a stop in Utah in support of their new self-titled album. Known for their unique style and high-energy live show, the band has recently come across tough times on their first headlining tour both while combating the temporary departure of lead singer Howard Jones and illness. Regardless of complications, they were about to deliver another exceptional live performance in Utah.

I was lucky enough to be able to watch KSE’s sound check before their show. As I entered the arena, I watched guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz going through the motions to set up the drums. His energetic and fun-loving nature was evident during the most monotonous of tasks for most musicians, as he bounced ecstatically between the drums and guitar ensuring that every hertz of amplitude was dialed in for an exceptional-sounding set.

Hundreds flocked 20 miles from the city to Saltair at the edge of the Great Salt Lake for the show. After two opening bands (including The Devil Wears Prada) had completed their sets, it was time for KSE to take the stage. Once the lights dimmed and the par cans fired up, out sprang Adam D, complete in a St. Patrick’s Day green-colored cape with dollar signs on it.

The band burned through their first couple of numbers quickly, with tour vocalist Phil Labonte from the band All That Remains substituting for Howard. Although he was not able to carry the same vocal load that Howard usually does live, Phil took advantage of the opportunity to involve the audience more in singing along to the songs, which helped add to the live energy and audience involvement in songs Darkness Falls, This is Absolution, and My Curse, among others.

Adam, as usual, was full of both energy and sarcastic wit. He bounded about the stage, flexed his muscles, wagged his tongue, and made the show visually entertaining. At one point during the set, he even humorously cited the pungent odor of the nearby Great Salt Lake, jesting, “It smells awesome in here! It smells like sex.”

The show came to an abrupt close, due in large part to the early curfew cutoff for all-ages venues in the county. Offering their “final song,” the band led into their Grammy-nominated song The End of Heartache. Phil once again implored the audience to sing along, and surprised the audience by jumping directly into the general admission crowd. Microphone in fist, he took the song directly to many of the fans in the front, giving them the opportunity to sing along to one of KSE’s most beloved songs.

Regardless of the curfew cutoff, the band came back out for an encore. Adam again nudged the crowd, telling them that the final number was a cover song, but not what they’d think. As he growled out just the chorus to Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean, he stopped and then looked around the audience with a mischievous smile. After a brief pause, he led the band into their heralded cover of Dio’s Holy Diver.

There are times when a man in a cape is a super hero. And then there are times when the man in the cape is just a super-charged rock guitarist. Either way, they provide a great escape from the norm and some excellent entertainment.


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