Ever since Crowned By Fire hit my radar I have been jonesing to see them live. I have been lucky enough to have become friends with guitarist Justin Manning, and interviewed him on several occasions. When the promise of new music via a new EP called SPACE MUSIC FOR CAVE PEOPLE was announced the metal world shivered in anticipation. Add to the fact that it was being recorded at The Black Vatican (Zakk Wylde’s personal studio) AND was being produced by the one and only Sterling Winfield (Pantera, HellYeah, Damageplan, yeah that guy) make it a winner straight out of the gate.
Even cooler was the announcement of their Southern Horsepower Tour 2013. The Metal Gods were smiling down on me when it was revealed that the tour was starting in my hometown. FINALLY I would be able to experience Crowned By Fire in person. The day had finally come.
The day of the show was it was hard to stay focused on work but I managed. A text and then phone call with Justin let me know they were closing in on my home town. They wanted a day room to freshen up before the show so a quick phone call to the man Trev McKendry (band manager) and info was passed along and the band was taken care of.
I met the guys as they were getting ready for the show and found them to be just as awesome as I had hoped them to be. I wanted to do something nice for them and get them dinner before the show. We headed towards a restaurant that was near the venue but it had unfortunately gone out of business. There was a local brew pub right next to the venue that served food so to the Farside Brew Pub it was. Pizza was ordered and Charles, the proprietor, took care of the beer needs. With bellies full, and good craft beer enjoyed, we were off next door to the venue.
The amount of gear that the guys pulled out of their trailer seemed endless. It was miraculous how they had fit everything into such a small trailer.
Eventually the gear was in and the set up began. We were all awestruck by the awesomeness of the gear as it was un-crated and revealed. Justin had some wonderful guitars with some awesome stories behind them. The Green V OV Doom and its custom paint work by the AWESOME Jason Oberly .
Green V OV Doom with custom paint by Jason Oberly.
Probably one of the more surreal moments of the night was getting to hold in my hands the guitar given to Justin by the one, the only Zakk Wylde. I could feel the immense power emanating from it as it was in my grasp. I was holding the mighty Ol’ Betsy in my grasp. It also had a custom strap made by Chad Erickson of Carved Rock Leather!!!
in awe that I am holding a guitar given to Justin by Zakk Wylde.
After watching Justin warm up with licks that would kill a mere mortal it was time. As I was shooting pics of the stage I heard Justin call my name, I handed my camera off to Charlie M.F. Owens and went to see what Justin needed. I was again floored when he told me I was introducing the band. Well, now I was not only going to see one of my favorite bands, I was going to introduce them as well.
“Well alright Hooligans! Are you ready for CROWNED BY FIRE?!?!?!” I roared into the microphone and it was on. Exploding on to the stage Crowned By Fire delivered everything I expected, and then some. The band lineup was spot on, Jonathan Paschall brought the thunder from his throne on high, Chris Breedlove handled the bottom end like a boss, Michael Pacheco kicked your ass with his guitar, and you thanked him for it, John Fitterer stalked the stage like some deranged shaman belting out vocals from some primal age. And then there is Justin Manning , his wizardry of the fretboard was mystical and enthralling. The combination was perfect. We were treated to some of the new songs from the above mentioned impending release as well as some tracks from the always awesome PRONE TO DESTROY.
Wow! What a show! It did not disappoint! Crowned By Fire is a band not to miss and EVERYONE needs to experience it! I will leave you with a video from the show, this is “Buried Away” enjoy!
PS: A special shout out to Chad Miller for keeping the guys geared up and tuned up! Make sure you stop and shake this mans hand for helping to keep the guys runnin’!
Justin and Chad preshow
P.S.S. extra special thanks to Lindsey Thompson for handling the merch area, and various and sundry needs. She will prove invaluable to the guys on this tour.
Justin and Lindsey at dinner
Crowned By Fire, Classic American Metal? You bet your ass they are!