On March 9th, I made my way with fellow Music Maehem contributors Mitchel Fulcer and Don Niesen down to Racine, Wisconsin, to see three amazing bands: Midwest local band Wrath, Australian band Elm Street and the legendary former Accept front man Udo Dirkschneider.
We arrived at the Route 20 just in time for sound check. We were greeted by Gary Golwitzer (front man of Wrath from Chicago, Illinois) as well as Scott Nyquist (guitarist of Wrath). After we said our hellos, we then made our way around the venue while they did as well, as the other members in Wrath finished up getting ready for the evening ahead.
We made our way to the back of the venue where we attempted an interview (over the very loud hums of the tour bus behind us). We all laughed and talked about what was all to come for the band in its near future. This was my first time seeing them since their sign onto Combat Records, so I was excited to hear all about that!
Soon, Wrath commanded the stage opening with “Conflict”, and everyone gathered with excited energy. They played several of their well-known tunes including “Test of Faith” and “Insane Society”, as well as an amazing cover of “Ace of Spades” in honor of Lemmy Killmister of Motorhead.
Wrath Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WRATH-284918710024/
After Wrath, coming all the way from Melbourne, Australia was the heavy metal band Elm Street! With brutal force and shredding leads, they really brought the room to life.
This was my first time seeing them live. I had heard a few of their songs before attending the show, such as “Elm Street Children”, however much of their material was new to me. They played an amazing cover of the Quiet Riot classic “Metal Health” and closed out their set with a heartfelt dedication to another fallen metal legend Ronnie James Dio.
Elm Street Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/metalelmstreet/
After they went on, the stage crew took a few minutes to gather and set everything for the arrival of Udo Dirkschneider. This is his last tour, signaling to me even more now than ever that it seems like we are closing in on an end of an era in metal. However, with the end of something comes the beginning of other amazing things, so this certainly is just only one chapter in that in which is the metal music scene.
After putting my camera back in the car, I made my way back inside and started to take the opportunity to take in the show as well as the venue. The Route 20 was a great place! They offered food prior to the show, which was indeed very good and welcomed after a long day of travel on my end. Over two hours of road time plus Milwaukee traffic, I was more than ready to eat. They had a balcony area with tables you could reserve for the show, as well as plenty of floor space while the show was going on, although with all of the people in attendance it certainly seemed to be a bit tight. However, when it comes to seeing a live show, the more intimate the environment, the better.
Mitchel and I headed towards the back of the venue where there sat a crescent-shaped fire ring where people gathered to share conversations about the show over cigarettes and drinks. We ended up spending quite a bit of time there participating in several conversations throughout the revolving door of metal fans. One was a close friend of Wrath’s, another was a metal fan from the 80’s (as I am sure many people there were) that we had actually met when we saw Anthrax prior at The Rave in Milwaukee, and members of Elm Street themselves also joined in, including Nick Ivkovic (bassist) and L.A hired gun, Luke Man. It was cool to get a chance to talk with them for a while about what was going on and to thank them for giving me the opportunity to take photos as well. They were all as kind as they are talented!
I spent the rest of the evening with a few of my family members that came out to spend time with us and see the show (their very first metal show in fact!) and talked with Wrath and other concert goers while Udo sang many of his hit songs from his career. The venue would echo back lyrics to him including the hit we definitely remember from his days with Accept “Balls To The Wall”.
Concerts are always a good time, but I have to admit I was very much a fan of how personal this show really was. It’s not every concert these days that you get to spend real time getting to know the musicians face to face. I personally recommend that you take some time to catch a show at the Route 20 in Racine. I am sure you will enjoy yourself as much as I did.
So, as always, get out there and make some memories! The music scene needs fans like you to survive! Show your support!
To keep an eye on what is new at the Route 20 you can follow them on Facebook in the link below!
Live footage and photos: