Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint, Chicago (US)

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JAG PANZER / PROFESSOR EMERITUS / ANCIENT SEANCE

Date: 15th September, 2018
Venue: Reggies Music Joint
Ticket Price: $20 / €17
Promoter: n/a


It was half way through a concert storm with shows lining up one after the other. Of course this is awesome for the regular concert-goer, but it is terrible business for one’s wallet, but also for the bands, because this can hurt the attendance. So, it is a constant fight between economics and your to-watch list. Anyways, there is nothing else to be said here aside from the logical result of having less people than one would be expecting having the almighty JAG PANZER on top of the bill on that nice Saturday night.

Yes, Reggies Music Joint seemed scarcely occupied with more people sitting as ANCIENT SEANCE were wrapping up their set. Their traditional Heavy Metal was really interesting with all those intricate parts and the somewhat complicated vocal parts. The only thing missing was the audience’s participation, but at the same time it is rare to find an involved audience during the first band of the evening. Oddly enough ANCIENT SEANCE were bold enough to go off the Metal script by doing a cover on “Crazy” originally released by GNARLS BARKLEY. It was even more odd that I managed to recognize that this was a cover, because my knowledge outside the Metal realm is rather limited. Guitarist and singer Syl did an amazing job following the quite difficult vocal lines on this one and put ANCIENT SÉANCE on to my to-check-list.

Next on the billing and closer to the sound of the headliners were PROFESSOR EMERITUS. By the time the Chicago-based band hit the stage (well, it was not an actual stage but a dedicated place for live performances), the audience had tighten up their ranks and the atmosphere inside Reggies Rock Joint was closer to a Metal concert. There were a lot of familiar faces in this band’s lineup therefore I was kind of prepared to get a bunch of well-executed Metal songs and my gut did not fail me. Yeah, the band kicked off the set with the galloping “Chaos Bearer” and right there it became obvious that epic Heavy Metal was on the menu with singer MP Papai hijacking most of the spotlight time with his impressive power and singing range. Ok, to be fair I kind of knew what the rest of the lineup was able to deliver, so my focus was on the singer. So, this was a solid lineup and a very good match for JAG PANZER, even though PROFESSOR EMERITUS’ style is closer to the European than the US Power Metal served by the band from Colorado Springs. The riff driven “Burning Grave” put the word ‘Epic’ on capital letters and, to be honest, ATLANTEAN KODEX came to mind, or if it helps, PROFESSOR EMERITUS kind of leaned towards the so-called ‘True Metal’ sound. Apparently the band is working on new material and that night we got to hear “Wings Of War”, and, if I am not terribly mistaken, “Invictus”. Both of those songs sounded great and so did “Rosamund” which according to the band’s singer gives him the opportunity to speak Italian. Lovecraft and Metal always work great together and “Rats In The Wall” was a great sounding affirmation of that well-proven fact. The weakest point of the set was the “Kill The King” cover; not because it was poorly executed, but because I would prefer an original song, although I do recognize the need to wake the audience up with something recognizable. The bottom line is that PROFESSOR EMERITUS did great that night, and after their set, there was no free space in front of the stage.

PROFESSOR EMERITUS setlist:

01. “Chaos Bearer”
02. “Burning Grave”
03. “Wings Of War”
04. “Rosamund”
05. “Kill The King”
06. “Rats In The Walls”
07. “Invictus”

PROFESSOR EMERITUS

Professor Emeritus @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Emeritus @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Emeritus @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Emeritus @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Emeritus @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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Being on the other side of the Atlantic for a big chunk of my life, I had close to zero chances to see JAG PANZER live, and having to the opportunity to finally do this from an ‘I can steal your wallet’ distance, could be the only reason to be excited. But it was not, since last year JAG PANZER dropped a killer album, proving that the band’s engine still has all the Metal-powerful cylinders firing at full capacity. For the same reason, kicking off the set with the double-guitar harmonies of “Far Beyond All Fear”, the second song from “Deviant Chord”, quickly set up the Metal mood for the rest of the night. Yeah, the band sounded as tight as in the album with Harry Conklin nailing all those high-pitched singing parts like it was the easiest thing to do. Being that close to the stage, our ear-drums were happy to lose some listening decibels while getting blasted by Ken Rodarte’s guitar PAs (Mark Briody was standing on the other side of the stage, so our ears got spared). The singing-along “Chain Of Command” hit us without stopping and got a louder response, especially from those guys who like to keep listening to the “older stuff” and by doing so are missing great stuff from bands like JAG PANZER who are still producing top notch US Power Metal (and being totally underrated in the process). It was after the fist-pumping “Achilles” and “Overlord” (I would love to also hear “The Setting Of The Sun” from the same album), when Harry broke his speaking silence and gave us some time to take a breather, because until then, it was back-to-back Power Metal jab-right cross hits although we were more than happy to absorb the blows. “These days you need a license for everything, but you definitely need a license to kill” was the way Harry introduced “Licensed To Kill” and woke up teenager memories when my older brother had bought “Ample Destruction” (the Metalcore version) and convinced me to have a listen to this US band that I knew nothing at all... Oh my, time flies, I tell you... The follow-up to this was another massive hit from the same album and I am talking about the fist-pumping / singing-along / headbanging-like-there’s no tomorrow “Harder Than Steel” (that’s right, some things are harder than steel!)

The band was clearly having fun onstage, and when this happens, the fun bounces off the audience and gets amplified each round. However, there was no fun during the amazing and mid-tempo headbanger “Black” and if I were to choose, then I would say that this was Harry’s best performance of the night, capturing the song’s evilness with his unique singing. “King At Price” saw more people singing and I think it is safe to say that the oldest the song, the loudest the audience’s participation, something that although I do not like (the new stuff is equally awesome), I totally understand.

Ok, I could live without “Foggy Dew” and I believe Harry was too relaxed and hence he did not deliver the same emotion as he did in the studio version, but that’s ok because he got his chance to rebound with the hard-hitting “The Scarlet Letter”. I think he used the wrong set of words to introduce “The Shadow Thief” because what he said was more fitting to “Warfare” but I don’t believe this slip took anything away from the solid performance by JAG PANZER. Visiting one more time the band’s genre-defining debut album was the best way to drop the curtain; “Generally Hostile” gave us a hard run for our money as it was getting late and it was the end of a rather long day (even if it was a Saturday), but everyone was happy to deplete the last drop of energy headbanging and fist-pumping all the way to the end.

Was my JAG PANZER hunger quenched? Yes and no; “yes”, because the band performed a solid set, and “no” because it felt not long enough and not in the proper live setting, so I hope we will be seeing more of them soon.

JAG PANZER setlist:

01. “Far Beyond All Fear”
02. “Chain Of Command”
03. “Achilles”
04. “Overlord”
05. “Licensed To Kill”
06. “Harder Than Steel”
07. “Black”
08. “Iron Eagle”
09. “King At A Price”
10. “Foggy Dew”
11. “The Scarlet Letter”
12. “Shadow Thief”
13. “Warfare”
14. “Generally Hostile”

JAG PANZER

Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Jag Panzer @ Reggies Music Joint (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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