Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US)

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Two nights with PROFESSOR BLACK

PROFESSOR BLACK / VANIK / THE LURKING CORPSES
PROFESSOR BLACK / ACERUS / VANDALLUS

Date: 28th - 29th September, 2018
Venue: LiveWire Lounge
Ticket: $10 (€9) each day
Promoter: n/a


PROFESSOR BLACK was about to drop three full length records with new music, so it made absolutely sense to have not one, but two shows back to back. Sure, we were not expecting to cover the material from all the albums (the “Lvpvs” stuff is out of this world), but still there would be new songs played and that was all we needed to head down to LiveWire two days in a row and get saturated with PROFESSOR BLACK songs.

The first night was for the “drunks” as Chris Black had already explained in a Facebook posting, and that meant a more relaxed / party mood. This was the perfect setting to say good riddance to another busy week and replace whatever was plaguing your mind with high-volume Metal with a twist of Punk. And that’s exactly how the party started with THE LURKING CORPSES hitting the stages in full monks-clothing... Yeah, some horror masks and black hooded monk robes set up the aesthetics in a tongue-in-cheek way of course. “Greetings, gremlins, and welcome to the party”, Lord Vladimir Von Ghoul said in a high-pitched b-movie voice setting the tone for the band’s set. “When Your Body Dies” kicked off the set and the MISFITS-styled chords and vocals were a great way to get into the party-mood, even though the people inside LiveWire would need more to get going. The happier riff and up-tempo “Tonight” started seeing some reaction and I could easily credit the Danzig-esque vocals (at least for me that did the trick). The only complain I will allow myself to make is the squeaky / too high pitched for my eardrums voice Lord Vladimir Von Ghoul used to introduce the songs although in all fairness it did fit into the band’s aesthetics. After all, the riff in “The Leech And The Worm” and the MISFITS-tempo of “Maggots Ate Her Brain” were very good reasons to let that one slide and enjoy the Horror/Punk-twisted humor mix. And yes, this was a perfect fit for the “drunks” night that Chris was referring to. “There is a late night activity going around the cemeteries these days; at least the cool kids are doing it”, said the singer and this sounded like something you would hear in an ‘80s horror b-movie and was the fitting intro for the borderline Thrash “Midnight Munging”, topped off by some growling vocals. Yeah, this set was the perfect kick in the butt to start the two-days of PROFESSOR BLACK galore.

THE LURKING CORPSES setlist:

01. “When Your Body Dies”
02. “Party Time At Zombie High”
03. “Tonight”
04. “Horror Geek”
05. “The Leech And The Worm”
06. “Night At The Grindhouse”
07. “Maggots Ate Her Brain”
08. “Midnight Munging”
09. “We Are Vampires”
10. “Meet Me In The Graveyard”

THE LURKING CORPSES

The Lurking Corpses @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Lurking Corpses @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Lurking Corpses @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Lurking Corpses @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Lurking Corpses @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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Then, it was time for a band I knew nothing about, and this made it even more fun as I was not prepared for such a change of scenery (compared to THE LURKING CORPSES). However, VANIK did have something in common with the openers, and that had to do with their outfits. The rugged shirts with some fake blood stains kept the horror aesthetics on stage, but musically the menu had some ferocious Speed Metal. “Deadly Pleasures” opened the set for the band from Cleveland, OH and it was pedal to the Metal from the get-go. The guitar-based Metal was the perfect way to really heat things up for PROFESSOR BLACK and I would be a terrible liar if I’d say I did not enjoy the groovy “One More Dose” which was topped off with some MOTÖRHEAD (this was not the first time we got a Lemmy dose that night). “We are VANIK and we just got together to do this shit”, said guitarist / singer Vanik before introducing a new song, and if I am not mistaken, it was called “One Of Us” from the soon to be released “II Dark Season”. VANIK chose to squeeze as much music as they could at the time given, and combined with the fast tempo Metal, their set went down like a cold beer on a hot and dry day, so now I will check for the new album to see what they have in store. Check ‘em out.

VANIK

Vanik @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vanik @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vanik @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vanik @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vanik @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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LiveWire was buzzing as more people had come to see PROFESSOR BLACK doing his first set of the two-day festivities. The previous bands (and some beer) had set the proper mood for Chris and his band to start rockin’ but before doing so he stated: “This is gonna be fucking fun, I am telling you” and turned the key into the engine with “Get It On” from the freshly out of the oven “I Am The Rock”. Do you have any doubts if this MOTÖRHEAD-rocker went down great? Oh my, it sounded as loud and dirty as it should, so yes, it was awesome and it was a great assist to “Bad News”. We knew that this would not had been only PROFESSOR BLACK stuff but a mix and match from his Rock ‘n’ Roll discography and this also included SUPERCHRIST, with the first one out was “Black Is Beautiful”. The MOTÖRHEAD suite ended (for the time being) with a killer cover of “Metropolis” but for us this will always be “Acropolis” as Lemmy used to sing it when performing live in Greece (we will NEVER forget this). Well, I may have spoken too early because the Lemmy references kept on for once more with another PROFESSOR BLACK song - and quoting Chris - “very fast” “Dance Of Death”.

Chris pulled some oldies and dirties from his SUPERCHRIST era and one of those was “Sewer Snake” with the super sweet bass-based groove, and I believe the mid-tempo came at the right moment after the pounding “Strangers In The Night”. “Fake Athenar, ladies and gentlemen” said Chris point at guitarist Jon as it was time to virtually bring the MIDNIGHT frontman onstage but it was not through some crappy hologram... Yeah, the MIDNIGHT hood was on and “Too P*** To Fuck” was next. The party mode was in full swing, and even if it was getting late, there were no signs of stopping. The based on true events (according to Chris) “PAMF” with its DEAD KENNEDYS in-your-face attitude cane at the right time to give us a boost as we were getting closer to the final three tracks. Oh yeah, the bpms were in red and Punk was on the menu with “Stand Up And Shit” and “Hurry Up And Bleed” setting the right mood. The full of energy set ended with the awesome and sing-along “Aim Low” seeing many fists in the air. And this was when the band said goodnight, but people inside LiveWire were asking for “one more song” and the only thing Chris could say to his bandmates was “but we do not have one more…”. That’s fine, because the next day we would get the chance to hear more than “one more song”.

PROFESSOR BLACK setlist:

01. “Get It On”
02. “Bad News”
03. “Black Is Beautiful”
04. “Metropolis”
05. “Dance Of Death”
06. “Hired Gun”
07. “Strangers In The Night”
08. “Sewer Snake”
09. “Too P*** To Fuck”
10. “Infernal City”
11. “Closer To The Blade”
12. “PAMF”
13. “Stand Up And Shit”
14. “Hurry Up And Bleed”
15. “Aim Low”

PROFESSOR BLACK [night one]

Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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I think the second PROFESSOR BLACK day had more people (from the aspect of attendance speaking) and that was kind of expected being Saturday and all. That night’s festivities started a bit late with VANDALLUS hitting the stage ten minutes to 10pm, with “Infected” from the freshly released “Bad Disease”. The music style compared to the previous night’s Punk craziness had just shifted to a more traditional Metal route. Without stopping, we got the fists-in-the-air “Break The Storm” which revealed the band’s traditional Hard Rock influences with a nice mid-tempo groove which was also the main focus of the faster “On The High Side”. Just by the onstage looks of VANDALLUS, one could easily assume that True Metal would be their deal, but the band from Cleveland, OH had a strong appetite for melodic Heavy Metal with some excellent Hard Rock riffs and rhythms. In other words, their music was the perfect fit for a night out at your favorite Rock club, so this was most appropriate and helped the beer flowing. There was a little talking between the songs, and I think this served well the opener-role VANDALLUS had taken upon, with the last two “Get Out” and “Bad Disease” setting the perfect tone for ACERUS’ straightforward Heavy Metal.

VANDALLUS setlist:

01. “Infected”
02. “Break The Storm”
03. “On The High Side”
04. “Heart Attacker”
05. “Sundown Haze”
06. “Who’s Chasing Me”
07. “Get Out”
08. “Bad Disease”

VANDALLUS

Vandallus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vandallus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vandallus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vandallus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vandallus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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During the stage preparations, there was a significant influx of people started to approach the small stage, and it was obvious that ACERUS had a crowd specifically for their set. So yeah, the front rows looked packed when the taped intro gave its place to the galloping “The Sentinel Of The Demise”. The volume was loud but I don’t think we missed much from the killer guitars served but the two players, although, and after checking the band’s studio efforts, I believe some of the melodic parts were drown. “Are you ready for this one? This is the title track from our second album”, said singer Roberto Valle before the epic “Feel The Clock Of Mortality”. Aside from the band’s onstage energy, I was really impressed by the guitar duo which was serving all those intricate riffs at ease and with impressive precision. The band’s fans (and family members I presume) gave an extra push to ACERUS whose energy was the highest among the supporting bands we got to see in both days, so extra kudos to the Chicagoans. The vocals require some more listening time to get used to, but they are a perfect fit to the band’s epic Metal sound, so in the end of the day it is all about personal taste. At any rate, ACERUS served us a great set, and as it happened the previous night, we were totally ready for another PROFESSOR BLACK set.

ACERUS setlist:

01. “The Sentinel Of The Demise”
02.  “An Undying Defiance”
03. “Feel The Clock Of Mortality”
04. “Your Last Day”
05. “Eagle Claw/The Bringer”
06. “The Unreachable Salvation”
07. “The Order Shall Be Reestablished”

ACERUS

Acerus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Acerus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Acerus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Acerus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Acerus @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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It was around midnight when Chris Black and his different than last night’s lineup showed their faces on the LiveWire stage. This time, there was no party-mood but a laser-focus on the atmosphere this set of songs proudly carries with them. As I said, it was after midnight, so starting off the setlist with So Much For Sleep” gave us the proper boost. Seriously, the main riff on this oldie (yep, it is an 8yr old song) got us back on track and caught our DAWNBRINGER attention. We stayed on the same chapter of Chris’ songwriting history with the double guitar harmonies of number three from the amazing “Into The Lair Of The Sun God”. It did not take much effort to get into a headbanging mood listening to that galloping rhythm section and we were not the only ones feeling like this. If I were to compare the two crowds that came to see PROFESSOR BLACK (leaving on the side those who showed up for both shows), I would say that the second show had a more dedicated audience who, although like the more relaxed side of Chris’ discography, has a special affection for his epic era. Yeah, following the song with “In The Fire And The Rain” kind of confirmed this, along with what I wrote in the “Sunrise” album review [check it out HERE]; the songs in this album are a perfect fit to DAWNBRINGER’s history, so moving back and forth between the two made absolutely sense and was a killer live experience. After all, good songs always sound better when played live. By the way, the BATHORY-inspired guitar rhythm section kept the headbanging going. “That was from the new album “Sunrise” and the next one is from “Into The Lair Of The Sun God”, said Chris with “VI” being next on the menu. I think he chose these songs based on the rhythm section which is for the four of them groovy with the kind of melodies we have learned to love from his DAWNBRINGER days. Unfortunately, the “XX” EP was the last offering from DAWNBRINGER and I am saying this because listening to the pounding “North By North” live made me think exactly this. However (and I’m consciously repeating myself), this was another song that could easily be part of the “Sunrise” album bearing the disarming BATHORY aura.

The only complaint I will allow myself to make has to do with picking just one song from the “Sunrise” album, although I do understand that spending time to learn a song for one show can be too much for Chris to ask from his live line-up. I guess this is one downside of basically being a one-man band, but there is no instance when one can have his cake and eat it (too). “Thanks to VANDALLUS for kicking ass and ACERUS for kicking the rest of the ass”, said Chris before dropping the curtain of the two-day festivities with the kind of sad “Old Wizard” and the eerie “I” (I can never get enough of the riffs on this one). And yes, there were fists pumping and nice chanting along during the setlist closer. Was it enough? Hmm, I am inclined to say ‘no’, but at the same time, looking back at both nights, I’d say that we got a hearty scoop of Chris’s multi-faced songwriting which among other things keeps the DAWNBRINGER flame burning bright. Thanks, man!

“And so it is done
I am the One
To murder the Sun”

PROFESSOR BLACK setlist:

01. “So Much For Sleep”
02. “III”
03. “In The Fire And The Rain”
04. “VI”
05. “North By North”
06. “Left Hand Man”
07. “Hands Of Death”
08. “Old Wizard”
09. “I”

PROFESSOR BLACK [night two]

Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Professor Black @ LiveWire Lounge, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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