Damnation followers are well aware of our passion expressing the importance of various metal and other loud rock tours playing a date in our home market in St. Louis, MO. Local fans often voice their concern that few national or North American tours stop in our city, especially those featuring international artists. This is a common trend most years, of course there are always exceptions; both in regards to the timing of a current tour in relation to previous tours, as well as the given band. Fortunately, the day after Valentine’s Day 2016 was one of those exceptions.
In December 2015, Dave Mustaine’s legendary thrash metal powerhouse Megadeth announced a headlining American Tour to support their anticipated and now highly acclaimed fifteenth studio album, Dystopia. Providing support on the tour would be Suicidal Tendencies, Children Of Bodom, and Havok. Like several other tours announced for early 2016, this tour did not include a St. Louis date. However, Finnish melodic death metallers Children Of Bodom has had a positive, long-running relationship with the St. Louis region, after first playing here over a decade ago. Supporting their latest and ninth studio album, I Worship Chaos, the quintet was able to book some one-off dates leading up to the Megadeth tour, while also brining Havok along with them.
One of those off-dates included a stop at The Ready Room in The Grove district of St. Louis, a smaller venue than Pop’s in Sauget, IL (just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis), where Children Of Bodom usually headlines locally. St. Louis’ own Final Drive was added to kick off a rather respectable crowd for a Monday night – a trend that has fortunately been happening regularly in just the first few months of this year. The middle of this metal sandwich was Denver, Colorado thrashers Havok, making their return after headlining Fubar just two months prior in December 2015. Their ’80s-era influenced speed and vicious technical precision sounded perfect through The Ready Room’s sound system. In between songs, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist David Sanchez filled in the time with his signature socio-political diatribes.
When Children Of Bodom took the stage for their headlining set, you could tell that the band was at least a little taken aback by the smaller-sized crowd of fans in a lower-capacity club than they’ve been used to playing in the St. Louis-area. That did not seem to phase them, as they immediately exploded into a full set of career-spanning material, and quickly conveyed a positive connection with their audience. Fronted by lead vocalist/lead guitarist Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho, CoB raged flawlessly on the Monday night, clearly enjoying not only each other’s company among their band mates, but also the camaraderie of their fans.
In just the past year, The Ready Room has become one of my favorite St. Louis venues. Seeing bands there is never a bad experience. The layout is perfectly simple. The lighting is surprisingly grandiose. Rarely is the sound ever anything other than top-notch. This concert experience was no different; the only complaint with Children Of Bodom’s set is that the drums sounded a bit too loud in the mixing compared to the rest of the band. This is also the second concert I’ve photographed at this venue, but the first in which there was no barricade in which I could stand between the audience and the band. As a 6’5″ tall man, having to maneuver through a rabid crowd of moshing metalheads in order to snap some shots without standing too long in front of patrons is certainly a challenge, but one that I don’t think I will ever get tired of.
Please enjoy my photos from the night below!
Once again, we would like to extend our extra special thanks to Jon Freeman of Freeman Productions for the opportunity to photograph this concert!