Metal Church & DORO Rock Club Red

Doro Pesch, lead singer of Doro

Review & Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: 13th Floor Entertainment
Venue: Club Red
Date: Saturday April 20th, 2019

Usually when you go see a duo-headlining show, the bands on the lesser bill are just ok.  But tonight, we were delighted with 4 really outstanding bands.  Of course, we have to acknowledge the headliners, Metal Church and DORO.  Both of these bands are outstanding power metal bands in their own rights.  But then we also got to hear very good local bands Images of Eden and DemiAura.  One thing that got me during the entire show was not once did the crowd form a mosh pit or crowd surf.  Instead the audience was really into the music, fist bumping and singing alone with most of the songs.

Metal Church

Metal Church drum kit and backdrop at Club Red

For tonight’s show, Metal Church was the closing act.  They are an American Power Metal band from the West coast music scene of the 80s.  Over the last 30 years they have produced 12 studio albums with Damned If You Do being their newest album.  Their set consisted of songs that covered their entire career.

Mike Howe, lead singer for Metal Church

The current lineup for Metal Church is Steve Howe as lead singer, Kurdt Vanderhoof and Rick Van Zandt on guitars, Stet Howland on drums and Steve Unger of bass guitar.  Mike Howe belted out the lyrics as he danced around the stage.  Mike reminded me a lot of Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden in the way they both work the crowd and the energy they bring to their performance.  The two guitarists, Kurdt and Rick would trade off lead duties as they provided the power riffs and rhythm for each song.  Stet Howland was like a jumping jack, he would rise from his drumkit during or after almost every song and shout out and point to the audience as if to invoke even more energy from the crowd.  The most amusing part of the show was Steve Unger bring out his cell phone and videoing the band and fans during the show.

Kurdt Vanderhoof, guitarist, Steve Unger, bass player and Rick Van Zandt, guitarist for Metal Church

They started the night with the title track of their newest album, “Damned If You Do”.  As with all great power metal groups, they have two outstanding guitarists that trade lead and rhythm duties.  Also, Steve was like all great metal bass player, laying down the bass beat and heavy bottom for all of the songs.  They ended the night with “Fake Healer” and “In Morning”.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Metal Church Setlist:                       (Album)
Damned If You Do                              (Damned If You Do)
Needle And Suture                              (XI)
Badlands                                            (Blessing in Disguise)
Gods Of Second Chance                     (Hanging in the Balance)
Start The Fire                                     (The Dark)
Date With Poverty                              (The Human Factor)
No Friend Of Mine                               (Hanging in the Balance)
Watch The Children Pray                     (The Dark)
The Black Things                                 (Damned If You Do)
Beyond The Black                               (Metal Church)
By The Numbers                                 (Damned If You Do)
Fake Healer                                         (Blessing in Disguise)
In Mourning                                         (The Human Factor)


Doro Pesch, lead singer of Doro

There are a number of female lead singers in the metal community, but one of the true goddesses of metal is Doro Pesch.  If you are a true metalhead, Doro is just one of the people that must be on your bucket list to see.  Doro started out in a little German metal band called Warlock.  Lately she has formed her own group called, DORO.  Over the years she has performed with all of the great Hard Rock and Metal giants.  In 2013, Doro received her first ever “Legends Award” at the Golden Gods Awards show.  In the same year she received the “Legend” award from Metal Hammer Germany.

The current DORO-band consists of Doro Pesch as front person and lead singer, Nick Douglas (Bass), Johnny Dee (Drums), Bas Maas (Guitars), Luca Princiotta (Guitars, Keyboard).  The entire band was very animated, dancing around pushing their energy into the crowd.  Doro was constantly moving to the front of the stage singing directly to the people in the front and attempting to get the crowd involved in the songs.  And it worked.  On most of the songs, the crowd would fist bump with Doro and sing along with her.  They even provided the chorus on a couple of songs.

Doro performing at Club Red

They started the night with “I Rule the Ruins” from her days when she was the lead singer of Warlock.  And the driving hot metal just kept coming.  Song after song Doro drove the crowd into hysteria.  I am sure that there are more then a few people in the crowd that had sore necks the next day from all of the headbanging.  They ended their set with “We Are The Metalheads” that she initially performed at the Wacken 2009 Metal Festival and was part of the Wacken Hymne album of that event.  All I could hear at the start of the song was the crowd screaming out “We Are, We Are” as their fists were pumping in a frenzy.

Doro apologized that she was not feeling well and her voice was hurting due to a cold.  If this was her performing with a bad voice then it must truly be spectacular when she is at her best.  Because tonight she dazzled the audience and had us eating out of her hand.  Whenever she asked the audience to sing along or raise their fist, we were all more than willing.  I personally can now check DORO off from my must-see bucket list.  However, if given the opportunity, I will definitely go she her again, she is that good and truly deserved the title, “The Goddess of Metal”.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Doro Setlist:                                     (Album/Cover)
I Rule the Ruins                                   (Triumph and Agony/Warlock cover)
Earthshaker Rock                                (Hellbound/Warlock cover)
Raise Your Fist in the Air                       (Raise Your Fist)
Blood, Sweat and Rock ’n’ Roll             (Forever Warriors, Forever United)
Burning the Witches                             (Burning the Witches/Warlock cover)
The Night of the Warlock                      (Fear No Evil)
Hellbound                                            (Hellbound/Warlock cover)
Metal Racer                                          (Burning the Witches/Warlock cover)
East Meets West                                   (Triumph and Agony/Warlock cover)
Breaking the Law                                  (Judas Priest cover)
All We Are                                             (Triumph and Agony/Warlock cover)
All For Metal                                          (Forever Warriors, Forever United)
We Are the Metalheads                          (Skyline cover)

Images Of Eden

Images of Eden is a Progressive / Heavy Metal band that is now located in Phoenix, Arizona. They were founded in 1998 by Gordon Tittsworth, their lead singer.  He is joined by Byron Nemeth on lead guitar, Eric Mulvaine on bass guitar, L. Dean Harris on keyboards and Steve Dorssom on drums.

Gordon Tittsworth, lead singer and Eric Mulvaine, bass player for Images Of Eden

Their entire set and this tour is to promote their newest album, Soulrise.  They started the set with “Harvest Day” which was a testament to Gordon’s powerful voice and the power guitar riffs provided by Bryon.  Since they had to setup in front of the later band’s equipment, Gordan had very little room to work the stage which you could see was cramping his style.  The nice thing was that finally the drummer, Steve Dorssom was fully lit and I could get some good shots of him.  They were told they had 1 more song half way through their set, so they ended with “Only Human”.

There was some kind of screwup and the band had to cut their set by 2 songs.  By the look of the drummer, Steve Dorssom, he was not happy.  I really wish they played their full set because the 2 omitted songs, “Shield Me” and “Once We Believed” are extremely good and I would have liked to hear them live.  Maybe next time they are in town I will catch them and get to hear their full set and they will have a bigger stage area to perform on so we can get the full Gordon treatment.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Images Of Eden Setlist:            (Album)
Harvest Day                                 (Soulrise)
Godless                                        (Soulrise)
Let Me Die Young                          (Soulrise)
Only Human                                  (Soulrise)


First up was the local Phoenix area progressive metal band, DemiAura.  Their biography states, “DemiAura’s music is forged organically through inspired improvisation, refined into complex, atmospheric metal, uniquely seasoned with layers of cinematic depth, then ultimately delivered with a fiery technical precision.  DemiAura’s music is fearlessly textured with influences from an endless bevy of styles. From progressive metal to jazz fusion and even film soundtracks, nothing is off the table from where DemiAura draws its inspiration.”

Chelsea Wrathchild, lead singer for DemiAura

DemiAura is a local Phoenix, Arizona band fronted by the dynamic lead singer, Chelsea Wrathchild, with Bobby Chavez playing lead guitar, Keith Heaney on drums and rounding out the group is Jonathan Gabriel Jr playing keyboards.

As we were walking in DemiAura had already started to play.  To me their sound reminded me of Opeth or other prog metal bands.  Chelsea has a very nice voice that remind me of Charlotte Wessels of Delian.  I don’t know if Bobby Chavez is a fan of John Petrucci, but he plays a lot like him and has similar mannerisms.  Keith is a good drummer, but stays hidden behind his drumkit.  Keith, if you really want to look impressive, you need to add more to your kit (e.g., see Mike Mangini’s kit).  Jonathan does a good job on keyboards but can’t really provide the pure power of a bass player.  The one thing they need is a solid bass player to help drive out the rhythm bottom.

Chelsea indicated that they had just signed a record deal and that they would be producing an album in the near future.  If you like prog style music and want to help support a local band, please look into it when it comes out.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved


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