The Waiting Room in Omaha is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues. I have now seen three shows there and they are all bands I was shocked to see in Nebraska. Blind Guardian and Queensryche had been there previously. When I heard that German thrash metal titans Kreator were going to be there, I had to go again. I have been a big fan of Kreator for about ten years now, and their early albums are some of my favorite thrash metal albums of all time.
Kreator was supported by a couple of local Nebraska bands, which was cool. I had not previously seen any Nebraska bands live. Since I am somewhat isolated from Lincoln and Omaha, I only go to shows with bigger bands, instead of checking out local groups. I was vaguely familiar with both of the supporting bands, so I had a general idea of what to expect.
Garoted was the first band to play on Wednesday night. The death metal band from Lincoln actually put on a fairly impressive show. They have been around for about ten years now and have released a couple of albums, so they had quite a bit of material to draw from. Their music was obviously heavily influenced by early death metal bands and even the German thrash metal scene. They even covered "Curse the Gods" by Destruction. All told, I was actually very surprised by how much I enjoyed Garoted. Even more shocking, my wife did too.
After Garoted came Ezra, the very long-running Lincoln band. I remember seeing Ezra appear on a cable access show back when I was in high school, which was almost 20 years ago now. The guitarist and bassist are brothers, though it is their other brother that is inarguably more famous: Cory Schlesinger played football at the University of Nebraska and went on to an 11 year career with the Detroit Lions. Ezra was a little more raw-sounding than Garoted, but turned in a reasonably impressive performance as well. I did not remember much about their sound from when I saw them on cable access before, so I don't know if their sound changed at all.
Kreator took the stage next and played a healthy mix of stuff off of their new album and several classics from their more than 30 year career. I like their latest album, but not nearly as much as their albums from the 1980's and early 1990's. Stuff from that era was what I was most looking forward to, and Kreator definitely played some good stuff. "People of the Lie" is perhaps one of my favorite Kreator songs and the band played it fairly early in the set. I was a little surprised to hear "Phobia" as that is from a mostly-reviled era of their career. The band was a bludgeoning force all night, they sounded great and were as aggressive as their recorded output. Mille Petrozza's voice is not as powerful as it was early on in their career, but that is to be expected. The raw intensity was certainly present though. Kreator saved the best for last of course, with a three song set at the very end of the show that included "Violent Revolution", "Under the Guillotine", and of course set closer "Pleasure to Kill". It was great seeing a band that I had no expectation to ever see in Nebraska. Now, if only Sodom can show up.
After the concert, I asked my wife what she thought. She said she enjoyed the concert well enough, though the vocals were not to her liking and she was not sure she would like their albums. That is as close to a ringing endorsement that I could have expected.