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Havok, Stafford Palace Monday October 14, 2013

Havok’s David Sanchez

Stafford Springs Connecticut is nesteled in the Northern corner of the nutmeg state.  It is the picture postcard New England and in October a blaze of foliage that people pay top bucks to tour.  Narrow streets and statley colonial homes dot a landscape that makes you want to grab a camera to prove it’s real.

Approaching the venue I was a bit confused.  The hardware store, town hall, an old mill.. a rock club?  Tonight the town would be assaulted by thrash metal heroes Havok who were supporting Soulfly… In Stafford, are you kidding me?  I expected to see some puritanical picketers outside the venue.  Its a cross between The Waltons and Stephen King novels- never have I encountered a venue more oddly placed for a more perplexing show.  But it happened- and I was there.

The problem, as they say is location…location…location.  A good 20 min off the highway through winding woods only the die hards could venture out.  The venues 18+ age policy was another hinderance.  Ya gotta go all ages with this genre- and if they had, those country metal heads would have flocked.  The club opted not to and paid the price with a small yet enthusiastic crowd.    The less than 300 person attendance made this my very first ‘intimate’ metal show.  To be honest, I sorta loved it. Not one kick to the face in my entire evening.  Sweet!

Havoks thrash metal ripped the room apart.  More enthusiastic and engaging than others of their genre they literally brought the audience in to the show.  A united front rather than yelling at the crowd.  Frontman David Sanchez is a showman extrodinaire.  Rather than shouting down as most metal Gods attempt he opted a more positive and inclusive approach.  Interacting with the audience with a ‘we’re in this together’ vibe.

I wish I had more time to identify these  intricate tunes- without a doubt this band is schooled in their craft and should thank their folks for the music lessons.  Technically precise in a noise field is refreshing.  Rarely do you hear shredding guitars with detail and power.  I was pretty captivated by it.  I stopped Sanchez at the end asking for the set list and instead he pointed to his head and said ‘it’s all in here’.

More proof of a intelligent band in a rock genre not exactly known for intellectual property.  These guys kicked ass and opening for Soul Fly is a great way to spread the word.  I really wish their New England stretch included another local stop I would love to catch them again.  Until then.. 80’s thrash is very alive and well thanks to Havok.

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