In a rare twist, I saw this tour on two different nights in two different locations. Both shows had their own energy and appeal. On a Monday night, I drove to Baltimore, MD and saw the bands play at The Metro Baltimore and then down to Richmond, VA for the Cobra Cabana show on Wednesday. Wednesday was an outdoor show and the last night for Lutharo to be on the tour as they headed back to Canada the next day. Monday had a polished, well-staged performance and Wednesday had end of tour high jinx that made the show feel different; more laid back and fun. Both shows were excellent and filled with notable things which you will read about below.


Band Members:

  • Chad Michaels – Vocals/Guitars
  • Scotty V – Guitars
  • Danny Doll – Bass
  • Gunner – Drums


  1. Bleach Creep
  2. Sunburn
  3. Gorgeous
  4. Dizzy
  5. Sinner
  6. Get Away With Enough
  7. Reptile Roots

Wicked is just that. They are a cross between 70s Classic Rock and 80s Hair Metal with some Spinal Tap and Steel Panther thrown in for good measure. And the guys are pretty; pretty awesome, pretty good musicians, and pretty damn handsome. They got the show started both nights with an energetic, brash performance with lots of posing, synchronized guitar playing (think of Judas Priest in the 80s), and wailing vocals that could blow your mind.

They brought fire and passion that filled the stages, especially at Cobra Cabana since the stage was pretty small. In Baltimore, they kept to the stage and just played a killer set. In Richmond, they cut loose and horsed around. Since it was Lutharo’s last night on tour and one day before Chad’s birthday, Lutharo decided to jump the gun and the audience got to sing him “Happy Birthday” with both bands on stage and all of us cutting up. This was not the last bit of fun to be had on this night, so keep reading for more.

Wicked’s guitarists and bassist all left the stage and played in the crowd. They jammed with us, wandered around, posed, strutted, and got the crowd riled up. It was a complete blast and the kind of show you can only get at a smaller venue. I got the chance to shoot the breeze with the band and get to know them all. This is a bunch of nice guys that will take the time to interact with existing fans and make plenty of new ones, like me. I am a convert, so much so that I bought the vinyl and got them to sign it.

Both shows were really good, though the Wednesday show was more memorable because I knew better what to expect and was ready for it. I’ll always try to catch these guys live any time they are in town from here on out. I know it will be a blast.


Band Members:

  • Krista Shipperbottom – Vocals
  • Victor Bucur – Guitars/Backing Vocals
  • Jeff Wilson – Guitars
  • Chris Pacey – Bass
  • Cory Hofing – Drums


  1. Reaper’s Call
  2. Ruthless Bloodline
  3. Wings Of Agony (Monday)
  4. Creating A King (Wednesday)
  5. Born To Ride
  6. Lost In A Soul

Monday’s show was a little rough. More than half the band was struggling with an illness and they had to fight to pull off the set. There was some coughing and sniffling, but they all toughed it out and put on a great show. Krista was an absolute trooper, giving it everything she had through some complex songs. For those that do not know, she does both clean and harsh vocals, often flipping between the two on consecutive phrases. Doing this with a sore instrument must have been agonizing, but she gave it her all.

On Wednesday, she was in full blown strep throat mode, so she rested those wonderful pipes and the band played instrumentally. First off, I will never, ever get mad at a band for resting a singer when necessary. Much respect to the rest of them for giving her the rest she needs to maintain her voice. Second, damn these dudes know how to rock the hell out. They shredded the songs, throwing in some vocals every once in a while. Krista stood towards the back and jammed with them, making sure they knew she was there for them. The solidarity was awesome to see.

Again, all three stringed musicians walked/jumped off the stage to interact with the crowd. We, the audience, got to air guitar with them as they played around and had fun, continuing what Wicked had started. Both Wicked and Lutharo were in the crowd for all the sets, jamming out with the crowd and just being fans with the rest of us. This is all part of what made this such a memorable night. The bands were not just hanging at the merch table, they were actively headbanging with the rest of us. They paid their homage to the rest of the bands on tour and thanked both Vicious Rumors and Raven for being gracious tour mates and for the excellent mentorship they provided.

Lutharo is a class act. They were very Canadian; polite, funny, and a little weird. It was a pleasure getting to chat with them and discuss their music. Since they are the only ones using harsh vocals, they had a different tone than most of the other bands, but they fit in with the eclectic nature of the bill. There was something for everyone on this tour and Lutharo was my taste of the heavier end with some of the Death Metal influences they exhibit, though that is not their dominant sound. The jam session on Wednesday was a showcase of technical musicianship that is just a joy to watch, so much so that I ended up with the vinyl and a drum skin. I already knew and loved the band, but that really grew after getting to know them better.

Vicious Rumors

    Band Members:

    • Brian Allen – Vocals
    • Geoff Thorpe – Guitars/Vocals
    • Gunnar DüGrey – Guitars/ Backing Vocals
    • Robin Utbult – Bass
    • Larry Howe – Drums/Backing Vocals


    1. Ride (Into The Sun)
    2. Medusa
    3. Soldiers Of The Night
    4. Murder
    5. March Or Die
    6. In Fire
    7. Lady Took A Chance
    8. Digital Dictator
    9. Minute To Kill
    10. Down To The Temple
    11. Hellraiser
    12. Don’t Wait For Me

    Vicious Rumors is classic-era Bay Area Thrash Metal. Closer to Exodus than Metallica, they go for the heavier end of the genre. They pulled the set from the earlier albums for the most part, going for a more nostalgic show. One thing they definitely did was bring the heat. Both the Monday and Wednesday shows were pure energy. Monday was restricted mostly to the stage as it was farther off the ground and harder to move about. That show was very precise and measured, thrashing through the songs with a killer brutality that made me smile and headbang.

    Wednesday was again very different. They did as the bands before them, used the stage and the floor to have fun and get down with the crowd. To save space on stage, Brian put his mic stand on the floor and hung out with the audience most of the time. A few of the songs are well-known enough to have members of the crowd that some were invited to sing along. The guys in Wicked managed to surround the microphone a few times and were the first ones to have more fun than anyone. Those guys were just crazy enough to keep the party going all night.

    The show was a lot of fun, but also a clinic on how to Thrash a crowd. The guitars were blazing and the bass thundered as the drums ran for their lives from the delicious pounding they were taking. As an old-school Thrash lover, this was a great show for me, (I know, I say that a lot). Still, I’ve seen many of the giants of the Bay Area Thrash metal scene and Vicious Rumors is among the best in concert. These guys have been playing/touring for 45 years and it shows. They played two great sets in Baltimore and Richmond.

    Vicious Rumors managed to make the most of both venues, molding each show to fit the crowd and the space. That is what you get when you see a veteran band live. Fantastic musicianship, killer music, and a fun show with memories built in. Watching these guys play was something everyone should do at least once. The soaring vocal power backed by the killer musicianship made for a great night, but there was still one more band to go…


    Band Members:

    • John Gallagher – Lead Vocals/Bass
    • Mark Gallagher – Guitars/Vocal
    • Mike Heller – Drums


    1. Destroy All Monsters
    2. Hell Patrol
    3. The Power
    4. Surf the Tsunami
    5. Turn of the Screw
    6. All for One
    7. Rock Until You Drop
    8. Guitar Solo
    9. Faster Than the Speed of Light
    10. Inquisitor
    11. Bass Solo
    12. All Hell’s Breaking Loose
    13. On and On
    14. Break the Chain
    15. Chain Saw

    Raven is on their 50th Anniversary tour. As one of the major bands to come out of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, they’ve released 15 full-length albums, including their latest, All Hell’s Breaking Loose. As with the other three bands, the sets on Monday and Wednesday had different feels. Monday, they had a little bit more time and threw in a medley of songs from their influences starting out. They dropped most of this on Wednesday because of running out of time. Since the Richmond show was in a residential neighborhood, they had a hard cutoff time of 11PM. Remember, that was the show in greenhouse outdoors.

    One of the most impressive things about Raven (and Vicious Rumors) is that they are older metalheads, yet they still absolutely rock any stage they stand on. The “Old Guard” put on a clinic for the younger bands. Raven included both a guitar and a bass solo. There was not an official drum solo on the setlist, but Mike did get a few spots to show out. Raven is the only band that did not really get off the stage, but they were just too busy crushing it to be bothered. They still got the audience involved, talking to them, having a fun call-and-response time, and horsing around.

    These guys are consummate musicians. They play hard and give the crowd exactly what they want, a massive show with the greatest hits, new stuff, and a chance to watch a master class. Not many bassists use whammy bar or do crossover/one-handed playing. Both John and Mark sang and John showed he still has a voice that can outmatch many singers. His power and control in both his lower and higher register are impressive. As a band, they are a pure joy to watch. On top of that, they are a class act. Raven thanked Lutharo for joining them on the tour and made sure to praise them from the stage, highlighting that it was their last night on the tour.

    Wednesday night was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to hundreds of concerts (about 400 if I’m correct). There was the end of tour horseplay as a send off for Lutharo. Lutharo responded by rocking out with the other bands as they crushed the stage. Probably the funniest thing was when Lutharo and Wicked started breaking down Mike’s drumkit while he was still playing it on Raven’s last song. By the end of the song, all he had left was his bass drums, snare, and one cymbal. It was fun watching him laugh, roll his eyes, and play all at the same time.

    Watching that Wednesday show was special. I picked up merchandise from each band and Lutharo even threw in an extra pin for good measure, which made me very happy. Everyone signed what I bought and chatted throughout the night. I left knowing that was a one-of-a-kind show, the type you remember for years to come, that you talk about at shows you see later on. I saw Rush and Iron Maiden in the early 80s. I saw Pantera as a local band. I saw Metallica open for Ozzy with Cliff Burton still alive. This is another of those shows I will tell the story of in the future.

    There is something special about smaller venue and local shows. You get to be part of the show in a way, if you want to. You get to talk to the bands, you get to see them at almost eye level, and you get support music in a way that is much more personal. The shows are more intimate. The fans are typically more involved. Slayer and Metallica may be able to sell out arenas, but they cannot connect with their fanbase like these guys do. Raven and Vicious Rumors and Lutharo and Wicked all spend time with their fans and give them something no arena show can, an experience that leaves a personal impression.

    Long live the smaller venue.