January 2nd, 2014
On our way back to Chicago from the north woods Thursday, Tammy and I got stranded in Madison thanks to a massive snow storm back home. Of course we looked around to see if there were any shows, and we found that Throw the Fight would be playing at the Frequency along with Deep Sleep Operator later that night. We never pass up an opportunity to see a live show, so we headed over to the venue to check it out. A loud, angry-sounding lead guitar howled and screamed at us as we entered the place (our favorite way to walk into a room). We found out later that it wasn’t a guitar solo planned specially for our entrance; it was just really good timing combined with an extraordinary opening band, Deep Sleep Operator. The singer, Mark Ehlers, had an eerie Dave Mustaine-like growl in his voice and wore a mask and straightjacket which only added to the already daunting music. The guitar was being shredded more than any cheese that night (being in Wisconsin, that’s a rarity), and all these aspects combined to give their set a mysterious, almost sci-fi atmosphere.
The headliners, Throw the Fight, came from their homes in Minneapolis, MN for their first show of the New Year. The band opened with, “Bloodshot Eyes,” using the mixture of high notes and screamed lyrics along with techno-y guitar riffs to pump up the crowd. Although The Frequency was a smaller venue, the fans didn’t seem to care, rocking out like they were in a festival-sized crowd full of people. The fans that stood up against the stage had the time of their life, dancing and singing along to nearly every song. Throw the Fight didn’t mind the size of the crowd, using it to their advantage to talk and interact with the audience throughout the show. When a fan asked singer, James Clark, to take his shirt off he responded by telling them to take their shirt off, and the whole thing ended up with a fan onstage taking a jaeger bomb and throwing his shirt to the crowd. The band kept the fun levels high by playing some of their more popular songs like “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight” and “Not So Hollywood.”
Throw the Fight played well together despite the smaller stage, with all the members moving around and making room for each other, taking turns at the front. The drummer, Jeff Baustert, put on an excellent show, hitting each piece of his kit with high intensity, making everyone in the crowd feel the heartbeat of the band. Each member seemed in their own zone with the music, and it made for a strong show. I look forward to seeing what this band can bring to a larger stage during the months where the temperature is not at subzero levels!