CHRIS KNIGHT (JAMES HETFIELD) – VOCALS, GUITAR
KEVIN KNIGHT (JASON NEWSTED) – BASS
CHRIS BRIGHTWELL (KIRK HAMMETT) – LEAD GUITAR
TONE DECORTE (LARS ULRICH) – DRUMS
I’m six weeks into one of the best experiences in my life, covering the AXS.TV live concert series: “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands.” Every week, the bands and the audiences seem to get bigger and better. I don’t know if Katie Daryl, the shows vivacious host, planned it that way or if word is getting around. Either way, I think AXS.TV’s idea of showcasing some of the best of the best tribute bands is genius. This weeks show proved even more explosive and metally-er with Damage Inc’s tribute to Metallica.
I was running a little late to the Roxy and knew if I didn’t get in those doors before the masses I would never be able to secure my prime position at the stage. At 7:00 PM, when the doors opened, the line was already down the Strip, but somehow I managed to squeeze myself between the white line and the jib. The white line you ask? A no stand zone, but standing so close to the line also meant the jib would be dangerously close and even worse in my shot. Still I knew the angle would be great for crowd shots and side angles of the singer. Nearing show time, The Roxy was filling to capacity with hardcore Damage Inc fans clamoring for their fill of Metallica.
As the curtain rose and the crowd raised their devil horns in the air Damage Inc started their set with Metallica’s most commercial success, “Enter Sandman.” Now, I know this band wasn’t actually Metallica but Chris Knight’s resemblance to James Hetfield was undeniable, giving an extra edge to his performance, which by the way was spot-on vocals and guitar. By the faces in the crowd, I knew they were thinking the same thing and it didn’t matter that these guys weren’t the real thing, they were immersed in the down and dirty head banging experience.
With sweat pouring down their faces, these guys put on a high-energy performance suited for the likes of large concert venues like the Staples Center. The pure metal explosion of Chris Brightwell’s guitar work, not only captured the solos note-for-note, but expertly crafted Kirk Hammet’s guitar tone so crucial to the Metallica sound. Playing to the edge of the stage,bassist Kevin Knight urged the crowd to join in vocally and physically, all the while demonstrating amazing chops, while Tone Decorte, on drums, displayed raw drum banging ecstasy.
When I first started photographing this series, I didn’t realize the scope these bands had. I was unaware of the number of loyal fans who followed and treated them just like their rock star counterparts. The love and passion these tribute bands have for the artists they represent is unquestionable. Damage Inc, with their Metallica fan base filled the Roxy on this Monday night, but they weren’t just Metallica fans, they were also Damage Inc. fans.
AXS.TV “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” hosted by @Katie Daryl airs Mondays at 8PM and 11PM. Tickets are FREE and can be purchased at EVENTBRITE. These shows are hugely popular so you’re urged to get to The Roxy early. There’s two more shows that will finish out Season 1: Hollywood U2 (U2) June 3; Rumours (Fleetwood Mac) June 10.
Stay Tuned for Season 2