I had no idea what I was getting into when I agreed to cover Hell Yeah at the House of Blues in beautiful downtown Cleveland. Obviously, I knew the band but it would be a stretch to call me a fan but after seeing them perform live, am I a fan? Um…Hell Yeah!

Before we get into how the headliners fared, let’s talk about the opening acts. The show was a triple bill. Opening the evening’s events was Kyng and I’m sorry to say by the time I made it through security and got myself all situated, I missed most of their set. I’ll catch you next time around guys, I promise.

The middle child in this triplet of metal was the Swedish rockers Avatar, now these guys,  they are something else. I had not heard of them prior to this show and I can’t help but wonder, how the hell that is. I struggle to explain their sound as it frankly defies explanation. I’ve heard it described as “melodic death metal” and that is as good a description as any. This may sound strange but I got shades of Rush from them, except for when lead singer Johannes Eckerström lets loose with his guttural scream that is unlike any other I’ve ever heard. But their songs all tell a story and are very intricate and precise, hence my Rush comparison. It’s hard to describe but I can tell you that they played one of the single best sets of metal I have ever laid eyes and ears on. I knew nothing of their music going into this,  had never heard one note of any of their songs but I was riveted to every second of stage time that this ensemble had. They are electrifying on stage and I have since included all of their tracks on my playlist. Avatar, if you’re not listening to them, change that now.

The crowd reaction was instantaneous and unanimous. These guys blew the roof off the place. I was actually exhausted after their short yet powerful set. Keep an eye out for them and next time they are in town, be there.

As good as Avatar was, there was no confusion on who was going to rule supreme on this steamy Wednesday night. Hell Yeah was in the house and the house might just not be left standing when all was said and done.

Any self-respecting metal head knows the story of Hell Yeah, how they came to be, their “Super Group” status and their legendary live shows. What has seemed to elude the band was any type of commercial success and you want to know how many shits the band gives about said commercial success – zero baby!

This near capacity crowd at House of Blues knew every note, every word of every song and they let the love flow freely and the band felt it – you could tell they did. The energy flowed from fan to performer and the vibe just kept building till it reached a fever pitch.

As I’ve already confessed to you, not what I would call a fan of this band. I knew of them and their story and had heard a song or two here and there but had never really paid them much attention. That all changed on Wednesday night as the performance I witnessed was nothing short of spectacular, every member of the band brought their A game – as I have a feeling they do every night but, exciting to hear metal performed so perfectly, what a treat.

I’ve long been a fan of that two lead guitar sound and I don’t know that anyone is out there doing it better these days than Hell Yeah!

Kudos have to go out to whoever engineered the sound that evening. It was so crisp and clean, literally took my breath away on several occasions. The entire evening was a buffet of spectacularly performed metal and I, along with the rest of the crowd on hand feasted heartedly. After Rob Zombie on Tuesday night and Hell Yeah and Avatar on Wednesday night – I’m thinking House of Blues may want to pay out for a structural survey cause that place was rocked to its foundation on back to back nights.