Health hazards and heavy metal at the Killswitch Engage show

Photo: Scott Den Herder

Some rules for the heavy metal show: Moshing and headbanging are sweaty activities; make sure to hydrate (and no, beer doesn't count as hydration). When in the mosh pit, always be aware of the location of your body parts in relation to the body parts of others. Oh, and somewhere in the midst of that drinking, moshing and headbanging, maybe take a little time to watch the band, because they just might be completely awesome.

Killswitch Engage @ HOB

All of these simple lessons were in full effect at tonight's Killswitch Engage show at the House of Blues, where standing in one place all night afforded me the chance to catch (almost literally in one case) two audience members passing out (one male, one female, both looking severely dehydrated), as well as one dude coming out of the mosh pit with a large gash on his forehead. It also gave me the opportunity to see an excellent if disappointingly short set by Killswitch, whose ferocious metalcore attack was in fine form as they ripped through a mix of songs from their four full-length albums, including last month's self-titled release.

It's always nice to see a metal band with a sense of humor, and although Killswitch's songs are serious, often heartwrenching tales of betrayal and emptiness, the five band members were jovial and energetic, taking the stage dressed in matching tuxedo T-shirts with the sleeves cut off, like a group of junior-high jokesters. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz even complemented his outfit with a cape, a bandanna and some tiny little jogging shorts. Dutkiewicz and singer Howard Jones traded barbs throughout the show, but they were dead serious about whipping the crowd into a frenzy and delivering impeccable versions of Killswitch anthems like "My Curse" and "The End of Heartache" (both of which inspired big sing-alongs).

The show closed after only 65 minutes with the band's popular cover of Dio's "Holy Diver," and there wasn't a single moment wasted. But even after three opening acts (Whitechapel, Job for a Cowboy, All That Remains), the sold-out crowd clearly would have been happy to stay for 65 more. Even the ones who had passed out.


Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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