Flotsam and Jetsam live at Malone’s Concert Venue – Santa Ana, California – July 23, 2017

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Flotsam and Jetsam‘s Eric AK Knutson at Malone’s Concert venue in Santa Ana, California July 23. (Photo Credit: Tammy Greene)

On Sunday, July 23 at Malone’s Concert venue in Santa Ana, California, ADHD Entertainment presented ten thrash metal bands on two stages with headliners from Phoenix, Arizona Flotsam and Jetsam.

Arriving at approximately 5:45 PM for sound check and to conduct an on-site pre-show interview with frontman Eric AK Knutson and guitarist Michael Gilbert, I realize this was going to be a long night since Flotsam and Jetsam were not hitting the stage until 11:15 PM. Scanning over the names of the bands playing there was only one other band I recognized that was Exmortus who were the headliners on the second stage.

Rarely do I sit and watch a show but on this night, I decided to watch the other bands till Flotsam and Jetsam hit the stage. As the night went on, the crowd grew and I started to notice it was getting a bit warm.

As I briefly touched on the subject in my interview Jason Bittner leaving to join Overkill, left the drumming duties open. Well-known drummer Ken K Mary (Fifth Angel, Alice Cooper, House Of Lords, TKO, Chastain) filled in the drumming duties temporarily. With Flotsam and Jetsam heading to Europe on tour, they added a handful of West Coast dates a warm-session you could say. Which was great having the pleasure of seeing them twice in eight months.

It’s showtime as drummer Ken K Mary takes his throne behind the kit and the opening track Incantation starts playing, guitarist Steve Conley, bassist Michael Spencer, guitarist Michael Gilbert and frontman Eric AK Knutson take the stage opening with Hammerhead off Doomsday for the Deceiver followed by Monkey Wrench off Flotsam and Jetsam, and rounding out the first three songs She Took an Ax off their first release Doomsday for the Deceiver which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016.

Originally a fifteen-song set list was cut down to thirteen songs due to technical difficulties, scratching off Suffer the Masses, a single released in 1990 and Gitty Up off Ugly Noise. With 12 studio albums there’s no shortage of killer songs to choose from, which included Doomsday for the Deceiver, No Place for Disgrace, Drift and the latest release the self-titled album Flotsam and Jetsam.

I found myself singing along, okay maybe a couple words here and there as I stand in awe in between taking pictures as frontman Eric AK sings so fast and precise. It’s amazing. The dueling guitars of Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley always challenging each other during the guitar solos as one of them gives way to a nod and smile. Bassist Michael Spencer, a showman in his own right, has enough energy for the whole band. With his head banging and hair flying, you can feel your heartbeat with every note that comes out of that Dingwall bass. Last but not least, it was an honor and pleasure to see Ken K Mary behind the kit, the driving force. My vote, he stays!

This being a Sunday night show didn’t stop the fans from staying to the end and later as they gathered around the merch table waiting for the guys to come out, take pictures and sign autographs.

Check out Flotsam and Jetsam on their website and Facebook page for all upcoming news and keep an eye out for the new release in the spring of 2018.

Flotz till death!!

Setlist:
Hammerhead
Monkey Wrench
She Took an Axe
Seventh Seal
DOD – Dreams of Death
Life is a Mess
Hard on You
Iron Maiden
Me
ILYD – I Live You Die
Smoked Out
Doomsday For The Deceiver
No Place

Read Tammy’s pre-show interview with Eric AK and Michael Gilbert here.

All photos by Tammy Greene
©2017. Please DO NOT copy or use without permission.

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