BUTLER, NJ—The foundation of being good at what you do begins with humility. This can be especially difficult if you are in a renowned metal band, where the fans do not only worship the music, but the members themselves. Clearly, the guys in question here have their feet on the ground and their heads in the right place because on Oct. 7, they gave back in the way fans love the most. Atlanta-based Sevendust got completely on the level of their listeners by holding a listening party and playing a small show right here in Jersey at Architekt Music, a studio, lesson, and venue facility, in which they have spent the past month working on an album that is set to be released next year. Only 107 lucky diehards got to be a part of the event. Upon entering, each attendee received a VIP pass, a t-shirt commemorating “The Exclusive Studio Hang,” and what can be considered the experience of a lifetime.
As the fans poured into the intimate venue, the anticipation was tangible. The listening session for the untitled record commenced with an introduction on the small stage from Sirius XM jockeys José Mangin of Liquid Metal and Kayla Riley of Octane. Bursting through the speakers came the rough mixes of the new material and still with the band nowhere in sight, the excitement continued to build amongst the fans packed onto the hardwood floor space. The voice of Lajon Witherspoon, the group’s lead vocalist, was ringing clear over the undeniably heavy new music, the volume of which seemed to rock the brick walls of Architekt. Reactions amongst the crowd to the new Sevendust guitar parts were wide-eyed grins and knowing nods of approval all around. The focus on the quality of the music was particularly sharpened and the tracks, still with only working titles, were each individually distinct. Not a head in the house wasn’t bobbing along to the music, the vocal melodies were incredible, and it seems the band is taking their sound to a place heavier than ever before.
After about 40 minutes of rough cuts, Sevendust finally took the stage with smiles on their faces, opening their set with “Splinter” off of 2010’s Cold Day Memory. The fans were ecstatic and with that welcome, the guys seemed right at home, thanking the audience repeatedly for their support. “Terminator” and “Bitch” were also included in the setlist, two older tracks off of the group’s self-titled debut, and it was during these songs that the crowd began yelling for more. Due to the petite size of the venue, onlookers could easily request a song or ask a question, and the guys were totally receptive to any interaction. The musicians continued on to play the song “Face To Face” from 2003’s Seasons, closing the performance.
Consequently, the band proceeded to invite everyone at the show to meet them for a drink at a bar across from their hotel that, due to its lesser qualities, they’ve nicknamed, “Murder Bar.” Before dismissing the fans for the evening, Sevendust took the time to allow every one of the 107 attendees to partake in a meet and greet with them. At the end of the night, not a single guest left empty-handed and the satisfaction from a job well done by these performers was evident. Sevendust know how to host a hell of a party and have essentially set the bar for keeping their relationship real with their listeners.