What is a legacy? A legacy is what one leaves behind. All bands have legacies but the most influential pave the way for many others — and their songs never die. Many have been dubbed “legacy bands,” a term I don’t particularly care for. But who asked me? Anyway, many worthy bands are continuing to add to their legacy. Some have never stopped, and some have reunited and picked up where they left off.
On Nov. 1, I got to attend a glorious concert at The Fillmore in Denver with ’80s heavy metal legends Mercyful Fate, along with German thrash icons Kreator and Ohio black ’n’ rollers Midnight. Wow, what a show to witness. Midnight came out clad in black and bullet belts, performing with full force and Motörhead-like angst and precision. Following Midnight was Kreator, legends in their own right. Kreator is one of the most influential thrash bands, in my opinion. Where American bands like Metallica and Slayer often get the most praise, the bands in Germany are thrashing just as hard. They absolutely crushed songs like “Violent Revolution” and “Enemy of God,” leading The Fillmore to erupt in circle pits.
That now brings us to Mercyful Fate. Forming in 1981, the band has influenced entire genres that came after them. This was their first tour in 20 years and it was worth the wait. Their set was filled with pentatonic scales, soprano vocals and the occult. To begin the show, a Mercyful Fate banner dropped and the stage appeared with staircases, arches and occult imagery. In walks iconic frontman King Diamond with a goat mask and his classic black-and-white facepaint, making for a spooky scene just as the band ripped into their 1984 classic “The Oath.” The show was filled with energy and crowd engagement and it was a very special event I’m glad I got to witness. Displaying precise musicianship and a love for theatrics, Mercyful Fate is still a band to be reckoned with.
There are more legendary bands upholding their legacies and playing this week right here in Colorado Springs. On Friday, Nov. 11, East Coast hardcore/metal legends Hatebreed will be playing The Black Sheep along with Gatecreeper, Bodysnatcher and Dying Wish. You can also catch some alt rock royalty at Lulu’s Downstairs with Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket. Joining Phillips will be Garrison Star. On Sunday, Nov. 13, head to The Black Sheep for an evening with Machine Head, who will be playing a special extended set that will span their more than 20-year career.
But we have more than legacy bands alone putting on shows around town; there’s lots more to see this week! Tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 9, catch some Americana from Tylor and The Train Robbers and Joe Johnson at The Black Sheep. The following evening, Thursday, Nov. 10, head down to Fritzy’s for a special night of goth and industrial with Alice, Revolution State and Zander. Friday, the 11th also holds more fun thanks to Vultures and indie rock from Krew, Mayor Grey and Tiny Tomboy. If you’re looking for a special interactive experience, find your way to Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College for their ongoing songwriting series. Colorado College students will be joined by Springs hip-hop greats The Reminders for a special songwriting seminar that will, of course, feature live performances.