Throwing a fist in the air and one finger into heaven, Evil Presley lowered his head while the band kicked into The Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop” as a closing salute to the hardcore faithful and The Independents’ late friend and former manager Joey Ramone. A rousing encore tribute that almost didn’t happen.

Four bands for one night of rock madness is a damn, good deal and Operation Hennessey opened it all up. It was cool seeing former members of Diversity is an Old Wooden Ship playing again on the Vinyl Music Hall stage as John Sisson (guitar), Ryan Freeman (drums) , Josh Taylor (vocals/guitar) and Austin Harris (bass) led Operation Hennessey. Check out the band’s page for free music and more show info.

Fresh and grimy from touring with The Independents on select dates of their tour, Ft Walton’s Nik Flagstar & His Dirty Mangy Dogs littered the stage with healthy chunks of rock n’ roll raging. I really want to see Flagstar working his piano skills and Independents frontman Evil Presley crooning out duets like the Rat Pack of the sixties with a punk after-market retooling. That would be a hell-swinging crown of a song.

Headstone Hangover…crushing! The Columbus, Georgia militia of sound was best described by my close friend as “Pulling from the rawest parts of the coolest genres and beating you senseless with them.” Three words for The Wolfman (vocals, guitar), Jon Hayes (drums), Chad Darkwait (guitar) and Peper (bass)…Come back soon.

Can you ever get too much of The Independents? Hell, No! Every time Evil Presley (vocals), childhood friend Willy B. and their brothers in music mayhem pay a visit to your area, cancel all plans and join the adventure. A party in the company of friends and the wildest soundtrack imaginable is the essence of every Independents show I’ve ever seen.

Kicking near the end of the night, The Independents had just finished their cover of Danzig’s “Mother” and the lights went black as the venue’s house music cut on signaling the end of the show. But the fans would not let the beloved South Carolina band leave unless they finished us off with the Ramones tribute. “Hey! Ho! Lets Go!” was the thunder that pushed Presley to stand in darkness,looking toward the sound booth. With a nod of rock approval, Vinyl production manager “Disco” Oden showered the stage in white lights and the band proceeded to put a fitting finish on the night.

– Check out one of the craziest interviews I’ve ever done: Evil Presley @ The Alabama Music Box.

– Michael L. Smith

Link to PNJ photographer Jimmy Nguyen’s photo gallery from the show