The valley of the sun rarely gets special shows, since we are not a music or film mecca. we do get our hands on the general tours that cover the USA from east to west along the year. But it seems with the Superbowl in town, even metal fans in Phoenix got a special treatment last Thursday night when heavy metal band Ashes of Ares played an exclusive and fairly size show at Joe’s Grotto in North Phoenix.
For those who don’t recognize the name, or perhaps don’t know who this band is, Ashes Of Ares is the relatively new band of Matt Barlow (ex Iced Earth), Freddie Vidales (ex Iced Earth), and Van Williams (ex Nevermore). The band released their début self-titled album in 2013, which got a great reception by fans and media alike, even it was added on several end of the year top album lists that year. Before the album‘s release the band played ProgPower USA XIV, followed by a successful European run with Powerwolf & Battle Beast in the same year. Due to careers & family commitments the band is not a full-time touring band, but they do their best to stay on the road as much as they can.
Their exclusive show in Phoenix, AZ was the result of a tour that was planned to take them to South America, but unfortunately that tour got cancelled or some of the dates were changed, with only Phoenix as the only confirmed date, the guys flew over to AZ and delivered an astonishing and one of a kind show at Joe’s Grotto last Thursday night.
The show started around 7:45 pm with local band Ashes Of The Dead opening the show with an entertaining set that displayed potential, and a strong connection to those that were at the venue at the time, and to the ones that little by little were arriving to the show. The following band was Triple Play a local heavy metal band that with their style warmed up the increasing crowd that was anxiously waiting for Ashes Of Ares. Around 10:30 pm Ashes Of Ares took the stage, the interesting of having this kind of gifts from heavy metal heaven, is that you never know what to expect. For our luck Ashes Of Ares played their whole début album from beginning to end. So their whole set was quite the experience, as the record is so diverse and dynamic by itself.
One of the greatest thing of having this once in a life time experience is the fact that since they weren’t rushed out by a touring schedule, or a bus call, there was enough time for them & the fans to interact, sign some merch & autographs, and take pictures. Definitely, this show was a special occasion that will go down into the history books of our metal scene as a powerful and unique experience, that hardly we will be able to repeat anytime soon.
Before the show, The Age Of Metal had an exclusive chat with Matt Barlow & Freddie Vidales of Ashes Of Ares. We talked about the impact of the album among fans and media, their plans for a new album, and what is next for the band in 2015.