TMS Concert Reviews – Dust Bowl Metal Festival – Day One (Scottsdale, AZ)


                Recently, That Metal Station had the pleasure of attending the first annual Dust Bowl Metal Festival. Hosted at Pranksters Too in Scottsdale, the show was brought to life by local scene driven and multi-talented Rich Ornelas (a.k.a Rev. Black Jack McBride) and would mark many first experiences in my journey into the AZ music scene. First time attending a show at Pranksters Too, this is a fantastic venue and I look forward to many more shows here. First time attending one of The Reverends well organized shows, Rich Ornelas did a fantastic job putting this together; there was a crowd forming during sound check and stayed throughout the entirety of the night. Most importantly it would mark the first collaboration with That Metal Station’s newest family member, photo artist Trevor Ronde of Expand your Mind Photography. Trevor joins me in this interview style retrospective of the Dust Bowl Metal Festival Day One.

Joe, Forest and Jeff of Ashes Of The Dead

Walter: Welcome to That Metal Station Trevor.

Trevor: Thanks a lot Walter for having me.

Walter: So we're here to talk about the awesome night that was Dust Bowl Metal Festival Day One. This was a first for both of us attending a show at Pranksters Too. You were there when I arrived already enjoying the atmosphere and feeling the place out. Tell me, what were your first impressions of the venue?

Trevor: I am pretty sure right when I opened up the doors to the actual venue part, I said out loud "Damn this place is huge!” It is just a very open venue with amazing lights and a really cool sound system.

I will definitely be hitting up a lot more shows there.

Walter: I agree Pranksters Too might very well become my new favorite in the Scottsdale area. The venue is very accommodating to the needs of the patron. My first thought was, "damn this place sounds great" very clean, and the atmosphere was just right for this sort of metal show.

Trevor: Absolutely and the employees were extremely nice and professional as well.

Walter: Service was top notch, plus the place had so much to offer in the way of entertainment. The separate hall allowed the people who were there for the show to enjoy the music without mingling with the patrons who weren't there for the show itself.

Kevin of Mersa

Trevor: And those patrons also didn't have to be forced into paying for the show if they only wanted to drink. Definitely a cool place! Next time, I need to try their food because it smelled damn good!

Walter: I grabbed a few French fries from DJ Deff Jeff, they were legit. Pranksters Too has everything you need and some.

Let's get into the show though. I think we were both impressed with the venue, lighting was good on your end for photos, and sound was good on my end for observing the music.

The night opened with the latest line up of Ashes of the Dead, they are finally settling in to their new line up. How was the experience for you on your end?

Trevor: I think Ashes of the Dead has found the members that they have been looking for. All four of them really clicked on stage and all sounded great together. I really look forward to seeing them progress as a band and creating the music they were destined to make.

Walter: They did a wonderful job opening the show, a perfect mix of hard ass metal without blowing the crowds mind; they really set the stage for the night ahead.

Trevor: Oh definitely! They set the tone for the rest of the bands and got the crowd really pumped.

Reverend Black Jack McBride of 2 In The Chest

Walter: Speaking of the crowd, what did you think of the early turnout? I felt there was a great showing before the festival even started.

Trevor: It was great to see people showing up before the show even starts. You don't get that very often these days. Those dudes definitely earned some new fans that night.

Walter: Absolutely! It would be insane for us to go through the line-up band for band. Tell me a little about some of your personal highlights of the night?

Trevor: 2 In the Chest will always be a highlight at any show that I attend. They are just a topnotch band from the music to the visuals they bring. Dead Swarm is another highlight for me. Those guys can shred!

Walter: This was another first for me, I love their music and I love the theatrics. With that being said, if I had to pick a favorite from the night it would be 2 in the chest for entertainment value alone.

Those guys are amazing live, and the music really drives you too bang your head.

Trevor: I am with you there. They bring the whole package to the stage. If you are not moving somehow during their set, you must not have a heartbeat. Haha.

Walter: And he (Rich Ornelas) includes his family in the set, it has a wholesome vibe. You can't help but smile watching his daughter dance on stage in full garb and even taking center stage introducing their next song at times.

Trevor: I loved that he has his daughter up there dancing and being a part of the show. It was adorable to watch for sure.

And damn straight I used the word adorable! Hahaha.

Jeremy of Dead Swarm

Walter: Let's talk about Dead Swarm. They just recently went through a line-up change of their own, introducing Kyle Cockson to lead guitar and Javad Beg on drums. Both musicians learned the set within a month of the show. What did you think of their performance?

Trevor: That's crazy! I didn't realize that they learned the whole set in a month. Their performance did not show me that they had that little amount of time. They both kicked ass!! Kyle was rocking out like he owned that stage and Javad beat those drums like they hit on his girlfriend. I think with the addition of those two, Dead Swarm is going to destroy the Arizona metal scene.

Walter: Anybody that knows Javad knows he is a machine on the kit; I interrupted a conversation with Javad and the drummer from Season of Suffering one time when they were geeking out on their kit set-up. I asked about drum triggers and how they work, needless to say I was out of my league asking the question. I might as well been discussing quantum theory.

Out of all the bands that night, I would have to say Dead Swarm had the sexiest instruments.

Trevor: Hahaha I am drumming illiterate so I feel you on that.

I think we need a drum-off between Javad of Dead Swarm and Forest from Ashes of the Dead. Everybody watching wins in that one.

Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with you on the sexiest instruments. Hahaha Rick Fowler's bass is one bad ass looking machine!

 Walter: I would like to see a collaboration drum album with guest artist featuring, Javad and Forest on drums. Nothing but local guest, it would be insane.

Trevor: That would be amazing!

Erik, John and Jeramey of Malicious Melodies

Walter:  So let's be real. Were there any disappointing factors of the night?

Trevor: I would have loved to have seen even more people at the show. It was heavily promoted by everyone involved; I just think there were tons of shows going on that night.

Walter:  Yes I agree, the turnout was great but the venue was large. I think it's very difficult to plan a show here due to the fact; you have no idea what other big show might be added to the weekend.

Trevor: I completely agree! Other than that, I was very happy with how the show turned out. Everyone seemed to be having a hell of a time and it showed the unity that is within our metal scene.

Walter:  Well it was a great night of local Arizona metal my friend. The camaraderie was present, and if I had one compliant about the show, it would be missing some of the acts that night because we were all involved in some great conversations. The scene was alive that night, and everyone was in a very social mood.

Trevor: I couldn't have said it better myself! Haha.

Walter: Next Friday, Nov, 11th will be Day Two of the dust Bowl Metal fest, what do you think of the two day/two weekend format? Will you be there next weekend?

Trevor: I really like the idea. A lot of people are unable to do 2 days in a row for concerts and this way there is a better chance to bring in people for both nights. I am definitely going to try my best to make it out for round 2 next Friday!

Walter: Awesome man. Is there anything you'd like to add before we wrap it up?

Trevor: I just wanted to give a HUGE thanks to Rich from the Dust Bowl Metal Show for setting up an amazing night of music and for showing what it means to be a true supporter of the AZ metal scene.

Walter: Damn straight, Rich has been a driving force in the AZ metal scene for years. On top of being a really cool metal head, he is focused on promoting our local scene. A scene I have just had the pleasure of discovering over the past year now, I have to say thank you to the Rev. Black Jack McBride. You're an inspiration to all of us, from the fans to the bands. Thank you sir

Trevor: True that!!

Norm of Sick Black Automatic

Walter: Trevor, It was a blast hanging out with you and working together for the first time last Friday. You took some amazing photos, and it was awesome. Where else can we find you on the internet?

Trevor: It was a lot of fun working with you Walter!! You can find me on my website and on Facebook at and soon to have my Instagram fully running.

Walter: Awesome man, until next time my friend.

Trevor: Hell yes!! Thanks for having me today! I look forward to going to tons more shows with you in the future.

            The entire night was a combination of the best elements of what Arizona metal truly is; it was as organized as any large national touring festival would be, it had the elements of a house party regarding the social atmosphere, the bands were all professional, the venue was extremely accommodating, and there were zero issues. The scene was alive and it was all thanks to Rich Ornelas, thank you so much my metal brethren for the killer night. The line-up was crazy good, if your band wasn’t mentioned in this retrospective never fear, we want to promote your endeavor here at That Metal Station. Please feel free to hit me up on my Facebook page Walter’s Wall of Woe and drop me a line. Trevor and I will be attending shows across the Valley of the Sun weekly, we would be happy to make arrangements for interview, photo, and show review opportunities here in the land we love. Until next time metal heads, keep it brutal.


2 In The Chest

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Ashes Of The Dead

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Dead Swarm

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Malicious Melodies

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Sick Black Automatic

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