The seventh annual River City Rockfest was all set to feature one of the most sought-after and intriguing bands to hit the scene recently for the first two-day Rockfest in San Antonio history last weekend. Except for one problem.
The Rockfest was canceled. Which led to the search and effort by Din Productions to atone for the cancellation by bringing some of those scheduled bands here on their own tours.
Jinjer was happy to oblige.
The quartet from the Ukraine, led by the mesmerizing vocal style of Tatiana Shmailyuk, swept into town, and demand was palpable. In what may have been the first metal show designed to be on the Rock Box stage of the Rock Box building, only to be moved to the larger Vibes Event Center within the facility, roughly 1,100 fans turned out last Saturday to hear and witness the Ukranian wonders.
Kansas City natives The Browning provided direct support in a shroud of darkness (watch ATM footage of “Awaken the Omega below), but it was Toronto quintet Sumo Cyco that had the crowd jumping early. Fronted by Catwoman-suit wearing Skye “Sever” Sweetnam, who body surfed her way into the audience on more than one occasion (see 80-photo slideshow below), Sumo Cyco increased the energy after locals Wulfholt and Desolate A.D. warmed things up. Watch Sumo Cyco perform “Move the Mountains” below and click here for Facebook Live footage of “Run With the Giants.”
While Sumo Cyco easily won over new fans with their energetic performance and meet-and-greet afterwards, it was Jinjer that most came to see. Set to release Macro on Oct. 25, Shmailyuk lured listeners in with her girl-next-door pink jumpsuit, white sneakers and sweetened clean vocals before unleashing her patented roars that would shame many death-metal male vocalists on tracks such as “Ape,” new single “Judgement & Punishment” and finale “Pisces.” Judge for yourself on ATM Facebook Live footage of “Dreadful Moments” and see the setlist in the slideshow below.
Guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov, bassist Eugene Abdukhanov and drummer Vladislav Ulasevish brought their own sense of metal fury as Shmailyuk roared to her heart’s content in a nearly two-hour set. While many bands these days incorporate two singers splitting the clean and metalcore styles, Shmailyuk’s ability to handle both distinctively with ease by herself is a large part of the lure for Jinjer fans, making the band different than most.
Wulfholt and Desolate A.D. brought riffs, drums and heavy vocals to the local portion of the night, with the former band generating a slew of flying panties that made their way into the photo pit (see slideshow). Watch both bands in action, respectively, via ATM Facebook Live footage of “Volatility Quotient” and “Fight For Another Day.”
While the first of back-to-back Rockfest spillover shows delighted a near sold-out crowd that flowed into a room not originally anticipated, the entire weekend would not have been possible without the tireless work of Rock Box owners Micaela & Steve Rodriguez and their staff. In addition to making adjustments on the fly within the facility and ensuring admission was run as smoothly as possible, they had to turn things over immediately after the Jinjer show cleared out for Sunday night’s second spillover appearance of Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime.
Stay tuned for coverage of that show. And keep in mind that with a little more demand from the fans, those two acts won’t be the only Rockfest 2019 alums to actually appear on stage rather than just on paper.