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Wayland and Royal Bliss bring night of fist pumping rock to Machine Shop

Sour Jane, American Hitmen, Wayland and Royal Bliss at the Machine Shop 11-22-13


It's rare to have a night of music where all the bands equally command the audience's attention but Friday night in Flint, the Machine Shop presented an evening with four bands that managed to capture the true essence of a rock show.

American Hitmen, Wayland and Royal Bliss at the Machine Shop 11-22-13
American Hitmen, Wayland and Royal Bliss at the Machine Shop 11-22-13
Tracy Heck
Royal Bliss on stage at the Machine Shop 11-22-13
Tracy Heck

Flint's own Sour Jane kicked off the evening with a hard-hitting set for their hometown crowd.

Lead singer, Chris Pennington, could have spent a little less time rambling but the set was still a nice lead-in to the rest of the evening that set the energetic tone for what was to come.

Next to hit the stage were The American Hitmen, a band formed by brothers Tim and Dan Cord while they were stationed in Iraq and who recently got off a stint on America's Got Talent.

The band's brand of down-home bluesy rock, that included new single "Can't Take The Fire Away", fit in well with the rest of the bands and certainly gained them some new fans within the sold-out crowd.

The show was a homecoming of sorts for Wayland, who reside just outside of Grand Rapids in their namesake Wayland, Michigan.

The band prides themselves on their slogan, "Always On Tour" and in the past two years of touring, they have certainly grown as a band and as individual performers.

Wayland guitarist Phil Vilenski, bassist Dean Pizzazz and drummer Tyler Coburn create a energy all their own that plays well off of vocalist Mitch Arnold's passion.

Friday's performance was a tight set of killer rock and roll that opened with their fantastic cover of Bob Seger's "Fire Down Below" and continued with fiery songs like "Welcome To My Head" and new single "Reno".

Arnold has a versatile voice that allows the band to go in a wide range of directions and his rock and roll scream always brings down the house.

The set also included an appearance from Royal Bliss guitarist Taylor Richards, who joined the band to perform Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love".

In a prior interview, Richards had spoken about how excited Royal Bliss was to be playing the Machine Shop again and how they would be bringing something special and the band certainly lived up to that proclamation.

Their set Friday was full of fist-pumping anthems thrown in with some of their melodic ballads.

Royal Bliss lead singer, Neil Middleton, commands the crowd just as well as Arnold and held the packed crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the set.

With very little prompting, he had the crowd jumping up and down, singing along at the top of their lungs and throwing their arms and fists up throughout.

The set included new single "Cry Sister", which is off of their upcoming release Chasing The Sun, which is out February 18.

Set highlights included hits "Save Me", "We Did Nothing Wrong" and the powerful "Crazy".

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