Words: Emily Niesen
Photos: Emily Niesen

After an extremely long week of work, it was time to let loose and head to a show in Milwaukee, WI. This time it was for the mighty Armored Saint and Act Of Defiance– This was going to be my very first time experiencing the Shank Hall venue and I couldn’t wait to check it out! Upon reading the event I also found that Armored Saint had announced that they would be performing their album ‘Symbol of Salvation’ in its entirety as well, so I was surly in for an evening of epic proportions. With that I packed my things and got ready for my 3 hour trip to Milwaukee.

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Upon Arriving at Shank Hall, there was already a line building outside of the venue. When I entered the doorway, Chris Broderick (Act Of Defiance) was on his way out and my father, who was with me, opened the door for him with a polite exchange. I could tell from that moment alone that this was going to be one of those shows filled with memories and personal moments- and I wasn’t wrong. The Shank Hall environment had a very laxed and welcoming vibe as soon as you entered it; the staff was extremely kind as well as professional.

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I made my way to the front of the stage and there was no photo pit. I was both excited as well as nervous. No pit meant a great interactive show which I was very much looking forward to..however it also meant that I better be prepared to battle the crowd for my shots. I took a peak over my shoulder and saw the venue beginning to fill up behind me. It was turning out to be a very large crowd compared to what I expected for a Sunday night show. I was thrilled to see people out to support the music scene! The venue was already about half way full with still 15 minutes before Act Of Defiance was set to take the stage even. Soon, the lights dimmed and the venue came to life in an instant.

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Act Of Defiance entered the stage and the crowd went wild. They played both old tunes and new tunes from their most recent album release ‘Old Scars, New Wounds’. This was my first time seeing them perform live and I was more than impressed with their performance. Their sound was very tight, which was really no surprise since all of the members of Act Of Defiance are more than qualified with years of experience within them. They had an incredible energy and were very interactive with the fans-myself included. I had a fist bump with Chris during one of his solos and their front man Henry Derek Bonner sang right to me for a good while.  While going wild on stage, they still acknowledged almost every fan creating personal memories for each of us. Their performance was a refreshing experience compared to that of the familiar disconnect you often see while attended concerts in the modern days. After leaving the stage they made time to appear at their merch. table to spend some time with the fans. It was my pleasure to meet them all personally. I absolutely loved what Act Of Defiance brought to the venue and I hope to see more of that sort of attitude throughout my career of concert going.

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After chatting outside with a few of the fans during the intermission of the show, I re-entered the venue to discover that is somehow had doubled in attendance while I was looking away. I squeezed and clawed my way back through the crowd to the front of the stage in anticipation of the arrival of Armored Saint. They kicked the energy levels up fast and heavy with one of their most beloved tracks “March Of The Saint” which was the title track of their very first album. This track lead into their second track “Dropping Like Flies” off of their album- ‘Symbol Of Salvation’ I was happy to see them play this tune live, since it is my favorite! The last time I saw them, which was about a year ago, they hadn’t performed this song. As the concert continued they built up the show through tracks from their career until they reached a more emotional time for them. I could hear a slight crack in the voice of John Bush as he began to speak. He explained how the next songs to follow were those that they hadn’t decided to revisit for awhile up until this most recent tour. This was because they were attached to Dave Prichard of whom had passed away from leukemia back in 1990. With a heavy heart John told us all how there wasn’t a moment that they didn’t feel that Dave was with them, whether it was onstage or on the bus. They dedicated “Half Drawn Bridge/Another Day” in his memory. Armored Saint was groovy, thrashy, and heavy; filled with thunderous drum fills, ripping guitar solos, captivating vocals all supported by a killer rhythm section.  

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This show was all energy from start to finish. Act Of Defiance and Armored Saint make the perfect pair for this metal tour! I was nothing short of impressed with the entire turn out of this show. Everything from the sound quality and performance, to the memories that were created- this was a great example of what I wish all concerts I have attended would be like and hope that more of them become. I was lucky enough to be able to be a part of this tour on the last day of their 10 day run before they are heading to their European chapter. I wish them the best on the next part of their tour!

Set List for Armored Saint 
March of the Saint
Long Before I Die
Chemical Euphoria
Reign of Fire
Play Video
Dropping Like Flies
Last Train Home
Tribal Dance
The Truth Always Hurts
Half Drawn Bridge
Another Day
Symbol of Salvation
Hanging Judge
Burning Question
Tainted Past

Nervous Man
Win Hands Down
Can U Deliver
Mad House

Act Of Defiance Photos: 

Armored Saint Photos:

Get tickets to Armored Saint and Act Of Defiance HERE