On Saturday night, the 26th of November, The Marquee in Sioux City, Iowa was hosting a “Special” show. It was the local hard rock band, Calling Grace’s album release party featuring two of the best female fronted bands in the Midwest, Cold Kingdom (Minneapolis) and Scarlet Canary (Denver). This was not like ordinary Friday or Saturday night show at The Marquee. What made this night so special? Was it the amazing the line up of three great bands? Was it the atmosphere of a rock show, or was it the celebration of a local band’s release of their very first album, Here’s To The End.
Calling Grace is a band that was formed in the spring of 2017 by multiple musicians from different bands in the area. They would be considered to be a local “supergroup”. The band is comprised of member from current and former bands; Stop Motion Skeletons, Solstice on Fire and One Pimp Avengers. Mixing together, they create a harder rock style with the musical influences of Breaking Benjamin, Stone Sour and Chevelle, to name a few. Having only seen Calling Grace once, and that was their very first hometown show back in June, I had very high expectations on what I was going to both see and hear from them and I was very excited to be able to get the chance to see them again.
When I arrived at The Marquee 45 minutes before the start of the show, I was blown away by how many people were already there. My first stop was over at the Merch booth for Calling Grace, to check out their selection of goodies. T-shirts, stickers, wristbands, hoodies, posters and of course, the new album, Here’s to The End. I even got my hands on a limited edition Calling Grace poster, which was #8 out of 14 that all the guys signed.
Around 9:30pm., the boys took the stage. Something looked a little different though from the last time I had saw them. They scrims, which were placed on the side of the stage, had a different look. The last time, it had the noticeable “green bee” which stands as Calling Grace’s logo, but instead, the album cover art took up the space on both sides of the stage. It was an image of a child holding a balloon wearing a pre-World War II era gas mask. Looking around the stage, you can’t help but notice the color theme that they have going on. Both the lead guitarist and the rhythm guitarist were in a black button up shirts with bright green fluorescent ties, while bassist Billy Pelchat wore a bright green shirt, and drummer Jake Rains in the custom shirt with his patches, as well as green guy-liner. It all seemed to look great, especially under the glow of the venues black lights.
From the very first note, the set was very high energy! It encompassed multiple guitar riffs from Alex Newman and Logan Lansink. Shawn Fertig’s vocals were strong and powerful. He commands a crowd like a true professional. It was fun to watch him to take control of the crowd. The energy was there as a fan would watch the stage. You could feel the emotion inside in Fertig’s voice as he sang, “Malinda” and “Superman”. With Fertig’s vocals, you can tell he is seasoned and he is a natural on the stage.
Not only did Calling Grace play every song from their freshman album, but they covered three different songs. With the assistance of Hannah Maddox of Scarlet Canary, they put their own spin on the Rolling Stones 1969 hit, “Gimmie Shelter” and blew it out of the water. Hannah and Shawn together complement each other well on stage and both possess the “it” factor when it comes to commanding a crowd. They were able to take this classic folk/rock song from the era of Woodstock and hippies, to a harder rock version that definitely sound great, and the crowd agreed as they sang and danced along.
Calling Grace’s newest cover was “Square Hammer” by Ghost. I was really excited to be able to see them play it. “Square Hammer” is currently my favorite song that has radio play right now. And of course they ended it with their ever popular version of Simple Minds, “Don’t you forget About Me”, which was ironically their very last song of their set and it was the first one that the band released digitally and on YouTube earlier this year. The band ended to a loud applause and a standing ovation by the over 100 people in attendance.
Up next was Minneapolis’s hard hitting female-fronted band Cold Kingdom. This would be the fourth time that I saw Cold Kingdom, so I thought I knew what to expect, and well quite frankly I was wrong. The band recently released their newest self-titiled E.P., so we were treated with some new music.
The moment the Cold Kingdom took the stage they put on a high energy show stage from the very first strike of the drum head, and the first chord being strummed. Lead vocalist Danielle Engum, who is quite noticeable with her metal- rocker signature blue hair, is the focal point for the whole stage show. She nailed the melodic notes and was able to scream with the best of them. That’s why she is one of the best female vocalist hard rockers in the Midwest right now.
Cold Kingdom played their staple songs from their first album The Moon and the Fool such as; “Surrender”, Let it Burn, “M” and the song that put them in the ears of so many people, “Crash Poet”, which Engum explained to the crowd that the song is about her struggles as a female in the music industry and other telling her who she should be. Two of the band’s new songs off of their newest E.P. “Perfect Chambers” and, “The Break” were played as well. During “The Break” Engum engaged the crowd for participation and she got just that.
Engum had great stage presence and was able to get the 100+ attendees to put their drinks in the air as she toast Calling Grace on the accomplishment of their release. “it’s so freaking amazing to put out music, to record it, bring it to people, put it out in front of them….. It’s a major accomplishment.”
Once Cold Kingdom left the stage after their performance, it was time for Denver based hard rock band, Scarlet Canary. When the band took the stage there was something missing, a member. Bassist Marcos Gonzales, had lost his mother un-expectantly earlier that week and stayed behind in Denver to be with his family. Allen Maddox, guitarist of Scarlet Canary, opened up with stating why Marcos was not with them on stage, and that Sioux City has quickly became their home along the I-29 corridor, so they could not cancel, all the while live streaming the heart felt sentiments through their social media sits so, Marcos could see the love that Sioux City had for them.
If you’ve never seen Scarlet Canary, then I highly suggest that you do right away. Lead vocalist Hannah Maddox will melt your face off with her deep screams and growls. She is has quickly made a name for herself through performing and as well as on YouTube doing covers of popular pop songs.
Scarlet Canary is an, “in-your-face-fuck-it-let’s-do-shots”, kind of band (I know I made that up, but this is my review, so up yours) that has very strong guitar riff and a mad man (Roll Tide) on the drums that plays like there is no tomorrow. During their performance they played songs from their newest album Perspective such as; “Don’t Be Afraid”, “Misery”, “Antidote” and “Spectral” to name a few. As well as their staple songs; “Death of Rock and Roll” (Arise), “Why the Caged Bird Sings” (To The Heart), “Bottles and Anchors” (Arise), and “Fade” (Arise). The band also did a cover of Taylor Swifts “Shake it Off”. The show wasn’t complete until Allen threw his guitar over his shoulder and caught it behind his back. Scarlet Canary is considered to be hardest working bands in the regional scene, and their performances surely show it.
As I now sit here and try to relieve the night and try to portray my experience to whoever is reading this; I cannot find the words as to describe the over experience that I had. With how far Calling Grace has come in less than a year, it is much further than many bands do in years. Sioux City, You are seriously missing out if you have not seen Calling Grace yet. They are definitely going places. Calling Grace is about to put Siouxland on the map again as a place that has so many talented musicians; and the cats in Calling Grace rank up there with the best that this town has to offer. This time next year, I can honestly see them on stage playing festivals such as our own Saturday in the Park, or even bigger events like Northern Invasion, Rockfest, and Rocklahoma, just to name a few. These guys are the real deal, and if you have not yet, go out and pick up Here’s To The End and turn the volume WAAAYYY UPP! You can thank me later!
Check out Calling Grace:
Check out Cold Kingdom:
Check out Scarlet Canary: