It was a packed house at San Diego’s House of Blues, smack dab in the middle of downtown’s Gaslamp District on the night of December 17th. Deepfall opened up for Nonpoint and HELLYEAH, and I expected a little bit heavier sound. Deepfall has a Three Doors Down sound, founded in 2015 by keyboardist Tim King. The band is made up of Rich Hopkins (vocals/guitar), Nick Gray (drums), Anthony Battista (lead guitar), Max Carrillo (lead guitar) and Taylor Brandt (bass, the guy with the big guns). They were energetic, full fun personalities. They performed songs off their album Broken. You could find them the rest of the night at the merch table meeting fans.
Chad Gray came onstage and in five seconds, he was off the stage and in with the fans.
Nonpoint is on point. They came out with high energy, gorgeous dreads a-flying. With lead vocalist Elias Soriano, Robb Rivera on drums, Jason Zeilstra on lead guitar, Rasheed Thomas on rhythm guitar and Adam Woloszyn on bass, they were very engaging with fans. Nonpoint did a cover of “In the Air Tonight” that sounded awesome in metal form! It was my first time seeing them live: I was intrigued and entertained throughout the entire set. The band was hanging out with a huge crowd around them at their merch table after their set, taking photos with fans and signing merch. Nonpoint’s frontman Elias Soriano, came out to sing a cover of Pantera’s “Walk”; I know everyone was feeling Vinnie and Dime right there.
HELLYEAH hit the stage on their Celebration of Life Tour, in honor of founder and drummer, Vinnie Paul, who passed away June 2018. Welcome Home was released September 2019 and is the last album Vinnie Paul recorded before his unexpected death. Chad Gray came onstage and in five seconds, he was off the stage and in with the fans. He poured all his emotion and passion into that mosh pit. Kyle Sanders, one of my favorite bass players (okay, I love the dreads), Stone Sour drummer Roy Mayorga, with guitarists Tom Maxwell and Christian Brady simply crushed it together onstage.
Photography by Heather Vandemark