On the final Tuesday of the year, Cincinnati, Ohio, Rock radio station WEBN held their “F U 2022” concert at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River. Headlining the event was modern rock legends Sevendust. The Atlanta-based quintet was accompanied by a trio of Cincinnati’s finest local acts, Asayda, Life After This, and ENMY. The nearly sold-out three-tier venue was packed wall to wall with eager fans ready to celebrate the end of the concert calendar year.
“We are Sevendust and we don’t have concerts; this ain’t nothing but a family reunion,” Sevendust frontman Lajon Witherspoon told the crowd. Witherspoon held back tears several times throughout the set. “I’m going to try my hardest not to cry tonight, but it’s not tears because I’m sad. But if I cry it’s because I’m so fucking happy that we are all here together right now.”
Every set started with DJs from WEBN warming up the crowd for the upcoming band. Asayda started the night with their brand of post-grunge hard rock. With some sing-a-longs and a cover of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding,” the enthusiasm from the audience started to pick up. Life After This injected more energy with their blend of aggressive rock ‘n’ roll and metal. Frontman Matthew Fritsch took a stroll through the jam-packed crowd members to their delight.
ENMY is quickly making a name for themselves outside of their local scene, with multiple tracks reaching over a million streams on Spotify. The quintet bookended 2022 with an album, Breaking Down, released in January. And a new single, “Survive,” released in December. The band celebrated the night with a couple of live debuts for select tracks, including “Survive.” ENMY has been active since 2020, although their stage presence is as dynamic as their sound. Modern rock-soaring choruses combine with flourishes of electronica and heaviness.
Check out their performance of “Black” from their 2018 year-ending show in Atlanta in 2018.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sevendust and their live show, Chad Kroeger of Nickelback praised the band earlier this year in an interview with Loudwire back in September. “…You don’t ever, ever, ever want to go on after Sevendust, because they will kick your ass and wipe you all over that stage,’ Kroeger said.
Sevendust has spent 2022 celebrating the 21st anniversary of their 3rd album, Animosity. A celebration that included two tours through the United States. In the interim of those tours, the band hit the studio to complete their 14th studio album, a follow-up to 2020’s Blood & Stone. Sevendust has made a tradition of headlining a short run of shows to cap off the year. This year’s run included Nonpoint, Ill Nino, and Another Day Dawns. This one-off show in Covington was the perfect primer. Witherspoon told the crowd that he wished he could take them to the remaining dates of the tour.
The 14-song set included six tracks from Animosity, including “Angel’s Son,” “Crucified,” and “Dead Set.” Classic cuts like “Waffle,” “Black,” and “Bitch” had a place on the setlist as well. One special aspect of seeing seasoned bands like Sevendust is that they won’t give you just what’s on the record. On songs like “Praise,” the band added in live embellishments that keep songs that are over 20 years old fresh.
“I look out into this crowd and I see people we have grown up with our whole lives,” Witherspoon told the crowd. Sevendust fans come from every age group, even the young ones. “Thank you, guys, for bringing out the babies out tonight. I see you.”
Sevendust connects with their fan base unlike any other band. Their songwriting, sincerity, and consistency contribute to their longevity to stay relevant for so many years. Even with the talk of the end of this storied band’s career, fans will have their opportunities to experience a Sevendust show with the arrival of their new album coming in the new year.