When it comes to Hellyeah's music and live shows, there are always going to be hardened and stubborn traditionalists holding onto Chad Gray's past as the frontman of Mudvayne, Vinnie Paul's time drumming in Texas' most renowned metal band Pantera and, to a lesser degree, guitarist Tom Maxwell's past with Nothingface.
But five albums in as a unit, this much is "Unden!able:" Hellyeah's energy, music and intensity is second to none every time it performs. At least in San Antonio. The latest Exhibit A demonstration came Memorial Day Sunday on the main stage of the fourth annual River City Rockfest. Along with guitarist Christian Brady and eccentric and dreadlocked left-handed bassist Kyle Sanders, Hellyeah conquered its afternoon time slot before a festival crowd that eventually swelled to an official "more than 27,800" despite having to take the stage more than 10 minutes late. Playing five days before latest album Unden!able dropped this past Friday, Hellyeah devoted the initial parts of its set to what was at the time the group's latest effort Blood for Blood.
The band opened with one of its most intense tunes, "Demons in the Dirt," a song Maxwell discussed in detail exclusively during the October 2014 Knotfest in San Bernardino, California (watch here). The blood theme continued with the title track "Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)" giving way to a slower number from that album, "Moth."
Hellyeah was making its second Alamo City appearance within a year, having played another parking lot -- at Alamo City Music Hall -- last July 31 while opening the main stage of the eighth annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival (AXS coverage here and here). Being based in Fort Worth, the group with the singer from Peoria, Illinois, and guitarist from Baltimore in Maxwell doesn't have much difficulty finding its way to San Antonio. Once the new record finds its groove among the public, it should also be unden!able that Hellyeah will return to give its fans another chance to rock out.
And the traditionalists another opportunity to come around to the present.