LIVE: Death Kings debut Tour Visits Syracuse’s Westcott

With a name like Death Kings, you’d better bring the heat. This new band surely did just that Friday night at Syracuse’s Westcott Theater as the official Umphrey’s McGee post-show. What’s the connection to UM? Ryan Stasik is the missing link. He is both the bassist in Umphrey’s McGee and Death Kings.

This new band (not a side project according to guitarist/vocalist Mike Gantzer, also of Aqueous), formed at the 2021 Summer Camp Festival in Chillicothe, IL when Uncle Mike “Muerto” Gantzer, Ryan “Little King” Stasik and former Turkuaz drummer Mikey “Ox” Carubba formed an unlikely punk power trio. The idea took flight and Death Kings are now on the cusp of their first album release.

So far, the band has released two singles from the forthcoming Welcome to Hell, the title track and “March of the Kings.” As may be expected, the new tracks are heavy and draw heavily from punk, alt-rock and ’90s progressive metal in sound. This isn’t a one-off side project from these fellas. This is serious, heavy stuff informed by much of the music each member grew up listening to.

Friday night in Syracuse had the trio joined by guitarist Brett Robertson of Buffalo alt-rock band Fernway.

The quartet ripped through the entire Welcome to Hell album front to back to an enthusiastic crowd and finished the set with covers from across the punk and alt-rock spectrum. Aside from the originals, the set was dotted with songs from Nirvana, Misfits, Fugazi, Harvey Danger, and Queens of the Stone Age.

One thing that sets this punk band apart from most, is that they put on a full two-hour show on this night. Being seasoned vets of the jamband scene surely contributed to that set length.

Death Kings are having great fun performing both originals and covers and are obviously excited for the new release. As we should all be. The time has arrived for Death Kings. This is their moment. Who says rock is dead?

Check out the 315 Music gallery from Friday night’s show below and check the 315 Music review and photo gallery from the Umphrey’s McGee show here.

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