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Fiftywatt Freight Train and Avenue Drive celebrate a year of the Underground

Rocking the Underground

One year and a single day after their grand opening in 2016, The Fillmore Underground, located in the music district of the Queen City, had an outstanding show to celebrate its one year anniversary. Avenue Drive and Fiftywatt Freight Train rocked out with numerous fans who, despite it being a work night, piled into their cars to enjoy an amazing night of music. To top off the night these incredible local acts were opening up for the band FUEL who are on tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their album Sunburn

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Avenue Drive took the stage and opened the evening with the track “Anchor” an incredible track with an amazing bass line which was played by Carsten Chistgau. Followed by “Anchor” was the track “Waiting on You” which was probably my favorite track of their set. Vocalist Jason Wittersheim has a voice that I personally think fits incredible well into the nu-metal and alternative genres. As their set continued, I couldn’t help but to want to move in time with the beat that was coming from the speakers.

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Avenue Drive is a hypnotic band who you will love to see either from the front row or back of house. Wittersheim made the comment halfway through the set that “I wore shorts in hopes of not sweating so much. It’s not working.”

“Our Right” was the final track of Avenue Drive’s set list and it continued on with the nu-metal and electronic metal feel much to my delight.

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Their tracks make me feel as if I need to be at a rave with glow sticks in my hair. Avenue Drive quickly broke down their gear to make way for another band who I had never seen in person, but was really excited for: Fiftywatt Freight Train.

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Before their set, I was able to quickly meet and shake hands with Fiftywatt’s vocalist Darby Adkins and drummer Kirk Christner who was wearing a very intriguing spiked collar. While FiftyWatt Freight Train set up their gear, myself, along with two other photographers conversed in the photo pit amongst ourselves and the excited fans in the first two rows. The Fillmore Underground had an attendance of around two hundred or so people, all of which were getting more excited by the minute. FiftyWatt Freight Train played a few newer tracks during their set along with numerous favorites.

“It’s always refreshing for us as a band to perform new music and see how the crowd responds. Kind of like Research and Development,” vocalist Darby Adkins told Shutter 16 in a quick email interview after the show.

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““Looking Down” is our latest single that’s available everywhere now. It’s a deeper song that draws from a lot of inner perspective, dealing with challenges, conquering those challenges and moving forward.”

FiftyWatt Freight Train continued to rock out their entire set, never staying in one place for to long, which made for some very interesting photo opportunities. Who doesn’t love getting a shot of a band member with their leg up in the air, or hair flying like their in a wind tunnel. The Charlotte based group had the crowd jumping and moving in time with their music which I enjoyed entirely. It was as if Godsmack and Shinedown had a beautiful musical baby who in its college years exceeded its parents wildest conquests.

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“It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since the grand opening of The Fillmore Underground. That was a spectacular night and a great leap for the local music scene. With many other venues around town closing doors or being bought out for development, the opening of the Underground was the shot in the arm our community needed,” Adkins commented during our interview.

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The Fillmore Underground, although new in the game compared to the few other local music venues that still reside in the Charlotte area, has been drawing in bigger crowds, national acts who have seen countless miles on the road, and of course newer faces of those people who are just now getting into the local music scene. The local part of our show ended as FiftyWatt Freight Train concluded their high energy paced set in order to allow the headliner for the evening to set up.

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“We are super excited to open for Fuel! Anytime you have the opportunity to open for a national act and get in front of a new audience, it’s a major adrenaline rush.”  

The adrenaline rush was not only coming from these two amazing local bands as they opened for a national act but for me as well as I squatted down in that photo pit and watched yet another remarkable show take place at a newer local venue which with any hope will have its doors open for years to come. Both FiftyWatt Freight Train and Avenue Drive have their music on Spotify, and other music outlets. Please check out their work, I promise you won’t regret it!  

Extra tidbit – here is a throwback interview from the opening

See gallery of the night here.

Born and raised in Winston-Salem, Cindy is the oldest of four siblings. When she's not nose deep into a new book, fanfiction, or obsessing about something in her numerous fandoms, you can find her at shows with her camera in hand. When she’s not at shows she’s binge watching Netflix with her significant other and fur babies. Ketchup is life to Cindy whose musical taste range from Acapella to Country and Death Metal. Her three go to groups are Home Free, Slipknot, and Pentatonix.

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