An End of an Era: A Tribute to the Metal Grill
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Back in college when I was a just learning to walk, so to speak, in the field of journalism I went to the local mega metal club, The Rave, to see Iced Earth and Sabaton. It was here that I met a killer local thrash metal band called Conniption. After buying their album and writing a story about them for Urban Milwaukee and the UWM Post I went on to see these guys countless times in the years that followed. A vast majority of those shows took place at what became known as Milwaukee scene’s best venue, The Metal Grill.
Through countless heavy metal shows at the Metal Grill I’ve sacrificed my hearing, bashed my brain against my skull, had some great food and consumed copious amounts of beer and jagermeister. Thanks to this place I met countless friends and fostered business relationships with dozens of local and touring bands. This place wasn’t just a bar with a concert hall, it was a mecca for heavy metal in southeastern Wisconsin. Metalheads from all around the area and relatively faraway places like Green Bay, Madison and Chicago flocked to this place to either cheer on the bands or rock the stage themselves, all while indulging in great food and cheap booze. Many of us found it to be a fantastic place with an outstanding staff, and many more learned that it was run by some of the most generous and hardworking people I’ve ever met.
To say losing Metal Grill is going to be hard on the scene is an understatement. This venue revitalized the scene and brought us all back together. Whether it was local promotions like RK, B2 and Aeternity pulling in big name acts like Metal Church and Grim Reaper, or putting on killer underground metal festivals like Hometown Throwdown, this was the place where bands got their start and announced their end, where fans and bands became friends, and where we met our heroes. This wasn’t just some venue, this was a home away from home. It was something akin to a heavy metal CBGB thanks to the comradery and countless good times experienced there.
Sure, we’ll find another place to rock out and drink ourselves raisin-dry to the pulsing sounds of our favorite metal bands, but it just won’t be the same. The Metal Grill was our place. It was where we met up with our buddies, got rowdy and had a great time without destroying the place. Well, they say all great things have to come to an end sometime. It just sucks saying goodbye. Farewell Metal Grill, you’ll be sorely missed. Thanks for the memories!
–The Metal at the Gates Crew and the entire Southeast Wisconsin Metal Scene