AEG presents In Flames with Special Guest: Havok and In the Company of Serpents at the Ogden Theater in Denver Colorado.
Article and photos by: Lily Kinx and Garrett Flyer
An intriguing mix of metal went down at the Ogden Theatre located on East Colfax Thursday November 16th. After parking the car, my date and I walked about a block over to the Ogden Theatre, on the way there we were offered some molly by someone sitting outside a building to which we both thought about it for a second, but fentanyl being a legitimate concern we both kindly said, “no thank you”. It wouldn’t be a night on east Colfax without having a random stranger offering drug, I guess. After grabbing our tickets at the box office, we went inside the Ogden, I was stoked to see Havok, one of my favorite Denver local Thrash Metal bands and my date was excited to see In Flames.
The Ogden Theatre is a cozy venue with two levels, the top level having its own bar and set of bathrooms and lots of multi-tiered standing space with handrails to set your drinks. The downstairs also has multi-tiered standing space, making it easy to see bands as they’re playing. For the size of the venue, the sound The Ogden provides is larger than life. We decided to start off our night upstairs, grabbed a drink and parked ourselves at the very top to get a full view of the stage and the crowd that was forming.
The first band of the night was In the Company of Serpents, an Acid/ Sludge style occult metal band out of Denver, which to me came as a surprise given the style of the other two bands on the roster being thrash and heavy metal. I almost wish I was more prepared with a couple hits of acid or some mushrooms! The slow doom ambience was unexpected and intriguing, which left a bunch of show goers confused but also curious. The occult vibe left an eerie atmosphere with heavy riffs and divine lyrics.
Next was Colorado Thrash metal band Havok! They came on stage and opened with Point of No Return. Instantly they had the crowd in the palms of their hands. The stage was black and the underage kids in the crowd started to talk about what they had just got themselves into. The first chrome rang through the speakers, they screamed with excitement. Reece Scruggs, the lead guitarist played a Dean Dimebag Far Beyond Driven ML in Trans Brazilia with a Floyd rose, through a Peavey XXX 100 Watt with the effects being handled by the four-cable method into Neural Quadcortex. The amp pushes 2x12 and 4x12 Peavey cabs loaded with Celestion speakers. He shredded the stage and owned his space. Head banging and hair windmilling with the crowd’s engagement. But what was truly impressive was the speed of his hands, demonstrating his dedication to his craft. His solos comprised of two hand sweeps with pitch harmonics and whammy bar squeals. He made every solo interesting; it felt like he was telling a sonic story. Bassist Nick Schendzielos brought the energy with his custom five string playing through an Agular tone hammer on top of a 8x10 fridge. Toby Swope of Psychosomatic flawlessly filled in for Pete Weber on drums and all members were complemented by the man himself David Sanchez on guitar and vocals. Presenting a performance that was hard to follow Havok dominated the hometown stage for this tour kick off show.
Finally, the Swedish heavy metal icons, In Flames, have been commanding the scene since their debut album dropped in 1994. Their hit track, "Only for the Weak," boasts over 92 million listens, a testament to their enduring appeal. This bustling show in the Ogden Theatre, the balcony was packed, the floor a sea of bodies from front to back. With expert crowd control, In Flames ignited the audience, who moved in unison and sang along fervently, immersing themselves in the band's extensive musical repertoire.
The ambiance was steeped in nostalgia, reminiscent of the mid-2000s era filled with video games and Monster energy drink sessions. Despite the lack of room for moshing, fans made do, swaying and throwing their arms to the driving riffs and catchy choruses, often echoing the lyrics back to the band. This electrifying first night was sure to set the tone for the remainder of the tour.
As the final notes reverberated through the crowd, the energy of the night remained high. Fans lingered, not wanting the experience to end, sharing their favorite moments, and picking up some band merchandise to commemorate the event. Driving home, ears still ringing, my date and I reflected on the experience. That night on East Colfax wouldn't soon be forgotten — a raw, authentic snapshot of Denver's metal scene, and a reminder of the unifying power of live music. The Ogden Theatre had once again proven to be the perfect melting pot for fans of heavy, thrash, and occult metal — offering an intimate space for giants of the genre and their devoted followers to collide in spectacular fashion.