Woodlands Tavern hosted this All Star project in Columbus Ohio on February 17 2022. By Cam Elkins (Host of Weird Music Podcast), Photos by Adam Berta

Death Kings came in hot to Columbus, Ohio on Thursday night for an unforgettable Umphrey’s McGee afterparty on the amazing new stage at Woodland’s Tavern. Death Kings is a new band made up of Mike Gantzer from Aqueous, Mikey Carubba, the former Turkuaz drummer, and Umphrey’s McGee’s bassist, Ryan Stassik, as well as guitarist Brett Robertson of the band Fernway.

This brand new band is not for the weak. Death Kings channels fury and revolt through cathartic rock music in such a way that they allow for beauty to shine through anger in the most invigorating fashion.

“The spectrum of human emotion is so wide, and we live in a time that pressures us to just ‘be happy’ all the time. Of course we all want and deserve to be happy and joyful, but life consists of so much more than that as we all well know, and we want our music to reflect that,” explained Mike Gantzer, lead guitarist of Death Kings.

“Engaging with and embracing the darkness is the only way to get to the light, and death is a certainty for all of us – which is all the more reason to celebrate being alive in all its forms! DEATH KINGS seek to accept and celebrate these truths. Heavy music has always been cathartic for all of us (and for many others) and to get to write and perform this stuff together is so incredible, dude. When we were making the record, Mikey and I were listening to a lot of Alan Watts and this quote sums up our feelings nicely: ‘When you recognize the integrity of the universe and that death is as certain as birth, then you can relax and accept that this is the way it is.’”

Read the review of Umphrey’s McGee from this night, with stunning photos here.

Fresh off the release of their debut album, Death Kings is like a sprinting angry bull that’s seen red. The band is made up of three jam-world superstars that have come together to form something unlike anything else that exists in our scene.

When asked about what excites him most about Death Kings, Mike Gantzer replied, “Literally everything. Every member of this band has such an enthusiasm for what we’re doing and it’s pure joy playing loud and fast and honoring a huge part of our influences as musicians. We’re all 100% in on this band and it feels amazing. DEATH KINGS isn’t just a side project for any of us, and we have big plans for the future.”

Check out the full gallery of photos of that night here, Heck, you may be in one of them.

Death Kings’ music is a very heaing and righteous “fuck you” to life’s bullshit, delivered with no hesitation, by some of the jam band world’s best. Check out an insane drum solo from the show and stay tuned for way more coming from these guys in the future.


Setlist: Into The Abyss > Disembodied, March of the Kings > It’s Gonna be a Long Night (Ween), Flagpole Sitta (Harvey Danger) > Drum Solo > Dead Memories, Breed (Nirvana), Go with the Flow (Queens of the Stone Age), Burn Your Enemies, 96 Quite Bitter Beings (CKY), Where Eagles Dare (Misfits), Stassik Jazz Comedy Hour > Suicide Tuesday

E: Fuck Authority (Pennywise), BLACKOUT (Turnstile), Cyco Vision (Suicidal Tendencies), Fight!!!

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Check out the full gallery of photos of that night here, Heck, you may be in one of them.

Read the review of Umphrey’s McGee from this night, with stunning photos here.