Concert Review: KK's Priest at Patchogue Theatre (Patchogue, NY)

Concert Review: KK's Priest at Patchogue Theatre (Patchogue, NY)
KK Downing, Tim "Ripper" Owens, and company's first performance on Long Island as KK's Priest.

On March 23rd, KK’s Priest played for the first time ever on Long Island at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts.  Led by former Judas Priest guitarist and founding member K.K. Downing, the band tore through fourteen songs during their 80-minute performance, mixing original material with Judas Priest classics in front of an enthusiastic and eclectic Suffolk County crowd.  The show was the band’s fourth stop on a five-date U.S. run promoting their September 2023 release The Sinner Rides Again,  which is the group’s second full-length record.

KK’s Priest formed in 2020 in the midst of a long-time dispute between Downing and the other founding members of Judas Priest.  Downing himself did not perform live between 2011 and 2019 after leaving the band.  His re-emergence into the metal scene came that year with an appearance at Bloodstock Open Air with former Manowar guitarist Ross the Boss.  He also did a one-off show in 2019 with former Judas Priest members Tim “Ripper” Owens and Les Binks, which would spur the genesis of KK’s Priest.  Though Binks would eventually be replaced, Downing and Owens, who famously replaced metal god Rob Halford in 1996 after performing in the cover band British Steel, would become the driving forces of the new metal outfit.

The band opened with “Hellfire Thunderbolt” from their first album Sermons of the Sinner, before launching into “One More Shot at Glory” which was the lead single from their newest release.   “The Ripper,” the Judas Priest classic from which Owens derived his nickname, followed shortly after to the delight of the crowd before another single from the new record, “Reap the Whirlwind.”

From here, the group started a four song run from Judas Priest’s legendary catalog: “Night Crawler” and “Hell Patrol” from 1990’s Painkiller, “Burn in Hell” from Jugulator (an album featuring Owens as lead vocalist), and the incredible ballad “Beyond the Realms of Death” from 1978’s Stained Class.  Judas Priest sparingly played “Hell Patrol” live and never with Owens at the helm, so hearing him perform one of the band’s most underrated tracks was among the highlights of the evening.

Owens’ tremendous vocal prowess was on display all night, but this four-song run may have been his most impressive of the evening.  Downing, clad in a bejeweled black vest bearing his initials, played impassioned versions of these classic songs alongside lead guitarist AJ Mills, showcasing and doing justice to the twin-guitar attack that made Judas Priest one of the biggest metal bands in the world.

Raise your fists. (Photo credit: Steve Vargas)

After playing “Brothers of the Road” from their first album, KK’s Priest closed their set with three more Judas Priest staples: the band’s cover of  Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi,” “Breaking the Law,” and an outstanding rendition of “Victim of Changes” from 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny to close.  If there were any doubters in Tim “Ripper” Owens left in the building at this point, they were surely converted by the end of the set.  The lead singer is undoubtedly still worth the price of admission.

After a brief sojourn backstage, KK’s Priest returned to encore with “Strike of the Viper” from their new record, before closing with “Raise Your Fists” from Sermons.  Owens let out one last extended wail into the microphone before the band triumphantly departed the stage to the cheers of the Patchogue crowd.  Owens and Downing turned in stellar performances as noted, alongside guitarist AJ Mills who was also remarkable.  The rhythm section of drummer Sean Elg and bassist Tony Newton complemented the high flying guitarists and soaring vocals consistently throughout the evening.

KK’s Priest will embark on a series of festival runs and headlining shows in Europe spanning from May to August this summer.  The mix of new material and classics from Judas Priest’s back catalog make KK’s Priest a must see show for any self-respecting metal fan.  You can check out their upcoming dates here.

L.A. Guns and Burning Witches are providing touring support for KK’s Priest during the U.S. run. Burning Witches played six songs to open the evening’s festivities, opening with “Unleash the Beast” from The Dark Tower and closing with the eponymous track. L.A. Guns’ nine-song set features three songs from Cocked & Loaded (“Never Enough”, “Rip and Tear”, and “The Ballad of Jayne”), with “Electric Gypsy” also among the highlights.

The Sinner Rides Again is available through Napalm Records and on major streaming services.

Article and media by: Ed Hackimer (@wheredidmarygo_) and Steve Vargas (@Steve38323)

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to This Day In Metal.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.