Power Trip and Obituary pay tribute to Riley Gale in powerful performance
Back in August, Power Trip frontman Riley Gale tragically passed away at the age of 34. Now, members of Power Trip and Obituary have come together to honor Gale with a powerful performance of “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe).”
This marks the first time Power Trip guitarists Nick Stewart and Blake Ibanez, drummer Chris Ulsh and bassist Chris Whetzel have performed together publicly since Gale’s death last year.
On March 27, Power Trip joined Obituary vocalist John Tardy and drummer Donald Tardy during the band’s new livestream series. The group of musicians have known each other for quite some time and even toured together on the North American Battle Of The Bays tour with Exodus and Dust Bolt in 2017.
For the new set, the musicians crammed inside a small studio space and truly let loose with a performance of “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe).” The track appears on Power Trip’s latest studio album Nightmare Logic, which was released in 2017.
Before kicking off the set, John held up a photo of Gale and said “rest in peace brother” into his microphone. Then, the Power Trip and Obituary members went right into playing the guitar-heavy track.
Amid the chaotic headbangs and large smiles, the “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)” performance felt both casual and celebratory as Power Trip and Obituary honored Gale’s memory. Throughout the set, it’s evident that each musician truly gave the song their all just as Gale did for every live performance.
Eventually, the powerful tribute came to a close and everyone watching the performance broke out into large applause. The bittersweet set offered a touching salute to Gale that both Power Trip fans and metal followers alike will deeply appreciate.
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This year, Power Trip’s live performance of “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)” which appears on 2020’s Live In Seattle: 05.28.2018 earned them their first Grammy nomination. Along with Power Trip, Body Count, Poppy, Code Orange and In This Moment were also nominated in the Best Metal Performance category.
“Losing Riley was the saddest thing that ever happened to me,” Ulsh tells the Los Angeles Times. “But I’m so proud of everything we accomplished together. One of the coolest things from the start was that there was no ceiling to this band and this Grammy nomination is a perfect example of that.”
For now, Power Trip are still dealing with the loss of their close friend. Eventually, however, they plan to come together and make more music when the time is right.
“We’ve never been through anything like this,” Ibanez tells the Los Angeles Times. “But it’s definitely brought us closer. You’re together all the time, then in the blink of an eye, you know you’ll never see each other again. We do want to continue to play music together, we just are not sure what that looks like at this time."
Back in December, Body Count vocalist Ice-T opened up about being nominated alongside Power Trip at the Grammys. He had a close relationship with Gale who appears on Body Count’s song “Point The Finger,” off of Carnivore. For Ice-T, losing Gale has left an incredible impact on him.
“Riley was a friend of ours,” Ice-T tells Consequence Of Sound. “We met out on the road, we kinda clicked off. We felt that Power Trip had a vibe that was very familiar to Body Count. [We] liked them, [and] we collabed on our most recent album, Carnivore, with Riley. To have to lose him unexpectedly was one of the biggest tragedies for me this year because we were talking on the phone a lot. He was young. He was a very cool person.”
Since Gale’s death in August, hundreds of tributes have poured in. As well, Dallas Hope Charities has named an LGBTQIA+ community center in his honor. Throughout his life, Gale was heavily involved with Dallas-based organizations that help LGBTQIA+ youth at risk of homelessness. With this new transitional home, Dallas Hope Charities can accommodate and support numerous individuals from the ages of 18 to 24 within the Dallas community.
In November, Ibanez revealed how much this honor would’ve meant to Gale.
“I definitely think that this is what he would have wanted,” Ibanez tells the Dallas Observer. “It’s a couple of great ways to memorialize him. I think he saw that as a big benefit to who he was, was being able to create things like that. Not everybody can just be a part of something—whether it’s a band or whatever—and be able to raise money on a dime for people that need it. Those groups of people that need that type of help.”
Along with this, Dallas Hope Charities also named a library after Gale following his death in August. According to Pitchfork, Gale’s family donated many of his books to the Riley Gale Library, which will have their own dedicated space.
What are your reactions to Power Trip and Obituary’s tribute performance to Riley Gale? Let us know in the comments below.