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Death of a metal bar

A photo essay capturing the final moments of local bar and venue SV2 Pub & Grill

Words by Chris Rugowski and John McCracken, photos by Chris Rugowski

On Dec. 31, 2021, dozens of people packed into SV2 Pub & Grill for one final night of metal music. The Green Bay venue opened in 2017 and recently announced it would be closing. Daylight Riot, a Wisconsin-based gothic metal band, opened the night.

In early December, SV2 Pub & Grill (1911 University Ave) announced it would close at the end of 2021.

SV2, a bar and live music venue that hosted a plethora of local and regional metal bands, closed its doors after a final bash on New Year’s Eve. The venue opened in 2017.

Green Bay City Pages sent freelance photographer Chris Rugowski to capture the venue’s final moments. The following photos are from the venue’s last line-up, which featured the bands Daylight Rot, Paramorpheus, Ashes of Alexis, Seven Cities Dead, Post Traumatic and Isærn.

Green Bay City Pages attempted to reach the ownership of SV2, but the staff were focused on the venue’s closing and did not respond to requests for comment ahead of publication.

These images sum up what SV2 Pub & Grill meant to so many: circle pits, headbanging and heavy music.

Metal bands and their listeners are some are of the nicest people around. They really like hard-hitting, bloodcurdling music, but don’t let appearances fool you, they’re not scary people, they don’t want to tear the building down.

Every person that fell down during a song was immediately picked up and started going at it again. The night was full of fist bumps, handshakes and hugs.

SV2 will be missed by many and, hopefully, a new venue for the area’s budding metal scene will rise and help new bands book their shows and learn how to control the stage. In just one night, it was easy to tell that SV2 was a special place for many and its memory will be long-lasting.

Ashes of Alexis vocalist Rob Ellis stares with a menacing look into the night’s crowd. Commanding the power of keyboard-laced black metal, Ashes of Alexis is a Fox Valley-based deathcore band that spent a lot of their night on and off the stage, provoking the audience to release their energy through circle pits and moshing.
During one of Paramorpheous’ songs, the crowd went into a frenzy. Concert-goers pushed, shoved and moshed their way through the progressive metal band’s pounding tracks. Every one this band’s song turned into a circle pit, inside SV2 nonetheless.
Guitarist Carson Gossen takes to the skies during his band’s set. Post Traumatic is a post-hardcore, metalcore band from Green Bay. Their set at SV2 was packed with energy and finely-tuned musicianship.
Vocalist Joshua Kurtz commanded the stage during Seven Cities Dead’s performance. The Milwaukee metalcore band took the stage by storm with drums and guitars intertwining to create a musical puzzle that felt complete once the set was done.
Concert-goers thrash around during Ashes of Alexis’ set
Ashes of Alexis vocalist and keyboard player Kyle Cowling leaves his synth behind and confronts the crowd, showcasing the band’s multi-vocalist sound
Paramorpheus vocalist Isiah Kaiver falls to his knees during the progressive death metal band’s performance
Post Traumatic bassist Jose Whiting comes center stage, carving booming bass sounds into the metalcore band’s rugged sound
Members of Seven Cities Dead and the crowd pose for a photo after the Milwaukee metalcore band’s final song. Horns up!

John McCracken is the Editor of Green Bay City Pages. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @jmcjmc451.

Chris Rugowski is a photojournalist from Green Bay, Wisconsin. He mainly focuses on event photography, with an emphasis on bands and music. When he’s not doing live event photography, he focuses on landscapes and macro as well as writing narrative pieces to accompany photos. His work can be found here.

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