An Update Overdue: A Shitload of Shows
Once upon a time I was fairly good at writing reviews on here about shows usually the night after I attended them. That was before the Rammstein show however and things still haven’t compared to that show since. The best explanation that I have is pretty much the same as Cartman in Season 4, Episode 10 of South Park – How To Eat With Your Butt. Cartman blew his ‘funny fuse’ when he saw two people with asses where their face belonged and nothing else was funny after that until he saw Ben Affleck was their son. So over these past four months, as bands have still been awesome and shows have been enjoyable still, nothing has compared to that cold December night yet. With Iron Maiden less than two weeks away however, I hope to be on my road to recovery. The least I could do however is give a little bit of an update of a handful of these bands from the past ten shows I’ve been to since then.
Ensiferum – These guys put on a commanding 75 minute set that could make the dead chant their songs of war. Sporting kilts and face paint, it’s impossible not to have your fists in the air the entire time. A must see band anytime that they come back anywhere close to town.
Genitorturers – Their set is that of an 80 minute live sex act involving aliens, naked women, weapons, booze and sex toys of course. The music is fun but it’s really just an added bonus to the entertainment that comes with it.
Eluveitie – Find me another metal band equally as awesome with a fucking hurdy gurdy and bagpipes and I’ll be nothing short of amazed. They are a mesmerizing 80 minute headliner that relies mostly on crowd participation and makes for a very good night.
Apocalyptica – I know they’ve been catching a lot of shit lately because they have a pop song writer penning songs for them, however their talent is undeniable and their stage presence is awe inspiring. The only gripe I had was their lead singer for the four songs they used vocals on does not have the right vocal style for the band.
Kataklysm – An awesome, straightforward metal show which is what you expect from Kataklysm. No frills or anything here, but they’re a tight, powerful package. Unfortunately, the set was too short for my liking because it felt like it was over shortly after it began.
Helmet – Their set was a bit of a treat. They played a handful of songs and then played the entire Meantime album – backwards! They finished it with three songs of the fans’ request before Page sat on the foot of the stage to hang out with every crowd member who wanted to talk to him or whatever else.
Testament – They were good and tight unit, however there’s still something that seems missing from their show. They shy away from music from their most recent The Formation Of Damnation for no apparent reason, since it is some of their catchiest yet still heaviest stuff. It’s also always funny to watch lead singer Chuck Billy absolutely dripping with sweat doing nothing but walking around stage playing air guitar on his mic stand. While they’re a good show, they’re still no Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax or Exodus when it comes to the live act.
The Run Of The Mill:
Nonpoint – They’re still a high energy mainstream metal band that is well worth seeing if you ever just want to catch a good show that you can bounce up and down to. Aside from an unexpected Michael Jackson cover, the set is a bit too predictable after seeing them 18 times. It would just be nice to see them end the set with something other than ‘Bullet With A Name’ for the first time in at least five years for a start.
Soulfly – It seemed a little bit uninspired in Soulfly land as their 2010 tour wound down. While they’re also a predictable band after you’ve seen them more than twice, you can tell when there is a lot of heart in a show by how long the medleys and solos last. On this particular night, they were ready to go home. The redeeming factor here is they still fucking rock harder than most bands live and even on a bad night are still much better than most bands.
Crowbar – I was happy to finally see these New Orleans legends but with an eight song set and lead guitarist/vocalist Kirk very under the weather you could tell he was suffering up there but still giving it his all. They were worth seeing and I hope to be able to give them a second chance on a healthy night soon.
Seether – The first four songs were all from their debut Disclaimer which is a nice treat from any band at a radio show. They were joined onstage by Lzzy from Halestorm for ‘Broken’ which was one of the highlights of the night. The new song was catchy but a bit weird and the set ended on a high note with ‘Remedy’ and Shaun throwing his guitar to the ground which was quite fitting for their grunge homage of a stage show.
Gargamel – You are going to say “who?!” just like I did. They’re a local Orlando band that can be described as experimental at best. They were goofy but heavy as hell in a Dog Fashion Disco meets System of a Down kind of way. They were a great start to a great night and it’s impossible not to have a big smile on your face watching them.
Saint Vitus – I know they’re the underground Gods of doom/sludge metal so I shouldn’t actually be surprised, however I expect bands like them and The Melvins to be boring honestly. But much like The Melvins, they were actually very good and made me want to see them again sooner rather than later. Wino can still belt out the tunes and their guitarist is a true showman.
Hanzel und Gretyl – A two piece New York City group that is more German than most German bands these days and also more metal than most American bands. I would have loved to have seen them perform with a live drummer for the entire set instead of a drum machine which was my only gripe.
Skillet – I actually didn’t sit through their entire set because I loathe mainstream Christian rock with a passion. I avoided them for a while before seeing what it was all about and then I realized that holy shit they have the stage show of a band with ten times the fanbase and while their songs are just generic catchy riffs, you don’t feel the urge to walk out, no matter how much you don’t like their music.
The What The Fuck Was I (Or What Were They?) Thinking:
Stone Sour – Seriously Corey Taylor, where have your balls gone? Aren’t you the guy who also screams in Slipknot? I know that 13 year old girls love seeing you out there all by yourself basking in the ovation over your butchered version of ‘Bother’ but we do not. ‘30-30/150’ and ‘Reborn’ were the only attempts of being metal made during the set. Aside from that there was lots of new music and nothing else from their first (and hands down their best) album. They were upstaged by Skillet and Theory of a Deadman. Seriously.
Razor’s Edge – Since I included a local band that blew me away, I can also include the biggest atrocity I’ve ever seen. If you think ICP blows, you’ve never seen these guys. They make ICP seem like the Queen of our time talent wise. It’s a fat kid and a skinny kid with face paint rapping about how misunderstood and violent they are to the beat of a boombox. I’d probably rather kill myself than ever see them open a metal show again.
Stained Angel – Another local band here, since Apocalyptica didn’t bring any national openers out with them on this tour. It was 25 minutes of an atrocity that reminded me just how cheesy and shitty most of our local Orlando scene is. Their drummer was pretty badass, but the rest of the band was like a metrosexual homoerotic, somehow even less talented version of Papa Roach.