Review of Municipal Waste gig at Rock And Roll Hotel

So Sunday the 25th of April I decided that instead of going to the Earth Day Climate Rally on the national mall, I’d much rather go to see the bands Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust at the Rock & Roll Hotel. No I’m not some hipster just trying to be ironic, I really couldn’t give a shit about Sting, I want some thrash! When I got to the venue the opener, Black Anvil had just finished playing, so I didn’t get a chance to see them. After talking to a few of my friends who had already gotten there I moved up to the front of the stage. There wasn’t much of a crowd in there when I got inside, but the place was filling up by the time Toxic Holocaust finished their set. They played a really good set and they’re one of those bands who not only plays their material faster live, but with much more energy. They didn’t talk much between songs and really just came out to shred it seemed, and the audience seemed to get into it a bit. It was a great set to warm the crowd up, though I’m not sure if they really needed it.

After a rather long set up time, Richmond natives Municipal Waste hit the stage. The crowd was ready and it didn’t take long for people to start running onto the stage and stage diving back into the audience. The security was not happy about this and had its hands full trying to kick people out. Several times between songs Municipal Waste berated the security for kicking people out and I noticed the bouncers had started to just throw people back into the pit when they were crowd surfing. That was a pretty intense mosh pit, I did my best to stay out (moshing with my cameras = not good!) but you could tell it was made up of a lot of DC hardcore kids and they were ready to get brutal. People were singing along with catchy chorus lines and just all out having fun. Their set was a good mix of songs from all their albums, though I don’t think the audience cared what they played really, as long as it was fast. That’s because their vocalist, Tony Foresta, had such great stage presence. He was jumping around and instructing the circle pit which way to spin and turning the mic around so the people could help out. He told people to all jump up on stage for the final song so it wouldn’t matter if people got kicked out by security, and they did! It looked like maybe a dozen people were crammed on the stage by the time the song ended. The only gripe I really had about the show was that they did the typical “walk off stage and wait for the crowd to chant for an encore” rock star bullshit thing. I thought that was kinda glam, especially considering they’ve got such a punk influence. That’s really not a big deal, and the show was a lot of fun for everyone except security!

Below I’ve posted the videos I shot with my normal camera from this concert. If you saw me there you may have noticed I also had a palm cam that I was shooting with. It’s actually a friend of mine’s and he was letting me borrow it. The video quality came out great though the audio was terrible, complete overload once the guitars started up so I didn’t post them to YouTube with these other vids. There is a recording volume control but I didn’t know how to use it until I looked it up after the concert. That’s ok though because really this was just a test run for when I bring it to Maryland Deathfest next month. It really did a good job of adjusting to the dark setting though, which if you look at the third video below, you can see my normal camera does not. The audio is still good on those though, so I hope you enjoy them.

Review of Cannibal Corpse gig at Jaxx

So Friday night, the 23rd of April the infamous death metal band Cannibal Corpse was coming to Jaxx. Awesome, I hadn’t seen them since they played the 9:30 Club in October of 2007, so I was pretty pumped. Somewhere there was a communication breakdown between the bands and the venue though, as 2 different set times were announced the day of the show, the final one saying that Cannibal Corpse would be hitting the stage at 9:30 pm because they had a early load in time the next morning in Boston. Pretty shitty for me since I didn’t get off of work til 8! I really wanted to see Diabolic play, but since the show started so early, Skeletonwitch was already playing by the time I got there. Since 1349 wasn’t able to get into the country at that point (apparently due to the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland) that meant Cannibal Corpse was going to be the next band to play. For those of you outside the area, 1349 will rejoin the tour on April 25th in Long Island.

Skeletonwitch put on a good show. I had meant to catch them at The Red And The Black in DC back in February but I had gotten sick and couldn’t make it. I think they were just starting when I got there so I did catch most of their set. They’re pretty fun to watch live, great thrash with catchy riffs and death metal style growling vocals. Though most of the band didn’t do much but head bang in place, the vocalist, Chance Garnett, had great stage presence and really got the audience into the show. They really were a good band for warming up the crowd, though I’d have like to have seen Diabolic and/or 1349 too. I ended up buying a Skeletonwitch pint glass at the merch stand after they played, hard to pass up at just $5 (by comparison Cannibal Corpse was selling a bottle opener for the same price).

There was a rather long delay before Cannibal Corpse started to play. The crowd was getting anxious and started chanting “Corpse!” and within a minute of that the band got on the stage. They came out shredding and the crowd was eating it up. I’ve seen Cannibal Corpse many times before, and this set included the least amount of Chris Barnes era songs, though they did play 2 songs from their debut album Eaten Back To Life, A Skull Full Of Maggots and Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains (someone in the audience was screaming for Born In A Casket during most song breaks though, which they didn’t play). Also of note, they played The Cryptic Stench, from Tomb Of The Mutilated, which I thought was sort of out of left field (they of course played Hammer Smashed Face also). Despite the audience’s requests for songs like I Come Blood and Fucked With A Knife, they didn’t really play many of their more sexually disturbing or misogynist songs, though they did close with Stripped, Raped And Strangled. They also played a couple songs from their latest album, Evisceration Plague, and most of the rest of the set was a sampling of the material from 1998 on. Regardless of what songs they were playing, they played them fast and tight, and the audience was losing it. I did see a couple crowd surfers, a rarity at Jaxx, and the pit was pretty much constant. Their vocalist, Corpsegrinder, talked a bit more between songs than the last few times I saw them. At one point someone yelled out to play the Barney The Dinosaur theme song, which he did not find funny and he went off on a rather entertaining rant about people requesting “retarded songs” before going right into A Skull Full Of Maggots. Still, it probably would be pretty hilarious if they actually played a song like that in the classic Cannibal Corpse style. As usual they didn’t do the typical bullshit encore thing bands seem to always do, which is cool. So lame when you plan your own encore ahead of time. They announced that Hammer Smashed Face would be the final song of the night just before they played it, though just like the last time I saw them in 2007, when they finished playing it Corpsegrinder immediately said they had lied and the band went right into Stripped, Raped And Strangled, which the audience went crazy for.

After the show I hung out a bit talking to some of the people I had met up with for the show in the first place (didn’t have a whole lot of time to talk to them earlier due to the show being early and my late arrival). Local thrash metal band Cab Ride Home apparently played after Cannibal Corpse got their stuff all loaded out, but I didn’t hang around long enough to check them out. I had lots of pics and vids to sort through and the Caps game to watch on DVR. You can see the videos I shot at this show below, though I have 2 more that YouTube is having trouble with for some reason. They both keep getting hung up at about 80% when I try upload them and I don’t know why. I’ll post them here if I can get them to upload correctly, not sure what the problem is. Not a big deal as these vids should give you a good idea of this brutal concert regardless. Enjoy!

High On Fire and Doomriders Reviews

Well, this evening was a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure style night. It was a Sunday night, the 11th of April 2010, and I had a small problem, 2 bands I wanted to see were playing the same night at different venues. High On Fire at the Black Cat and the Doomriders at the Rock & Roll Hotel. I called up a couple friends of mine to see if they wanted to try to squeeze in both shows. They were up for the double feature and we headed off to the Rock And Roll Hotel to catch the Doomriders first. The show was running late and when we got there the first band, Fang Island, was still setting up. I only watched them for a single song before heading upstairs. They weren’t too interesting to me, and not very metal anyways. For some reason they had 3 guitarists on stage, and their bass player switched off to play they keyboard. After a couple beers we went back down while the Doomriders were setting up. The crowd wasn’t too close together and we basically just walked right up to the front. One of the friends I was with had another friend at the Black Cat who was updating us on the status of the bands playing there. We decided that when Priestess was playing their last song we’d have to leave, regardless of if the Doomriders were done or not. Anyways, the Doomriders finally did come out and they were really energetic. I’m sure they won over some new fans who were really just there to see the headliner Red Sparowes, people were getting into them. I also saw a little kid (pic) up there in the front row, he was even throwing horns and headbanging to the music. Their show kicked ass so you can’t blame him! One thing though, their bass player, a really tall guy named Jebb Riley, was actually too tall for the stage! His head was hidden from most of the crowd during the show because the overhead speakers were blocking him. I’ve never seen that kind of problem before, haha. The mix was pretty good I’ve got to say, though the lighting was pretty crappy (the R&R Hotel doesn’t have good lights so that’s to be expected). They were playing their last song of the night, which was apparently also their slowest and longest, when we got the message that we needed to head over to the Black Cat. We didn’t wait for the long song to end and promptly headed straight for the door.

We piled into my car and headed over to the Black Cat. I found a good parking spot on the street right next to the venue, and we went right into the club. We could hear High On Fire had already started playing Frost Hammer, though the ticket guy said the band had just started. We rushed up the stairs and headed into the crowd. We got up there pretty close fairly easily, I guess people were scared of the mosh pit? As usual the lighting wasn’t great, but I still got some good pics I think. The sound mix was terrible though, I mean really bad. I’ve posted videos below and they’re actually a pretty good representative of the sound. It’s not my camera that makes it sound muffled, it’s the mix. I even heard a few random shouts from the crowd between songs demanding the guitars to be turned up. The vocals were really low in the mix too, at least from where I was standing. Matt Pike (of Sleep fame) really had a hold of the crowd though, people were going crazy and his stage presence was a big part of that, even if you could see his beer gut and ass crack (depending on which way he was facing) the whole time. Regardless, the show was really fun and they played a lot of the songs from their new album, Snakes For The Divine, which is cool because that album is pretty awesome. I was trying to shoot a video of the title track but some guy with a flash light told me I wasn’t allowed to take video. I don’t think that is the Black Cat’s usual policy, so maybe the band requested that. Strange. I still shot the 3 vids below before he told me to stop, though I thought Snakes For The Divine was the best song they played all night. Still, the show was a blast, the crowd was going crazy and the metal was loud!

In all the entire night was a lot of fun, I haven’t done the concert hopping thing in a while and it was a great night for metal in DC (even though I missed the first ever metal show at DC Star, but there was no way I could fit that in too). I haven’t been to a whole hell of a lot of concerts so far this year, but I should be seeing several awesome gigs here up through Maryland Deathfest, for which I’ve already got a 3 day pass. This is going to be a good spring for metal heads in the DC area.