Review of Cavalera Conspiracy gig at the Rock And Roll Hotel

I was excited to see the Cavalera Conspiracy play the Rock & Roll Hotel on H Street in Washington DC on Wednesday the 12th of October 2011. The Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, were founding members of one of my favorite bands when I was growing up, Sepultura. Sepultura, the Portuguese word for grave, formed in Belo Horizante, Brazil, in the early 80’s and by the mid-90’s they had become one of the biggest metal bands in the world. They arose from nothing to sell millions of records, and while the band changed their musical style several times I always enjoyed their material. That is until Max Cavalera left the band in December of 1996. He started his own band, Soulfly, which I never cared a whole lot for. Igor continued on with Sepultura for another 10 years (during that time he was not on speaking terms with his brother Max) though their output simply wasn’t as high quality nor interesting without Max. When Igor left Sepultura in 2006 he began talking to Max again and eventually they decided to form a new band. They were originally to be called Inflikted but even with the alternate spelling another band had already taken the name. They decided Cavalera Conspiracy at the Rock & Roll Hotelto rename the band as Cavalera Conspiracy and title their first album Inflikted. I thought the album was great, however I thought their second album, this year’s Blunt Force Trauma, wasn’t as good though it does have a few songs that stand out. I knew this concert would feature a mix of some Sepultura songs as well as their own material and I was really psyched. The Cavalera Conspiracy has played Baltimore a couple times, but for various reasons I couldn’t get to those shows. I hadn’t seen the Cavalera brothers play together since their last US tour with Sepultura in 1996 and to say I was fired up for this show is a bit of an understatement.

The concert started at 7:30 but I wasn’t interested in seeing any of the opening bands, Otep, Earth Crisis and local support act An Obscure Signal. Luckily I walked into the Rock And Roll Hotel right as the Cavalera Conspiracy was taking the stage, perfect timing. There weren’t as many people as I had expected at this show, maybe about 200. This was their Igor Cavalera of the Cavalera Conspiracyfirst ever DC appearance people! Anyways, the main thing I noticed about this show was that the sound SUCKED. This was probably the worst sound mix I’ve ever heard at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Now maybe it sounded better by the soundboard, as is often the case with clubs, but this was a metal show dammit. We push to get up front and mosh and go nuts up by the band, not stand in the back staring at our feet wondering why nobody loves me like it’s some hipster band. I get the feeling they had someone who isn’t familiar with mixing heavy metal bands just come in and jack up the bass because, y’know, it’s a metal band. At first I was watching the show on the right side of the stage and I couldn’t even hear the other guitarist, Marc Rizzo. Midway through the set I shifted to the left side of the stage which was better but still not great. All of the videos I shot (you can see them at the bottom of this post) were taken from that area, and you still can’t hear Rizzo’s guitars very well. The high ends were almost completely washed out in the mix, it was terrible. Luckily I know most of their songs, and all of the Sepultura songs, well enough to fill in parts in my head.

While I had a fun time at the show, Max seemed a bit out of it. When the band was playing Sepultura’s classic song Territory, he walked off stage and into the dressing room for about a minute. He came back Max Cavalera of the Cavalera Conspiracytowards the end of the song and finished it up with the band. However most of the night he seemed a bit, I dunno, like he was mostly just going through the motions maybe. Marc Rizzo was having a blast and just exuded energy, Igor was smiling at the audience between most songs and even the band’s bass player, Johny Chow, looked really excited to be there. Max may very well have been sick though, the band canceled their New York City show the following night, though I haven’t seen an official reason as to why. Regardless, it was cool seeing the Cavalera brothers back in action together and hearing them play some old Sepultura songs. They even played Troops Of Doom from their first album in 1986! There was also a sort of mash up medley of Arise and Dead Embryonic Cells. Sadly, they didn’t play anything from the Beneath The Remains or Schizophrenia albums. The song selection of their non-Sepultura material was pretty good as well. The early part of the set included a lot of songs I would just call ok off their latest album, however they did play some of my favorites like Sanctuary and I Speak Hate later in the set. Max did constantly insist to the crowd to fuck the place up and mosh, and most of the time the crowd obeyed however the strongest audience reactions were for the Sepultura covers. At one point Max introduced some guy Cavalera Conspiracy at the Rock & Roll Hotelnamed Richie and said he was a new member of the Cavalera Conspiracy family, and the guy did the vocals for one song. I have no idea who he was but he was tending the merch booth after the show. After playing for about an hour the band walked off stage to do the encore, and it seemed like they were waiting for the crowd to start chanting but it resulted in a sort of awkward state for a minute or two. Cavalera Conspiracy has far too many syllables for an audience to chant in unison and some people were looking around confused about if the show was over. The band did come back to play two more songs though, the final song being Roots Bloody Roots.

After the show Marc Rizzo came out and took tons of pictures with any fans that wanted one. I spoke with him for a couple minutes and he said Marc Rizzo of the Cavalera Conspiracyhe wants to come back with his solo act soon. If you’ve never heard his solo material you really should, it’s a bizarre hybrid of metal guitar shred and flamenco style guitar that would probably sound like shit if anyone else tried to pull it off. His technical prowess really makes it work and his transitions are seamless. He has a few albums but I think The Ultimate Devotion is his best if you’re interested in checking his solo stuff out. Anyways, in all I had a fun time at the show but due to the poor mix it still left me wanting to see them again soon, hopefully in a better setting. It was still really cool getting to see the Cavalera brothers play together again, something a few years ago I would have never thought possible. There’s just something I love about Igor’s very primal and tribal style of drumming combined with Max’s pissed off, revolutionary vocals and guitars that will keep me a fan of theirs for life. I can tell this is going to be one of those shows where I now go and listen to a bunch of their back catalog for the rest of the week. If you’d like to see more of my photos from this show, check them out on my Flickr site here. And if you’d like to hear how shitty the sound was at the venue, just watch the videos that I shot below.

Yngwie Malmsteen ticket give away

Yngwie at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Yngwie Malmsteen is coming to the brand new Fillmore Silver Spring on Saturday 15 October 2011 and has tickets to give away. All you have to do to enter to win is post in the comments below why you’re a fan of Yngwie and/or why you’d like to go to this show. On Friday the 14th of October 2011 at 6pm EST I’ll pick a winner at random (using from all the valid entries below to win the pair of tickets to this show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you when you win. And I won’t add you to any email lists or anything either, I hate spam as much as you do.

Yngwie Malmsteen is a neo-classical heavy metal guitar player known for his incredible skill and technique. The guy can solo and shred to an extreme level and is one of the best guitar players in the world. The guitar virtuoso will be playing a Saturday night show at the brand new Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland this weekend. Fans of technical guitar playing will not want to miss this. This tour is to support he most recent album, Relentless, which was released last year. Opening for Yngwie will be Washington DC’s own The Jones, a bluesy rock band. If you simply can’t wait to get tickets you can pick them up from Live Nation here for $25. The doors open at 7pm and should be a great night of shred in Silver Spring.

After you’ve entered the contest check out this promotional video Yngwie put out for this tour, it should give you an idea of what to expect.

Cavalera Conspiracy ticket give away

Cavalera Conspiracy is coming to the Rock & Roll Hotel on Wednesday 12 October 2011 and is giving away a pair of tickets to a lucky one of you readers. All you have to do to enter to win is in the comments below post a classic old school Sepultura song title you’d like to hear them play that night. I’m sure they’ll have to play a few covers. If you don’t know any old Sepultura song titles (you call yourself a metal head?) you can check out their discography on the Metal Archives here and don’t pick any songs after 1997. On Monday the 10th of October 2011 at 6pm EST I’ll pick a winner at random (using from all the valid entries below to win the pair of tickets to this show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you when you win. And I won’t add you to any email lists or anything either, I hate spam as much as you do.

When I was in high school Sepultura was one of my favorite bands. The Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, were founding members and in my opinion the backbone of that band. The Brazilian band really started taking off in the 90s, they had several videos all over MTV (back when MTV not only played music videos but metal ones even) and the band’s popularity was going upwards with each new release. However, Max ended up getting married to the band’s manager and she basically Yoko’d Sepultura and convinced him to go solo, forming his own band called Soulfly. I’ll just say they weren’t nearly as good as Sepultura. Sepultura didn’t fare much better, their popularity greatly diminished due to weaker releases after Max left. Igor didn’t talk to Max for years after the split. That is, not until after Igor himself eventually left Sepultura in 2006 and the two not only reconciled but to the delight of Sepultura fan boys like myself formed a new band together. Their first album, Inflikted, I really enjoyed and recommend checking that out if you haven’t. Anyways, the brothers haven’t played in DC since forming, though they did play Baltimore a couple times. I’m really psyched about this show! The opening acts will be Otep and Earth Crisis as well as Maryland based An Obscure Signal. If you simply can’t wait to get tickets you can pick them up from Ticket Alternative here for $22, they go up to $25 the day of the show. The doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30. This is going to kick ass!

After you’ve entered the contest check out this wild video of Cavalera Conspiracy playing their song Sanctuary. Sorta reminds me of those beef jerky commercials with Bigfoot in them, but with more blood and that weird guy Sloth from the Goonies.

Psst… If this isn’t enough Sepultura nostalgia goodness for you, members of local bands Disciples Of Christ (D.O.C. for short), Mind As Prison and Drugs Of Faith, will be playing a special set of Sepultura covers the Thursday before Halloween. You can get more info on that at show’s Facebook event page here.