Viking metal, pirate metal, Jew punk, Israeli rap, fast food metal– I’ve gone down some super weird rabbit holes in my day and am always here for a kitschy show so I was stoked as I picked up a good buddy of mine and we made our way to The Turf Club in Saint Paul. I’ve seen a lot but Bollywood-infused metal was a new one for me and I was so excited to see how it would translate live.
Kicking the show off was A Killer’s Confession. The only thing I knew about this band was that my buddy Chad who I was with once opened for them on a tour. He spoke very highly of the guys in the band but admitted that it probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea. I think that deep down, I knew that would be the case. I love Chad but he has questionable taste in music. Even with that, I knew I wasn’t allowed to form an opinion on the band until I saw them live so I tried to shake his words out of my head along with any preconceived notions I had about A Killer’s Confession as they took the stage promptly at 8 PM.
Fronted by Waylon Reavis (former vocalist for Mushroomhead), AKC took the stage and blasted into a forty-five-minute set that, sure, stylistically wasn’t quite for me, but was powerful and had the crowd entranced. Let’s go ahead and get through what I didn’t like about AKC’s set. First, when Waylon announced that yes, he is originally from Mushroomhead, I felt like it came off a bit pompous. I get that Mushroomhead is a huge band but, personally, I have never been a huge fan so just the way he stated that rubbed me the wrong way. Musically, there was nothing in AKC’s music that really caught me. There was one song that I would have put money on the fact that they were covering Slipknot until the vocals kicked in (if you know the Mushroomhead/ Slipknot drama from back in the day… well… I’ll just leave it there) but it wasn’t a cover, it was a new original song from AKC. Again, as mentioned, their hard rock sound that dabbled at times in metal just wasn’t for me but I promise there were good things about their set that had me walking away thinking, hey, that wasn’t that bad.
AKC’s live show is truly explosive. Although we were in the cozy setting of The Turf Club with around a 350-person capacity, AKC’s show was larger than life. With smoke shooting out of the front of the stage that would part so show Waylon singing his heart out to the facepaint and blackout contacts in Waylon’s eyes making him look Halloween ready, there was just something so large about their show. Their sound was also large. Although it wasn’t for me, there was no denying the amount of power this band brought to the stage and venue with every drum hit and every guitar riff. The band came off as very professional and very seasoned with few breaks between tracks and very little banter between band members or even band and audience. That was a catch twenty-two for me. I love when bands interact very personally with the audience members in front but I also got that AKC was just trying to get in all of the speaker time they possibly could in front of the sold-out crowd and I truly did respect that.
My buddy disappeared after AKC’s set to help them drag their gear out but I honestly didn’t really notice he was gone. I was anxious and ready for what was about to come next and, after just about a half hour, it happened. Bloodywood took the stage and I honestly will struggle to find the words to describe what happened next. Straight out of New Delhi, India, Bloodywood started as a parody band that would do metal covers of pop songs with their own Indian twist. After a while, the band switched to writing original material, and, as cliche as it sounds, the rest is history. Now they are on a whirlwind tour across the U.S. which has been almost all sold out and has included some of the biggest metal and rock festivals the country has to offer.
Unfortunately, rap vocalist Raoul Kerr was sick and couldn’t make it to the stage on Tuesday night but that didn’t stop Bloodwood from giving the performance of a lifetime. I was completely captivated by this band. Obviously, for me, it was the dhol player- Sarthak Pahwa- who had my eyes the majority of the time. What is a dhol? It’s a double-headed drum that has an almost metallic tone to it and truly is one of the reasons that Bloodywood stands out from the rest. If you took the dhol and the flutes away from Bloodywood’s music, you would be left with just standard metal music. Don’t get me wrong, it would be solid music but it was those traditional instruments that had piqued my interest and I was just so relieved that they used them when performing live.
Bloodywood’s set was only an hour long which truly was not long enough but was more than acceptable with the amount of power and passion they put into each track. I’m guessing their set was so short because they just don’t have enough material to cover more time but that is just speculation. Regardless, I got what I wanted out of their show. I was transported into a whole new world and my ears were treated to a whole new sound that had familiar undertones that kept me feeling comfortable in the new world of Bollywood metal. What I’m trying to say is that although their set was quick, they were able to give the entire sold-out audience a taste of what they have to offer and I don’t feel like it would be overstepping to say that everyone who was in attendance is already waiting for another chance to catch Bloodywood live.