Photos by David Rubene
There have been so many great shows lately but last night was the first time in awhile where I got to spend one of those amazing shows with my family. Although I started in the metal scene here, I seem to have fallen a bit out of it. If given the choice of head banging along to a metal show or singing along to an indie-pop show, I’ve been choosing the indie-pop world. Call it old age, call it the changing of tides– whatever you want to call it– I missed my family and was more than excited to see them all last night even though I stunk of cough drops and have yet to completely get over my latest bout of strep throat.
So This Is Suffering kicked off the show and, within the first couple of notes, I was reminded why I fell so deep into this scene. There was an intensity about this opening act that made them feel like anything but the opening act. Although staff was still trying to funnel the young crowd in through the doors, the band was giving the people who had made it in in time their everything whether they liked it or not. It seemed like majority of the crowd was trying to find their friends rather than showing any interest in the opening act but that inattentiveness didn’t stand a chance against STIS. The brutality of their music was matched only by the band’s demeanor. As I mentioned, there was a sense of intensity that made these guys stand out. Singer Rudy Flores stormed across the stage with a sense of fury that was absolutely amazing to watch. Some members of the audience started to mirror that energy and the pushing and shoving that is typically saved for the last couple bands of a show which proved that I wasn’t the only one falling in love with this band.
Shorts were set and it seemed like as soon as STIS had started playing, they were being shuffled off the stage and Entheos was all set up and ready for their quick set. Typically Entheos is a four piece but last night they came to The Cabooze as a three piece. As the band took the stage and I came to realization that a member was missing (bassist Adam Brewer) I started to worry about how it was going to go. I’ve been loving this band since I saw them last spring and was super excited to see them again. I prayed to the metal gods that the missing member wouldn’t effect much and the God’s seemed to have answered my prayer. Entheos’ set went off without a hitch and I quickly forgot that there was even a member missing. Singer Chaney Crabb (who was the only female in this five band tour line-up) commanded the crowd with her brutal vocals and electric energy. Although it was just a trio last night, this group had a wall of sound that hit myself and the other audience-members straight in the gut. The brutal vocals mixed with the tech-metal like instrumentation left everyone with their jaws on the ground.
Rings of Saturn brought their signature brand of chaos to the stage. They are one of those bands that seems to play the game of how fast can we play and how many notes can we fit into a beat but, unlike other bands that play that game, they are able to keep a sense of clarity in their music when doing it. With guitarist Lucas Mann missing from the stage, I was again worried about what a missing member would do to a group like this but, just like during Entheos, I quickly forgot that a member was missing and was impressed by the huge sound this group could make as a three piece. The crowd turned into a sweaty mess that complimented the chaotic sound perfectly. Just like the bands that graced the stage before them, Ring of Saturn’s set was too short and, although I had just seen them a couple of months prior, it was still exciting to get a chance to see them again.
Carnifex is a band that I hate on recording but, hot damn, do I love seeing them live. Their brand of deathcore is something that completely changes depending on if you’re listening to their album in a car or seeing it live. The energy that this group has during their performances is unreal and, when you add the smoke and lights, you are left with an undeniably amazing show. Singer Scott Lewis really didn’t have to do much to get the crowd going. As soon as the music kicked off, so did the crowd and I quickly found myself lost in a sweaty mess of people. Out of all of the bands that played, Carnifex’s sound was a bit less chaotic and more cohesive. It was less about how many notes can we fit into a single beat and more about restraint. Even with that restraint, there is no way to call this group a calm group. Their intensity kept the energy high and the brutality of the music kept the night moving along.
Although my music tastes have seemed to calm down a bit over the years, there are still a couple of heavy-hitting bands that I listen to on a daily basis and Whitechapel is one of them. I still remember the first time I heard their album “This Is Exile” back in 2008. It was definitely a game changer for me. I was listening to a lot of Slipknot back in those days and thought I knew what heavy music was but, that first listen of “This Is Exile” changed everything for me and I was catapulted into the world of deathcore.
Like many other bands, I seemed to have fallen off the wagon as far as Whitechapel is concerned. I still have majority of “This Is Exile” on my daily playlist but the four albums that followed that one never quite made the cute (although there’s no particular reason for that). That being said, I didn’t recognize majority of the songs played last night but, with a band like Whitechapel, it didn’t really matter. Singer Phil Bozeman has a very distinctive way of screaming and that’s what had me falling in love with this group from the beginning. His growls are terrifying and, when he hits a faster line of lyrics, he is able to keep a sense of intensity about it as he barks every single word into the microphone. His signature sound doesn’t change regardless of what album a song is from and, as a fair-weathered fan who didn’t quite keep up with the band, it was refreshing to say the least. I may not have known the lyrics, but I knew the sound and it was comforting.
The crowd had quickly gone from a sweaty mess to a complete clusterfuck. Other than one fight that broke out in the middle of Whitechapel’s set, everyone in the audience had a smile on their face as their bodies were being thrashed about and as the sweat dripped down their faces. Whether you listen to metal music or not, being in the audience at a show like this is something that words just can not do justice for– it’s something that you absolutely have to experience. Even if you stay on the outskirts of the mess of people, there’s a feeling of intensity that you can not avoid and that feeling is something you just don’t get at indie-pop shows.
I don’t think I realized how long it had been since I had seen my metal family. My concert calendar has been jam packed and, with the holidays, free time isn’t really a thing in my life right now. That being said, it doesn’t matter how many shows I go to or what genre I find myself obsessing over at any given time– there is absolutely nothing better than going to a metal show and seeing all of my friends that have turned into my family.