What a night. There is absolutely nothing like hitting a metal show following a long day of work. You go, let out your frustrations of the day, and hopefully hear some good music while doing it. That is exactly what happened on Thursday November 2, 2006.
I got to the Chance Theater around 7:20 and got in line. I waited to get through security, and while I waited the first band began their set. Not exactly the best way to start the night, I hate it when they start the show before getting everyone in. Anyway, what I heard I liked, and I hoped it would continue once I got it.
The band onstage was The Autumn Offering, a death/thrash/metalcore act out of Daytona, Florida. These guys were good! This is one of those bands I have heard mention of in passing during my travels around the web, but had never actually heard. I only caught about two thirds of their set, and I really wish I had gotten in sooner to have been witness to the entire thirty minutes.
The music was filled with bloody throated vocals and an intense blend of fast and heavy riffs and melodic soloing, backed by some pretty wild drums. They pretty much owned the stage. The kids in the pit were doing their thing, my head was rocking, and they put it down for us. I can guarantee they won over a few new fans this night, myself included. They played a few songs from each of their two releases, including "Revelations" and "Ghost." They are a strong young act, and definitely one worth keeping an eye on. They closed their set with a rousing rendition of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," perfectly capturing, and adding to, the sheer heaviness of the song while the crowd sang enthusiastically along.
Next up was a NY schooled hard rock act with a touch of the south called Brand New Sin. I cannot say I liked them, but they definitely had the skills to throw-down. They were a big change of pace from The Autumn Offering, with their decidedly non-metal sound. Something that is fine with me, they were still a good fit for the show and offered up something different.
They more than held their own onstage, delivering the rock with some nice lead work. Despite their dedication to delivering the rock, I had a little trouble getting into them. You know how it is, you see a band that is performing well, but there is something about them that just does not click with what you like. I wanted to like them, and I hesitate to speak ill of them as they did perform well. Anyway, they got me rocking along, but I doubt I will seek them out.
SOiL was up next, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, they are another band that I had heard of but had never heard. They are also another band that has great presence on the stage, led by vocalist AJ Cavalier. Soil proceeded to rip through a 45 minute set delivering a nice blend of nu-metal/metalcore. Now before you jump on me for my incorrect genre choice that is how they strike me. There are too many genres and sub-genres and different ideas of what puts one band in one while a similar act may be on the other side of some movable marker. The one thing they needed was more stage to work with. When a few bands are playing, it leaves little room for the openers to work with as the stage is not all that big. Even without that room, they put on a good show. The music was loud, tight, and impressive. They closed their set with "Halo," performed as a duet with Joe Altier of Brand New Sin. The song sounded strangely familiar, but I could not place it. It was a great song with which to end their set, bringing the crowd way up before leaving for the coming of our headliner.
The stage was cleared and reconfigured for our main act. It was nearly time for the mighty Mushroomhead to own. Their brand of experimental progressive doom metal (there I go again with my genres) has to be heard. This time out, the band has changed their look up a bit. The macabre masks and makeup is still there, but there is a bit more of an individual style creeping into their look.
Pig Benis has crafted a mask that is more pig-like, Gravy's mask has the look of stretched flesh, Skinny's mask just looks a lot darker and evil, then there are Schmotz and Stitch whose masks have more or less remained the same. While I was looking at their new looks, I realized something was missing. Where's Bronson? They were missing an axeman. I found out later that Bronson has left the band, reportedly to go back to film school. Well, you will be missed and I wish you the best of luck.
Along with the look change, their stage presence felt a lot looser. I am not quite sure how to explain it, but they seemed to be more comfortable in their performance than I have seen in the past. They bring a lot of dramatic, theatrical elements to the stage.
When Mushroomhead hits the stage you have to be ready for their stage show. This show brought some new elements, including a pair of floor toms at the front of the stage that were cover with water being based rhythmically by Schmotz and Stitch with lights shining up from beneath. Waylon is settling in as co-frontman with Jeffrey Nothing, the interplay between the two vocalists keeps getting better. Perhaps it is the fact that they have a new album out and are reinvigorated by playing new music, but they just sound great. If there was something missing, it is Bronson, the lack of a second guitar; the sound was a little bit thinner. Hopefully, they will be able to find someone to fill the slot soon.
The past couple of times I saw them, they opened with "Kill Tomorrow." This time around, that got moved to the encore, and the opening went to the new song "Damage Done." The set was a nice mix of their three major releases, leaning towards the new release. It added a nice spontaneity to the show. Where before you may be able to predict the set, this kept you guessing while still hitting the classics like "Sun Doesn't Rise" and "Bwomp."
Want to see some more, and bigger, photos? Well be sure to check out my gallery for this show.
I snagged this set list from the Mushroomhead forum, it is pretty close, although I think the order is a little different. I am pretty sure that "Solitaire/Unraveling" was earlier.
- Damage Done
- Simple Survival
- Before I Die
- Sun Doesn't Rise
- Erase the Doubt
- Never Let It Go
- Save Us
- 12 Hundred
- Kill Tomorrow