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Concert Review: Mushroomhead w/ Straight Line Stitch, Supe (Pougheepsie, NY 8/23/09)

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It seems that whenever I see Mushroomhead, they are on a tour sponsored by Jagermeister. I don't think this little fact really means anything, but considering I have seen them on a good number of occasions, it was an odd little curiosity. Also, more often than not, they would be on the road with Dope, another band that gives a high energy performance. Unfortunately, they are not in this particular package.

The name of this tour is the "HED to HEAD Tour" and features Mushroomhead and (hed) p.e. I must admit this is not as enticing a package as Mushroomhead and Dope, but what are you going to do? Sometimes you have to give a little in order to experience their show, which is something everyone should do at least once.

I got to The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY a little bit late and I missed a pair of local openers. This is something I regret as I always like to see what the local scene has to offer. Sure, I go to some local shows, and that is a great thing, but it is a different experience to see them with national acts and the larger crowds they bring.

As I got inside and obtained my first beer, the first national opener was just getting ready. The band hails from Tokyo, Japan, (although, they now call California home) and goes by the name Supe (pronounced "shoop"). They took the stage like a band possessed, delivering high energy rock to a young crowd that seemed ready to eat it up. I must admit, I got caught up in the energy of the performance as well. They definitely know how to put on a show and worked the stage like a well oiled machine. I guess my problem with them is that the music was not all that great.

Do not get me wrong, the music is not bad, and I am relatively sure I would enjoy checking them out on CD. The crux of the matter is, is that as entertaining as they were live, the music did not really stand out as being very original. It was solid, driving, well played hard rock. It was very easy to get into live, but when thinking about it after the fact, I must admit to being less than thrilled, especially considering what followed them.

Straight Line Stitch, straight out of Knoxville, TN was up next. This quintet upped the ante delivering some rough, in your face metal that threatened to pound your face in. I know I have heard these guys before, but I cannot remember where it was. I do have to say that I was impressed with what they had to offer. It was not like they are rewriting the book of metal, but they do have a sound that does stand out with its blending of metal, metalcore, and a touch of hardcore.

The band is fronted by Alexis Brown, who possesses a powerful voice that does not sound like it would come from someone so slight. She has a powerful growl that sounds like her throat is coming apart, but can change on a dime and have a beautiful singing voice. It will be interesting to see how far they can go.

All right, the opening acts are out of the way it is now time for the band all of us were there for. Well, at least me anyway.

The stage was cleared and redressed for the coming of Mushroomhead. This means a few more light fixtures, some floor toms mounted at the front of he stage and plastic bags to cover the stage monitors and other electronic equipment.

After an excruciating, but not terribly long wait, entrance music picked up and the lights went down. Coinciding with the lights was a roar from the crowd and a "MUSHROOMHEAD!" chant. Then the band slowly came to the stage and the song "43" picked up. What followed was an hour of great music, lots of lights, and a fantastic stage show.

Oh yes, I would be remiss f I did not mention that the band featured some new masks. Gone are the X masks and the pig masks, in their place are these creepy baby doll masks, with a variety of hairstyles (or lack thereof) and in a couple cases, slits to allow for singing. I do not know what the story is behind them, but they were really odd and I am assuming they will tie in with the new album they have been working on.

In any case, as usual, they put on a great show. If there is anything to complain about it is their sound could use a second guitarist. After losing Bronson a couple years back, the sound is a touch thinner live. Still, they manage to tear it up ad get everyone into the show. Waylon has stepped up and has eclipsed J Mann, in my opinion, he is a strong and versatile singer who plays well with Jeffrey Nothing's vocal style. Plus, who doesn't love the in time drumming with the water covered toms? Great visual, if nothing else.

I must admit that I do not particularly care for (hed) p.e. and I chose to leave prior to their set. Apologies to their fans, but I had other commitments and figured I would be better served by the early exit.

I believe this set list is pretty close to what Mushroomhead played:

1. 43
2. Kill Tomorrow
3. 1200
4. Bwomp
5. Before I Die
6. These Filthy Hands
7. Damage Done
8. Simple Survival
9. Save Us
10. Solitaire / Unraveling
11. Xeroxed
12. Sun Doesn't Rise
13. Empty Spaces
14. Born of Desire

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