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10.30.2004: The Mushroomhead Halloween Show @ The Cleveland Agora

So once again, it was time for one of Cleveland’s greatest musical traditions: the Mushroomhead Halloween Show. Once again, it lived up to the hype. We’ve got a lot of bands to hit, so let’s get to it. Let me confess up front: I may screw up the order a bit (I’m old and I may have had a drink or ten).

I got to the world-famous Agora about halfway through Resist’s set. These guys have never failed to impress as far as their skill and talent go. Were it not for their tendency to disappear from the scene for months at a time and change lineups about as often as I change my underwear they definitely have what it takes to blow up big. I’ve said it about these guys before and I’m going to say it now: they have one or two shows on the horizon that just may give them the momentum to get this ball rolling in a big way.

Then it was time to cross over to the theatre for No Blindfold. These guys continue to define their style more and more and more; each time I’ve seen them their sound and musicianship have grown and matured. The singer still has a tendency to try to sing too far outside his range, though, and at times it can distract from everything that they are doing right. If he can rein himself in and sing within himself a bit more then I think it would definitely help these guys take the next step.

Next it was time to spread the hatred…or whatever it is that we were spreading. Hatecore Inc took over the ballroom and blasted through some old-style metal riffs. This was my first look at the badass new drummer and the new singer (how new? He couldn’t consistently get the band’s name right…Ngranted this may have also been due to their Jagerband status). The band played an abbreviated set, but kicked it nonetheless.

Sadly, it has been too long since the last time I saw All Out. It was definitely good to see the guys again, as we pondered possible reasons why $Bill wasn’t in the house (our final decision is that he was out somewhere banging a guy). The guys took the stage and held it with their usual fury. In addition to some of the All Out standards I also got to check out their newest song, which definitely rocked. These guys continue to impress with their dedication to the scene and the genuine respect they have for everyone who shares the stage with them and everyone who comes out to support them and the scene.

Here was probably the highlight of the night. Incaidia (sp?) took to the ballroom stage with a definite buzz about them. This was the first I had heard of them, and I gotta say: they impressed the heck outta me. Solid riffing, strong vocals (without needless growling for more “power”) and a well-defined sound. These guys look like they may have what it takes for the log haul so keep an eye out for them. More importantly, their set featured a special guest appearance by Rev. Jim (formerly of Cold Hand of Christ). Any show where I get to hear Rev. Jim sing (they played ChoC’s “Soldier Boy”) is a good show.

If you’ve been reading my reviews for any period of time, you know that I love Bobaflex. This night was yet another reason to do so. I’ve seen them play small rooms and large in front of crowds in the dozens as well as the thousands and they always seem to attract new fans, new Bobaflex Warriors. I came in during “Doomwalker” – just in time for the traditional ‘Dubya’ appearance. I was immediately into it, as was most of the crowd by the look and sound of things. They guys are supposed to start writing for the next album soon, so catch them while you can!

Amentia was the next band to take over the ballroom. They guys have been getting some decent attention of late, and deservedly so. They are a solid musical unit with a nice sound to them. These guys are definitely worth taking a look at so that hopefully they can make enough money to (finally) put out their highly anticipated CD. The demo has gotten good reviews and I got a chance to check it out myself?good stuff.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to catch Ventana, but it did. The band (featuring members of Mushroomhead and the now-defunct Basement Love Underground) has an incredible electronic-metal sound to them. If you’re into the music of Bile or Marilyn Manson, check these guys out. The musicianship is top notch and their singer blew me away. They’ll be appearing at Peabody’s on December 30th…13you should appear there as well.

It wouldn’t be a Mushroomhead show in Cleveland without a performance by 13 Faces. Rob and the guys took over the theatre with their usual mixture of hate, rage and balls-out metal. These guys played loud and proud and wouldn’t even shut the hell up when they pulled the plug on the performance – the guys rocked on and Rob tried like hell to either scream his lungs (and heart) out or find a microphone that they might have missed.

For the record: Waylon is not Jmann. He doesn’t purport or try to be. Personally I thought he did pretty well, especially considering the amount of time he’s had to learn the material. He doesn’t have Jmann’s range and certainly can’t break out the rap-style tones the same (embarrassingly apparent on “Solitaire”) but I’m not convinced that he really should. He can rage the same way and I think, maybe, MRH is looking to beef up their sound a bit. If that’s the case, then I think he’ll be fine. If the plan is for him to step in to Jmann’s shoes as if nothing has changed, then this experiment may be in trouble. If nothing else, they definitely get a thumbs-up from me for breaking out “43”, which I still think is their greatest tune to date. It was also good to see the girls back on stage once again after the show.

Definitely a great night in Cleveland. Lots of great performances, by lots of great bands with lots of great energy.

09.30.2004: Remembering Never, Terror @ Peabody’s

For a school night, Peabody’s was packed. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a bit surprised considering more than a handful of those in attendance looked like they still have a bedtime.

Remembering Never took the stage first at about a quarter to 8 and played for about a half hour. Being my first time seeing RN, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, although I was more impressed than I originally thought I would be.

The 5-piece out of Florida has the characteristic “Florida Hardcore” sound; think Poison the Well, old Shai Hulud. Hard breakdowns accompanied by bursts of melody, more on the metal side of hardcore. It was enough to get the front part of the floor moving as I saw, from the back, some dancers going side to side and the occasional headwalker. That energy didn’t make its way much farther back, however, as the crowd behind the dancers gave the band their due, but not much else.

As usual, the kids waiting to see Terror were numerous, pumped and out to hurt people. So much so that the floor opened up (to hip hop) before the band even took the stage. Terror (now a 5 piece after recruitment of Ringworm guitarist Frank Novinec) mixed their set with equal parts new and old material from their four song demo to latest release One With the Underdogs.

A new wave of old school, Terror chugged out breakdown after breakdown, each time prompting openings in the center of the floor. The crowd never let up much as vocalist Scott Vogel played the role of cheerleader and encouraged stage divers, headwalkers and the release of “positive aggression.” During “Push it Away,” the final song, a line of stage divers had formed on stage, which meant I ducked for a good portion of the song and yet at the same time was reminded of kids waiting in line for a turn on the slip and slide.

My apologies for the brevity of this review, I could only stay for half the show as an unfortunate incident during Terror’s set caused my early departure after about a fourth of Black Dahlia Murder’s set.

08.06.2004: Fear Factor, Mastodon, Sworn Enemy and Walls of Jericho @ The Odeon

Since this show was announced I was psyched about going. I even made sure that my last day of work was the day before this show. Everything about this show interested me. The lineup alone knocked me on my ass.

To open the night up was Walls of Jericho. This was the most energetic band of the night. They were all over the stage jumping around and getting people moving. If you have never seen Walls of Jericho before then you might not know that their singer is a girl. She is probably more brutal when it comes to singing than most guys are. While they were playing the pit seemed to reach from the front of the barrier to the back sound booth with tons of hardcore kids dancing. When they played their last song, “Playing Soldier Again,” the pit went from crazy to unimaginable. The crowd and I took very kindly to this band. They put on an amazing show and I would suggest that anybody that reads this should at least check them out and listen to a couple songs.

Next up was Sworn Enemy. These guys are brutal live. They also defiantly know how to get a crowd moving. These guys are just tuff when it comes to music. They are from Queens, New York and know what hardcore is about. The only person in the band that really moved around any was the singer. The guitarist yelled at the crowd every now and then and got them even more pumped up from what they were.

After Sworn Enemy went off, Mastodon took the stage. The crowd didn’t take to well to them pit wise but musically I thought they were amazing. They put on a great show. I would defiantly see them again if they came around. These guys really impressed me and I thought that they should have had a better pit then one drunk guy running around in a circle rubbing his own nipples. And yes, that actually happened. These guys are more metal then hardcore in my opinion and the majority of the fan base there were hardcore kids. But yet again anybody that reads this should really hear a couple songs by them before you judge them. They kick ass in my view.

The anticipation was high for the band of the night. When Fear Factory took the stage it was like gods emerging from the darkness. Right from the jump off they were amazing. This had to be one of the best Fear Factory shows I have ever seen. The set list had just the right amount of mix older and newer songs. They played everything from “Martyr” to “Human Shields.” The crowds response to Fear Factory alone showed that they put on an amazing show. I don’t think one person left their disappointed. To see the floor erupt into a giant mosh pit when they played replica for their last song was just incredible. This was the one of the greatest show I’ve seen from any band in awhile. If you missed this show I feel bad because of how great it was.

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