We go to see bands live for a variety of reasons. We go see bands for the music (obviously), the musicianship, and sometimes just to have a raunchy time. Some of the following bands are bands I don't always listen to in my free time, but I sure as hell see them live whenever they come around because they ALWAYS bring a raunchy good time:
Matt Harvey and co. are back and from what I've heard of their new album, "All Guts, No Glory" (which you can stream here for free: http://relapserecords.bandcamp.com/), it's still the balls out Gore Metal you would expect! I think I've seen Exhumed a total of three or four times and each time is just pure thrashin' metal madness! Matt gets this crazy look in his eyes as he seemingly recites medical dictionaries and grisly necromantic tales while the other members whip their hair around like there is no tomorrow, enticing audience members to do the same. At one point during one of the shows, the three stringmen all held up the backs of their instruments to the audience and what did it read? "GORE.FUCKING.METAL." in crooked duct tape. Hell fuckin' yes!
I think the first time I saw Cephalic Carnage I was 15 or 16 years old. I think I had only recently bought "Exploiting Dysfunction" and my friend had told me their drummer was a bio-chemist. When they came out and launched straight into "Hybrid", I could have only assumed that their bio-chemist drummer (John Merryman) had cooked up some nasty stimulant concoction for the five of them because they all went bat shit crazy on stage. I then had the pleasure of seeing the great Cephalic at a 20 person show with about 7 good friends. When they put on their Black Metal masks for "Black Metal Sabbath" I think we all about lost it. Cephalic Carnage is one of those rare metal bands that doesn't take themselves quite too seriously, and they make it quite clear to everyone.
A while ago, I mentioned to Wulf that "Dixie" Dave (vocalist/bassist) has to be considered one of the "madmen" of metal, if elite and notorious group were to exist. I've seen them twice and I can certainly attest to the madness that runs through "Dixie" Dave's Southern veins. Besides having one of the dirtiest, meanest bass tones of all time and having a whiskey-drenched croak of a voice that would make your grandpa sound like Justin Bieber, Dave's antics on stage are numerous. Known to cross his eyes, slobber, and jump up and down like a cricket, one would think that Dave is not only playing a few cards short of a full deck, but maybe he is actually mentally handicapped. All joking aside, Dave's use and abuse of substances is also quite apparent. A few friends of mine tell me of a time when they saw Weedeater and Dave was puking on stage into a bucket in the middle of songs. Furthermore, Dave has been nicknamed (besides "Dixie", of course) "The Hummingbird" because he tapes a bottle of Robitussin to his amp, puts a straw in it, and casually strolls over to it periodically throughout a performance. "Why?" you might ask. To throat his coat when it gets raspy from too much touring! (http://www.spinner.com/2010/03/08/sxsw-2010-weedeater/)
If there is one time you feel the need to chug mead out of a drinking horn, decide to grow a three foot long beard, and drunkenly praise the glory of Valhalla to your uninterested girlfriend, then do it at an Amon Amarth show! On their latest tour for 2011 album, "Surtur Rising", the Swedish sons decided to play the entire tour without any supporting acts. They played the new album all of the way through, then they played old favorites. Two hours of nothing but mid-paced (albeit catchy and melodic) Viking Death Metal means one thing: bangover. My neck must have been sore for a week after that show. After every song vocalist, Johan Hegg, would thank the American crowd in the only way one can: with a raspy "Thank you...thank you very much!"
I've only seen Converge once, and although I LIKE Converge, I don't usually listen to them in my free time. But from what I saw of their live show, there are some people out there that would FUCKING DIE for Converge. I saw them around the time they had released "Jane Doe" (what many consider to be their finest album to date), and they were certainly in top form. With Jacob Bannon's maniacally shrieking and running around on-stage, the band acted as a tightly-knit killing machine with precise and violent noisecore. Unfortunately, with a band like Converge, you're going to see a lot of really retarded hardcore dancing in the pit. However, I remember at the apex of "The Saddest Day" that people literally converged in the front-center of the stage. It was like a gigantic car wreck with people trying to stage dive while simultaneously trying to get up on stage. Complete ecstatic chaos.
Of the original NOLA bands, Soilent Green has been the only one I have had the pleasure of seeing live, but I dare say they are the only ones I would need to see! The night that I saw them, bassist Scott Williams (R.I.P.) was obviously drunk. He kept on yelling at the crowd with comments like, "C'mon you fuckers, what's wrong with you!" while violently swinging his bass around. As with Goatwhore, Ben Falgoust II is a great front man, and I would have no hesitation putting him as one of the best modern metal front men around today. Ben had no problem getting the crowd riled up while the rest of the band ripped Southern grind and groove at its best.
(The Lord Weird) Slough Feg
I honestly can't remember entirely too much from the time I caught Slough Feg. I do remember that mainman, Mike Scalzi, fearlessly standing on top of the pinball machines that were right next to the stage while ripping some ultra-melodic solos. All I could think of besides, "Holy shit he is going to break that glass and his leg is going to get cut up to shit and he'll probably break his ankle too and maybe his guitar and the show will be over" was "Fuck yea!" Slough Feg's Iron Maidenisms are far from hidden and one can practically imagine that you're seeing an embryonic Maiden when you see Slough Feg. For being an oft-dismissed band in the world of metal, Slough Feg manages to put on one helluva show.
Keep in mind that I saw Dimmu Borgir right after they released "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia" and they were still playing in small venues. Although I must confess that some of the show was plagued by bad sound management, it was one of the most entertaining metal shows I've ever been to. Galder with his various metal faces, Vortex with his operatic singing, Shagrath holding his invisible oranges, and not to mention Nick Barker with his virtuosic drumming and Uncle Fester looks. It was quite a symphonic black metal affair! I'm sure their live shows have only gotten more dramatic as time has gone on.
I've seen Mastodon twice and what enormous contrasts those instances were. I first saw Mastodon after they had released their first EP, "Lifesblood". There may have been about 10-15 people at the venue when the opening band played (local favorites, The Esoteric) and then half of those people left. Kudos to Mastodon for still putting on a really good show with the short set that they had. The next time I saw them, there were about 10-15 TIMES as many people on their "Crack the Skye" tour. Amazing live performance, never missed a note, and had the entire story in movie form on the back drop. They have truly turned themselves into a force to be reckoned with.
Anyone that knows my tastes in metal knows that I hate 99.99% of Power Metal bands. I can't remember the last time that I casually listened to an album by a Power Metal band. However, seeing it performed live is a different thing altogether. I firmly believe that going to a Power Metal show will reinvigorate you with the power of metal and Dragonforce is no exception. With the guitar wizardry of Herman Li and Sam Totman, the ludicrous keyboard runs of Vadim Pruzhanov, and the undying energy of the entire band, they CRAM the power of metal down your throat.
Lawrence, KS Thrash Metal Lords! Maybe I have slight bias because I'm friends with the band, but I have seen Hammerlord at least 10 times. Big credit to Ty and JP for every performance having spot on guitar work with virtuosic trade-off solos, whammy bar destruction, and catchy thrashing. However, the rest of the band is just as awesome with Stevie singing about metal and professional wrestlers, Terry headbanging with his bass, and the Hammerlord himself, Adam on drums. I think the last time I saw them I was headbutting Stevie in the stomach while moshing in a pool of sweat and beer. Thrash Metal superb!
There are also TONS of bands that I ASSUME would put on an amazing show, but I have just not had the opportunity for whatever stupid reason. Besides the obvious ones (like Iron Maiden or Motorhead):
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Wolves in the Throne Room
I invite any of the other Malicious Intent writers to edit this post to add their own!
- Judge Dredd