April 7, 2006

Concert Review: Mushroomhead w/ Gizmachi, Bearing Point, Blood Feast Island Man, Trapnote 4/6/06

One day I will learn not to wait until the last minute to get my concert tickets. Tonight for example, I was really looking forward to seeing this Mushroomhead show, and if you've never seen them, run, don't walk, to get tickets ASAP. Anyway, I hadn't gotten my ticket yet, so as I was getting ready to walk out the door I made a quick check of Ticketmaster.com, only to find that no tickets were available. I knew my luck had to run out at some point. Just to double check and make sure the website didn't have incorrect information, I stopped by the local Ticketmaster outlet. As luck would have it, it was not sold out. A ticket in my hand and a smile on my face, I made my way to The Chance Theater for a night of metal.

I got to the club just before 7pm, didn't have to wait long for the doors to open, thankfully. I got through the security check and made my way inside. I took a spin past the merch table and checked out the array of Mushroomhead and Gizmachi gear, before setting up camp near the pit and waited for the show to start.

First up was Trapnote. I saw these guys once before, but it was about three years ago and my memories of the incident are, shall we say, a bit fuzzy. They played a brand of screamo rock, that was not terribly memorable. Their set was highlighted by a few interesting time changes and tempo shifts. The notes played never really came together in any real catchy manner, however, the ability seems to be there. Their performance had a couple of things going against it, one was their fault, but the other was the club's. The mix was not terribly aggressive, and the overall sound was hurt by weak sounding drums, and a low voice level. As for the band, there were a number of points where they appeared to miss some notes/beats, something just sounded a bit off. Still, they had energy and the apparent ability, they just need to move to the next level and pull all of their tools together. I would be interested in seeing them again.

Next up was Blood Feast Island Man. What's in a name, huh? I guess it's official, all the good ones were taken. I kid, I kid. But in all honesty, I did not care for these guys. They just sounded like another scream along hardcore act. I have heard this all before, and I've turned it off. What did it for me this time was the singer, or rather, vocalist, he was just up there screaming himself hoarse. I still have no idea what he was saying. Always have something good to say, they had some pretty good heavy riffs and some cool harmony leads on the twin guitars. At about the 17 minute mark, disaster struck. One of the guitarists broke a string, they asked if anyone had a spare, but were met with silence. It reminds me of something other musician friends have told me, never be without a backup. They tried to play a couple more songs, but his axe clearly was off, plus it looked as if the drummer was having some trouble as well. That brings me to my final point, the drumming was so pedestrian, it was like they were playing with a student who only knew the basics. I guess these guys just weren't for me, the rest of the crowd didn't seem terribly impressed either.

The third act to grace the stage was an act out of Chicago called Bearing Point. Nope, I've never heard of them either. They didn't seem to be a good fit for the crowd, what with their emo-hardcore sound. After a few songs the crowd started to warm up to them, somewhat. I have to admit, while the music was not instantly catchy, they were successful at getting an upbeat groove going. I kind of felt bad as they kept calling for the crowd to jump, or put their arms up, and the crowd just sort of stared back at them dumbly. What we really wanted was something heavy and aggressive, perhaps some music with a little more teeth. Towards the end of the set, the singer admitted to not feeling well, but he was still out there putting his heart into his performance, that I respect. These guys were good, but not a terribly strong fit for Mushroomhead.

Now, this is where the real show begins. It was about 9:30, the lights went out, intro music started to play and mighty Gizmachi took the stage. These guys have been a big part of the local metal/hardcore scene for nearly a decade. It has been years since I have gotten to see them, they have been out representing the Poughkeepsie scene for awhile now. Those years have done nothing but good for them. The moment they started, the crowd went nuts. Gizmachi knows how to put it down, and they do it while sounding like themselves, not content to be another copy. They have heavy riffs, driving drums, some nice melodic singing, and a charismatic frontman in Sean Kane, nobody screams like he can, nor has such an imposing presence on the stage. They were as tight as ever, if you like hardcore, see Gizmachi. Highlights include "Wandering Eye" and the show close "Voice of Sanity." Hopefully these guys will be able to find the time to come back soon.

Gizmachi's gear was cleared from the stage as the crew went to setting up Mushroomhead's instruments. The crowd cheered as the backdrop was lowered into place. A last minute level check was performed, the lights were tested, and we were just about ready to go.

The time was 10:45, the lights went down, the black lights went up, intro music began to play, and eight masked and painted men moved onto the stage to the cheers of the raucous crowd. It was time for the mighty Mushroomhead to take control. They opened with "Kill Tomorrow," the crowd was instantly into them. If you have never experienced Mushroomhead live, you must, they have a great live show. The lights, the theatrical dramatics that their music lends itself too is phenomenal. Every time I see them, they are just that much tighter. The interplay between their two singers, Jeffrey Nothing and Waylon, is unparallelled, the combination of singing and screaming has not been matched by anyone else. They are a true original on the metal scene. The crowd responded in kind, the pit surged back and forth, the band encouraging every movement. They have a new album coming out this summer, and we were treated to a couple of the new tracks, including "Dream is Over," which features guest vocalist Sean Kane from Gizmachi, the song was heavier and less melodic than I am used to from them, but it was all Mushroomhead. Other set highlights include "Sun Doesn't Rise," the sing along of "Never Let it Go," "Becoming Cold 216," and the ever popular "Solitaire Unraveling." Overall, they tore the house down. And proving their respect and care for the fans, as soon as the set was over, Jeffrey and Waylon were at the merch table to meet the fans and sign autographs. This is a band to experience live, see them.

Here are a few phone-cam pics of Mushroomhead, click an image for a larger version:

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