So far so good, enough bacon for me to send most people into cardiac arrest. Mead at my hip, beer at my feet, and monster in hand I cross the threshold from one cesspool to another, Louisiana-to-Texas. Still, at the time of writing this, I have roughly six more hours on the road ahead.
As with all things, long trips become more bearable with people you know and even more so with people you can stand. In the backseat were the vets Jared Beekman and Suzie Marshall of Lethal Arts, LLC. I gave Jared a ticket for his birthday because roughly fifteen years ago he saw Cannibal Corpse with Suzie, and it seemed like the best birthday present ever. Our driver, one of my closest friends and the person who got me into Cannibal Corpse: Brandon “Puddin” Murray.
The conversations range from midget tossing, Suzie’s fear of midgets, flipper hands, Suzie’s fear of flipper hands, etc. Now, keep in mind, we hadn’t even made it into Beaumont yet. Which if you look at a map, from Sulphur, LA to Beaumont, TX, is not a very long drive. Do you know how many cigarettes an average pack a day smoker can consume on a seven-hour road trip? All of them.
I go to the restroom and hear the rumble of the sound check beneath me. All shows are a religious experience; the more you enjoy the band the closer you feel when you truly see them, you lose yourself at the moment. This is unearthing lost sacred texts. It is beautiful, it is carnal, but I digress.
Once in Dallas we had our hang-ups finding the venue, navigating (Texas) roads, and finding food. Which took an hour of driving! Not because of traffic, not because of horrible directions, but because of Puddin and his urge to pass four distinctly open Chinese food places, the House Of Blues itself, and roughly the same thirteen square miles for one closed restaurant.
After eating a very odd and needed meal, we headed back to the House Of Blues. Once at the venue we quickly found out that sobriety would be easy due to the price of drinks. We waited after grabbing our VIP passes for quite some time all while making fun of Puddin.
We arrive at the line for early access and VIP laminates.
The meet and greet package; worth it to some. To me, it was awesome getting the picture and to shake the hands with these gods of heavy music but the whole experience felt assembly line-esque and robotic. Fun fact: how many times can you walk by Pat O'Brien before you realize it’s him? The answer is four and two days of letting the liquor wash off you.
The show in retrospect was intense. Tribulation, played a set that could have carried a tour on its own, it was precise and heavy with tribulations almost seamless blend of old thrash and new death metal. It was quite impressive to see a band so effortlessly blend the two in a live setting.
Aeon was amazing. They don’t sound like a band resting on the laurels of a 2012 album, although I was assured by their vocalist who was working the merchandise booth that as this tour wraps up they would be working on new stuff. They had a very high energy set and an excellent report with the fans, and they worked their merchandise booth. Aeon’s sound is very reminiscent of the early to mid-nineties death metal, with crushing rhythms, but retains the smooth polished veneer of Swedish death metal, both technical and somewhat chaotic. With aggressive tracks like ‘Aeons Black’ and ‘Forgiveness Denied,’ this show opened strong.
I came to this show knowing very little about these two heavy hitters and honestly I can tell you I left with about the same amount of knowledge but as far as sound showmanship and sheer brutality? If they tour near you… Go.
Now as the night progressed two things struck me as odd. The lack of moshing and my relatively sober state of being. So I took it upon myself to fix these travesties until I saw it: A no moshing sign, and with that, my sobriety had to go. Nine dollars a beer was going to empty my pockets quick, and my goal was not to get kicked out.
Behemoth’s set was phenomenal. This was my first time seeing Behemoth, and it was like a black mass. The stage set up, the corpse paint, and the sheer energy was honestly hard to describe without sounding giddy at the thought of all the evil. Puddin even told me: “I like how it went from Satan, to even more Satan, too -HOLY SHIT SATAN-”.
Someone once told me the stage performance that Behemoth had was static and precise. What I saw was a band whose stage presence was theatrical and dynamic. The amount of forethought that goes into a stage show like this is just astronomical. They closed their part of the Dallas show with an encore of ‘O Father, O Satan, O Sun’ and I guarantee there wasn’t a single person in the venues who was (if not spellbound and at least slightly impressed) not terrified. Hell, even their set list was put together nicely… Seriously, look at it.
If I refer to Cannibal Corpse as the main event will anyone get pissy? I think not. What can I say about Buffalo, NY resident death metal icons? That even after thirteen studio albums, twenty-seven or so years of touring, at least one parody band (Cannabis Corpse), and a radio Disney spoof (Andy Rehfeldt), that their most recent foray into the studio they landed at number thirty-two on the Billboard Top 200, they still got it? I won’t bore you with facts. They were brutal on a level I never really understood before.
They say any feedback from the audience is good feedback. Well, Cannibal Corpse maybe the only band that can sell hockey jerseys in Texas let alone make fun of the Cowboys in Dallas. But to be so damn loved for it was just interesting, to say the least.
Now, I caught the song: ‘Kill Or Become’ before I got kicked out of the venue (long story). This is the point drunk Connor changed into his purchased swag and snuck back in. Also a long story and not recommended but I woke up at five for this so screw it. The rest of their set was amazing. They closed the show with ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ and ‘Devoured By Vermin’. Their set blended the almost eerie nature of the tracks of skeletal domain and the seething unrelenting brutality of their previous work.
This tour is still going strong so if it comes near you, go. Buy the tickets. Support these amazing musicians so they keep doing this for money – because we all watch these shows on YouTube but its way better live.
I was so intoxicated and flustered by previous events (my motor skills checking out one by one) we leave the venue. I tried to interview vagrants, I threw beer bottles off the overpass going ninety, and tried to hug traffic. Then the sweet, sweet release of dehydration and liquor-fueled sleep took me away to a land of snoring loudly.
So, I guess, to summarize, I’d say:
- Packs of cigarettes: 3
- Cans of monster: 7
- Amount of alcoholic beverages consumed: All of them
- Times accidentally running by Pat O’Brien: 4
- Times kicked out: 1
- Times sneaking back in: 1
- Amount of money spent on overpriced drinks: $130
- Money spent on merchandise: 300 (rough estimate.)
- Overall experience: Goddamn brutal
Would I do it all again? Probably not in Dallas, because that expensive shithole can go to hell.
My initial reason for writing this was to touch points on an article Alex wrote about promoters not promoting well. Then the concert and trip experience outweighed my initial intent. So, to touch on that I’m going to post a link to the Metal Blade Records website with your info for the bands after this.
So, none of my acquaintances (a lot of metalheads) knew about this incredible show despite being fans until I pre-ordered my tickets. How did I hear about the show? A completely random share on Facebook. Not by the bands, not by the fans, but by a Metal Injection. This means that a group of people who make money from advertisements and clicks cares more about this tour than the venue (whose marquis barely flashed that there was a show the night of) or the promoters themselves.
There is a local unsigned band here in Lake Charles, LA that has “sponsored” ads I’ve seen fifteen times in the last month. Since the initial discovery and spam sharing on my part I’ve seen not one thing on my newsfeed or anywhere else about this show. That is a goddamn travesty and should be punishable by – I don’t know, fire!? Maybe not death. Facebook here recently has been ripping musicians off hardcore from what I’ve seen so it may not be promoters or a publicist’s fault, but it begs the question whose fault is it? This show is worth a sponsored ad. These artists were positively worth the hundred bucks or whatever it would have cost to flash this every time I check my Facebook.
I hope you guys enjoyed my article, pictures, and video clips from the show as well as my tirade at the end. Go see Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth’s Winter Tour while you still can, no distance is too far.
Stay brutal my friends.