In what looked on paper as an evening that was sure to represent musical chaos, the end result turned out to chaos of a different beast altogether. Canada's Beneath the Massacre, along with The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Born of Osiris, and See You Next Tuesday, drew a crowd of about 150 fans into New York's The Knitting Factory on Wednesday March the 5th. If you are familiar at all with this venue, you'll recall that the club has a few different rooms, each one a different size and shape. This particular show was held in one of the smaller rooms, basically not much bigger than a large living room with a tiny stage and bar along the side. Add in four energetic metal/hardcore styled bands along with the small club size and the 'ready to party' crowd, and you have the makings for a very interesting evening.
Born of Osiris
Kicking off the evening was Louisiana's The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, hot on the heels of their sophomore release Danza II-The Electric Boogaloo. On CD, these guys try their best to be the most extreme act on the planet, their music ferocious, technical and quite brutal, often times sounding like a cacophonous wall of noise. Live however, TTDTE sound much more focused, their music heavier and more groove laden than their studio output. Make no mistake about it though, this is some seriously crushing stuff, as the band plowed their way through a host of tunes from their catalog to the delight of the fans, guitarists Layne Meylain & Brad Thompson churning out plenty of manic riffs while singer Jessie Freeland spewing loads of screams, growls, and shouts. As the band's 30-minute set moved along, you started to notice the mosh pit grow….well, in all honesty, the mosh pit WAS most of the floor area. Seeing as this room was so small to begin with, most of the floor area, save for the immediate space in front of the stage, was one open area prime for violence. More on this later…
Up next were Chicago's Born of Osiris, a six man ensemble of young death-core stalwarts who I previously had not heard, but from the opening blast became an instant admirer. Their 2007 debut The New Reign formed the basis for their set this evening, songs like "Empires Erased", "Open Arms to Damnation" and the title track littered with machine gun rhythms, heavy staccato guitar riffs, keyboards, and effective vocal growls. Keyboard player Joe even came out from behind his small rig on a few songs to sing co-lead vocals with lead growler Ronnie, which made for a double dose of brutality. Despite the extreme nature of this band, they splatter their songs with just the right amount of atmosphere and melody, elements that really set them apart from many of the other bands of the genre. My guess is we will be hearing much more from this outfit in the very near future.
The Michigan band known as See You Next Tuesday made sure things turned to a more violent & aggressive nature when they started their set. This Ferret Records act play an absolutely brutal and maniacal form of death/grindcore, complete with the over the top vocal acrobatics of Chris Fox, Drew Slavik's guitar mayhem, and the crazed rhythm duo of drummer Andy Dalton and bassist Travis Martin. Fox was especially enjoying himself, letting the crowd know how many drinks he had prior to the show, and really egging on the folks in the mosh pit. His inhuman growls and screams worked well alongside the crushing, complex arrangements, as the band ripped into tracks from their Ferret debut Parasite. With song titles just as bizarre as the band themselves, their mix of metal, hardcore, and grind shook the foundation of the The Knitting Factory. After the more melodic and focused sounds of Born of Osiris, See You Next Tuesday were quite jarring, and obviously not for everyone's tastes, but the crowd dug them and you could sense that things were about to take a more manic turn.
See You Next Tuesday
Headliners Beneath the Massacre have been out on the road non-stop the last few months supporting their killer Prosthetic Records debut Mechanics of Dysfunction, but this new trek is their first as the main act on the bill. The Canadian foursome took to the tiny stage at The Knitting Factory looking like they were ready to deliver a truly crushing set of technical death metal. From the opening riffs cascading from the guitar of Christopher Bradley, the entire floor was one sea of flailing bodies, fists and kicks flying about, sweat and blood mixing evenly as the band became the conductor of the violence happening in front of them. Lead singer Elliot Disgagnes is one powerhouse of a human being, bellowing viscous growls and practically thrusting himself into the crowd, which was becoming more crazed by the second. If there is any band that can be tagged as "brutal, precision metal" it is Beneath the Massacre. Problem was, they were doing such a good job of getting the crowd into the set, the entire floor area became one amoeba of insanity, and those wanting to watch the show from the bar area or the back of the room were unable to escape the violence that was the mosh pit, which essentially took over the entire club. At some point during the fourth song in, tempers flared and a huge brawl broke out, spilling over to the bar area, as security and bartenders hopped into the fray. Within seconds, the entire area turned into a ridiculous melee, prompting security to cut the PA and basically end the band's set.
This was a real shame as the band were really on their mark, and you could hear many people grumbling as they were leaving the club that they wished that people would learn to behave themselves and not ruin it for those who wanted enjoy and watch the band. Being there right in the line of fire, I can honestly say that there were a good many in attendance on this evening who just seemed interested in causing some hurt, patrolling the pit in search of how many victims they could take down. I'm not sure when this behavior became the norm, but in the 'old days' the mosh pit was a place of violence but essentially a lot of fun. Now, with martial arts kicks, punching, and shoving, it's more about showing who has more testosterone flowing and who can inflict the most damage than anything else. It's sad that the actions of a few ruined what was turning out to be a killer set from Beneath the Massacre, but honestly, why was this show not booked in a larger room at The Knitting Factory where there was perhaps more room for this type of behavior? Looking back, this had potential to be a great night of extreme music, but the ending brawl cut short any chance of that happening and left most of us in attendance feeling pretty disappointed and short changed.
Photos by Hayley Brooke
(Click here to View the Rest of Hayley's Photos From this Concert)