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The fellowship consisted of Josh (a.k.a. Heavy Metal Horseman), his then-girlfriend Nicole, our friend Matt and I. We spent Wednesday at Josh’s so we could all head out on Thursday to venture into Baltimore for the first day of the fest’s amazing lineup.
On day one (Thursday), Edison (the main stage) wasn’t open but the two smaller stages, Soundstage and Rams Head were. Thursday’s Soundstage was all brutal death metal (and one rap group) while Ram’s Head had all doom bands. Thanks to traffic caused by a baseball game, we arrived at our hotel late. When we finally got there, we met up with our friend Jason who would room with us for the duration of the fest. After checking in and getting everything in order, we walked down to Soundstage.
The first band up was Philly’s brutal death metal band Mortal Decay. Because of the traffic, I missed 20 minutes of their set, which wasn’t too sad since I didn’t know this band too well. Brutal death metal is a subgenre that was always hit or miss for me. Mortal Decay was pretty hit and had a very enjoyable set.
Next up was the ultra technical death metal band, Origin. I’d seen Origin a few times before and they’d always delivered. As always, Origin had tons of energy and vocalist Jason Keyser would crack jokes about everything – including Mobb Deep not fitting the bill and the Baltimore Riots. These guys never disappoint.
Next up were New York’s “slam” pioneers Internal Bleeding. This band never fully interested me and even live I just found their songs boring. Their set was slightly redeemed when they let everyone get on stage. This included Josh wearing his horse mask, a guy in a penis suit and the MDF chicken (yes, there is a man in a chicken getup at MDF). After Inernal Bleeding’s set I went to Seven Eleven for some cheap food then back to Soundstage for the next band.
Like Origin, I’d seen Hudson Valley brutal death masters Skinless a few times (including MDF 2011). Like Origin, they always kill. Skinless had tons of energy and an amazing set list. My favorite part was seeing Keyser again, singing on songs from “Trample the Weak” (the album he appeared on). This gave me memories of when I first saw Skinless back when he was in the band. Without a doubt Skinless were my favorite band to see Thursday night.
This was the third time I went to a show with Devourment on the bill.The first time was at MDF 2011 and the second time was on tour with Dying Fetus and Exhumed. Devourment dropped both of those shows. This time however, they actually played. As someone who mostly enjoys older Devourment, I was glad they had a mostly retro set list. The crowd was nuts and got even crazier when they played the classic heart warming song, “Babykiller.” After their set I headed over to Rams Head.
I walked into Rams Head and heard Jex Thoth play the last minute of their final song. I relaxed on one of Rams Head’s couches as these British stoner doomers set up. Conan was super slow and super heavy, which as a stoner/doom fan I was impressed greatly.
After Conan I went back to Soundstage for the Mobb Deep bonus show. When this was first announced as part of the MDF package, a lot of people complained. As a fan of old-school hip hop, I was stoked.
After the hype man had the crowd yell “Mobb Deep” over and over, the legendary New York duo got on stage (fun fact: Mobb Deep were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their classic sophomore album, “The Infamous”).To my surprise, the crowd had more metalheads then rap fans. I watched the set for a little over half an hour before leaving for Ram’s Head due to what looked like a fight starting.
Next up was the Thursday band I wanted to see the most. Yob is one of my all time favorite stoner/doom bands and my second favorite band from the Portland metal scene (next to Agalloch). Jason and I went in to watch these guys while the rest of our group (due to not being big doom fans) went back to the hotel.
Yob’s set was amazing. The band would draw you in its atmosphere and as soon as you’re calm, the songs crush you with their overbearing heaviness. After they were done we went back to the hotel to get some rest for the next day (one that would blow us away even more).
While looking for shows to go to in March, I remembered that I hadn’t been to Brian’s Backyard BBQ in awhile. Upon looking through their events, I saw that Blue Coupe were playing on the 19th (“Blue Coupe” is a Blue Oyster Cult offshoot that plays small venues during Blue Oyster Cult’s off dates on their tours).
This version of the band contains the Joe and Albert Bouchard, the two founding brothers of Blue Oyster Cult as well as founding Alice Cooper bassist Dennis Dunaway. Due to Dunaway, they also throw in some Alice Cooper tracks. I had seen them 2 years ago during a memorial for Brian’s nephew and they put on a killer show. This time they were headlining so I knew they were going to play more material this time around.
I arrived at the Middletown/Montgomery, NY venue/restaurant at around 7:00 p.m. and ordered the Backyard Burger combo. After some really good food a staff member asked me if I wanted to sit closer, which I graciously obliged. I didn’t know any of the people I now sat next to but they seemed quiet nice and humorous. At around 9:20 p.m. Blue Coupe was set to kill.
As mentioned earlier, Blue Coupe’s set featured both Blue Oyster cult and Alice Cooper songs. Killer tracks such as “City on Flames With Rock and Roll,” “Burning For You,” “Don’t Fear The Reaper,” “Black Juju,” “I’m Eighteen” and many more classics were played and all sounded great. We also got a cover of the Ramones’ “Pet Cemetery” as well as some songs there were written specifically for the Blue Coupe lineup.
The band had plenty of energy and didn’t show their age. After this first set there was a brief intermission. During this time I was able to buy a photo of Blue Oyster Cult and have them sign it. After about half an hour, they started their second set. Act two contained more Blue Oyster Cult tracks like “Astonomy” and “Godzilla” as well as some Alice Cooper tracks like “No More Mr.Nice Guy” and “Elected.” While I didn’t get to hear tracks like “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” and “Take Me Away,” it was still an amazing show and I was glad to once again hear some classics by two of rock n roll’s best bands.
Our guest at this time is Mick Mayer from Adventure Metal band (who’s last release bears the same title) Sonic Pulse. Mick and Chris shoot the breeze on touring, music, comic books and more – including Sonic Pulse’s upcoming album “Vs. The Internet” and why they band covers the “Adventure Time” theme song.