Tag Archives: New York City

The Melvins Wreck the Music Hall Of Williamsburg

 

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When my friend Doug and I saw that The Melvins were coming to NY with a stacked bill including Napalm Death and Melt Banana, there was no way we wouldn’t be seeing this.

As a grunge head, Doug felt he needed to see The Melvins at least once and they were always a band I was curious about. The only date that was convenient for us was Saturday, April 15th in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, also known as the hipster capital of America.

Doug used this as the opportunity to overcome his fear of city driving. As we ventured through New York City’s lower east side slumps and narrow streets we finally got to “The ‘Burg.” Getting there was a weird experience as the area looked very run down and ghetto, yet artsy at the same time. Instead of scary looking people walking around it was mostly all hipsters and punks. We even found a supermarket that was 90 percent vegan and organic food. At 8:00 P.M. we walked into the venue and waited for the first band.

Melt Banana

The big opener was Japanese noise rock titans Melt Banana. I’ve seen them once before at Maryland DeathFest and while it was wacky there they somehow manged to make this set even wackier.

They started their set with wierd video game sounds being played on both the vocalists phone and the guitarist’s guitar. After this they transitioned to their grind and pop influenced noise rock.

Throughout the majority of their set the vocalist would move her arms up and down like a robot while flashing green and red lights on her white shirt. This all helped the bands signature sound of lazer beam guitar riffs and chirping vocals feel even wilder. Mid-set the band did a medley of about six of their shorter songs in one. This included “Dog Song” that was mostly clean vocals with a barking chorus (yes, a barking chorus). After what felt like an amazing drug trip it was time for The Melvins.

Melvins

At around 10:00 P.M. the duo of Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover got on stage with guest bassist Steve McDonald of the Los Angeles, Calif. alternative rock band Redd Kross.

They started out with The Melvins’ classics “Eyes Fly” and “Queen.” After these two songs the set list was mostly a mixture of later numbers like “Sesame Street Meat” and covers including the grunge classic “Leech” by Green River, “Halo of Flies” by Alice Cooper (which they closed with) and a song from Redd Kross which McDonald got on vocals for.

The band had a very loud and heavy live sound which fit perfectly with their slower droning tracks. While it was a very long set, it wasn’t boring for a minute as these guys are born performers.

After their set, Doug and his brother decided to leave. We wanted to see Napalm Death but we also didn’t want to be home so late plus we had all already seen them before (I’ve seen them twice and Doug’s seen them once). As we drove back, we instantly wanted to find an excuse to return to the city. Chelsea Wolfe is playing next month and director John Carpenter will be performing his iconic film soundtracks live  in July so hopefully my return will be sooner than later.

Black Sabbath and “The End”of Madison Square Garden

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After buying my tickets as early as October (thanks to how quick the show was selling out) I was counting down the days until I’d finally see Black Sabbath on their final tour.

My life goal was to see Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Sabbath before I (or more likely they) die. I had seen Judas Priest in 2011 and 2014 and Iron Maiden back in 2012.

To celebrate this event my friend Doug and I decided to get to NYC early and just do some random stuff. We went to various places and did random things such as me purchasing Killer Codom and Poultrygiest, him buying Elmo’s Letter Adventure of all things, eating suishi in a manga store, eating at Planet Hollywood and getting a picture of a wax Ozzy and trying to trick people on my Facebook into thinking I met him.

When it got closer to showtime, we walked to 34th street and entered Madison Square Garden.I always knew this venue was huge but was shocked about just how massive it was. We went to the very top floor (though Doug’s ticket wasn’t for that section) and waited for the show to start.

Rival Sons

The opening act was classic rock throwback Rival Sons. I hadn’t heard this band before, I just knew about them and that Doug really liked them (he had also seen them twice before). They came on stage and as soon as their first song “Electric Man” started I could instantly tell this would be a fun set. They were very bluesy, loud and the vocalist had great range. The sound was without a doubt Zeppelen influenced but they were able to give themselves a distinct sound and not sound like a cheap clone.

Black Sabbath

After Rival Sons explosive performance, it was time for the feature presentation. During Son’s set Doug was moved to his actual seat by security.

Black Sabbath started off with their self-titled song and as soon as that first note hit I was blown away. The sound was so spot on it was unbelievable. They then went into many classics such as “After Forever,” “Hand Of Doom” (which hasn’t been played since the 70’s),”War Pigs,” “Snowblind,” “N.I.B” and several more.

After “Rat Salad,” their touring drummer Tommy Clufetos did a long drum solo with flashing lights everywhere. Though this was a good solo it went on a little too long and made no sense to do as he’s not original drummer Bill Ward. After that solo they played “Iron Man,””Children of the Grave” and “Paranoid.” They also played “Dirty Women” which was an odd choice.

Although Sabbath played an hour and 20 minute set, it went by fast. My only problem was that other than “Dirty Women,” they didn’t play anything past “Volume 4.” It would have been nice to hear something from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” or “Sabotage.” After the show, I met up with Doug who was hanging with our friends Jason and Rob and we left the venue after witnessing one of the best concerts any of us may ever see.

Cannibal Corpse Tear Down Irving Plaza

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After Killing Joke canceled their North American tour, I decided to look for another show to fill the void – and what better to fill it with than a lineup of Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Cryptopsy and Abysmal Dawn? I had school until 3:45 p.m. last Tuesday and once it was over I raced from Newburgh to Middletown, got Wendy’s, picked up my friend Jay and then took the bus to New York City. We got there around 7:30 p.m. and made our way to Irving Plaza for a night of death metal.

Cryptopsy

Due to the bus dropping us off later than expected, we would not be able to catch Abysmal Dawn. Neither of us were fans so we chalked it up as an “oh well.” We got to the venue at around 8:15  p.m. – just in time for Cryptopsy. Due to the crowded audience I went up to the balcony and looked for a spot to watch the band. Out of the three bands we saw that night they were the only one I hadn’t seen before and was most anxious to see. Sure, the band doesn’t have Lord Worm anymore but they still sounded sick when playing classics like “Slit Your Guts” and “Phobophile.”

Obituary

After Cryptopsy finished I met up with my friend Branden at the merch table. We went to the top floor where Jay was and watched Obituary’s set from the screen. This was my second time seeing them, the first being at last years Maryland Deathfest. Like MDF, they didn’t play much classic material but still sounded great. Definitely a band that sounds better live than on the albums.

Cannibal Corpse

Last but not least were death metal heavyweights Cannibal Corpse. This was my fourth time seeing them and they never fail to impress. The band played a 13 song set covering all eras.” Scourge of Iron,” “I Cum Blood,” “Hammer Smashed Face,” “Devoured By Vermin” and many more classics were played. Oddly enough, they didn’t play “Fucked With A Knife” but after hearing it live three times it didn’t bother me. Like always, Corpsegrinder and company showed great energy and a sense of humor. After the show Branden, Jay and I left and took the bus back to Middletown.

Nile Decimates NYC’s Gramercy Theatre

Egyptologist death metal legends Nile played to a raging group of metalheads Thursday night at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre. The band has been touring in support of their latest record “What Should Not Be Unearthed” with local openers at each show, showing support for every local scene they encounter.

This particular day I was finishing work for a recent freelancing gig I had picked up. It was a different topic than I had been used to writing about, so I took a bit longer than I expected – which caused me to inadvertently sabotage plans I had initially made – giving myself, Eric and Andrew (the party of new plans I followed through with) some unwanted afternoon drama. That didn’t stop us from drinking, grabbing burgers at the Union Square Friday’s (where en-route I was shocked and saddened by the death of actor Alan Rickman) and more drinking before merrily walking down to 23rd street’s Gramercy Theatre. For some reason my accomplices were wearing balaclavas, but that’s another story altogether.

Known to start and end shows early, we expected to miss one of the Gramercy’s openers because a) they were local and b) Andrew was not a fan of Day of Doom, whom he had seen before. Unfortunately for us, it was the one time the Gramercy Theatre decided to start the show late. We sat down in the bleacher seats and watched from afar, choosing to conserve our energy (and sober up) for Nile.

Day of Doom

When Andrew expressed his opinions of Day of Doom, he was putting it lightly.

This band was so bad that for the first (and hopefully last) time in my life I actually fell asleep at a concert. Not only that but this was moments after a) Eric also fell asleep and b) their singer compared showcasing their new material to his preferred style of intercourse. Day of Doom’s music consisted of generic old-school death metal that made you want to throw on your headphones and listen to the actual bands they were trying to imitate.

I legitimately felt sorry for their drummer, who while having the Gob Bluth “I’ve made a huge mistake” look in his eyes was also the only one of the trio with any stage presence. He was also clearly the most talented member of the band. After two songs I woke up just in time for their closer and more whiny banter from the singer, encouraging the crowd to “bring their mothers and sisters” next time because apparently there weren’t enough girls at the show.

Rule number one for aspiring musicians: Fake it until you make it (aka act like you’re the greatest thing in the world no matter what. People will like you better). Also do not beg for sex – especially when the center of attention is YOU.

Khiazma

While they sounded better and were much more energetic than Day of Doom, we were so bored that we didn’t want to risk sitting through another bad local act. Instead we wound up watching them from TV sets in the downstairs lounge, where we gathered to check out the merch and sober up on Gramercy´s tap water. We were also disappointed when we discovered that a chiasma is an exchange of genetic material in chromosome strands during meiosis and not a piece of furniture you can buy from Ikea.

Seton Hall University´s WSOU (Pirate Radio) station had a booth in the lobby as they were one of the sponsors for the show. The station’s representatives were very much into themselves and didn’t do any actual promotion other than stand next to their booth which contained a roulette wheel of prizes you could potentially win by spinning the wheel and landing on said prize. None of us cared since we weren’t intrigued or approached by the reps who consisted of college kids that were happy to get free tickets to a show.

Although Nile had some pretty cool merch – including limited edition vinyls of their Relapse catalog, a flag and shirts; they only had small and extra large sizes of their best t-shirt designs available. Being a medium, I was a sad panda until moments later when Khiazma wrapped up their set. We stumbled up the stairs knowing we’d finally be getting our money’s worth.

Nile

It was both mine and Andrew’s first time seeing the Egypt obsessed Nile. Not only had the venue filled up dramatically by this point but the place exploded the minute the headliners took the stage. My partners in crime ventured into the pit (balaclavas and all) while I found a comfortable spot to bask in Nile’s glory (on a side note, guitarist Dallas-Toler Wade was wearing a Pit Bulls shirt. The Pit Bulls are a large fraternity of metalheads from Dallas, Texas which Insinnerator/Thy Antichrist bassist Benjamin Shanks, a friend of mine is a member of (and the person I’m willing to bet money on for giving Wade the shirt).

My time in said comfortable spot would not last long as my cronies grabbed my five-foot three, 165-pound frame and crowdsurfed it for the first time in almost a decade. This would repeat itself seven more times throughout Nile’s set to the point where various members of the front row were referring to me as “Rangers Guy” thanks to the hockey jersey I was wearing (they lost 3-1 that night to the bloody Islanders).  During this time, we met up with Jane (who was the earlier plan I had botched) and Kevin, who was so drunk it took me a good minute to recognize him.

Nile absolutely slayed and the crowd responded with their hyper-violent moshy roar of approval. Their set consisted of a little bit from each of their eight albums, including “Sarcophagus,” “Serpent Headed Mask” and “Ithyphallic” – satisfying everyone in attendance. Their latest material went over so well with the crowd (a rarity) that they added a third new track to the set on the spot which was also well received. They closed with “Black Seeds of Vengeance,” the title track from their second album (2000) and sent a bunch of headbanging New Yorkers home happy (also a rarity).

As for the five of us, we grabbed some grub at a nearby diner, headed over to the famed Coyote Ugly Saloon and had a few more spirits before taking a ride home on the subway.