So I drove three hours to Norfolk yesterday in beautiful weather, met up with Doug at the Clarion hotel on Granby, and walked across the street to the Backstage Cafe. There, we had a few cheap Miller Lites ($1.50 apiece!), played one game of PhotoHunt to get the high score (mad skills, yo), then went to the show at The Norva.
Four bands: 40 Below Summer, Skrape, Spineshank & Ill Niño. Best show ever. The only thing that could have made it “The Perfect Show” (starring George Clooney) would be if there was a surprise headlining set by Fear Factory. *sigh*
40 Below Summer: I’d never heard of them before signing up for the concert. They were awesome, to be completely honest. I just bought and downloaded their last album, “Invitation to the Dance” through iTunes, and it’s really good. New album, “The Mourning After” comes out in October. I will be purchasing that, as well.
Skrape: Another band I hadn’t heard of. Doug assured me they were pretty good, and he was right. Not as good as 40 Below, in my opinion, but heavy as hell, and they have a good chunk-groove sound. The drummer is surely a cyborg; no human can move like that.
Spineshank: When you’ve listened to a band’s CDs over and over again, to the point that the songs are indelibly burned into that dark corner of your brain where nothing useful is ever stored… you have an expectation as to what they’ll sound like in concert. Then you see them live, and they sound completely different. That happened with Megadeth when I was in high school, and happened with Spineshank last night. It’s like there’s too much treble somewhere in the guitar mix, so Jonny Santos’ vocals get lost under the din. Then again, it’s really just a lot of screaming anyway, so I suppose some of it’s going to be unintelligible by design. That aside, Spineshank were phenomenal on stage. Whole lotta’ good shit off “The Height of Callousness” and their most recent release, “Self-Destructive Pattern”. They’re hard to catch on tour, so I’d drive three hours to see them again… definitely.
Ill Niño: I really thought Spineshank would be headlining the show, but los niños got the nod instead. Probably for the best, because they kicked the shit out of that place… even harder than they kicked the shit out of 930 in DC when they opened for Fear Factory back in the day. Which is to say, it was insane. The kings of latin-inspired metal (I think so anyway) slammed through old favorites off “Revolution Revolución”, and their new album, “Confession”, which will be released next Tuesday (9/30). I have to say, they are positively one of my favorite bands. I even rushed through the moshpit to get up front for a song or two, and I don’t usually do that.
The best show ever!
Moshpit Post-Script: I’ve never been one to get in the pit, well, not without a lot of liquid courage. I’d rather stand back with my beer, watch the crazy guys on stage, and jam along with everyone else in the place. Getting an elbow to the schnoz would probably decrease the overall level of enjoyment for me. Plus, now that I’m no longer in my twenties, I figure my blood and sweat are better suited for more meaningful purposes. Last night, diving through the pit to get up front, I got shoved a couple of times, shoved a couple of times, almost tripped over a dude’s leg, and really stepped on some poor guy’s foot. But, it’s a moshpit, and—unless you’re hanging out with a bunch of assholes—there is the Code of the Moshpit. That code says, if you’re in the pit or on the wall of it, whatever happens… happens… and it’s nobody’s fault, no one did it on purpose. If someone gets hurled into you, help catch them, and give ’em a good shove back into the maelstrom. If someone falls, you help them up, and give ’em a good shove back into the madness. It’s actually quite a gentlemanly agreement, and seeing the code being honored in practice actually restores my oft-waning faith in humanity.