Friday April 6, 2012
The Syko-Maffia Weekend Warrior Tour
Phoenix Rising, This Moment of Grief, Sykosis and Mettal Maffia
The Carriage House in Louisville, OH
I’ve always been a fan of Louisville’s Carriage House. Mainly, I guess, because it’s a two story building and offers a great view from the second floor. You also get this at places like the Agora and Peabody’s, but the Carriage House offers many more angles from the top than I’ve seen anywhere else. Really the place has all sorts of great views. It’s just a great place to see a show, with a great spacious smoking patio and two great bars. Unfortunately they’ve retired their “Donkey Kong” arcade game for a golf one. And though it’s a bit of a drive out to the closer side of nowhere, it is one of the few places I know of that always has decent metal bands.
Friday was a little bit of an exception. The Facebook invite told me to be there at 7pm. Using my intuitive metal head knowledge I made sure to show up an hour later, only to end up spending another hour waiting around for the first band to play. I guess I’ll just have to assume that all shows at the Carriage House start at 9pm so I don’t make this same mistake in the future and end up drinking two beers before the music even starts.
Once the music started (at 9:15) I was not extremely impressed. Phoenix Rising play the type of radio friendly hard rock popularized by Nickelback and copied by every other band formed after 2007. With stereotypical songs like “Let Go,” “Falling Down,” the pseudo-Christian “Before You Now” and a cover of 10 Years’ “Wasteland” I was bored to tears. They had good energy and were a tight unit; I just hate the prepackaged type of music they play. The ending of their set took a darker turn and featured songs that may not have immediately caused me to change the radio station, but by this time my friend Patrick and I were sitting on the second floor in full on Statler and Waldorf of “the Muppets” mode, cracking jokes about how “they’re not half bad.” “They’re not half good either.” “Hahahaha.” I’m not sure if they’re the band to thank for the influx of females at the bar that night. Usually that place is packed with more sausage than a pig-fucker convention, but tonight there were quite a few ladies. It’s a shame that I’m horribly awkward with the fairer sex and have no charm whatsoever, I may have gotten laid and would have been forced to write a completely different blog.
This Moment of Grief would make a good radio-friendly band if it weren’t for the thrash metal tendencies and guttural hollers of Chris Machamer. I suppose this explains why I actually enjoy their music. I was a little worried about seeing them twice so close together, when you check out a band every two weeks they tend to get stale pretty fast. But the awesome stage led to a much different show than they did at the Vortex complete with a great backflip by Machamer that didn’t have the greatest landing. It was nice to see him doing his signature dancing again, even if it was more “Rocky” than the usual “Waiting for Guffman.” I was a little disappointed to see Matt Howard simply wearing his Breaking Benjamin t-shirt with no long sleeves underneath. This did provide us with great seats when he treated us to a gun show, but makes his attire look more appropriate to the situation and less like a sweater vest.
I now need to take a moment to call out a certain shitty security guard. After shoving a female into Patrick, who began to fume with anger, said security man (who was wearing a bathrobe and crown of thorns to portray Jesus) informed my pal that he needed to calm down or would be escorted out of the venue. He even went so far as to hold his hand up and give the old “You’re up here right now, and I need you to be down here.” I understand that being a security guard probably isn’t the easiest job in the world and you probably deal with a lot of assholes, but that’s no reason to be a condescending asshole yourself. It’s usually a good idea to treat people with respect and not be any more of a prick than is absolutely necessary, but these are just my thoughts.
Sykosis was a bit of a surprise. I always have low expectations my first time seeing a band I’ve never heard of. I should go in with more of an open mind, but when after you’ve heard as much crap as I have you get a little jaded. Sykosis play the same type of alt-metal popularized by Mushroomhead but don’t sound like they’ve jumped on the band wagon to find a pre-built crowd. While hey sport quite a few cliché characteristics (Carhart coveralls, Ed Gein and Hannibal Lector masks) I was willing to overlook it all because of the raw ferocity of their sound. I’ve always loved the style they play and they played it well. The singer with the dreadlocks is one of the only people I’ve seen head banging in recent years, which I guess stands to reason since short hair is now more stylish. It’s always great when a band experiments when an older style of music and makes it their own, pushing it further from its roots and into new territory
One of the reasons I wasn’t expecting much from Sykosis (aside from the phonetically spelled name that bugs the shit out of me for no apparent reason) was that they’re on tour with Mettal Maffia, and I’m not a fan of rap-metal. But MM have done something quite interesting with their sound since the last time I saw them. They don’t really come off as a rap-metal band so much as they seem to be three rappers with a metal backing band instead of a DJ. It’s a neat dynamic that seems to work for them. I could see them performing in clubs instead of metal bars, but then again I’ve never been to one of those clubs. I’m not even sure what they play in there. It was a pleasant surprise to somewhat enjoy them. I hate having to write negative things about friends’ bands. It’s easy to talk shit about some preppy guy you’ve never seen before, but when it’s someone you’ve know more than a decade it gets hairy.
It was a good show overall. I was disappointed that I didn’t see the advertised “Carriage House Marauders” who were supposed to be performing Jackass style stunt but you can’t have it all. Maybe that was just power-tripping Jesus and Gumby. I can’t complain about the music (much) and the good outweighed the bad. I’m just thinking it may be time to invest in an e-cigarette; I didn’t have so much of a hangover from the booze as the feeling that my lungs were stuffed with cotton when I woke up the next morning.