Godflesh, Cut Hands and Pharmakon at The Royale in Boston on April 13, 2014

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Those who know me, know that Godflesh was a musical game changer for me. The first time I heard the album Streetcleaner in good old 1989 (yes I am aware of how that dates me), I was completely floored by it and I haven’t been the same since. Unfortunately I was never able to see them live until they played the Maryland Deathfest in 2012 (photos here) and needless to say, it was one of the best experiences of my life, so when this show was originally announced (rescheduled from October), there was no way in hell that I was going to miss it.

Pharmakon

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Pharmakon

Pharmakon, a one woman power electronic/industrial incursion from New York, was first up for the night and wasted no time in proving her place on this bill. It quickly became an in your face kind of primal explosion of anger and emotion as she jumped off the stage with a microphone, prowled through the crowd as if looking for a victim, and screamed in the faces of the audience. Although her set was sadly cut short due to some technical difficulties, she left her mark on the crowd and after she completed her attack. I heard people describe it as “terrifying, but in a good way,” “truly emotional,” and “very confrontational.” A friend of mine said that she put most metal bands to shame with the intensity of her performance. I would have to agree with that statement.

Cut Hands

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Cut Hands-The Royale-Boston-Hillarie Jason-www.hillariejason.com-Power Electronics (1 of 1)

Cut Hands is William Bennett, originator and noise legend from Whitehouse, a band formed in 1980 known for its controversial lyrics and imagery. Cut Hands is a mix of electronics, tribal beats and blindingly fast paced visuals all of which combine to create a sort of dance-like or trance inducing state. The performance seemed to be highly polarizing amongst the crowd with some screaming for more and bopping around the floor, while others were audibly annoyed after 15 minutes of the onslaught of erratic visuals and repetitive beats. For those only there to see the headliner, it may have been a 45 minute endurance test but there were many that absolutely loved every second of it.

The anticipation was palpable and after a slightly longer than expected changeover, Justin and Ben walked onto the stage, picked up their instruments and checked the tuning. When Justin turned on his laptop, I saw the setlist, which only differed slightly from the Maryland Deathfest one (no problems there), although at the top was Love is a Dog from Hell which ended up being the encore and not the first song. Waiting, waiting… It was only maybe 10 seconds from there that Justin went to the microphone and said to the powers that be, “video,” but for me it seemed like 10 minutes. And then, boom, first song of the night was Like Rats and the entire place threw their fists in the air to scream along “You breed, Like Rats!” The place went nuts. Many people in attendance had never gotten to see them previous to this night and I can imagine they felt much as I did at MDF. There just isn’t much better than that. The sound for them was nothing short of impeccable and they were not plagued with the video and technical issues they had at MDF. Every single song was absolutely crushing and dead on. 4 years ago if you were to tell me I was going to be able to see and photograph Godflesh, I would have told you only in my dreams. Now I just feel fortunate I could do it twice. Nothing really compares to seeing them live. And if you were there, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Godflesh

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Godflesh

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See the full gallery here!

Band Links: Godflesh / Cut Hands / Pharmakon

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Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts and Noisem roll though Boston / Decibel Magazine Tour

Decibel Magazine Tour
Let me start by saying that this is not a review of the show itself or the bands. These are my thoughts and observations regarding the venue choice for this date on the tour. I totally enjoyed the bands and hope this tour keeps doing well as it surely will. I recommend anyone thinking about going when it comes around, to do so. If you don’t go, you’ll regret it.

The Decibel Magazine Tour hit the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Thursday April 10, 2014 with metal legends Carcass and Gorguts, popular Michigan outfit The Black Dahlia Murder and young Baltimore band Noisem.

Squeezing the tour into this particular venue was probably not ideal for anyone involved as it isn’t really set up for shows of this type and when the venue was first announced for this show, I knew there were going to be challenges. Even if you had never been there, the clues to this mismatch were glaringly obvious once you looked around a bit. For example, the temporary barrier set up at the front of the stage only contained an average of two to security personnel at any given time and had about three feet of space between it and the stage. Barely enough room for the guards to stand in let alone grab a crowd surfer safely from a see of arms. Truthfully, I felt bad for all the guards there. They’re trying to do their jobs and aren’t used to crowds like this in a venue that typically books acts more likely to entice their respective audiences into a see of smiles than waves of head banging.

There are the signs posted all over the place stating that none of the activities typically associated with a metal show would NOT be allowed. Mosh pits, stage diving, crowd surfing and the like were clearly not acceptable here. This really isn’t a surprise if you have been here before but at some point a new unwritten club “rule” came into play about how hard you could actually thrash your own head around. I have no idea when this became the law of the land but I witnessed many individuals being told they were banging their head too enthusiastically, and that they would find themselves on the other side of the front door if they didn’t stop. I guess it is possible that the staff was simply concerned with the well being of all that grey matter being sloshed around and smacking the insides of skulls, but my spidey sense tells me this was not the case. I guess the club only allows mild head bobbing, an occasional hand in the air or a trip to the bar or bathroom.

I don’t even want to get into the issues I encountered while attempting to photograph this show but here is a cell phone photo taken of myself and a few friends which pretty much sums up my thoughts on that.

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If you to go to a show on this tour when it comes around to you, and you really should, I hope it is in a more metal friendly venue than this one. Truthfully, I still am surprised this one wasn’t booked at either the House of Blues in Boston or The Palladium in Worcester.

Decibel Magazine Tour

Carcass

Black Dahlia Murder

Decibel Magazine Tour

Decibel Magazine Tour

 

See the full photo gallery here! 

Band Links:  Carcass / The Black Dahlia Murder / Gorguts / Noisem

 

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Amon Amarth, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch hit the House of Blues in Boston / Concert Photography

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Saturday night, after members of Amon Amarth and Enslaved attended a Boston Bruins game donning Amon Amarth hockey jerseys, they played a packed show along with the openers, Skeletonwitch, at the House of Blues in Boston.

The show started at 6pm and ended at 9:30pm which meant I could be home by 11:00pm. On a Saturday? What?!!!! Often I don’t even get in my door until 3am after shooting a show. I only had to pay $15 in parking and although I had to ingest copious amounts of cold meds to get myself human, I couldn’t ask for a better show in Boston.

skeletonwitch

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The only “thumbs down” was being very politely scolded by security after getting an upstairs shot of the headliners, Amon Amarth. The guy was really nice but I was kind of surprised. He told me I couldn’t take a single shot up there (for the 2 seconds it took me) because it was after the three song rule. If I was using my cell phone, like everyone else, I guess it would have been a-okay. I always find that stuff strange. It’s not like the venue made us stow our cameras or anything. Anyway, my bad, and thanks to security for being so nice.

Enslaved

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The show was pretty sweaty at the end of the night, even for a balmy 30 degree Boston evening.

AmonAmarth

This is one of the two offending photos that got me scolded. I’m a bad girl.

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See the full photo gallery here.

Band Links: Amon Amarth / Enslaved / Skeletonwitch

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Second Grave, GOZU, Summoner and SET crush Worcester

 

If you like Doom and Stoner Rock then the place to be on Saturday night was Ralph’s Diner in Worcester, Massachusetts, where the musical stylings of four Massachusetts outfits rocked the house. Booked by Metal Thursday Presents own Chris Farmerie, the bill was stacked with SET, Summoner, GOZU and Second Grave headlining, who were releasing a new 10” two song vinyl that night. I got there two songs into the first band, SET, and the place already had a pretty full house. Ralph’s infamous parking lot was full of cars but thankfully, due to the recent frigid temperatures we have had, was lacking the lakes normally known to reside there.

SET

Summoner

Both SET and Summoner had solid offerings for the crowd and there were many rapt eyes and bobbing heads to go along with the chugging beats.  When GOZU hit the stage with the new five piece line up, the crowd was throttled with their new wall of sound. They may come off a little dry on the recordings but live, this band is really powerful. With the three guitarists, their catchy riffs and the huge drum sound pounding from the stage, it would be very hard to not to stop and take notice of them.

GOZU

Second Grave finished out the show with one of the best sets I have seen from them. There were a couple of new songs thrown into the set that I really dug as well. When Krista Van Guilder, singer of Second Grave, breaks into those growls and screams, I feel like breaking something. Very powerful when juxtaposed to her clean singing style.

The joke of the night was how many members of the now defunct doom band, Warhorse, were in attendance that night. Krista Van Guildier joked during their set saying, “anyone who wasn’t in Warhorse, raise your hand.” It was a good night for all and I saw a bunch of merch being purchased, which is always good to see.

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Second Grave

View the entire photo set here 

 

Band links: Second Grave | GOZU | Summoner | SET

 

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