Written by: Isaac Thompson
Photos by: Tiffany Naugler (Noisography)
June 18, 2010 @ the Seahorse Tavern ~ Halifax, NS
Some things never change – or rather a lot of things never change. There are true universal constants all around us. There exist physical constants such as the speed of light in vacuum, mathematical constant like pi and miscellaneous constants: i.e. death and taxes.
High up on the list of known constants – somewhere between gravity and TV’s Law _ Order – is this: the crowds at heavy metal shows are the most enthusiastic crowds in the world. They put fans of other less ass-kicking art forms to shame with their clear, focused desire to have a good time. There seems to be little posturing or self awareness with the heavy metal crowd; just a mass of sweaty, spastic bodies thrashing out their aggression and raising their drinks in the air to the sonic blitzkrieg. Heavy Metal is kind of like an exclusive club where the only prerequisite is that you’re able to tolerate its excesses. (Read Full Review after the photos!)
The Rob Hill Sideshow tested the crowd’s threshold for excess early on. While not technically a heavy metal act, Rob Hill certainly embodied the genre’s spirit. He was more like something from a 19th century carnival freak-show. He started off slow, easing us in, by gargling glass and stabbing himself in the face with pins. It was pretty gross. He stuck one pin in his throat and then ran it back and forth like he was flossing his Adam’s apple.
And the crowd fucking loved it.
Every needle that pierced Hill’s flesh was followed with a unanimous cry of disgust mixed with glee:
Hill handled the crowd with ease. He had a real sense of control about him, which was reassuring because he ended his set with a fire-breathing show. The heat from the fireballs he spat could be felt throughout the club. The flames licked at the ceiling and then dissipated. I like to think I wasn’t the only one who had one eye on Hill’s stage-show and the other on the fire-exits, but who am I kidding?
Then there was the behemoth stomp of Orchid’s Curse, a big bad motherfucker of a band who totally floored me. It’s hard to really talk about the finer details of a set like theirs because it was a total blur (just like any great heavy metal set should be). I was too busy head banging and throwing my fist in the air to recall anything about their stage presence or song structure, which of course means that both were awesome. Even though I’ve never heard them before, they had me – and the rest of the bar – screaming along to songs with cool lines like:
“Is this what I have chosen or what has been chosen for me?!”
The band was heavy. The kind of heavy you can feel reverberating in your skeleton. The guitar riffs were massive and memorable. Drummer Bobby Webb’s style was intense but much more accessible than the constant machine-gun double bass that a lot of heavy bands use these days. Vocalist Josh Hogan screams a great scream, and I was equally impressed by how he handled the more melodic parts. The newest member, bassist Kevin Mombourquete, added the sledgehammer kick to the band’s sound that gave it a stomping groove. Orchid’s Curse is a fantastic band. Go see them.
Last Call Chernobyl ended the night, treating Halifax to one last show before they go across North America as part of the Vans Warped Tour. They looked confident, happy and excited for the future, which always makes a band fun to watch. Vocalist Kyle Mahar sported an ear to ear grin throughout the set.
Their music was a busy barrage of sound. They played really fast, intricate metal with crazy guitar solos at every turn. Maher’s vocals are intense and he has a lot of charisma as a front man… speaking of charisma, bassist Jason Szeto had it in spades. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
It was my first time Hearing Last Call Chernobyl and while I liked them I get the feeling that I’d need to hear more of them to truly appreciate their music. Their songs had a lot of nuances and there was a lot to take in.
Last Call Chernobyl brought the house down though. The audience-band interaction was amazing. It was like they were one entity. The band and the crowd seemed to even move together in a fluid wavelike motion. The band embraced the reaching hands of the audience and then screamed in their faces. The exchange exemplified why heavy metal crowds are unlike any other crowds and why heavy metal music is a unique and special thing.
Heavy Metal isn’t just the music the Devil cranks while he anally-rapes you for touching yourself at night (how’s that for excess?), it’s also the music that brings people together.
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