Posted Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 12:58 by Rock Sound
With heavy head I realised I had about an hour and a half to kill. I photographed Eyehategod the night before, and had been fighting off a terrible hangover with all the pizza and coffee I could stomach. Those dudes always kill me. Out of boredom, I went to the liquor store down the street and got a pint of vodka and came back to my office to finish up the day, edit some photos and start the party by myself. I had a few drinks and it was finally time to head to the show. Tonight was Doomriders, Kvelertak, and High On Fire at Webster Hall in New York City. I hadn’t shot at Webster Hall in a year or two, and previously just attended a show there about a month or so ago where I ran into a girl I was dating, or thought I was still dating, until she informed me she was trying to sell one of my guitars on the internet. Women be shopping. I like the lighting at Webster, and the sound, when a handful of local sound dudes are working, can be killer. I met up with my roommate and we got pizza. I was a couple drinks in and still had like half a pint left, which I planned on taking with me to the show, because frankly being a professional photographer and awesome dude doesn’t really make as much money as one would think, so sometimes a dude just has to bring his own booze to save money for more pizza later, or to buy a cute babe a drink in hopes that she might rub his beard.
We get to the show and Doomriders was setting up. I hadn’t seen them in a few years, and frankly never was really into them. Nate Newton has his cache of records that people love that he’s played on, and I fucking love Jesuit. If you don’t know who that band is, stop reading this, stop listing to whatever bullshit you think is awesome or sick, and go pick up their discography, drink some whiskey, then punch yourself in the face…trust me, you will feel a whole lot better about your life. I also was a huge fan of Old Man Gloom, the Isis bred super group of Hydrahead Records. Rounding out the seminal super group are Jebb Riley (bass) from There Were Wires who were pretty solid Boston Hardcore band, …and guitarist Christian Pupecki, who was in Cast Iron Hike, another fucking awesome, and under appreciated band. I just felt like the for the cast of characters rounding out the strings, the first two Doomriders records just were like a raw pieces of chicken….you know you love chicken, and know if prepared right, that it could be awesome…but all you have is raw chicken, and you can’t eat that shit, because ain’t no one got time for salmonella. So you hope with each listen that the chicken gets fried, and some waffles are made and suddenly you have this great meal. But those records just felt uncooked to me, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the live show. I set up my rig, and took a pull off my bottle and the band came out.
Within the first few songs, I was proved wrong by everything I thought about the band before. Their song writing had improved tremendously, and they all over the stage. The sound mix was perfect…crushing. The highlight for me was the title track off their new record 'Grand Blood', a midtempo jam, with smooth vocal melody, catchy hooks, and a nice palm muted Maiden gallop section in the middle. The energy was high, and the band seemed pretty stoked to be there…nothing worse than trying to photograph people who could give a shit about playing in front of a bunch of bearded drunk metal fans. The room was about a quarter full when the band hit the stage, and people seemed a bit hesitant to give a shit, but by the time I was done shooting (about 5 songs in) the room was pretty full, and people had unthawed and were really digging them. I had a few more drinks and the band thundered on, playing a few jams from each record. I was impressed. They definitely changed my opinion, and I would love to see them again. I highly recommend checking out 'Grand Blood', I scoped the record the next day, and have been jamming it ever since. Shit slays.
Doomriders ended, and I went to smoke a cigarette. I started talking to a dude that had his entire sweatshirt covered with old band shirts he cut up and made patches of. We talked about our mutual love of Type O Negative and he let me photograph him.
I headed back in, pounded some more vodka, and made my way up front to photograph Kvelertak another band that I really didn’t much care for. I’ve heard the records, I’ve heard the hype, and I even saw them last year, and they didn’t do much for me. Maybe I was too wasted to care. Maybe I was hanging out with some babe. Maybe I had to take a shit. Maybe I just needed to seek them out on my own, I don’t know. So many life variables can effect the proper time needed to digest new music. What I do know, is they came out, and I was rolling my eyes at the three guitar players. Owl headdress and all, their singer takes the stage and raises his arms signalling the band to start. They kick into the first jam, and I again realise I am in for something I hadn’t expected. Blistering guitar solos, and catchy pop hooks, and straight Turbonegro influenced rock and roll with a crossover of some black metal and late 90’s hardcore. With a hodgepodge of musical influences under their belt, Kvelertak really displayed a large skill set of chops with a playful yet intense sensibility. They were all over the stage, and raged through their not stop tirade of power. I had a blast photographing them.
I finished my vodka and grabbed a beer from the bar. There was about 15 minutes to kill before High On Fire hit the stage. I smoked another cigarette and cruised the bar for some familiar faces, but the venue by now was fucking packed and I decided to just hang up front and wait for the band. I ran into an old photographer friend and we shot the shit for a while. I chugged the rest of my beer , finally settling into the vibe of the night, I was ready to once again document a band I have been photographing for over a decade. They opened with 'Fertile Green', a jam off from their last full length LP 'De Vermis Mysteriis'. The hammering drums coupled with Matt Pike’s crushing riffs blew open the doors for one of the best sets I’ve seen them play in recent years. Sobriety has really pushed the envelope with this band, and Pike has never sounded or played better. The rythym section of pros Jeff Matz and Des Kensel provide the tribal like backbone for the ghoulish Matt Pike to shred his way through a well versed set, including few jams off the last couple records, and a few as late back to 2000’s, “The Art of Self Defense”. The band, always consistent, for as long as I’ve been going to see them, destroyed New York once again, and proved to be a fan favourite, especially doing the closing riffs of “Snakes for the Divine”, and left everyone’s ears ringing. As the show came to a close and I packed up my gear, I left the show stoked, as it’s such a rarity to get a tour of three solid bands that could headline on their own, yet share a stage and could hold my own person attention, which in recent years is nearly impossible, unless there is free booze and some babes to holler at.
Nathaniel Shannon is on the internet. Seek him if ye dare.