On October 15th, the Starland Ballroom was host to the Superjoint/Devildriver co-headline tour. I arrived a bit late and missed a few of the local bands, along with touring band Child Bite. So my evening’s music started with New Orleans’ own Cane Hill. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with these guys, I’d say you should go check them out. I first was exposed to them on METAL HAMMER’s ‘Decades Of Destruction’ CD where the band covers Alice In Chains “We Die Young”. And they nailed it. Seeing them live, sans the AIC cover, they nailed their performance as well. Singer Elijah Witt furiously hit the stage with a powerful presence, even though they are a young band. Great energy and sound from them. Almost a rawness that early Life of Agony had, not the same genre, but the underlying energy which you feel is going to make them EXPLODE soon. Seriously, keep an eye on these guys.
King Parrot was next up. Having never seen them before I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once the bassist and singer took off their shirts it was obvious that ANYTHING goes at their shows. Singer Matthew “Youngy” Young repeatedly emptied bottles of water and beer into the crowd as if it was ejaculate. All the while not missing a beat screaming the songs with reckless abandon. In between songs he and bassist Wayne “Slatts” Slattery were quite comedic with their banter between each other. At one point they invited one particular fan up on stage who was quite happy to come up, not to the likings of security. But he rocked out for his brief few seconds before being escorted off stage. A few more bottles of water were spewed out into the crowd during their short set, while delivering their own brand of Aussie grindcore.
Shortly after 9pm Devildriver hit the stage. Opening up with their classic “End of the Line”. New drummer Austin D’Amond hit the stage wearing crazy flashing sunglasses, which might have been left behind from an all night EMD show, but that didn’t stop him from thunderously beating the skins. This was the first time I’ve seen the band since the departures of John Boecklin and Jeff Kendrick. And I have to say, they sounded great with the twin axe attack of Neal Tiemann and Mike Spreitzer, and D’Amond’s double bass was ripping it up. Dez came up to the front of the stage and unleashed his classic, signature growling vocals on the crowd for the next forty-five minutes or so. As the band quickly swept through their catalog, they played the title track of their latest album “Trust No One”, followed by “My Night Sky” and their AWOL Nation cover of “Sail”.
Then things really got good because one of my favorite songs came up in the playlist “I Could Care Less”, that song always get the crowd riled up and moving. Dez wound up calling out the fans for NOT making much of a pit during the show. In one particular case, he called out a guy in a Hatebreed shirt and hat and pointed out that at one time if someone was wearing that they’d be the most feared person in the pit. Alas, tonight was not that night. Dez, as always, thanked the crowd for attending the show. At every Devildriver show I’ve ever seen, Dez is sure to thank the crowd for their support. It’s definitely one of the reasons they have some of the most loyal fans in metal. The band finished their set with “Clouds Over California” and “Meet the Wretched”.
When the lights went on for Superjoint to hit the stage, the small, but albeit strong crowd roared for the band, in particular, one Phil Anselmo. Opening song “Oblivious Maximus”, the pit opened right up. When Mr. Anselmo announced the next tune, “Burning the Blanket”, the sound of heavy distorted guitars, gutteral screams and crushing drums soon filled the speakers of the Starland – much to the delight of the aforementioned small, but energetic crowd. As Jimmy Bower and Kevin Bond’s heavy as hell riffs echoed through the Ballroom during songs like “The Alcoholik”, “Ruin You”, and “Drug Your Love”, Phil made damned sure to mention a few times as to the “38” people in attendance at the show (which was actually more like 300) about “edibles” and praising them and their powers. As well as announcing that he was happy because his New Orleans Saints won their football game that day. There was a small boy, probably about 7 years old in attendance. I believe he was the son of someone related to the band. He was asked to come up on stage and sit on the drum riser in front of Jose Gonzalez’s bass drum. Phil then started talking to him and announced that he needed to “stop being so damned cute” to which the kid replied “Thanks!”. The Kid talking to the kid. Ironic.
Mr. Anselmo muscled through a few more songs before asking if everyone went to church, since it was a Sunday show. Then after a brief diatribe about his feelings towards the church he sent out the song “Fuck Your Enemy” to organized religion. At this point the crowd erupted, singing along loud as hell and the pit started up again. Following that song, Phil had some antics with the microphone stand asking for requests. Someone in the crowd yelled “Morbid Angel!”, which Phil was more than happy to announce “Only the first two albums…”; But then instead of doing a song off “Altars of Madness”, as some of the crowd was perhaps waiting for, the band kicked into “Waiting for the Turning Point” and “Ozena”.
Before ending their set Mr. Anselmo took his monitors out of his ears in order to hear the crowd announcing “Sounds good for thirty seven people!”; but before leaving the stage he left the crowd with the most profound words written by a guy named Cat….. ” Ohh baby baby….” from “Wild World” as he walked offstage leaving a slightly confused, but humored crowd behind.
Review and photos by Bryan Bardes