All Day All Ages Metalfest
W/ Dirge Within, Hate Eternal, Born of Osiris, Whitechapel, Unearth, Chimaira, Cannibal Corpse, Trivium & Hatebreed
The Palladium – Hollywood, CA 11/28/2009
Words/Photos/Video by Reverend Justito
While many used Thursday to feast and give thanks, I managed to wait till Saturday to truly celebrate Thanksgiving. Armed with two comp tickets and a fancy photo pass (thanks KM), I hit the Palladium in chilly Hollywood, CA for a day long metal festival. With a lineup featuring rising acts like Whitechapel, legends such as Cannibal Corpse and Hardcore Superstars Hatebreed closing, how could I not be thankful? So enough with the stuffing, let’s get to the action:
Guys, I enjoyed watching your last song from the back bar. It was solid and left me wanting more. Shaun, it was very nice to meet you, granted I didn’t say much so you probably don’t remember me at all. I do apologize that we got in late, but some box office issues, its Hollywood you know how it goes. Next time!
Next time was this time as I was finally able to witness a Hate Eternal set. I missed these guys a few years ago with The Black Dahlia Murder at the Key Club (RIP) because of work/traffic, so finally getting to see them was a treat. The short set of crushing death metal did not disappoint. Front man/guitarist Erik Rutan had a great command of the excited and eager crowd. He was all smiles as the young audience went crazy for songs like “I, Monarch”. What truly stood out the most was the energy of Rutan. While the music may be dark, his smile is so big and contagious you couldn’t help but have your own spread across your face.
Born Of Osiris:
It would be very easy for me to make fun of this hot topic Nintendo death core band from the Midwest. I mean, they have a hype man who when not laying down Legend of Zelda grooves on his lil Casio keyboard, is singing along with no mic while shaking his cute lil boy emo haircut in time to the music . I noticed that their bass player tripped at least three times and while I wouldn’t rush down to the store to buy a record, I would watch these guys over the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade any day of the week. Besides, while I couldn’t confirm anything on Wikipedia, I am pretty sure their singer is that kid reporter from that Kate Hudson flick – “Almost Famous”.
Feel free to check out some video of their song “Now Arise” to form your own opinion of the Midwestern mall rats that did a fine job of warming up the crowd for bigger and better acts. (Update March 2012. With Summerian Records having our original YouTube channel removed, we will no longer post their video. I was going to link you to a video where their owner Ash Avildsen talks about piracy, but it appears he took that down. My guess is he took it down because the fine folks at The Gauntlet called him out for being a pirate himself. Check it out here.)
Whitechapel is a band that I have heard the name of, but had never heard musically. Over thirty brief minutes, these guys were very intense and quickly made a fan out of me. With a dirty and distorted three guitar attack, these guys simply pound you into submission riff after riff. Add a thick rhythm section with the gravel gargling vocals of Phil Bozeman and you have a perfect concoction of beefy brutality. Songs like “Eternal Refuge” and “Father of Lies” very well could have been highlights if not for the bands closing stunt – The Wall of Death. Using the title track of their latest record This is Exile, the band parted the cavernous dance floor like Moses parted the red sea. While many in the eager audience were unable to wait for Bozeman’s starting signal, when the front man did let it rip, the results were pure carnage must to the delight of both the band and fans.
Out of all nine bands on the bill, Unearth is the only act I have seen multiple times. What keeps me coming back to see this five piece is their perfect mix of buffoonery and brutality. When not tearing up songs like “Endless”, guitarist Ken Susi is consuming ice cold brews via a lengthy beer bong. With their 30 minute set, the band focused more on brutality, mixing songs like “Crow Killer” from their recent release The March with earlier fan favorites. While I didn’t feel the energy of their set this past June with Testament at House of Blues, it’s impossible not to move your body while watching these guys. With vocalist Trevor Phipps instructing the crowd to go crazy, huge pits swelled for their devastating take on “Sanctity of Brothers”. With the promise of a headline tour in the spring, the Massachusetts metallers closed their oh so brief set with the fan favorite “Black Hearts Now Reign”. With one last chance, the crowd went crazy giving Unearth undoubtedly the second largest response of the entire event.
I have basically ignored Chimaira over the last decade. No reason really, they have just never stood out to me. When it was their turn for 30 minutes of metal, I listened with an open mind. They were pretty enjoyable. I really couldn’t tell you much, I know they played the songs “Severed” and “Pure Hatred simply because chatty front man Mark Hunter said so. Same goes for “Power Trip” which on a personal level proves that you can successfully drink a $9.50 Monster/Vodka and help contribute to the YouTube live music community. While they got 30 minutes as did most of the acts, Chimaira’s time on stage felt short and I found myself wanting more, which makes me wonder if perhaps I should not have ignored the Cleveland Ohio natives?!?!?!
Perhaps I will get some grief for saying this, but I have always viewed Cannibal Corpse as a joke. As my friends in high school discovered their music and took it seriously, I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous they were. While enjoyable, I just couldn’t take a band with barking vocals about amputations, sores and rotting flesh seriously. I have always wanted to see the band live (having failed twice in the past for various reasons), and my expectations were high. Thankfully the band did not disappoint as they blasted through an energetic 45 minute set. While I didn’t recognize the first few songs, I was excited when the death metal legends started busting out some classics. With bassist Alex Webster lying down wicked detuned grooves; “I Cum Blood” got a thunderous reaction from the mostly male crowd. I was actually surprised how comedic front man George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is with his banter between songs. When not giving the audience the impossible challenge of out-head banging him, his dedicating “Fucked with a Knife” to the 20-30 female fans in the crowd was actually kind of sweet.
While two bands may have followed, the true headliner of the all day metalfest was Cannibal Corpse. Not only did Cannibal perform to the biggest crowd of the night, it was the rowdiest crowd of any band. The pits were the largest and most ferocious the venue saw all day. Crowd surfers drifted over the rails and into the arms of security guards waiting to bring them to safety. The main floor finally looked full for their set, and when Cannibal ended things with “Hammer Smashed Face-> Stripped, Raped and Strangled” fans begged for more. When the realization sank in that the set was over, at least half of the crowd decided it was time to head home.
I have one good thing to say about “co-headliner” Trivium. Of the 20-30 earlier mentioned females inside the Palladium, Trivium brought in about 19 of them. They also brought in a lot of men with flowing long locks of hair and large breasts so please keep that in mind. For as crappy as their set was this past March at The Forum with Slipknot, this was time around was a new level of pain upon my ear drums. Sure, I wasted some battery videotaping “Pillars of Serpents” (make sure to check the first user comment I got, an ignorant racist attack from what I now believe is a typical Trivium fan) but by the time these tools were butchering the Sepultura song “Slave New World” I decided my time would be better spent conducting an experiment. Could I curl into a fetal position below the stage right bar in the northwest corner of the venue and take a power nap? The answer was yes. With nothing else of importance to say about these guys, I would like to close with an observation. Two separate tours combined into one festival on this particular Saturday in November. Various bands mentioned earlier shows in San Francisco and how the crowd in the town of my birth went off much harder than Hollywood. The only band to say the opposite was Trivium, which further proves my philosophy that So Cal crowds blow, and Bay Area music fans know the real deal from the fakes.
I can’t lie, I feel bad for Hatebreed. With at least 20 female fans and a good chunk of the man tittie committee leaving after Trivium, the festival headliners took to the stage to less than 1000 fans inside the 4000 capacity auditorium. Having seen the band this past April at the equally dissapointing Golden Gods Awards, the lack of audience didn’t stop the band from exploding onto the stage and giving 100%. The band jumped all over their catalogue playing songs from their debut in-between more recent numbers such as “To The Threshold”. When not covering Slayer, the Jamey Jasta lead hardcore group was keeping their fans happy with songs like “Defeatist” and “Tear it Down”. For as excited as I was for the chance to see the Connecticut band, I ended up leaving early. Tired and hungry, watching the band perform to the empty room was depressing after what was a rather amazing day of music. I don’t even think I saw one single hardcore kid doing karate moves in the pit, and the few dudes who did make up the pit seemed to be there more out of habit than passion. Perhaps even having one other hardcore bill would have brought out more fans, perhaps Hatebreed’s time has come and gone. Whatever it was, having my fill of metal and thankful for a wonderful day I decided to meet up with my female companions a few blocks away at K24. It wouldn’t be a night at the Palladium without a post meal at our favorite diner in Hollywood. The perfect ending to a perfect fall day.
(Photos used only by permission of concertconfessions.com)