May 28, 2014
The Masquerade (Hell)
Towards the end of every passing year I find myself contemplating and asking myself, “How will next year even come close to topping this one?” 2014 is nearly half over and the stellar array of shows that I have seen so far has totally blown my mind. There have been some absolutely amazing performances and after witnessing the double bill onslaught of Crobot and Scorpion Child I can honestly say that 2013 has been left in the dust far behind. Seeing two of my favorite bands on the same night together is always a treat but the minute I saw this line up on paper I just knew that it was going to be magic.
Getting to see Crobot one time this year was more than I had hoped to see them but to see them three times? Jesus fucking Christ. My poor face can only take so much melting but who am I to bitch. The audience in Hell was a bit sparse but this was one of those nights that everyone in attendance was there because they were fans of these bands. Give me 40 diehard fans of bands than a roomful of “it’s cool to be here” hipsters any day. Crobot took the stage with their Black Sabbath meets Black Crowes on PCP dirty groove rock and opened with their now signature opening song “The Legend of the Spaceborn Killer.” Right away the audience moved forward towards the stage and right away the connection was made.
To my surprise (and very pleasantly so), Crobot had totally re-worked their set list which really changed the dynamics of the show and took away that sense of predictability. Kicking right into “The Skull of Geronimo” was a fantastic 2nd song but this time around I found the highlight of the night to be “Cloud Spiller>Wizards.” This little combo of songs creates this hypnotic groove and has found a perfect home mid-set. This is the combo where I feel like the band really flexes their abilities to not just be stellar musicians but to have this almost kind of telepathic communication with each other. They just lose themselves in the groove.
Lead singer Brandon Yeagly never ceases to amaze me and just continues to prove to be without a doubt one of my all-time favorite vocalists. His dynamic stage presence and soulful vocal delivery is so fucking infectious and his abilities really shine on “La Mano de Lucifer” which in my opinion has to be one of the best fucking songs I’ve heard in ages. That song has become the song that I look forward to hearing every time I see them so if they ever think of pulling that song from the set we’re gonna swap words. This particular version had guitarist Bishop breaking a crucial string as the band kicked into a bass driven groove without missing a beat while he swapped guitars. After the song Bishop jokingly said into the mic, “You can’t win ‘em all.” Well, I thought that at the close of their set as the last notes of “Necromance” rang out that Crobot was nothing but fucking win.
The Legend of the Spaceborn Killer, The Skull of Geronimo, Cloud Spiller>Wizards, Blackwoods, La Mano de Lucifer, Nowhere to Hide, Night of the Sacrifice, Chupacabra, Fly on the Wall, Necromancer
I’ve watched Crobot pretty much lay waste to every band I’ve seen them play with (in all due respect to the headliners of course) but would this show be any different? Scorpion Child had a few things working against them at this point to be honest. First off, this was the first time I would be seeing them since a few major lineup changes. They were short a guitarist, they had a new drummer (former Job For A Cowboy drummer Jon Rice), and a new bassist (Alec Padron) replacing founding member Shaun Avants. If that wasn’t enough they were going on after Crobot. This was going to be a tough call but regardless I situated myself front stage center, took a deep breath, and just hoped for the best. As the band took the stage easing into “She Sings (I Kill)” I literally felt a chill go up my spine. This was not the same band I saw a year ago and in this case, that’s a good thing. This was a powerhouse four piece boasting an opening song that sounded like one of the best Led Zeppelin songs never made.
“Liquor” kicked in 2nd and there it was. I was totally hooked in by that infectious chorus and undeniable groove. There wasn’t a still body in the room as lead singer Aryn Jonathan Black worked the stage with his Robert Plant like swagger and Steven Tyler moves. “The Secret Spot” is one of my favorite songs by this band and having the band reduced to a one guitar line up actually kind of worked in favor of this song as they seemed to take on a more groove laden British Invasion kind of vibe which I dug the hell out of. Lead guitarist Chris Cowart really kicked things up a notch and having Alec Padron proved to be an ass load of win as this guy really laid down a solid foundation for Cowart to really do his shit. I would’ve never known that this was only Padron’s 4th or 5th show with the band. This guy played those songs like he fucking wrote them himself which totally blew my face clean off.
Scorpion Child’s set list also featured some new material in the form of songs like “I Might Be Your Man” and “Seizure Year” which drew a huge smile across my sloppy face and made me know for a fact that I have nothing to worry about. These guys are more than capable of continuing their trend of creating some of the most hypnotic psychedelic jams this side of the cosmos and these songs proved that without a doubt. I was really sinking into this set as I was feeling this almost spiritual, ethereal connection with the band. That connection was solidified with a version of “Salvation Slave” that was so fucking amazing I could barely wrap my head around it. Having Jon Rice on drums had just taken these songs to a more driving, groove laden level which is totally surprising. A death metal drummer with groove and feel? Who would’ve thunk it? All I can say is that this guy should’ve always been in the band and needs to stay in this band.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more magical about this set, Scorpion Child pulled out the obscure Lucifer’s Friend gem “Keep Going” which I totally wasn’t expecting. This was where the magic just all came to a boil for me. The dynamics of this song, the power, the emotion, the eerie vibe of the original was completely captured and delivered to an audience of people who pretty much were standing around with their jaws dropped. Some bands suffer with lineup changes but Scorpion Child just used it as fuel for the fire and this fire was burning hot and out of control as I could literally feel each and every note, every groove, and ever vocal line sung. This was one of the most powerful live moments I have ever witnessed and one that I wish more people would’ve been there to see.
In a nutshell, the pairing of Scorpion Child and Crobot was beyond epic! Scorpion Child and Crobot completed what I will have to say is my favorite double bill of the year (if not ever) so far. Each band brought their “A” game and put on top notch arena worthy performances. Make your audience feel appreciated for their time and their presence and it will come back to you twofold. You know that old saying, “Dance like nobody’s watching?” Well in the case of Crobot and Scorpion Child, they played like 25,000 were watching. THIS is how you put on a show people. Give the people that are there the show they deserve.
Scorpion Child Setlist:
She Sings I Kill, Liquor, Secret Spot, Salvation Slave, I Might Be Your Man, Keep Goin’, Seizure Year, Kings Highway, Polygon of Eyes, My Woman in Black