October 13, 2008

Concert Review: Mushroomhead w/ The Autumn Offering, XFactor1, Hyngd - Poughkeepsie, NY 10/10/08

Friday night after a long week of work (or school) is the perfect time to unwind and blow off steam with some live music. This Friday proved to be more than up to the task as Mushroomhead rolled through The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, NY, bringing with them their highly theatrical stage show, high energy, and excellent music. They were not alone, as they had two more acts with them, and brought one local act to the stage to help get the crowd going.

By the time I got inside, Hyngd was already on stage, having just begun their set. This is the first time I have seen these guys since April, and what a difference a few months makes. The last show I saw I spoke of the overuse of effects on the singers voice and an overall blandness that infected their music. This time around, the vocal effects were toned way down, making for a better experience. Now, his voice did seem a little weak in the quieter moments, but when the energy was up (which was most of the time), he sounded just fine. The music is still not terribly original sounding, but the performance was rock solid. They are a tight musical unit that knows its way around the stage. I would recommend giving these guys a chance, you may be surprised by what you find.

XFactor1 was the next act to take the stage. Ever heard of them? Me neither. They turned out to be pretty good, bringing a industrial metal sound to the stage what had overtones of Korn and Fear Factory. However, they do suffer a bit from not sounding terribly original, although I would be hard pressed to give any more specific examples. The riffs were heavy, vocals, raw, and energy high, and it kept the crowd going. There was one problem with their set, and it came about halfway through their set. The band busted out a cover of the Rolling Stones classic "Paint it Black," what a mistake this was. This cover was absolutely horrible. As much as I enjoyed the energy they brought to their originals, "Paint it Black" was not meant for an industrial bent, complete with hardcore breakdown. Aside from this blunder they were actually pretty good, and the drummer was fantastic.

The final opening act was The Autumn Offering, a band that I have reviewed before, both live and on CD. I saw them as the first opening act for, coincidentally enough, Mushroomhead back in 2006. At the time I wrote about how good they were, throwing down with a high level of energy and displaying a skill worthy of keeping an eye on. I then reviewed their latest album, featuring new lead singer Matt McChesney. It was a decent album that suffered from weak vocals. Well, I have to report that it has only gone downhill. I can only hope that it was just a bad night or a bad mix, because The Autumn Offering sounded horrible. I could tell that some of the individual performances were good, but when you listened to their so-called music it just failed to come together at all. When they left the stage, it was not soon enough. Judging by the reactions around me, I was not the only one to feel this way. Let me finish by saying the best moment came when Waylon came out and provided some lead vocals towards the end of the set.

Finally, the moment we all were waiting for, the arrival of the mighty Mushroomhead. I am still amazed at the lack of attention that these guys have gotten over the years, especially with the success of Slipknot. You would think that this would be a great opportunity for a label to push a director competitor to those masked purveyors of mayhem. Of course, I think this way as I prefer Mushroomhead.

This is a band that I have seen a number of times going back to 2004, each and every time I see them they deliver on the promise of a high energy, highly theatrical show. This time was no different. The lights went down and the band slowly made their way onstage, with Waylon, sporting a bald head and white face with a black streak over his right eye,continuing over his head. He stood there staring out across the crowd, imploring us to cheer, which we did. The rest of the band came out and the show started.

The first thing I noticed is that they have not brought in a replacement guitarist for Bronson, continuing with just one guitar. I do have to say that this makes them sound a little bit thin, not bad but could be better. They also had an additional percussionist that I do not recall having seen before, but it makes sense with Schmotz focusing on the keyboards.

Well, the band tore the stage up, the crowd was wild and did not let up until the last note was played. The look of the band is essentially the same as when I saw them almost two years ago. Mushroomhead is a band that knows how to write strong music and infuse it with a dynamic stage show. Sure, it is hard to beat an act that just goes out there with no frills and amps it up with their own energy, but there is always room for a band that brings something new to the stage.

Their set included the likes of "Sun Doesn't Rise," "43," "Solitaire/Unraveling," "Simple Survival," "12 Hundred" and more. Man, these guys are a blast, from their impeccable performance, to Stitch and Waylon diving into the crowd, to the downright creepy look of Jeffrey Nothing, it is hard to beat. You have to see these guys if you get the chance.


Post a Comment