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Thursday, April 27th, 2006

The Black Dahlia Murder / From a Second Story Window / Dead to Fall / Ed Gein / Today I Wait

The Championship, Lemoyne, PA

I think my favorite part about this show quite possibly had absolutely nothing to do with any of the bands- or even their music, for that matter.  Instead, I found myself highly amused by a certain 35 – 40 year old man with a gigantic beer belly touting a video camera.  Said middle aged man stood out in the crowd, being that the majority of show-goers were between abnormally skinny15-25 year-olds with black band t-shirts.  Oh, and did I mention that he stood in the front of the crowd making a rock hand with his non-camera holding hand and repeatedly yelled ‘SLAAAAAAAYERRR!’ as loud as he could?  Alas, Slayer was not playing that night.  Perhaps he was confused.  Perhaps he was too drunk or stoned to know where he was.  Perhaps he was Ozzy Osbourne’s old roadie, which would actually make him both of the aforementioned perhaps. Whatever the reason, he made my night.

But really, this is all about the music.  The first band, Today I Wait, was a poor man’s version of every single other hardcore band out there.  Not to say that they were bad, but I would give their performance three out of five yawns.  There was nothing special about their vocals or their chugga chugga guitar lines and breakdowns. They also presented little to no audience involvement.  Ed Gein, on the other hand, is a politically and socially motivated three-piece hardcore band that brings a fresh sound to the hardcore scene.  They’re not necessarily straightedge, they’re not necessarily vegan or anything of the sort, nor are they overly and obscenely political.  Instead, they manage to mix these things perfectly to create subtle and almost tongue-in-cheek political overtones.  Despite all the members contributing to the vocals whilst playing their respective instruments, thus keeping them relatively sedentary the whole set, they managed to keep the crowd involved at all times and put on a great performance.

Dead to Fall’s claim to fame this evening was their light show, complete with multiple fog machines; just enough to make photographing them rather difficult.  I don’t remember much of their performance other than brutal hardcore accompanied by corresponding strobe lighting and an overabundance of fog.  I couldn’t tell you if they put on a good show or not, because frankly, I couldn’t see jack or shit except during the flashes of light, which were more than enough to induce an epileptic seizure.

To be honest, the reason I came to this show was to see From a Second Story Window, an amazing hardcore/metalcore band hailing from approximately the area I do.  Without relying on pseudo-pyrotechnics or other gimmicks, they put on the best set of the evening, mixing old material with new from their upcoming CD [u]Delena[/u].  They brought an unrelenting onslaught of impressive guitarwork and amazing stage presence that left the crowd hungry for more.

The headliner, The Black Dahlia Murder, did not disappoint.  Though I admittedly am not the biggest metal fan, they put on a great performance, despite playing in somewhat of a different style than the previous bands.  Though lacking the breakdowns characteristic of the hardcore bands preceding them, they made up for it with their intricate guitar solos and intense performance.  It is during this set that we revisit the SLAAAAAAYERRR man from the beginning of my review, and watch as he is absolutely pulverized by the somewhat overweight and shirtless vocalist of The Black Dahlia Murder; mid-scream, no less.  There one second, flat on the floor the next.  I guess he finally realized that Slayer was indeed not playing that night. And that was a much more painful realization for him than for me.  All I realized was that I had just experienced an enjoyable evening full of metal and mayhem. ROCK.

-Allison Frank