Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Concert Review: Carcass, Deafheaven, and Inter Arma.

Saturday November 26th at 3:02pm, Danny arrived at my house.

By 3:04pm, we were two minutes into a road trip into the middle of our home state in order to see a metal bill of epic proportions. Carcass, Deaf Heaven and Inter Arma were playing at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO, the home of Mizzou.

For the drive, we just spoke and argued about metal mostly. Like how Danny doesn't understand how amazing Lulu is and how he thinks I'm nuts for my espousing of Underdog Albums, like Lulu and Kiss's Music From The Elder.

There was an interesting discussion about how we both used to traverse this drive in our childhoods and that we both made a pit stop in the same place in High Hill, MO. The most interesting thing about our drive though, was the pot bellied stove.

As we were about halfway there, the gas gauge said only about 17 miles left. We pulled off to fill up the tiny tank on the Prius. We found a country store with one gas pump out front. Inside, was a legitimate country store and not a modern recreation, Cracker Barrel, I'm looking at you.

In the middle of that store, between the candy rack and the camo pants was a giant pot belled stove that was used as the source of heat. It smelled ever so lovely in there.

Once we got to Columbia, proper, we did what everybody does, we hit up Shakespeare's Pizza. My  half was pepperoni and Danny's was green pepper. It was excellent. As we realized we still had 45 minutes till doors opened...we played some Kiss pinball in the back while I drank a Logboat IPA.

Then we traipsed the nine blocks down to the Blue Note. Excellent venue.

Inter Arma began the show. One of us had heard good things about this band and both of us felt they were totally true.
T.J. Childers
The drummer walked out with a beard the size of Arkansas, wearing pink surfer shorts, and holding a giant log. After setting alight his incense, the metal commenced.

Their songs were the wails of the forgotten morose and angry.
Trey Dalton

Long form tunes with a big full throat growl and thunderous low end. When they were done it was hard to think because of the pounding we'd just endured.

Mike Paparo

It was all too fitting that the drummer led the band onto the stage as he was the star of the show. His drumming was precise and busy. The rest of the band followed his lead all the way into the pits of hell and back.

Second on the bill was hipster black metal sensation, Deafheaven.

If you're a black metal band being mentioned on NPR, you're a true sensation if not an outright phenomenon, but the musical world being what it is today, we saw them in a small, though ostentatious club.

Shiv Mehra
Their music was long form and varied, without ever being progressive. They definitely have a signature sound and look, but not so much a signature performance.

Deafheaven is a young band in every sense of the word. Their music is fully fleshed out, but their stage show is not. The singer relied on a stock of about five stage moves repeated during the course of his set.

Daniel Tracy
The rest of the band barely moved save for their hands. The good news is that they have plenty of time to grow.

As Deafheaven said, Carcass is legendary and they were up next.

Bill Steer (left) and Jeff Walker (right)
The Liverpuddian gents hold a special place in my heart as they were one of the very first extreme metal bands that I was exposed to. They encapsulate everything that's truly great about extreme metal.

They did not disappoint.

Bill Steer
The Heartwork and Surgical Steel heavy setlist was brutal and tight. Carcass is a band that has no problems reproducing their albums on the stage.

Their stage show features four large screens and a fight screen being broadcast onto the bass drum. It would have been nice had the feature showing all of the diseased penises be left off maybe. (Bill Steer looked behind him and laughed when it started.)

Jeff Walker
Carcass, as a whole, seemed to be completely oblivious to how heavy and punishing their music is. There were no airs put on by any of the members. The guitarists, Steer and (semi) newcomer, Ben Ash were dressed in their early 80's denim best. Ash, was in denim from head to toe and Steer in a shirt that would have gone unnoticed on Stranger Things.

Jeff Walker wore his distressed canvas shoes and an AK-47 t-shirt. When speaking on stage, he just let his Liverpool accent fly. Never growling or screeching, save during the songs.

Ben Ash
Though Carcass will never achieve arena or even large theater success in Middle America, it was heartening to see a full club in the Middle of Middle America.

Being in the same room as Steer and Ash is an awe inspiring experience. These are two masters of the electric guitar. In 2016, Carcass is showing themselves to be serious road dogs. This is their third tour this year.

Hopefully, they'll be able to take some time and record a follow up to Surgical Steel, but in the meantime, it's still great that they're kicking their boots on the road.

All photos Danny Nichols

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