I debated about whether or not I wanted to go to this show up until the last minute. It’s not the kind of music I listen to, but rather I like to go to these shows every once in a while for the energy and feeling of impending danger. However, my last outing to see Cattle Decapitation was less than stellar. But then I reconsidered- my last two outings to see Norwegians have been great, so off I go! Plus, how could I pass up the most fucked up band on the planet?
Unfortunately Marduk had visa problems and dropped off the bill.
The show was so male that they didn’t even have a woman outside to frisk me. The guy just looked at me like, “are you sure?”, had me spin around, and let me in. The Cephalic Carnage set was in full effect, with a huge swirling slam pit taking up the entire main floor. This five piece from…Colorado…..has got the crowd really amped. It looks like people might actually be suffering from cephalic carnage in that pit. The songs trudge, the singers growls, the guitars sing….it sounds ok. They go slow and fast, which always helps me out because this music can be exhausting just to listen to. However, I would describe their musicianship as a bit on the messy side. At one point, they turn around, and don masks and some cuffs in honor of the Norwegians. The bassist has a horse head one, and he keeps punching himself. It was weird and kinda amusing.
Mayhem had an obscenely long set up. The heads on sticks were adjusted with kind of a sick meticulousness. The crowd was drunk, beat up from the previous bands, and it really smelled in there. Finally, they descend the weird stair setup that is DNA. Funny, the rest of the band look like pretty normal metal dudes. The lead singer, however, is a heavily made up man wearing something that I cannot quite discern…but the main point of the costume is his noose. That noose stayed with him all night, serving purposes such as hypnotizing the audience and choking himself to fit with the sounds that were coming out of his mouth already. He is dramatic, and it takes some getting used to.
As soon as Mayhem hit the stage I turned to Umlaut and said- “Wow, this is REALLY quiet” and was even more surprised by how easily I could hear myself. People all around me were having drunken conversations and I could hear them better than the band. The floor was very sticky beneath my boots, and I kept having to unstick myself to move for people and I could hear it. OK- something is seriously wrong if I can hear the sound of my soles disconnecting from sticky alcohol over a black metal band. Fucking noise ordinance bullshit.
This made it very hard for me to get into the show. I kept getting distracted, then pissed off, then pissed off and distracted. Them the singer was doing weird stuff with his hands and I’m like, “drop the fucking noose already or I’m gonna hang you with it!!!!”. Sorry, it’s been a weird week.
But it all changed once he started talking: “there is no God”, something about the Pope, etc. Then I remembered why I was here. This is the band that “has been highly controversial, primarily due to the suicide of vocalist Dead, murder of guitarist Euronymous, and their violent stage performances”. They pioneered Norwegian black metal…and I need to pay them more respect.
At about the time of this epiphany, some dude comes and stands right in front of me. I’m a bit irritated actually, until Umlaut nods his head and says “Jello”. Ha! We have Jello sightings all the time at shows…it’s kind of like a game….’Where’s Jello?’. He didn’t stick around too long.
The energy of the set started out quite low, but built up intensely by the end. I don’t know if I would go so far as to call it violent, but everyone seemed more into it. That goes for both the crowd and the band- the slam pit got up and going again, and I began to notice that there were members of this band other than Atilla.
So it ended on a high note for me. I wouldn’t say it was quite the metal therapy I was looking for, but I’m glad I decided to go.
Mayhem performance: 8/10
Cephalic Carnage performance: 7/10
venue (DNA Lounge): 7/10
value ($30.00/ticket): 6.5/10