I went to a lot of shows in the last two months. What I’ve discovered is that you don’t have the whole story about how the live performance affected you until you’ve had some time to let everything sink in. You’re getting the whole story, not just the immediate aftermath but the layering of previous experiences.
I had the chance to catch the BUTCHER BABIES (again!) at The Empire on October 12, 2014. Female-fronted bands appeared to be the theme this night in keeping with the BUTCHER BABIES ethos. I’ve got plenty to say about the treatment of women, but I will say this: the whole industry of music is sexualized and both men and women are treated like objects. Those who survive are the ones who know how to work it. Just remember that those sexy, long-haired gods and voluptuous, pouty-lipped goddesses are people too.
I’ve also added some videos I took of each band that will give you a taste of what I experienced. I’m a professional writer, not a videographer, so excuse the poor quality of my offerings.
DOWN SOCIETY showcased the powerful, female vocals with their compositions. The front woman had some serious chutzpah. The technical prowess was tight creating a mesmerizing and alluring presence that reminded me of HEART in their hey-day, only heavier and modern.
Another female-fronted band with a heavy metal/hard rock sound featured mostly clean vocals with well-executed growls and screams. I was reminded of BLACK SABBATH here so there were touches of stoner groove that blended nicely. The stage presence wasn’t as mesmerizing as the previous band but that’s something that can be changed as the members find their footing.
“If you’re not sweaty, bloody, and teary-eyed, I’m not doing my fucking job.” So says the front man of SAINT DIABLO, an Eclipse Records artist. They brought the death metal elements of double-bass and tremolo picking to their heavy metal/hard rock. I was sitting in the back so I could see everything. I’m not sure about bloody or teary-eyed, but the crowd was definitely sweating.
I don’t know if it would be fair to tease you all with my take on ANTI-MORTEM since they broke up right after the tour ended (!). Wherever the lead singer ends up, he has the charisma and chops to go to the top. We talked about sexiness earlier, and he has that certain “je ne sais quoi” that combined with evocative lyrics and his powerful voice will be an asset to the right mix of musicians. The other musicians promise to be solid additions to whatever projects they join in the future. My only complaint is that the sound person seemed to be tripping. The levels were off with the sludge guitars fading into the mix. The bass and bass drums seemed to override everything and with this brand of Southern metal, the guitars are paramount. Fortunately, Rado’s voice rode over it all and his stage presence kept all eyes focused on him.
I love the BUTCHER BABIES. Their tongue-in-cheek horror thrash is beyond fun and with Heidi and Carla emoting sex and danger all over the stage, it is a spectacle worth seeing. Out of the gate Heidi said, “We must warn you, we were angry babies.” They have a brilliant, inexhaustible energy that really shone in this headliner tour. When you’re the act everyone comes to see, you have to put on a fan-fucking-tabulous show and the BUTCHER BABIES did not disappoint. This was theater with a tension-building costume change near the end. There was an intermission where the stage was handed over to the guys (in gimp masks) so they could show us that they aren’t just pretty faces. Out the women came in Harlequin half-masks singing “They’re Coming To Take Me Away,” their latest single (yummy). Razor sharp and vicious, it was a sight to see and when Heidi hopped down into the pit, things got up close and personal (though respectfully so). Both Tim and I were impressed with how the BUTCHER BABIES leveled up from the last performance I reviewed. Bravo!
Click on the pictures to get the full effect! All photos courtesy of That Guy Photography/ Timothy Reese.
I.O. Kirkwood is METAL DESCENT’s Senior Live Music Editor. You can read her personal blog HERE.