Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Jamie Harvey
In its sixth year, Austin, Texas' Fun Fun Fun Fest — an independent and eclectic three-day music festival in the spirit of the city's unofficial indie slogan, "Keep Austin Weird" — moved to Auditorium Shores and proved to be bigger and better than years past. With the city skyline and Town Lake as the backdrop, the festival had already built a media frenzy by the time I arrived on its last day, Nov. 6.
Upon arrival, I had to walk past a wrestling ring, a bar fashioned in Chevrolet El Caminos, a mechanical bull and a skateboard ramp to get to the far end of the festival grounds where the aptly colored and placed Black stage was, and where I'd spend my time with the rock, punk and metal bands.
As I walked up, Nobunny was onstage. Nobunny, the alter ego of Justin Champlin, is kind of like the Lady Gaga of punk music — he dons a rabbit-esque mask and has been known to wear raw meat onstage. As he finished his poppy punk set, I watched the crowd bounce up and down, sure enough just like a rabbit. I walked right up front for Eyehategod, the Southern sludge metal band from New Orleans. I have seen them many times over the past 15 years, and it was odd to see them in daylight. But right before their set began, darkness came over the stage and the sky opened and rained on the crowd for about 10 minutes. This created the perfect setting for EHG's sound — a swampy medley of screams, feedback, and crunching guitar — all with a touch of twang and boogie. Don't let their name, or song titles, scare you. EHG are a necessary staple in Southern metal.
"Jacka** In The Will Of God"
"Sisterf***er (Part I)"
"New Orleans Is The New Vietnam"
I stayed put for Cannibal Corpse. My first memories of this band were controversial, disgusting album covers that both scared and humored me as a kid. But here I was in the front row for my fourth Cannibal Corpse show. Once you take the time to understand this band, you realize that they don't really take themselves seriously, similar to an over-the- top slasher film. To prove this point, there were quite a few CC kids onstage with their dads, proudly playing air-guitar accompaniment. CC epitomize what it is to be a death metal band to me. It starts with a growling so deep you can't understand the words but instead feel them in your reptilian brain. Then it's the long hair flying everywhere, in sync with the beats, and guitar riffs that squeal in a racket that turns most people off. And it's the riff that defines great death metal like CC — it's infectious like a pop song you can't get out of your head. And lest I forget the drums, another crucial component of death metal. The machine of a drummer whose limbs are engaged in moving in a way that is inconceivable. I'd have to say this was my favorite Cannibal Corpse set I've ever seen because I was in between the madness onstage and the madness of the pit, and that energy was incredible.
"I Cum Blood"
"Sentenced To Burn"
"Pit Of Zombies"
"F***ed With A Knife"
"The Wretched Spawn"
"Priests Of Sodom"
"Hammer Smashed Face"
"Stripped, Raped And Strangled"
I'd imagine that if I played the game word association with the majority of the population, and I said "extreme metal band," a large percentage of people would respond, "Slayer." And when they said "Slayer," they would probably say it like this: "SLAYYYEEEERRR." Slayer conjures up a whole host of images and ideals when people hear their name, and I'd have to say all of that was at play at Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Ironically, Slayer did not play on the Black stage, but rather the larger Orange stage.
As the curtain dropped to reveal the band about 30 seconds into their recent staple opener, the Best Metal Performance GRAMMY-nominated "World Painted Blood," mosh pits were erupting everywhere, and those who may not have fully understood what it means to stand close to Slayer were sent running for the hills. The crowd was seeing a slightly altered version of the band as Slayer's usual guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, has recently been unable to play due to necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease likely caused by a spider bite. Filling in was Gary Holt, guitarist for Bay Area thrash legends Exodus, which gave the band an entirely different vibe.
The only thing more evil-sounding than 1986's "Postmortem" was that of guitarist Kerry King's chains clanking as he walks toward you. "Disciple," which garnered Slayer their first GRAMMY nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2001, was followed by the serial killer-inspired "Dead Skin Mask." Then there was the all-encompassing ominous tone that accompanied vocalist/bassist Tom Araya's whisper chant in "Mandatory Suicide": "Holes burn deep in your chest/Raked by machine gun fire/Screaming skull sent out to die/Living mandatory suicide/Suicide, suicide, suicide, suicide."
For the casual Slayer fan, the one-two punch of "South Of Heaven" and "Raining Blood" always thrills. Most bands would leave it on that note, but while some fans headed back to their cars, Slayer gave the crowd "Black Magic" and "Angel Of Death" as their parting words. Slayer is, and always will be, not like most bands.
"World Painted Blood"
"Spirit In Black"
"Dead Skin Mask"
"Seasons In The Abyss"
"South Of Heaven"
"Angel Of Death"
To catch Eyehategod in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
To catch Cannibal Corpse in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
(Texas-based Jamie Harvey is the rock community blogger for GRAMMY.com. She attended 112 shows in 2010. You can follow her musical adventures and concert recaps at www.hardrockchick.com.)