Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cattle Decapitation/Psyopus @ Time to Laugh April 14, 2009 Live Review

Doors for this show were at 6. I didn't show up til 8. I doubt I missed much. I caught the tail end of the set by In The Act of Violence. I wasn't paying attention though. I was too busy checking out the Cattle Decapitation merch table. At which I scored myself a "We Are Horrible People" T. Awesome. Oh, and a button. Anyway, ITAOV had about 6 people standing at the stage for their set. And I have a sinking suspicion that most or all of them were from another opening band. On to the good stuff.

Psyopus was short a participating member. Vocalist Brian Woodruff had lost his voice and "won't be screaming at you tonight". It was clear that the 3 remaining members were rightfully disappointed by the turnout. Even before they said who they were, guitarist Arpmandude (Chris Arp) proclaimed, "This is a fucking joke". But the show must go on, right? Psyopus proceeded to blow my fucking mind. I had heard snippets before but not much. Even so, I knew to expect some pretty technical stuff. Technical is a gross understatement. (For those of you requiring a label, will spastic/math/techgrind suffice?) Honestly to (if you believe in a) god, 3 of the most amazing musicians I have ever witnessed. Complete mastery of their respective instruments. Touring bassist Travis Morgan had my jaw on the floor when he was warming up! Psyopus tried to put on a happy face through what must have felt more like band practice than a gig. They were able to laugh off the stupid shit yelled at them from the "peanut gallery" which I believe consisted of opening bands, me, and some chick in a Cattle Decap shirt. When some idiot told them to "play it right" or something like that, Arpmandude replied with "YOU fucking play it right!" Well said, sir, well said. That was probably the same kid who I overheard outside saying "That guy's probably been playing guitar since he was like fuckin' 2". Like I said before, the set floored me. I couldn't believe how incredibly tight they were. With all the stops and starts, the interplay between members and the unorthodox guitar tricks, I was left stunned. What I'd like to know is, how in hell do they even write that stuff? Let alone be able to play it so flawlessly?! Drummer Jason Bauers might just have the fastest left hand I have ever seen. (His right is no slouch either) Not only could he drill the snare with inhuman speed and fill with the best of them, his ability to mute the cymbals at those speeds was just awe-inspiring. Remind me again just how many fingers Travis has? He could probably teach Les Claypool of Primus a thing or two. I would really liked to have seen the whole package but their style is such that an instrumental set left nothing wanting. I believe they have played Kingston before (Ace's Top Card maybe) and I sincerely hope they are able to wash the bad taste out of their mouths that this show must surely have left. I'm telling ya, it was a sad scene to see such an incredible band play to a virtually empty club.

Psyopus' new album, Odd Senses is available now. Buy it. I know I will be.

Headliners Cattle Decapitation were subject to no less idiocy during their set. Yelling the band's name when there is only about a dozen people just doesn't have the same effect. Sounded like the same guy that yelled "Decapitate some cows!!" Right. Because that's their M.O. Senseless animal slaughter. Their M.O., is laying down a blistering set of black-death-goregrind. I was warned before the show that I might get spit on. Apparently vocalist Travis Ryan likes to spit up in the air and catch it in his mouth. I saw him attempt it once. Epic fail. Maybe the bad Indian food threw off his aim. (Curry in a Hurry?) Whatever the case, it had no effect on his ear-piercing, throat-shredding vocal acrobatics. From high pitched witch-demon howls to from-the-sewers-of-hell growls and back again in an eyeblink. Amazing. I kept waiting for one of two things to happen; the vein on his forehead to burst and splatter the faithful, or for him to throw up. At least that's same sounds and face I make after a hard night of drinking. Although, if he had simply passed out from lack of oxygen, I wouldn't have been surprised. Guitarist Josh Elmore had one of the most beautiful guitars I have ever laid eyes on. If I knew more about guitars I'd tell you what it was. But I don't so trust me, it was sweet. No "Save the whales" stickers on that baby. But it's not like he treated it with kid gloves. Oh no, he destroyed it. Not an inch of the fretboard was left free of his wrath. With an array of pedals laid at his feet, he proceeded to rip us a new sonic ass. When I saw bassist Rahsaan Davis on stage, something struck me as unfamiliar. Since I've never seen CD live before I had very little knowledge of what the band members looked like. What little knowledge I had as to their appearance would have come from myspace. So when I checked their myspace page the next day and saw Troy Oftedal listed as the bassist, I realized I am not as well read as I would like to be. My research dug up that Rahsaan is the international touring bassist, and as such he makes a damn fine replacement. Seeing as this show was in Canada, that would explain it. (Plus, he handled my transaction at the merch table. Thanks dude.) He was able to rip through the set like he'd been there since Day 1. And made me realize I need to practice more. Drummer Dave McGraw was a force behind the kit. I could barely see him for all the gear, but I could see the deep rooted intensity on his face. Someone in the crowed yelled out a song title and Travis asked Dave if it was okay. He replied in the affirmative with a kind of shrug that seemed like " Ya, why not? I know them all! What a silly question." In fact, all four members played with a fierce intensity. And it showed. Nowhere to be seen was any relaxed attitude. Metal and all it's fury was in their veins and on their faces. Too bad everyone missed it.

As sickeningly small as the crowd was, they stayed true to the "Gore not Core" mindset. I didn't see any karate kicks or combovers. No breakdowns or scene. No windmills or air-boxing. No skinny jeans, cocked hats, or two-steppin'. It was nice for a change. I really hope both bands decide to come back because I was really impressed . Psyopus made me a believer (sorry I didn't have enough available dough for a disc) and Cattle Decapitation made want to see what kind of Karma Bloody Karma and Humanure I can find under The Harvest Floor.

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