There don’t seem to be too many interviews with Brujeria online for some reason, but I found one with by-then-former member Dino Cazares where he describes some of the dives they played in Mexico which sound, frankly, terrifying. No fire escapes, a rammed crowd, and the only way onto the stage (which was covered in broken glass) being through the audience who were held apart by security allowing a narrow passage. Somehow they lifted Cazares and company onto stage (and he’s not the smallest of men!) for the gig.
Tonight’s venue is Bannerman’s and it’s somewhat reminiscent of those venues. There’s not stage entry other than through the crowd and there are a couple of hundred beer’d up death metal fans awaiting a hell of a show. Thankfully, there are fire exits and the audience themselves are somewhat less dangerous (at least prior to the music kicking off).
Before our headliners, though, are a couple of top-end local acts. Original opener Tower of Flies had to pull out at the last moment as drummer Andrew fractured his ankle. Understandably, this would make a decent death metal set quite hard to play and I know the band were gutted at having to let people down. Fortunately, Edinburgh’s not short on talented bands to pick from as replacements and nutjobs Party Cannon (we reviewed their EP a while back) stepped in as crowd-warmer-uppers.
With a small crowd around them, Party Cannon kicked off a little late after some technical issues (due to a “shit tablet”) and showed how good an opening band can be. Giving precisely zero fucks, singer Stony spent almost the entire gig on the dancefloor, stepping onto the stage for perhaps half of one song. Actually, pretty much everyone but the drummer ended up down there at some point.
The crowd responded warmly to all the song – local crowd, local band – but I don’t think quite gave the level of action the guys deserved. Party Cannon play well, have a good sense of humour and rode the sound issues like professionals. With a new album just out (copies should be available in the UK next week), they’re definitely worth checking out if you’re into the heavier stuff.
Next up were a band I’d not quite managed to catch since hearing about them despite having them as band of the day over a year ago. Cancerous Womb are a damn fine death/grind band with a good attitude, great collection of songs and hard work ethic.
Taking to the stage as a three-piece, they managed to get the crowd moving a bit and did encourage a fair few people right down to the front – possibly as, by now, the beer had started to take effect and people were getting used to the muggy heat in the cavern. Bass duties were primarily carried off by guitarist Mike on an extra seventh string as, sadly, regular bassist Joe has been on the sidelines for almost a year due to nerve damage in his right arm. More about that in a bit.
The band tore through a good number of tracks – “Hunted to Extinction”, “Up To My Nuts In Guts” and “Torn From Gunt To Cunt” amongst them. A good rapport with the crowd between songs also helped (“This one’s from the album” / “They’re all from the fucking album!”), and as the set neared a close the crowd weren’t sweating purely from the lack of air conditioning.
Highlight of the night, and an emotional moment, was Joe borrowing a bass from Party Cannon and playing the final track with the band. This was his first time playing with their “new” singer who’s been with the band for eight months and justly earned them, and him, a huge ovation at the end of their set. He was obviously in some discomfort afterwards so I would just like to say – from this audience member’s point of view anyway – it was well worth it, Joe. Thanks!
As the venue filled up, it started to get really sweaty… and Brujeria hadn’t even appeared yet! An announcement from the PA directed the crowd to part in the middle to allow all seven members to get to the stage and – unlike the Mexican venue – no security were needed.
Fronted by three vocalists, Brujeria (Broo-herr-EE-ah) go all out in their performance, battering the audience with abrasive singing. Guitars, bass and drums keep things tight, but this is a show all about violence, abuse, anger, unfairness, bitterness… and a cathartic chance to get them all out.
Vocal duties tonight were from founder members Juan Brujo (who I interviewed before the show) and Pinche Peach along with El Sangron, covering for Fantasma who was off with some other band or something. I was planted stage right in front of guitarist Hongo who, only a couple of days earlier, had been playing in a big field near Stoke-on-Trent…
Brujeria are as “no holds barred” as their reputation implies. They look angry, they act angry and they get the crowd angry – well the kind of angry where you beat up strangers, then help them to their feet afterwards at least. The dance floor was carnage by the time “Pito Wilson” was only halfway done and there was around an hour’s more entertainment to come.
With a crammed set, the band barely let up, instead saving their efforts for in-song enactments, actions and posing. Pinche whipping Juan Brujo in one song, machetes being wielded for another…
That’s not to say that there was little crowd interaction, far from it. With a surprising number of native Spanish speakers, it was hard (for me!) to keep up with the conversations, but it was obvious it was all being lapped up. Heck, one girl even mistook the band for Steel Panther and bared her boobies halfway through the set… or perhaps she was trying to cool down as condensation literally dripped from the ceiling – and I mean “literally”. I was drenched by the end of the set and I’d really only stood to one side and taken photos. At least until I changed lenses and the new one fogged up so completely I had to give in!
This was one sweaty pit of a gig, but it didn’t stop Brujeria giving a performance worthy of a band who’d waited eight years to return to the UK and twenty-six years to play for the first time in Scotland. For a band who’d never intended to play live, let along tour, they do a fine job on stage.
Finishing with their own marijuana-influenced cover of the Macarena, they left the crowd hot, sweaty, aching and battered (but thankfully clear of any machete wounds).