There are tours which are expensive, tours which are not bad value for money… and then there is this 5-band behemoth that’s just taking the piss. The original four bands were joined by Incite at the last minute giving you even more metal for your buck! Unfortunately, it was so last minute that many people didn’t know the Arizona-based quartet were on the bill. I bumped into our own Pit Troll as I arrived at the Classic Grand and he didn’t know despite being a huge fan. And I mean “huge” – he’s 6’7″ if I recall correctly…
With five bands on the bill and a 6pm door time I arrive just as Incite (10) took to the stage at around 6:15. The Classic had a 10pm-ish curfew to make way for their usual Saturday club night, so somehow the five bands had to all be squished into four hours. A tough challenge, but thankfully not one that involved Incite having a particularly short set.
Fresh from touring Europe with Gorgoroth (they literally flew into the UK a couple of days ago to kick off this tour less than 24 hours after finishing that one!) the band stormed onto the stage as if they owned the place and didn’t let that tight grip go during their 30-minute set. The venue was not full by any means, sadly, but those who opted to bask in the sudden sunshine or partake of cheaper alcohol over the road missed out on a brilliant performance.
Incite are pros and give their all with every show. From my position in front of the barrier, I simply could not tell that they were playing to the early arrivers. Every member performed out of their skin as if they had the hall packed, and it bloody should have been. Playing tracks from last year’s Oppression as well as older songs, they simply did not let up. Front man Richie Cavalera lives every track – you can see the emotion etched on his face as he screams the lyrics. He’s accompanied by the slab of meat that is EL on bass who barely stopped headbanging for the whole performance. Guitarist Dru added some mysticism to the stage presence, looking like a wizard in baggy pants while he belted out intense riffs, and Derek Lopez added to the noise, making the room shudder with his drumming. Together they absolutely slayed the fortunate few who’d arrived on time.
Speaking to the band afterwards, they took the tour on as they were in Europe already and their paperwork meant that it made sense to stay here and continue touring – all the important permits were bought and paid for. Getting over here is expensive so why not throw a few more dates on? I’m glad they did! I also found out when they’ll next be back over, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to tell you yet…! News as soon as we have confirmation.
People, I cannot say this enough – if you’re already going to one of the upcoming dates then check the door time and get there early enough to see Incite. If you’re not sure about getting a ticket then read on… there’s more to come and it’s all good!
Next on the varied bill were LA industrial group Madlife (7). From the moment they appeared to do their final soundcheck, dressed in scruffy clothes and facial greasepaint, there was an expectation of what kind of music to expect.
Despite kilt-clad singer Phill being the obvious frontman, guitarist Isaiah Stuart was often the band member addressing the audience – somewhat reminiscent of Anthrax’ Scott Ian when he says his piece during a set. Bassist DieTrich Thrall channels Paul Stanley during his performance (if Stanley swapped six strings for
four five) and they’re ably kept in step by drummer Kyle Cunningham. Their initial appearance made me think “Rammstein”, but their music – though industrial – isn’t in that vein.
If you’ve heard their music before, then you may not quite be prepared for their live performance. Their light rock / industrial songs come across much heavier in the live setting, especially the bass-led breakdowns. Unfortunately, their sound wasn’t quite as clear as Incite’s – I guess there’s a lot of setting-up to do for five bands – which cost them a bit of audibility. However, what they did do is put on a decent show for a band that were a little out of place given the headliner they were supporting.
There’s no doubting that some members of the – still small – crowd were already fans and I saw a handful singing along with songs. With a different crowd, they’d go down a storm, but regardless they gave a good impression.
The venue was starting to finally fill out as third band, Perth’s (Oz, not the real one along the road) XtortYa (6) took up their positions. Before I go further, I’d like to point out that I almost gave them a 7, but the sound for a large part of their set meant that I just couldn’t hear man mountain Ian’s vocals which took the edge off. Again, they’re a little “left field” in terms of genre given the headliners but as dreadlocked guitarist Darren stated towards the end of the show, it’s all about getting there early and seeing the new bands to find out what’s coming through.
Vocal duties were shared between these two with Ian doing the “hip hop / rap” style and Darren covering the more regular rock singing. Samples, second guitar and more vocals were covered by DJ B-Rad, bedecked in a facial bandana. Aaron on bass and Simon on drums reined the chaos into some kind of order and the band played the third good set of the night.
Their last song in particular didn’t just have a couple of heads nodding, it had more than a few in full-on, hair flying headbanging mode! A genuinely lovely bunch of guys – Darren in particular will talk to anyone – they’re certainly worth your attention.
Main support was all the way from Hungary with Ektomorf (8) making, I believe, their debut appearance in Scotland. They certainly had a large bunch of fans already in place by the time they came on and the venue was pretty much as full as it was going to get for the evening. Their brutal groove/thrash sound reminded me of early Sepultura and the crowd loved it, kicking off a small but violent pit within moments of the opening notes of “Aggressor” being belted out.
With 16 strings (!) between the two guitarists if I counted correctly, there’s no denying the technical abilities of Zoltán and Tomi. Not to be outdone, bassist Szabi also adds a fifth string to his instrument, though skin-basher Robert Jaksa hasn’t decided to pack an extra three snares for the trip… Despite all these extra bits of wire, the band blazed through the likes of “Holocaust” and “Fuck You All” with the attitude of headliners. Intense, violent, angry and just what this Glasgow crowd wanted on a Saturday night.
The majority of the set was taken from their Aggressor album, and they crammed a lot into their thirty minutes. If Ill Niño needed the crowd given one final warm-up then Ektomorf performed their duties very well indeed as many were sweating by the time the band called it a night.
For those feeling drained, the adrenaline buzz as Ill Niño (10) took to the stage will have cleared the fatigue. This being the “15 Years of Revolution” tour, there were no surprises when the Latin metal progenitors launched into “God Save Us” as an opening track, before ploughing through the rest of the classic Revolution Revolución album in order.
Their little secret is the addition of percussionist Oscar Santiago who adds a great twist to their sound with his Latin drumming synchronising perfectly with Dave Chavarri’s “regular” drums. For those unfamiliar, imagine a sound not unlike Sepultura’s “Ratamahatta”, but one that’s been allowed to evolve into a whole musical genre.
Singer Cristian Machado’s voice is nothing short of incredible. I genuinely found it hard to believe that one man was performing both the screamed, harsh vocals as well as high-pitched, note-perfect melodic parts. This vocal change happens at the flick of a switch mid-track, and he then goes even milder for acoustic number and album closer “With You”. And if there’s a bassist anywhere on this planet who’s cooler than Laz Pina I’ve yet to see him. Emulating Jamiroquai as he struts around the stage and adjusts his hat, he’s as suave as they come.
The band were obeyed throughout whenever they demanded the crowd “jump” and something they do better than almost any act I’ve scene at this end of the “heavy” scale is to engage with their audience. Fist bumps, high fives and even hugs were exchanged throughout the set. They may churn out some bone-breaking numbers, but they’re all big softies inside!
A shout out has to go to the management and security at the Classic Grand, who were friendly and hard working for the whole gig. It was a lax affair, with a partial barrier emphasising the element of trust between venue and fans, and a vast improvement on Sepultura a couple of years back where there were two “security” on duty, one a small lady, who were suddenly faced with multiple crowd surfers, something they obviously (staggeringly) weren’t expecting. Tonight’s staff managed to cope, multiple times, with Pit Troll clambering his way stagewards – no mean feat!
All I can say to sum up is to repeat – if you’ve not already got a ticket for one of the remaining dates on the tour then get one. If you are going, don’t miss the openers. Incite especially are well worth getting your arse off the sofa early for. Those remaining dates are as follows, with a bunch more in Europe right after where Madlife are no longer part of the lineup.
- 26/03/17 Fleece Bristol
- 28/03/17 Islington Academy London
- 29/03/17 Talking Heads Southampton
Photos by Iain Purdie.