Recently, I had the opportunity to ride along with Akimbo for a few days of their tour to get an interview and review a few shows. This show marked the start of my ride along.
It started with me going up to the house of Scott and Cara (who run Seventh Rule records) to meet the band at the pre-show BBQ, but due to my train running late, I missed the band who had to go set up and instead, was subjected to the extreme hospitality of Scott and Cara. I still can't thank them enough for their generosity. Why do you ask? Well, besides inviting me to their BBQ and lettting me crash with the band there that night, they also helped me get into the club, seeing as how it was a 21+ show and I am only 20. So that is why I must start this review, to publicly thank these two for everything they have done for me. Also, this preface is to note that while I was at the BBQ, there were rumors of Eyehategod whining about having to play last and trying to switch set times with Akimbo.
Pretend that Eyehategod didn't play, and you've got yourself a sweet show.
At the actual show itself, Sweet Cobra was opening. Now, I've said this before (or at least have thought I have), but Sweet Cobra is easily one of the best bands in Chicago right now. From the moment they hit the first chord, their staright-forward hardcore/metal bombarded the hall. I knew I was a fool for not bringing ear plugs. They played furious, hard, and hectic, and there was a real anger propelling their performance. This was even more evident when the bass player/singer slapped the mic stand to the ground. He was not happy with the whole Eyehategod situation. I guess they were being bigger pricks than I knew of. Regardless, Sweet Cobra's set seemed too short, and like always, I was left wanting much, much more. So go see these guys, go buy their records, go give them the love they deserve. I mean it.
If He Dies He Dies was up next, and after Cara scrounged up a pair of ear plugs for me, I made my way up to the front of the stage to fully experience them. Unfortunately, the ear plugs were in too far for their set, so I didn't get a chance to fully experience them. They were from Michigan, and played really good, technical Mastodon-like metal riffs with metalcore blast beats interspersed. It's hard to peg them into a sub-genre, but I think it's safe to say that they covered all aspects of metal. I'm not sure I'd be interested in buying their records, but I would definitely see them if they came into town again. Perhaps my favorite part of their set, though, was the two ex-football player hardcore kids up at the front, one in a Comeback Kid shirt, the other donning As I Lay Dying. They took turns doing floor punches and spin-kicks like the toolboxes they were. It seemed like a sorry attempt at a breakdance competition where each competitor took 15-second turns to show their stuff.
Akimbo was next, and I had been waiting for this moment for months. They took the stage and set up, but were delayed for some reason. I had to wait ten more minutes. The crowd seemed to solidify a little bit more. People were ready. They took the stage again, and set up. They were playing as a four piece for that show, and it would be the first time I saw them with two guitarists. I can't remember the set list exactly, but I know for sure they played "Delilah," "I Think I'm A Werewolf," "The Art Of Asphyxiation," a couple of new songs that I never learned the name of (oops), "Harpoon," maybe a few others that I'm missing, and closed it all off with a full version of the eight-minute "Uranaburg." They nailed everything perfectly, and put on a killer show. I always am amazed at how they manage to flawlessly play their songs while rocking out as hard as they do. Mind-blowing.
For Eyehategod's set, I instead hung out by the pool tables that are behind the stage and introduced myself to a few people that I saw at the BBQ but was too shy to introduce myself to. I met the band Conifer that was out for the Pre-Emissions Fest and thier friend (Damien?) who was in some oher band (Bellrays? Delrays?) that I couldn't quite catch the name of since most everyone was slurring their speech by now. I also saw Francisco from Gasoline Fight who I had met earlier in the night. The guys in Akimbo were busy getting their equipment together, and Eyehategod was busy pissing a lot of people off by taking forever to set up. Soon they bagan playing their dumbed-down stoner metal, and the crowd of metalheads went nuts while we all stood backstage and made fun of the fact that Eyehategod only really had one riff that they played over and over again. And they played it for an hour. So, instead of talking about how much that band sucks, I'm going to talk about how awesome Francisco and Conifer are. Yes, I am shamelessly plugging Conifer and Gasoline Fight based solely on how awesome these guys were. Eyehategod were a bunch of washed up druggies that played dumb stoner metal that lost its pull in less than a minute. So I highly suggest looking into Conifer and Gasoline Fight, instead.