Municipal Waste/Crowbar - Live in Grand Rapids (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Municipal Waste / Crowbar

Live in Grand Rapids (2021)

live show

After a year and a half of not going to gigs, the second half of 2021 has actually been halfway decent. With a lot of tours getting cancelled midway, I was glad to see Municipal Waste and friends make it to the last date of their tour, in beautiful downtown Grand Rapids. It was a really solid heavy package tour also featuring Crowbar, Skeletal Remains and Dead Heat.

I brought my daughter Alex, who couldn’t have cared less about any of the bands, but is always up for an adventure. I’ve been writing about the two of us going to shows since she was about 14. She’s now 20 and a half, is halfway done with college, and just moved out on her own. Our collective busyness makes going to a shoe a rarity these days. I know it’s a cliche’, but time really does fly when you’re (at least occasionally) having fun. I lured her with the promise of dinner before the show, and we enjoyed some tasty burgers (and whiskey for me and dessert for her) at the local hipster joint that she had never been to.

I wanted to be there in time to catch the opener, Oxnard, CA’s Dead Heat. I’ve been digging their crossover thrash sounds since I discovered them earlier this year. (I was inspired to check them out by the excellent review by Chris DC right here at Punknews.) These five very young guys really tore it up for their 25 minute set. Their Slayer meets Suicidal Tendencies sound really hit the spot for this old thrash fan, and the kids loved it too. Dead Heat is definitely a band to keep your eyes on.

Next up was a weird set from Las Angeles death metal quartet Skeletal Remains. I guess the main guy in the band, vocalist/guitarist Chris Monroy, had to leave the tour for some reason. Filling in on lead vocals? Their merch guy! Honestly, he did a fine job, especially on short notice. I don’t really know the band at all, so I probably never would have noticed. The truth is, I’m not a death metal guy, but they were alright.

We weren’t very far into the evening when Alex started asking me to buy her a drink. I couldn’t help but notice that she had been slowly erasing the giant black M’s from her hands. (The memories!) Being the responsible adult that I am, I said no. At least until halfway through the headliner, so if we got thrown out we wouldn’t miss much. Plus, she was supposed to drive me home.

It’s always a pleasure to see New Orleans’ finest, Crowbar. There were definitely a fair amount of older folks there to see the long running doom/sludge legends. Vocalist/guitarist and sole Crowbar constant Kirk Windstein was in fine form. He looked like one of the few people in the room who used the pandemic to improve their health. Part frontman, part cheerleader, he led the band through a heavy as hell set, punctuated by “All I Had (I Gave)”.

It was obvious from the beginning that Richmond, VA’s Municipal Waste was going to let it all hang out on the last night of their tour. The show was originally scheduled for a room that holds about 1000, but was moved to a room about half that size. So even if a few left after Crowbar, the place was packed. Singer Tony Foresta was already a little hoarse when the show started, but that didn’t slow him down a bit. The pit was intense, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Still, in such a small room, we all got pushed around a bit.

They played all their favorites - “You’re Cut Off”, “The Thrashin’ of the Christ”, “Beer Pressure”, “Born to Party”, etc. True to my word, I got Alex a drink, a Red Bull and vodka. (No thanks!) A few years back, I wrote about sneaking her into a 21 show when she was 17. (I didn’t let her drink.) I guess this was her next step in learning “The Art of Partying”. Don’t bother calling me a monster, or telling me I’m a bad parent. I don’t care what you think. Also, this should not reflect badly on the venue. They didn’t sell a drink to a minor, only to a middle aged man.

The encore was one for the books. Bassist Landphil, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Waste and drummer Dave Witte covered ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” as a trio, before the rest of the band joined them for “The Art of Partying”. Overall, this was a really fun show. It almost felt like discovering a lost relic from the pre-pandemic world. It was that much sweeter knowing that shows could go away again any time. The bodies were flying and smashing into one another without a care in the world. Do shows like this really work any other way?