GIG REVIEW: EYEHATEGOD – “The Road To Psychotic Disorder Tour” Live at Baltimore, MD
Dawn 'Mama Love' Brown
As is typical for bands who lie outside the mainstream, a meagre crowd gathered at Baltimore’s favourite heavy metal basement, The Ottobar, to take in Eyehategod, supported by five, count ‘em, FIVE openers which made for a late night. The word of the night was FEEDBACK. So, anytime you read the word FEEDBACK in this review, scream real loud!
The first two openers for the night were local boys, Snakehed out of Gaithersburg, MD, and Genocide Pact out of Washington, DC. Both delivered loud and sludgy sets with lots of feedback. It really is a skill to produce perfect feedback and neither of these bands have mastered it yet. The singer for Genocide Pact was trying to speak to the crowd through the feedback and, consequently, we had no frigging clue what he was saying. I cannot determine why bands like to fill the space between songs with feedback. My advice would be to stop doing it. Immediately. My companion and I both ended up with headaches later that night. We’re blaming the feedback.
After a bit of stage reconfiguration, King Giant, a five-man outfit out of Northern Virginia, pummelled the crowd with an eclectic sound mixing influences from punk to blues. A modest pit erupted which eventually turned into less of a pit and more of just chaos. Up next was Fight Amp, apparently short for Fight Amputation, as posted on their Facebook page. A three-man group from Philadelphia, PA, Fight Amp is another band that appeared that night that had not mastered the art of feedback. Yet they used it, well, they overused it. It was hard to tell when one song ended and the next began. Their set did get better as it progressed, still not exactly my cup of tea.
Negative Approach was up next. Considered to be pioneers of the hardcore punk movement, Detroit’s Negative Approach blasted the fans with quick and raucous bursts of simple but effective musicianship which perfectly translated the old school punk songs. John Brannon took no prisoners with his no nonsense vocals while Harold Richardson played the entire set with his back to the crowd. We never did see his face. It was also at this point that the pit was its most chaotic, even spawning a fight which resulted in a bloody eyebrow and a few ejections from the club. Quite entertaining.
Finally, Eyehategod hit the stage. I was confused at first as the singer looked very much like someone who could have passed for Iggy Pop’s mom. Then I realized it was, in fact, the band’s original and only singer, Mike Williams. At that point I became concerned for his health because he did not look well. Be it inebriation, illness or exhaustion, Mike looked out on his feet. Despite this, he still belted out strong vocals, even if we, as the audience, couldn’t discern lyrics especially with his singing style. The double guitar threat of Jimmy Bower and Brian Patton lent a rich and heavy sound with Joey LaCaze and Gary Mader keeping them in line with the drums and bass. Some people cleared the room after the previous set but the pit was just as chaotic, maybe even more so with less people to run into. Eyehategod plays in Baltimore on occasion, as referenced by Mike on stage, and Baltimore loved them back with a frenzied response to songs like “Take As Needed for Pain”, “Sisterfucker” and “Medicine Noose”. Closing out with “Methamphetamine” and “Run It into the Ground”, Eyehategod gave all efforts to offer up a kick-ass show and succeeded 100 percent.
Side note: Jimmy and Brian have definitely mastered the art of feedback. Just sayin’. Aside from a few questionable moments and far too much feedback, this was a good show. I just hope Mike takes care of himself so he can keep returning to the fans in Baltimore.