Municipal Waste and Power Trip Play Mohawk For $3 During X-Games Weekend
Band Photo: Municipal Waste (?)
Twenty years ago, I remarked that if you went to a concert and didn't have bruises the next day, you didn't have a good time. I don't experience shows the same way now, but my former words live on in the crowd at the Mohawk in Austin, Texas. From massive circle pits to stage and even PA diving, many on the floor surely awoke on Saturday with lumpy, bluish marks on their bodies. Whether it's grindcore, power violence, crossover, hardcore or just plain ole' punk rock, Austin has an affinity for punk-related bands. So when Transmission Events and Red Bull brought in Municipal Waste and Power Trip for a mesely $3 (with RSVP, without the show was $10), you could expect nothing less than a packed house of rowdy punks a metal heads.
Municipal Waste has a reputation as a party band, one that wasn't lost on this crowd, so intoxicants further fueled the crowd's raucous energy. Songs such as "Beer Pressure," "The inebriator," "Drunk As Shit," and "You're Cut Off" served as a catalyst for alcohol spillage. As if flinging beer cups into the crowd and at the band wasn't enough, we were hit with vomit shrapnel from one disoriented fan who couldn't open the garbage lid fast enough to properly aim his projectile.
The crowd didn't start on such a rowdy note. Opener, Blackie was not a thrash or punk band. The group consisted of one rapping member and samples. The lone artist stood with his back to the crowd and alternated screaming saxophone notes with repetitiously screamed vocals. There was no guitar, just a bass line and trippy noises. A few bobbing heads indicated the crowd felt his rage and the darkness contained within his two songs. Many looked onward, lost within his swirling movements or just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Blackie wasn't ideal for this crowd, his sax squeals almost drove a friend away, but in the end most onlookers were appreciative.
Power Trip was a different story. The band's catchy, speed-picked grooves always make a big impression on Austin concert goers. The band is signed to a well-known label, Southern Lord Records, but are based locally. Their roots are from Dallas, and some members still call the big D home, singer Riley Gale now lives in Chicago, but drummer Chris Ulsh (Mammoth Grinder, The Impalers) and lead guitarist Blake Ibanez (Eternal Champion) are both from Austin. Power Trip plays thrashy tunes with ripping solos, but Gale takes a hardcore approach to his vocals. Those that didn't know what to expect from Gale could have taken a guess based on his Agnostic Front t-shirt. Guitarist, Nick Stewart, stood stage left wearing a Dismember shirt. I was concerned about the heat. We've been in the 90s, but were accosted by a soft breeze and the night sky, so heat wasn't an issue for me. The jammed packed pit area was a different story, though, told in detail by Gale's sweat-drenched hair and actual verbiage. I've seen Power Trip play shows such as Chaos in Tejas but never with so many people. These guys put on a great show. Make sure to catch them when they come to a town near you.
One side of the pit area yelled "Municipal Waste" while the other responded "Is gonna fuck you up" before The Waste took the stage. Tony Foresta threw out a large, plastic garbage into the crowd, which was tossed around like a beach ball. I was a little disappointed in the band's lack of gimmicks. I at least expected during "The Inebriator" to see them bring out the their beer bong, bring a fan on stage and have him/her upchuck while trying to down the three beers it holds. Bassist Land Phil told me it was back home in their rehearsal space.
What the band did bring, though, was an hour-long tight set of speed metal punk rock tunes culled from throughout the band's thirteen-year career. "Sadistic Magician" and "Born to Party" from "The Art of Partying" got the crowd singing along, especially "Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up" during the later track. Foresta said the band was going to get satanic before launching into the pounding rhythm of "The Thrashin' of the Christ," taken from the album, "Hazardous Mutation." Other selections from this album included "Terror Shark" and set rarity "Guilty of Being Tight," which a sample about The Tall Man from "Phantasm." "Unleash the Bastards" charged the audience with brutal hardcore while a more recent track "You're Cut Off" played on the evening's booze theme. I'm not familiar with their first album "Waste 'Em All," but I enjoyed hearing several song including "Drunk as Shit."
This was my first Municipal Waste concert since the band played at free show in Waterloo Park during SXSW in 2008. It was my first time seeing them headline a show. The band hasn't lost a step and produced a crowd of rowdiness that included diving off the PA system, a good ten feet in the air. Some brave souls would attempted to forgo moving from the balcony to the PA and wanted to dive from the balcony. Every time, their cooler-headed friends brought them back before making this unwise choice. The pit crowd constantly surfed to the front before being pushed onto the stage and if they overstayed their welcome, were pushed off stage. Most dive before it came to that. I watched the whole spectacle from the center balcony. The past three times never evoked such responses from the crowd. Mohawk's lack of a barricade was the difference. The crowd exited the pit drenched in sweat and beer but with large grins on their faces.
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