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Danzig/Samhain Ran Smoothly While Superjoint Ritual Closed Down The Midway Stage

Photo of Danzig

Band Photo: Danzig (?)

A good night’s sleep and mild weather helped me catch a second wind on the fifth consecutive day of metal concerts. I watched NWOBHM legends Satan at Beerland on Wednesday, the day before HHFF kick-off party. The sun’s rays dimmed just a little due to Superjoint Ritual backdrop and a breeze gave us some relief while catching the bands on the Midway stage. For me, today’s activities didn’t start there, though, it started at the Grindhouse tent located around the side of Emo’s.

This was the only film I watched all weekend and I only caught an hour. “Butcher Boys” was about a group of young men in the inner city who snatched women off the street, beat and shot their boyfriends and then took the women to a cell where they would be breed. Their embryos would be harvested and sold to a restaurant. Funny fact about the film, its makers had a poster on display at their merch booth that said “Bone Boys.” This was a title they changed to “Butcher Boys” because it sounded too much like gay porn. It was an ok film, it was very much in the realm of torture porn. I would have liked to have caught the last half-hour, but Corrections House was due to start on the Midway stage.

Corrections House was one of four bands sharing members from NOLA. Vocalist Mike Williams joined Gasmiasma drummer Aaron Hill in Eyehategod later in the evening. Guitarist Scott Kelly had played the night before with Neurosis. Renown artists Bruce Lamont (sax) and Sandford Parker (keys) added the surreal factor to this electro-industrial project. Lamont’s saxophone injected a sense of desolation—no “Careless Whisper” or Kenny G here. Williams didn’t scream like he does in Eyehategod. He took more on a middle range approach. The band’s black outfits bearing their trademark insignia along with the same symbol on backdrops gave the group an added air of professionalism. Kelly often explored down-tempo rhythms that brought to mind Neurosis and Eyehategod, while generally their beats and electro noises are akin to Skinny Puppy.

Superjoint Ritual was the third NOLA band to play on the Midway stage. Guitarist Jimmy Bower also played with Eyehategod later in the evening. Stephen Taylor (bass) and Joe Gonzalez (drums) rounded out the group. This was a special show for the band, their first in ten years. Also, they didn’t disclose any plans for playing another show. Shave-headed and goateed, Phil Anselmo looked like he did during the days of “Vulgar Display of Power” and “Far Beyond Driven.” The band played a volatile cocktail of hardcore and metallic groove poured from their two full-length recordings “A Lethal Dose of American Hatred” and “Use Once and Destroy.” “Stealing a Page or Two From Armed and Radical Pagans,” “Waiting for the Turning Point,” “Fuck Your Enemy,” and “Superjoint Ritual” are a few of many set-list highlights. A Superjoint Ritual performance wouldn’t be complete without the band puffing on a super joint—one that was so large it not only filled the lungs of the band, but those of its architects and surrounding stoners backstage.

Joe Gonzalez pulled double duty hitting the skins for Warbeast. This was also the second show of the weekend for singer Bruce Corbitt and bassist Casey Orr as they had performed with Wizards of Gore on Friday. Corbitt also sat on a Masters of Metal and Horror Panel and won the award for best documentary for directing “Welcome to Your Funeral (The Story of Rigor Mortis).” Corbitt made sure there was no issue with his microphone during his second performance of the festival. Guitarist Scott Shelby played ripping leads. The band played tracks from their “Destroy” album such as “Nobody” and “Bloodmoon.” “Scorched Earth Policy” represented some of the material from their first album “Krush The Enemy.” They also played the song “It” from the “War of the Gargantuans” split with Philip H. Anslemo & The Illegals. “The War of the Gargantuans” film played on the movie screen behind the band.

Eyehategod began their set, as they always do, with enveloping feedback. The fathers of sludge had come to deliver a dozen or so doses of THC-drizzled grooves and back alley, limb flailing hardcore. They achieved this through a set taken throughout their notorious career including new tracks such as the Sabbath-ladden “Parish Motel Sickness” and the furious rolling drums of “Agitation! Propoganda!” They played the swinging rhythms of “Take As Needed For Pain” tracks “Sister Fucker (Part1)” and Part II.” “My Name is God (I Hate You),” “Methamphetamine” and “Peace Thru War” represented what many feel is their best album, “Dopesick.” Like Neurosis the night before, the weight of their massive, crunching riffs was truly oppressive.

Underneath his giant white skull, Danzig opened with the same songs he’s used the last couple of years—“Skin Carver” from his “Circle of Snakes” album and then “Hammer of the Gods” from his last record “Deth Red Sabaoth.” His set list included usual material such as “Her Black Wings” “Dirty Black Summer” and “Twist of Cain,” but also pleasant surprises such as “Not of This World” and “Killer Wolf.” Old Danzig’s appearance isn’t as commanding as Danzig of 21-years ago when I first caught his act. His range has gone down and he sounded horse this evening. He did, however, sound great during “Killer Wolf” and “How The Gods Kill,” the latter was helped by generous crowd participation. His band—Steve Zing (Samhain-bass), Johnny Kelly (ex-Type O Negative-drums) and Tommy Victor (Prong-guitar) all brought exceptional musicianship and energy. Once Zing’s bass let out some feedback and Glenn looked at him like he was going to punch him.

About midway through their slot, Danzig and Zing ducked around the curtain to apply blood—fake or not I’m not sure, and return to the stage as Samhain. Then the group tore through their 1984 release “Initium.” It was cool seeing them do this material, and I think they did it to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album, but I would have preferred to have heard some tracks off “November Coming Fire,” which I always felt was a superior album. Danzig returned as his namesake to play other set list constants “Bringer of Death” and “Mother.” Phil Anselmo came out to scream the pre-chorus and other parts on the song. To see him and Danzig, two metal legends, on stage together was interesting, but it didn’t add anything to the song.

With “Mother” came the end of Housecore Horror Film Festival 2014. There were no sets being cut short like Danzig’s show at Fun Fun Fun Festival. HHFF ran well and there were only a couple of bands that cancelled. The weather was slightly hot during the outdoor shows but completely bearable. Besides a stellar lineup of bands, the fact that these artists were always attentive and approachable to their fans resulted in a wonderful time. It was a big party. I hope it comes back to Austin next year.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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