Show in Review: The Black Dahlia Murdered FCC
My morning started with breakfast at Egg Works before heading across town to my favorite used book store (Dragon Castle Books) to pick up some Tolkein and Classic Literature gems. I can’t be allowed alone in book stores because I will buy so many books its not even funny. I left with a canvas bag filled to the brim and went back home to relax before the show. Picking out my outfit was pretty simple this time around. I chose a classy Pathology T-shirt and tank top to go underneath with the usual jeans and vans. I even put on some eye makeup for kicks. I got in a Lyft and headed to the venue where I chatted up some fellow press and ran into the vox for Kingman, AZ band Oppressor God , Gage, shortly before they started to let the masses in.
Doors were to open at 8 but did not open until 805/ 810. They shuffled the patrons lined up for the show into the Backstage Bar and Billiards side of the venue. Security stood in the way of the adjoining doors to Fremont Country Club with orders not to allow anyone in until the first band STARTED to play. Which I personally find ridiculous and a bit harsh to the opening band. While I’m sure there was a good reason it wasn’t super apparent.
The venue was originally planned to be Backstage Bar and Billiards, but due to the demand Smash Magazine negotiated with the venue management to have the Fremont Country Club stage for the night as well as the Triple B area open for those who needed a breather from the festivities. The barrier for the stage creates a sizable photo pit for press however the way the speakers are stacked it makes for a poor fan experience. the stage is higher up and the barrier is far away which makes for a large gap and disconnect between the bands performing and their fans. Crowd surfing is frowned upon at this venue and moshing is to be done while following proper etiquette. They have a low tolerance for crowd killing and hardcore dancing that doesn’t respect fellow patrons space. Basically if you are going out of your way to high kick people in the throat, don’t plan to stay long.
Now I will say the sound is actually debatably better on the Backstage Bar and Billiards side. But I really wish that the venue owners would upgrade their sound systems as a whole. A sound tech is only as good as the equipment they’re given to work with and the last few shows I have attended have all had some sort of sound issues that were equipment related. Whether it was the stage Left speaker stack for FCC going on and off through the entirety of the Oceano/ Prison show or a Mic not working 3 songs into someone’s set , it is rough on the tech, the staff of the venue and the bands. No one likes to sound like shit and it deters bands from wanting to book your venue or fans from attending.
As many people know I am a big fan and supporter of local bands and in particular Vatican Falling, mainly because Adam occasionally screams in my face. It’s kind of the best. Judge me…I don’t care. Kidding …kind of... Back to reality, VF has been around for several years playing around the local venues and venturing out to neighboring states such as Utah, Arizona and California. They have a lot of talent behind them. Dustin Allen on lead guitar is easily in my top 5 for his guitar riffs alone in town. Not everyone will agree with me but they can write their own article on that if they so chose.
Nick Robinson is just an all around bad ass drummer the bpms this dude can push out while not massively fucking up should be a feat of strength. Not to mention Marc Cula’s unicorn vibe on stage like a boss. He is the unsung guitar hero that keeps this ship together along with Thomas Palmer strumming that Bass like it owes him money. Meanwhile Adam Ray’s vocal range allows for a single vocalist vs a band with back up vocals for lows or highs. he can do both without a sign of struggle transitioning between the two.
VF also are huge fans of The Black Dahlia Murder. Their influence can be heard in some of their music. As for this night’s performance, it is unfortunate that this venue is plagued with sound issues. I could barely hear the guitars and vocals lacked their usually face melting euphoria giving umph. You could however hear all the Bass and Drums your heart desired and the back tracks for intros and outros were hit and miss. It was a shock to me to see them playing first in the line up, however, I don’t have an inside scoop into those decisions so I’ll stay out of the politics around it.
Their set featured songs from albums Conquest and Famine to include a few of my personal faves Masquerade, Midnight Eyes and Stop Me Smee. These homies with a heartbeat have been working on their 3rd full length album like champs since before their single release of Paramecium Brain this past April. I look forward to seeing what else they bring to us both recorded and live in the future and hope the next time around they are granted better sound equipment to emphasize how truly amazing they all are as a collaborative unit on stage.
Pariah Was One up next for local support. This band is comprised of members who have played in multiple projects around town such as Astoria (Glenn Cwikla) , Death in Motion (Calvin) and BiPolar (Kevin Lemus). They were the only band on the bill featuring clean vocals and had the unfortunate issue with the mic for the beginning of their set to the point where I walked from the barrier back to the sound guy and let him know we could not hear Calvin at all. Once it was fixed the set was pretty on point. There was no moshing during their set but an adequate amount of head bobbing for those that did not go over to Backstage Bar and Billiards while waiting for the heavier Gods of Hate and TBDM to go on.
They played through almost all of their new EP “A Home We’ve Never Seen” released on August 28th of this year to include Bad Reception, Out of Reach, Paisley , What’s on your Mind and Nova.
Gods of Hate was up 3rd. A newly formed local band, fronted by former Implements of Hell guitarist/ Impurity of Mriya vocalist Preston Graff. Also formerly of another local project Where The Fallen Lie we had Joe Koos on Lead Guitar. Sharing the stage with fellow former band mates, Vatican Falling’s Adam Ray and Dustin Allen. Earl Owsian sported a pikachu on his drum set and even threw a stick out into the crowd after he finished beating the snares and symbols to a pulp. A gent who was barefoot in the pit with a cowboy hat adorned with feathers picked it up from the floor near the edge of the pit and then held it out of his ass telling anyone who grabbed it they could have it and so me being me I said fuck it and grabbed it. He gave said stick to me which ended up in my cleavage for half of headlining.
They definitely were an impressive new project. The instruments tied in well together and their energy on stage seemed in sync. Their set list was full of some great numbers that will be included in the EP they are currently in the midst of creative process for. They are one of the newer local projects I will be keeping an eye on as they develop their live performances and put out recorded material.
The Black Dahlia Murder closed out the show with a bang. The sound, again , could have been better but they came with enough of a punch to make it worth my while and meet expectations as they threw down on the stage. Not to mention majority of the issues had been resolved following Pariah Was One’s set. Within the first 30 seconds of them taking the stage a pit broke out and beer trickled down my shirt , as is expected at any show worth talking about.
I snapped a few photos before turning around to ensure I didn’t get blindsided by anyone. I ended up standing in front of these 3 bad asses to make sure no one fell on top of them while they enjoyed the show. I ended up handing the drum stick that was in my cleavage to one of them to hold to make sure I didn’t end up getting impaled from it breaking for some weird paranoid reason and gave it to them officially at the end of the night to keep. That would be pretty metal though …having someone slam into you hard enough to snap a drumstick and impale you with it at the same time.
There were a few people who normally see me in the pit that were egging me to go in, or trying to pull me in and participate in the beer soaked floor slippery fun time brutality. However, under doctors orders, I maintained most of my self control and did not go in or headbang despite the strong urge to do so. The rim was a decently safe place to be this show, no real big crowd cannon balls or flying elbows, near me anyway.
The bands set was 19 songs of Melodic Death Metal BLISSSSSSSS. They took us on a journey from Nightbringers circa 2017 all the way back to Unhallowed (2003) stopping in to dwell on Nocturnal (2007) as well as Miasma (2005) and Ritual (2011) along the way. Proving to us that if you care about your craft enough and stick to your guns you can still create some amazing circle pit worthy music over the course of 15+ years. It was truly a privilege to see them live and cross them off my bucket list of must see bands. My only regret is not shaking at least one members hand before taking off. A job well done gents!
I ran into Big Mike (founder of LVDF) and chatted him up a bit about the bands of the evening and plans for LVDF XII. After parting ways and having a semi-buzzed but pleasant conversation with security and mockingly dancing to the dubstep from the club across the street I caught my lyft home.
My driver was playing some old school gangster rap which I can appreciate. He turned off Dr. Dre and Snoop for fear of the language they were using offending me. I happily told him he could switch it back on as it did not do any such thing.
Once home my roommate Bobby Santen (vocalist for local rock band Dirt Halo) and I drunkenly proceeded to drink more and attempt to watch Anchorman for our Ron Burgundy fix following the tale of how he almost choked to death on steak earlier in the evening. There was also an attempt to stack a tower of throw pillows on my slouched exhausted state of being. In reality we both passed out 15 minutes into the movie and that was the end to my eventful night.