Devildriver @ B.B. King Blues Club (3/24/2008)

Logo - Devildriver

Artist: Devil Driver
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Napalm Death, 36 Crazyfists, In Vitro, Straight Line Stitch
Date: 3/24/2008
Label: Roadrunner Records

The power of their music and the overall response that they are finding from Metal fans seems to be growing at an exponential level and the proof of this found the guys in Devil Driver looking at a headlining appearance at New York’s B.B. King Blues Club with direct support from the legendary Napalm Death. 36 Crazyfists would also be along for the ride along with semi-newcomers InVitro and Straight Line Stitch to make this a five band bill to remember for a long time. This was going to be one of those nights where you left the place sore in every part of the body that you could imagine feeling pain, but still finding yourself ready to go one more round in the mosh pit. Here is how the evening went down for the event that you missed it.

In Vitro: Tonight would be my first time seeing what In Vitro could do in the live sense and I had to admit that they intrigued me a little based on the photos I had seen of them in the recent past. It seems that they always come out in masks of some kind so I was wondering just how they would do this for the show that we were about to witness. When the lights went down the band came out in what appeared to be lab coats and each of them had masks made out of tin foil that were wrapped completely around their heads. That couldn’t have been comfortable under the hot lights of B.B. King’s and while I expected this to only be their entry gimmick the guys began to play while sporting these same masks. Their latest album is “When I Was a Planet” and while I had heard it in passing, I have not yet dug into it properly enough to pass judgment but I had to say that the guys appeared to be giving us their all. After a couple of numbers, the tin foil headpieces came off as did the lab coats and it was almost like watching a second band. The downside was that the crowd had really not fully assembled in the place yet based on the early start time but those who did arrive on time were surely enjoying the unique manner in which the players performed. They are led by singer Jeff Walker who I found made some killer faces during the show and really seemed to know how to work the fans into the fun. The set was short based on 3 openers and two co-headlining acts and before you could even think about it, they were done and Straight Line Stitch was coming on.

Straight Line Stitch: SLS was actually formed in 2003 and has had a few albums out already after some healthy touring but seem to still be relatively new to the Melodic Metal core scene that follows some of the genres existing heavyweights. Their a group that also has a female lead vocalist to them who sings in both clean and growling style and I am happy to report that lead singer Alexis Brown does a great job of keeping the band different from those acts that we have been enjoying in the recent past. I never actually expected too many girls to find interest in singing in this type of outfit but noticed a certain change in the way things were done as Alissa did her best with The Agonist while Maria Brink entertained us with In This Moment. Interestingly enough, Straight Line Stitch formed before either of those bands. I feel that Alexis also seems destined for greatness in this area herself as she spins and head bangs her long blue braided hair like a wild woman during the set and makes watching her just as exciting as the music that the band delivers. Tonight they would perform tracks from “The Word Made Of Flesh” and do so in front of a larger crowd that had seen In Vitro. One could still move about in the club but it was showing signs of people aiming to get their spot to remain in for the course of the night. SLS is going to release their next album on Koch Records so make sure you watch for it when it hits the shelves. The band sounded great and the audience seemed to enjoy them quite a bit. The similar musical vein of the performance was a lot better than putting such an act on the road with Power Metal bands and found the audience knowing just what to expect and being all the more interested in it. Straight Line Stitch is clearly a group that I want to see again soon.

36 Crazyfists: I haven’t seen 36 Crazyfists in awhile so I was eager for their set as well since they always seem to pull out all the stops when they hit the stage. The last time around the band was on the now defunct DRT Records label for “Rest Inside The Flames” and now firmly in the hands of Ferret Music will be delivering “The Tide Has Its Takers” in May 2008. Lead singer Brock Lindow is not a small man by any view so it’s amazing to watch as he jumps right into the fray with the audience sometimes. He also wields his microphone like a weapon so if you are in range watch out for that cable, it could be treacherous to you. What I like about 36CF is that they always seem to approach the gig like it is their own headlining spot. The crowd now seemed to be at its maximum because who doesn’t want to be ready and in place by the time Napalm Death comes on? I know I wouldn’t be late so it seemed a lot of the head bangers would be ready to mix it up. Lindow talked to the crowd a few times and ordered them to get the pit in motion and everyone did. This was a very motivated audience now and the bodies were starting to rise up from the floor to the top of the fans heads as they crowd surfed and started mini mosh pits. Good job guys, I cannot wait until the new release comes out.

Napalm Death: For 27 years Napalm Death has been an assault force in the Heavy Metal world and when they formed there weren’t as many genre specifications to align a group with. Led by Barney Greenway the band hit the stage like the professionals that they are and now it was truly on. The bodies were flying everywhere and the floor was a teeming pit of slamming humanity that made those fans who stood idle question the decision making process that led them there. Greenway spoke to the audience often and dedicated his songs to all the Atheists or Free-Thinkers in the world. He cited that he felt Religion was a myth and these comments were met with resounding cheers and applause. Before performing “The Code Is Red Long Live The Code” he lined out that they can tap everything and he also dedicated it to a member of Sheer Terror who he feels looks like Moe (from the Three Stooges). Their set blistered by like a freight train straight down a mountain and was loaded to the hilt at sixteen tunes. They would close with an encore by the Dead Kennedy’s and delivered a Napalm Death’ised “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. It’s really hard to discern their way from the original and while the original Hardcore classic was easy to understand, the Napalm Death one is quite faster and a little harder to note as the same track. Some members of the crowd were speaking and wondering why such a prominent band like Napalm Death would need to open up for Devil Driver but whether this idea was the right one or the wrong they still played to the same amount of people as the headliner. Now the club was loaded to the entrance steps and Devil Driver was ready to take the stage.

Devil Driver: While I admit to really enjoying “Fury of Our Maker’s Hand” and their latest release “The Last Kind Words”, I didn’t actually see Devil Driver as a headlining band just yet and instead felt that they were an amazing direct support act for another Heavy Metal powerhouse. Still, be that as it may, here we were in a sold out B.B. King’s venue and everyone in attendance was slavering for the band to hit the stage. They are led by front man Dez Farfara, who once upon a time was a member of Coal Chamber and since I never was a fan of the group I was happy to find the Groove Metal outfit forming and showing just how good they could be. Dez was very personal to the audience tonight but also very intense in his delivery of the bands killer material. They were kicking the fans ass from the moment they hit the boards and then would take a page out of Type O Negative’s book and say goodnight after only a handful of songs. Similar to the Lords Of Flatbush they would return moments later and get back to the business of thrashing everyone around them. They made special thanks to their label Roadrunner Records who had been very supportive and from the vantage point I had it seemed like the entire floor was one swirling pit now. Those fans way up front definitely needed to cling to the barriers for fear of being drawn into the mix without really wanting to. The number of tunes that DD would execute tonight would be a few less than that of Napalm Death but in terms of time it seemed as though they were playing a few minutes more than them. There was a lot of smoke used for the show as well which I was surprised to see in a Groove Metal band. The whole effects of that nature seem better suited to your Power and Black Metal illuminati but tonight Devil Driver showed that they can use them to certain advantage as well. I really enjoyed their set and am finding the band growing tighter and tighter in the musical sense as well as really getting their point across during their set. There wasn’t a bad song performed tonight and the bodies were spilling over into the photography pit. The B.B. King’s general floor area is not really suitable for mosh pits but I can only imagine how that show last year went at the Highline Ballroom when they performed. It’s more open spaced but with the whole level being the standing area, you better hug those walls if the circle starts a brewing. Good job Devil Driver, you are showing that hard work and dedication really pays off. This show did leave everyone involved out of breath.

The show brought out a little bit of everyone and seen in the crowd tonight were In This Moment’s Maria Brink and Jeff Fabb. Perhaps if you surf one of those celebrity gawker sites you might want to log that in there somewhere. The band members were not hesitant to talk to fans who realized they were there and Mr. Fabb even propelled himself off the stage a few times into the waiting arms of the fans in front. Good times were definitely had by all tonight. Check out all of these bands latest releases and watch for those ones that are coming soon.

Napalm Death Set List:
1. Sink Fast, Let Go
2. Unchallenged Fate
3. Suffer The Children
4. Silence Is Deafening
5. Fatalist
6. Continuing War On Stupidity
7. Breed To Breathe
8. The Code Is Red, Long Live The Code
9. When All Is Said And Done
10. Greed Killing
11. Scum
12. Life
13. The Kill
14. Deceiver
15. You Suffer
16. Nazi Punks Fuck Off (encore)

DevilDriver Set List:
1. Not All Who Wander
2. I Dreamed I Died
3. Clouds Over Cali
4. Horns Of Betrayal
5. Grinfucked
6. Nothing’s Wrong
7. Fighting Words
8. Burning Sermon
9. Sin And Sacrifice
10. I Could Care Less
11. Guilty As Sin
12. Hangman’s Noose
13. End Of The Line (encore)

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