HedPE & Mushroomhead @ Gramercy Theatre (8/20/2009)

This would be a different one for me, because I had never really followed Hed PE or Mushroomhead before but as with any show I like to take my chances and see what it offers the concert attending fan. The show also featured Straight Line Stitch and a band called Supe from Japan so we got there in time to see the whole shebang from the beginning. To learn more just scroll down.

Logo - HedPe

Artist: HedPE
Venue: Bowery Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Mushroomhead, Supe, Straight Line Stitch
Date: 8/20/2009
Label: Suburban Noize Records

The world of Rap Metal, or things that wander dangerously close to that realm are not normally my cup of tea but I always have a level of curiosity when it comes to seeing a band in the live sense as this allows me the chance to see what others who might find it of interest are seeing. That being said I didn’t want to pass up the chance to check out both HedPE and Mushroomhead who were going to be doing a co-headlining tour as the summer winded itself down to an end in terms of the fans being off to see shows whenever they wanted to. I had to admit that I had never followed either of the main groups so would be walking in blind but I did know about one of the openers who would be Straight Line Stitch and I really enjoyed them. As I walked into the venue, I discovered that a band who was visiting from Japan by the name of Supe was already onstage and giving the still small crowd their all.

Supe: Hailing from the Land Of The Rising Sun came Supe who had a pretty good sound and came off to me as a little bit of an Alternative themed Metal band. The singer was screaming and singing and they were very animated during their very short set. I had to say that for a band who was playing in NYC for the very first time that some of the usually stoic audience members were enjoying them as opposed to giving them a hard time. I have found all too often that people approach the opening acts with an “I don’t give a shit” kind of attitude and I never think that is a fair thing to do since the bands are usually working hard to entertain us. They were over before you knew it this evening and Straight Line Stitch was coming up next. The guys in Supe went downstairs and hung around at their merchandise booth. They seemed very happy to meet anyone that wanted to say hellos and some folks picked up copies of their latest CD “Second Place To None”.

Straight Line Stitch: I first caught this band when they performed with Kittie some time ago and I had to say that I was very impressed by the level of Metal energy that the Knoxville, Tennessee group had to their set that night and was looking forward to them again even though it had been some time since that last gig. Their debut CD on Koch Entertainment (now E1 Entertainment) is called “When Skies Wash Ashore” and it’s been getting some serious attention that I think is being helped by the band’s energetic live performances. The group is a five member roster and the musicians are fronted by singer Alexis Brown who is a dynamo of energy who clearly gets into every note that the band is playing. She wears her hair in braids and uses them like a weapon during the show. The last time I saw hair like that being used to such effect was when I watched Brian Fair from Shadow’s Fall doing his thing. This seemed to be an odd placement for the band but they made the best of it and worked well together on the sizable but tight stage based on the co-headlining bands setups. While I did not notice the full set list delivered I did recognize a number of tunes that they played and could say that they leaned on the E1 debut. If you like the Metalcore/Groovecore thing with a chick singer, make sure you look into SLS because they are very good at what they do. Now it was time for Mushroomhead and I was super curious about this set.

Mushroomhead: Tonight was going to be my first go at seeing what Mushroomhead was all about in the live sense and since they had been at this for a number of years I had all the more interest in seeing what they do and how it gets done. The stage had a big set up with giant drums on either side of the stage and this reminded me a little bit of what we see in Slipknot with the giant congas that go rising up into the air. Obviously the space provided by the Gramercy Theatre would not allow for a similar trick but visually this caught my attention. For those who are less in the know about the band than I, be advised that they also wear masks and had been around a little bit longer than the Slipknot folks, so some people say that certain things were mimicked from them and applied to the intense Metal band but who is to say whether this is really the case in the end and not merely someone else being inspired by another and running with it in their own direction. The band tonight would wear different masks from their standard black and white ones which I have to admit I love the look of in photos and use more of a “baby faced” kind of Japanese doll look. Very creepy when used in this situation as the band performed amidst a great light show as smoke and blasts of water came off of these giant drums. It was a very visual performance and I was taking it all in while the crowd that was now at its largest either moshed about or jumped up and down in place. The bands latest album comes courtesy of Megaforce Records and is called “Savior Sorrow”, and as a result of this being released in 2006 the group was still touring in support of it and would play a number of tunes from it. I think all totaled up this amounted to four out of the ten songs that they would play. It was interesting and different to say the least and I give them credit for being as entertaining as they were this evening. I would most certainly try to catch another Mushroomhead set in the future to see how they change things up for their fans. Now it was onto Hed PE.

HedPE: Having little to no background on this band made me wonder why they were even headlining a tour over a band that had been doing their own thing a little bit longer and obviously to a larger cult following but here we were and HedPE was the main event whether I understood why or not. The band is a blend of Hip Hop and Punk Rock and they are signed to Suburban Noize Records and fronted by Rapper Jared Gomes. They wear face paint that resembles those acts that follow in the footsteps of groups like Insane Clown Posse and they are rather popular to that groups fan base “The Juggalos”. Jared will not only Rap during the set but also get the whole Hardcore Punk thing going and he seemed rather intense on the stage and clearly was the man who the now very crowded Gramercy was here to see. While it wasn’t really my thing I had to give him credit for packing a venue on a Wednesday night and being as intent on giving a good show as he was. He would speak to the crowd often and talk up the fact that they had just completed the ICP tour and did their event called “The Gathering” which is apparently an event organized by ICP themselves and features bands, wrestling and whatever other kinds of things the Juggalo nation enjoys. He made fun of the Emo kids a little bit but there were none in the room to counter his diatribe and he referred to us all as NYC Juggalos which I guess applied to the one or two people in the crowd who also sported a similar face paint to his own. The group uses a conventional band during the show and also has a DJ who will come out from behind the tables and Rap a little bit while the band does their thing but the larger focus is on Jared who as he said towards the close of the night that “he was not out to do anything but entertain and he is just a man trying to get paid”. It surprised me a little to see moshing going on for much of this set because outside of the Punkish themes which would come up now and again there just didn’t seem to be the place for it. Of course, add a few beers to the mix and you can find yourself moshing to Classical music. Fans of the band Snot might find it interesting to know that guitarist Sonny Mayo was once a member of the group before getting back into his own thing. The bands latest release is entitled “N.W.O.” for “New World Orphans” and while this is the newest they would only deliver one tune from it. They did more from the album’s predecessor “The DIY Guys” and their earlier repertoire. They have eight albums to choose from.

When it all closed down I had to say that while not entirely my thing in the end that this show was a lot better than I had expected it to be. The full run of acts were clearly entertaining their assembled fans and while this was rather close in overall number to the size group that came for Otep, it was far less than what appeared for the past weekend’s Marduk show. Clearly different audiences for each and it should be noted that tonight’s show surpassed the number of the last batch of Metal shows that I had attended in this very room. To each his own they say and it was nice to see that the group had a solid show of support in this region. No one wants to come to NYC and play to the chairs after all. I checked in on my friend who had the most interest in attending this one and the brightness in her eyes about the overall show let me know that they had done their job whether I was into the presentation or not. That is all that matters when it comes down to it.

Mushroomhead Set List:
1. 43
2. Kill Tomorrow
3. 12 Hundred
4. Before I Die
5. Sun Doesn’t Rise
6. Save Us
7. Damage Done
8. Simple Survival
9. Empty Spaces
10. Born Of Desire

HedPE Set List:
1. Live or Die Free
2. Madhouse
3. Game Over
4. Not Dead Yet
5. Sophia
6. Peer Pressure
7. Killing Time
8. The Truth
9. Garden Grove
10. Waiting to Die
11. Stir It Up
12. Raise Hell
13. Ride This Out
14. Renegade

We caught up with the guys in Supe after their set and wanted to wish them congrats on a job well done.  This was their first time ever in the States.  Here is their lead singer at the merch table.

Lead Singer of Supe at Merch

Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/hedpe/
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/mushroomheadofficial/
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/straightlinestitch/

One thought on “HedPE & Mushroomhead @ Gramercy Theatre (8/20/2009)”

  1. Wonderful piece/review. Considering that I had the pleasure of going with you to this show, it was particularly relevant to read this review. While I know that (hed) PE is CERTAINLY not your style (and usually, not really mine, either), I appreciate that you took the time to note and record their efforts. I’ve been a fan for almost a decade and it was fantastic just to see them play on the East Coast – something I never thought these Orange County, CA -hailing guys would ever do! I do have to say that the set was slightly disappointing, as I felt that, with the exception of Renegade, they really didn’t play some of their best songs, which also showcase their range (such as “Walk on By,” which is both a political piece and also a great example of their hardcore/rock abilities).

    Thanks again, Ken! Great job 🙂

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