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An evening at the Metalliance Tour – Peabody’s Cleveland by Jayson

So I guess this is the first show I’ve been to since Vader? I don’t think there is anything else I’m forgetting. Yeah, so this is deja vu all over again, then. My metal show going pal Patrick and I go to the show to see the bands.

We get there right at 6, doors open time. I know that’s kinda dumb, but the last time we rolled up at 6:20, we walked in and someone was on stage announcing their last song. Of course if you get there even slightly early or on time, you have to wait outside because the club isn’t ready yet. This was problematic though, because I think it was probably about 14F with the wind chill. People wanted in right at 6. We were no exception. I don’t think I have ever been as excited to get in the club, my feet were freezing.

Peabody’s in Cleveland always does this thing where they book another show at the same time as the bigger one, but promote it all as one. So if you checked out this tour on their website, you’d think Rue, Hellmouth and Keelhaul were on Metalliance. They aren’t. They were just booked to play in The Pirate’s Cove. The Pirates Cove is another room in Peabody’s with a small stage. I because I remember when The Pirate’s Cove was actually a  whole real venue by itself, on the west side, with a pirate ship in the middle of it.

So getting their early, Pat and I head toward “our” spot near the bar to claim some stools, as per my old person’s guide to going to shows. Surprise! No stools. I guess they must’ve been repossessed or something. Maybe they took them out to cram more people in. Maybe there was some hideous incident of stool-related violence. I didn’t ask.

I have to goof on this tour slightly. There was a $50 VIP package where you got:

  1. A meet n’ greet. (largely pointless since every band except Helmet was just wandering around the venue)
  2. A bottle of hot sauce. I was super curious about this. Was it a big bottle or a restaurant sized one?
  3. A signed poster (kinda cool, admittedly)
  4. A laminate. Yes.
  5. One copy of Revolver magazine. Yessssssss.
  6. A contest only for the VIPs (no indication of what the prize was)

I saw maybe one guy who looked like he bit on that amazing deal. He was not carrying a bottle of hot sauce. He must have been stoked to win the prize though.

The Atlas Moth were up first. I’ve liked what I’ve heard of these dudes online, so I was somewhat stoked for this. They just did’t sound that good though. This is going to be a recurring theme through the night. Who sounds good live in Peabody’s vs who sounds good on their records. They played for 15 minutes. Three songs, that’s it.

I decided to head over to the Pirate’s Cove (ahhrrrr) to see if the what have you is starting. It’s not. The Hellmouth guys tell me that they’re supposed to go on at 7:25, 20 minutes into Red Fang’s set, but they say the schedule is all screwed up.

The hall between the Pirate’s Cove the main stage where all the merch is remains hell of clogged with people. You and I both know that merch people just want you to buy shit and get away from them, but I stop and say hi to Grim Kim at St. Vitus’ table. She is a really nice woman, everyone says that, but its only because its true. I stand there and awkwardly (she is kinda quiet, I am kinda deaf, it is kinda loud) bs with her for a while. She tells me I owe it to myself to check out Howl.

Howl are rad. I was honestly pretty indifferent to their CD, but their performance was top-notch. I really can’t overstate the top-notchedness of it. Heavy metal was played.

Red Fang were up next, but now they were starting at the same time as Hellmouth. Pat and I worked our way back over to the Pirate’s Cove (prepare to be boarded, matey!) to check them out. I’ma bust out a cliche term and say they were ‘hyperkinetic.’ Or I could say the singer jumps around a lot and the band is good at rocking out. They play crossover. The singer also informed us that he had 6 kids and teaches them to question all authority, including him and that he was all strung out on pain pills. Hellmouth were kicking a lot of ass, but I didn’t want to get jumped on and I wanted to see Red Fang, so back we went.

Red Fang did good. They’re a three-piece now,(?) but it ain’t put them off their sound. I like Red Fang. They played some new stuff, it was good. They played the crowd pleaser, I was into it.

Kylesa were up next. They sounded not so good. Not sure who to blame on that one. The vocals sounded muddy, which hurt them quite a bit. I was kinda disappointed, but they did play all the songs I wanted to hear.

Time for Crowbar. Let there be no doubt who the greater Cleveland statistical metropolitan area is here to see. The Peabody’s is now filled up to the point where movement is not an option. Now I will write a couple of things, these are things I shouldn’t write, but hey. First, I’m not a Crowbar fan. I understand how hugely important and influential they are, but I just have zero connection with them. I don’t dislike them at all, I am just not into them. I know someone somewhere is disappointed. Second, when the place started to fill up before their set started, Pat says to me “Man, you know who is here to see Crowbar.” He was right. There is a Crowbar fan look. Lots of big, fat dudes with shaved heads and goatees. Crowbarians. Homo Sapiens Crowbarus. All of the Crowbarmen were singing along at every song. Some dude next to Pat was appalled that he was not singing along with “Existence is Pain.” Life is a parallax view. Pat knows the words to every Helmet song. Crowbar had the only bad luck of the night. They blew a monitor and there were three fights during their set. The band are a class act though. They took everything in stride and were cool guys about it all. Kirk was a little taken aback at the fighting, like “Why are you fighting at Crowbar?” A number of Clevelandic Crowbarmen also see Stone Cold Steve Austin as a life coach.

Like I said, Clevelandia was here to see Crowbar. When they were done, most of their fans left, resulting in a net loss of 25% of the crowd and 50% of the total human body mass at the show. Seriously. At least 6 guys with identical goatees, bald heads and body mass indexes walked past me on the way out.

Time for St. Vitus. I didn’t know what to expect from these guys. I’ve been a fan for a while, but have never seen them before. They were incredible. They were the best thing of the night up to that point, honestly. They sounded great, are great showmen, and were just on. Like you could go to this just to see St. Vitus, they were that good. I don’t know what else to say here. I hope they decide to put that new album out.

After that, we had a comparably protracted set up for Helmet. This is “fake” Helmet, or the reformed band lineup of Page Hamilton and the guys he’s paid to play his songs. I haven’t dug too much of their new material, but I am going to let the “fake” Helmet thing go. It was always the Page Hamilton show. As if to reinforce my point about the new material, this tour was billed as “Helmet plays all of Meantime + various hits!” This is also a thing I am ok with. I was a big Helmet fan back in the day (Aftertaste is my favorite) and I approve of their setlist. They too were great. Page is a funny dude. They even played Just Another Victim. The only thing I could have asked for was a song off Aftertaste (Driving Nowhere) but that gives me an excuse to come back and see them again (maybe they’ll play Betty + hits). They did the fake encore and everyone was happy.

And that was it. Pat and I were surprised at how well we did considering the lack of stools, but age had been stabbing tiny knives in us the whole night. I didn’t really notice until I tried to move a bit. Six and a half hours of standing had pretty much done us in and we opted out of Keelhaul. Pat ain’t the biggest Keelhaul fan in the world and I have seen them a bunch of times.

All my pictures turned out crappy like the top one.

People watching was kinda limited. Crowbarmen. There was a guy dressed in normal clothes: jeans, t-shirt, ball cap that had some kind of fingerless, leather, zip-up gauntlet on. Like if you had a gimp suit, but just wore the glove on your right hand. Anticipating a range of responses, I didn’t bother asking about it.

My feet never warmed up.

– Jayson


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Where to start? Sounds like another Peabody’s show – set-list longer than their beer-list. I read recently that the other 3 original members of Helmet (Stanier/Bogdan/Mengede) formed an unspoken pact to not discuss Helmet in interviews.

You should consider giving Keelhaul some love. I remember back in the day, passing on their sets because they opened for EVERY fucking metal band that passed through Cleveland (somehow they always managed to play after the headliner?!) Now that I’m not in the 216, seeing them is a special thing – those are some hard-working dudes. Maybe distance makes the heart grow fonder, but when someone asks me what current Cleveland bands are worth checking out, Keelhaul always gets top mention.

Give the Keelhaul some love. That’s all.

Comment by Kevin

It was a decent show, really. I’m glad I went.

Real talk though, at the end we were dying. Everything from my heels to my lower back was killing me. Pat was in about the same shape. You know you’re just dyin’ to the point where you don’t even want to hear the fake encore? That bad.

Still you’re right. Keelhaul are one of the great bands. We’ll do something for them.

Comment by Jayson

very cool post. i like the way you put things. you can hear our review of the SXSW stop of Metalliance here:
some agreement, some differences, but all good.

Comment by Chris

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