Saturday, May 26, 2012

P.O.D. and Red at the Cannery

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
P.O.D., Red, Love and Death, Icon for Hire
The Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN

I'd made a trip to the Cannery last year to see Hinder and Saving Abel, which definitely left me with some concerns about how this venue would work out for a band that I liked so much more. But despite concerns about the venue, when I saw that P.O.D. was coming to town, I jumped on the chance to see them live. I've been a fan of theirs for at least a good 6 or 7 years, but had never seen them live, so I was very glad that they came so close to home this year! On the day, I arrived perfectly on time after the doors had already opened, and much like last time, found everyone in the venue to have a little bubble of personal space around them, preventing people from getting close to the stage. Well forget that...I love P.O.D., so I just politely moved around people and said excuse me until I was about 5 people back from the front, almost right in the middle.


The first band to play was Icon for Hire, who boast a fairly rare female lead vocalist.

She looks a little like Kari Byron, no?

Her performance was great, and they did a wonderful job of hyping up the crowd, especially by having the crowd jump in unison. I did think that all of their talking ("There's no place we'd rather be right here, right now, than Nashville, Tennessee!!") sounded way too scripted, but aside from that, they did a great job.


The next band was Love and Death, which is the new band formed by former Korn guitarist Brian Welch. I love performers with dreads...they're so interesting to watch :-) These guys were very entertaining, since they came with white contacts in their eyes, heavy eye makeup, black paint smudged around their faces and had a generally scary/intense look about them.

DSCF1495 crop

Their guitarist particularly fit this mold, and I ended up watching him a lot during the set.

Getting ready to sing a Men in Hats song

The crowd was really into their performance as well, which was fun to see.

Now, if you keep up with my blog, you would know that Christian metal is not where I have been concentrating my music listening efforts lately. So when I heard that Red was opening for P.O.D., I'd honestly never heard of them before. But apparently I was the only person in the venue who hadn't! Before they took the stage, the crowd completely compressed and moved forward, and people were yelling and chanting for Red. Two guys came up to my left and started flipping out about how much they loved Red, and were making videos on their phones of them screaming and hyping the crowd. And the girl I'd been standing right behind turned around and started showing me pictures on her phone that she had taken at the last Red show she'd been to. Of course I had to put my foot in my mouth and be all "Who's that?" when she showed them to me, and she acted so shocked that I didn't recognize the lead singer! But then, if I'd done the same thing to her, she'd have seen pics of Twiztid and KMK in my camera, and I doubt that she would have recognized them, so it's all relative.


When Red finally took the stage, the venue erupted in excitement over them. The two insanely excited guys started a mosh pit which lasted on and off for the entire performance. It felt really awkward to be the only person there (that I could see) who didn't share the same level of excitement as everyone else. I kind of stood there taking it all in, and clapping and cheering at the ends of the songs, but I just couldn't fake like I was a fan when I wasn't.



DSCF1547 eye correct


They did a really great job though, and were very emotional and passionate with their performance. There were even times when the crowd would open their hands and raise them above their heads as though they were listening to real praise music. Three different times, the lead singer said "I know you know the words, so sing it with me!" or something similar, and everyone seemed to know the words! These guys obviously have a large following here...not sure if this is because they're from Nashville or if they're just legitimately that popular. But everyone looked like they were having a great time, and that's what matters.

After Red, the crowd shuffled just enough to allow me to move all the way forward, and I ended up just one person back from the barricade, behind two older guys who didn't look like the kind who would mosh :-) P.O.D. didn't really create much fanfare for themselves when they first came onstage, instead just walking out with big grins on their faces. I've been a P.O.D. fan for years, and my fandom truly never had anything to do with the religious aspect of their music. I was glad that once I was finally getting to see them live, I had a really close spot so I could get some good pics.



As they started the first song, Sonny said that he was gonna start the show off right or something to that effect. They went right into playing Boom, and he jumped down off the stage, climbed up onto the barricade and balanced himself precariously there while he sang.


After a line or two, he then jumped right onto us and started to walk out onto the crowd (with his foot tagging the inside of my left arm...I have the big red bruise to prove it!). He grabbed an overhead light and steadied himself, and finished out most of the song while STANDING UPRIGHT ON TOP OF THE CROWD in the middle of the venue. Craziness! I'd never seen anything like that before. When he was done, he fell backwards and everyone surfed him back to the stage, where they finished out the song. What an amazing start to the show!!

He's got an orb hanging out on his head!







Through their entire set, they performed with a passion and intensity that I haven't seen at a mainstream show in a long time. The crowd was going wild the entire time, and there was almost always a mosh pit of one size or another at any point. The guy standing next to me had to have been the "World's Greatest P.O.D. Fan" since he knew every single lyric, and was head banging, jumping, fist pounding, screaming and whatnot like he was totally possessed by the music. It was so fun to watch.

As the set wound to a close, the last song they sang was Alive, which is my very favorite of theirs. They had the crowd sing along at many points, and everyone was singing loudly and in unison.


As the song was ending, Sonny jumped off the stage and onto the barricade again, and leaned over onto the people at the very front. He was close enough to touch, so everyone was touching an arm or hand, or whatever part of him they could reach, and he finished out the song that way. Before the last song, someone in the crowd had tossed a baseball cap to Sonny, and he had tossed his hat back to the guy in exchange. After singing all of Alive wearing the new hat, he jumped down and gave the guy a hug. The guy was nearly in tears, and I could hear him tell Sonny that he was such an inspiration, and something to the effect of that P.O.D. had pulled him out of some tough times with their music. Sonny then jumped on stage and retrieved the drumsticks that had been used and gave them to the guy, and he looked like he was on top of the world.

Man, this was a fantastic show...WAY more fun than I was anticipating actually. The last time I was at the Cannery, everyone seemed so indifferent about the performance, so I was worried that I'd have the same experience at this show. But luckily, P.O.D. and Red have a very solid following in Nashville, so the crowd was pumped and excited for the show. Of all the mainstream shows I've been to in the last two years (STP, Hinder, U2, etc), the crowd for this show was definitely the best, and really made the show seem that much grander and more awesome. I was very glad that my concerns were all for naught, and that I'd had a fantastic time. And the fact that I was able to drive straight out of the parking lot afterwards without a bit of traffic was icing :-)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Twiztid and KMK fire up the ATL

Friday, May 4th, 2012
Twiztid, Kottonmouth Kings, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Big B
The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA

Ever since I made it to my first (and only, besides the Gathering) Twiztid show back in November of 2010, I've been longing to make it to another one of their shows. They were fantastic in a small venue, and while I really loved their Gathering performance as well, I was eager to see them in a more intimate setting again.

For a brief moment at the beginning of the year, I thought that Twiztid was going to be playing at a venue just outside of Nashville due to a cryptic Facebook status by the venue, but that apparently fell through. But later, when an Atlanta date was announced, I knew that it was time to make another trip to the ATL! And what's even better is that they were touring with the KOTTONMOUTH KINGS!!! During the Gathering, my pathological liar of an ex-boyfriend caused me to miss almost their entire set, despite them being one of the main acts that I wanted to see. So I was extra, super excited to get to see them as well!

On the day, I slept in and was on my way to Atlanta by about 10:30am. After checking into my hotel (the same one as last time, but wow, had it gone downhill), I got showered, got dressed and did my hair and makeup. I grabbed some McDonald's for dinner on the way out, and didn't get stopped by traffic until I was within about 3 blocks of the venue. On the way in, a guy merged in front of me, then someone in the back seat hung out the window and flashed a wicked clown sign at me...haha awesome!


Once I made my way inside, the first thing I noticed was how the venue was already really full of people. And the second thing I noticed was that it was FREAKING HOT inside. Since there were so many people there, I staked out a spot on the left side of the stage, and was about 5 people back from the stage at that point. Before the lights even went out, everyone around me was complaining about how badly they were sweating!

Once the lights went out, the first performer was Big B. Oh my...

DSCF1169 edit

...why did no one ever tell me that Big B was exactly "my type"??

DSCF1179 edit

I'd heard some of his music but somehow had never seen a photo or video of him. Note to self - seek this out, cuz he's very nice to look at. Aside from all that, I thought his performance was great, and everyone showed him a lot of love.

I find it so very unfortunate that, amid all the excitement about seeing Twiztid and KMK, the fact that Blaze was performing tonight as well didn't get as much attention as it deserved! I LOVE Blaze, and I think his live performances are great!


When he came out, he did almost all of my favorites, including Riding the Whip, Escape Artist, Dub Sack and Damn Bitch (which got shortened to only one verse...MAN I wish the guys from KMK would have surprised us and came out to sing their verses!!).

DSCF1204 edit
Blaze up!

DSCF1217 edit

DSCF1218 edit

Once again, hundreds of sweaty Juggalos throw their arms in the air for Escape Artist

As always, his performance was awesome. Blaze is exceptional at making eye contact with people all throughout the crowd, and eventhough I was at least three people back from the stage, he still managed to pinpoint me and look me in the eyes a couple of times.

After Blaze, the crowd started to push forward and compact, and I ended up sandwiched behind a large, soft guy, and a girl about my size. And it was SO hair was soaked, I was sweating through my clothes, and this girl in front of me in a tank top actually had sweat rolling all down her back and arms. Ewww haha. But at least no one had BO. Thank heavens for small blessings, huh? :-)


When it was finally time for KMK to perform, their entrance was grand and amazing! They came out full force and immediately the crowd was going insane with excitement. After a minute or so of being onstage, D-Loc took a face-first dive into the crowd right on top of me! So I ended up being one of the people to help push him back onstage! Their performance was non-stop energy and action, and the crowd never seemed to lose their excitement.

DSCF1247 edit

The KMK performance was truly amazing! They always stayed right up at the edge of the stage, and were constantly moving around so everyone got a good view of everything.

DSCF1248 edit

DSCF1249 edit

DSCF1255 edit

DSCF1266 edit


DSCF1250 edit

DSCF1256 edit

DSCF1258 edit


DSCF1278 edit

The performance actually went on for so long that it seemed like its own headlining performance, and not one of someone opening for another act. At one point, the girl in front of me got kicked in the head VERY hard by a crowd surfer. So hard in fact that she looked like she was going to pass out, though she refused to leave her spot so she could sit down. And at a couple of points, the crowd was so rowdy that the entire floor of the venue was bouncing! That's just a little bit concerning seeing as how we were on the second floor!

After KMK had been on stage for over an hour, I was really starting to get wiped out from the heat, the excitement and the standing. At one point, one of the guys told the crowd to move to the right, then back to the left, and that was when it really started to hit me. I was feeling just a little too faint to continue standing there sandwiched between so many people in the sweltering heat. So I ended up retreating back to the bar area and getting a bottle of water.

DSCF1286 edit
I know that there's a little corner of heaven that looks just like this

KMK continued on for another three or four songs, which really amazed me. Those guys are beasts! They were going at full throttle for well over an hour and didn't even look winded! haha Their performance was fantastic, and it alone made the entire trip worth it. Once they were done, it was surprising to see how many people cleared out of the venue and didn't even stay for Twiztid. I watched maybe 150-200 people just stream out the door. At this point, I caught up with some homies from Nashville who I hadn't been able to spot before the show started. But we couldn't linger long because Twiztid was on their way to the stage.

My friends stayed back a little bit, but I wanted to head back toward the front and get as close as I could. I ended up to the left again, but was a good 20 or 25 feet back from the stage. I had a good view, but I didn't get the quality of pictures I would have liked since I was so far back (and because so many people continuously held their cameras in the air to record the show). Twiztid are such amazingly talented guys, so it was awesome to be seeing them again!

DSCF1291 edit

Much like last time, they seemed to concentrate on their older Mostasteless/Freek Show stuff, as well as stuff from W.I.C.K.E.D. I really wished that I had been able to stick it out with my close spot, but the benefit of being back further was that I had more room to move around and get into the music. Since I was more comfortable, at some point I just got lost in the music and the time seemed to fly by. When they were done, it seemed like the set had been really short, but I don't think it was. It was clearly shorter than the really long KMK set, but it was easily an average set length.

DSCF1296 edit

DSCF1305 edit

DSCF1307 edit

DSCF1319 edit





Blaze came back out onstage during Triple Threat

OMG look at his face! I wish I remembered what Monoxide was doing to cause this reaction!

At the end of the set, just like last time, they hung around the stage and talked to the audience, which of course turned into improv comedy after a few moments! Madrox is freaking hilarious, and it was funny to watch Monoxide just sort of stand there and laugh at Madrox at times. He told some joke about a woman being so gross that her face smelled like a fish patty, and used the phrase "a bitch with tartar sauce in her mustache" which made the whole crowd laugh hysterically. I LOVE these guys. It just made me that much more excited to catch their seminar again at the Gathering this year!

Once the show was over and the venue started to clear out, I caught up with my Nashville homies again and we all walked out together. My hotel was just a quick drive away, though I did stop for a fruit punch on the way back since I still felt so dehydrated!

This show was a fantastic experience, and worth every penny I spent to get there. It was really like two shows in had an amazing, full KMK show with Blaze as an opener...then almost as a bonus, you had an awesome Twiztid show afterward! Even with as much as I love Twiztid, I must say that KMK really owned this show. So eventhough I was upset when I missed their set at the Gathering, it was pretty awesome to have my first experience with them be in a smaller venue where I was so close.

Overall, the show was really amazing, and an experience that I hope to have again, sooner than later.