This concert occured at the Pickwick Pub, which is a small bar in Poughkeepsie, New York. The environment was nice with a small section by the back door that acted as the stage for performing bands and artists. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that, if you have twenty five, maybe thirty people at the show, you have to stand off to the side, and there’s a wall that seperates the view from the start of the bar all the way around. If that number is reached, you can’t see anything other than the fans in the front, or some random fists in the air at a distance. The show itself was a headliner for Manticore and Deiphago, who became supporting groups for their own show when a last minute addition, Cattle Decapitation, was put on the bill to headline the show, which caused tickets to rise from a simple four dollars to ten dollar [US currency]. This meant some of my time was spent way in the back of the venue listening to the bands instead of seeing them, and surprisingly not at the fault of that final addition.
The show had a few opening acts, though I had no idea who any of them were during their set thanks to either screaming their name once, or saying it incredibly fast so I couldn’t make out a word of it, though slowing down to emphasize that they did have demo CDs on sale for two bucks, and t-shirts for ten or twenty. For this review I had to look the names up here. There initially were four opening bands, but Black Table dropped off. Given how the night went, it was definitely a smart move. I look forward to hopefully seeing them one day.
First up was Bacteria, who I assume is a Mathcore group, but their bandcamp page claims falls in “Dirtcore”. They were met with a very small and loyal crowd. But, after the first song with a name I never heard, I watched a few people leave, and a few applaud. And then they held things up for two, three minutes while their guitarist tuned his instrument. I walked outside into the blistering cold and waited it out, irritated they wasted my time with something they should know enough to do before starting their set. From what I heard out there, it was a wise choice. The first song bored me right away with simpler, empty music that gave me a bit of a headache, and what I heard through the open back door didn’t sound that much better.
Next was Minotaur’s Redemption, who drew quite an energetic crowd. Many fans were pounding their fists in the air along to music and female performed violin that was just way too loud, seemingly an audio issue, and out of place with what the rest of the group was performing. The breakdowns really got the crowd going as well. However, this was one band I sat in the back and waited out. While their fanbase was loyal, those who weren’t showed little to no interest, as well as snickering and making comments about how horrible the music was, as well as the terrible clean singing and basic Dungeons and Dragons lyrical content. But, perhaps it was Travis from Cattle Decapitation who summed it up best during “Run Troll Run” when asking “Is this really what my life has become?” as the band instructed the crowd how to chant along, then seemingly desperate to get out of the venue, asking if I was still up for doing the interview with him as “Mother Fucking Cock Sucking Cyclops” was announced as the next song they would be playing. I took him up on his offer, and I regret nothing.
Next was Fenrismaw, who actually were surprisingly good. Again, due to the crowd, I was pushed behind the wall and unable to see the band, but from what I could hear they were a solid enough group that put their best foot forward for their fans. They also were the only band (that I saw anyhow) that actually fit the tab. I’m not familiar with them at all, so I have no idea what songs were played, nor did I catch any titles. Unfortunately, this was due to the drunk ramblings and rantings of the woman who decided to politely fight with her boyfriend right next to me while spilling her alcohol in a circle around her and onto my fiancee’s pants (thanks for that…). Of course, the aggrivation from her was not limited to this set.
Considering Fenrismaw was the only band so far in the night that didn’t make me want to just up and go home, it was one hell of a rocky start, especially knowing some of the openers ran over their limit. They even seemed to be one of them, inquiring how long they had left and asking if they can play their two new songs, which would go over the remaining eight minutes, which got the ok from someone who looked like one of the bouncers, as well as Minotaurs Redemption who played a set that seemed to never end. Unfortunately, this impacted the main groups, though you couldn’t really tell with Manticore. The three piece, put on one hell of a show, which made me take notice. I had never heard the band before, but that one performance made me want to grab all their previous releases and a shirt, but sadly they packed up before I could. Surprisingly, the crowd wasn’t as big as it was for the two previous bands. This was truly a shame, but I did get to see most of their set, and they did a great job despite largely just standing there and being active to the rhythm of the music by banging their heads. All around, it wound up a professional, tight set that went off with no flaws whatsoever. The only gripe was the rougher speaking between songs, but it still fit the characteristics of the band at least. If they had to cut songs, it was in no way obvious, leaving a very lasting impact on myself, and many others in the venue.
Next was Deiphago, who had to cut their set short by three songs due to those bands taking too much time according to what some staff members were saying. Having never seen them before, I don’t know if this is natural for the group or not, but they just hammered in one song after another. No breaks, no introductions, and no clue what song you’re hearing. For someone who is only a recent fan, it was hard to follow and feeling rushed. But, it still worked with the general intensity the group carries with them. The band played plenty of material off their new album Satan Alpha Omega, and it was great to hear, but also would have been nice to see it if the venue didn’t have that stupid wall between the bar and stage, making it so only a small handful of people in the venue could actually see the band, and the others only get to hear it. Trust me, I spent more time frustratedly watching people try to see the band past that wall than I got to actually see the members themselves. But, from what I could see when stanging on my toes and holding myself up on the edge of the long “window” to peak my head around above someone else’s who nearly cracked me in the jaw on two occassions looked pretty intense as well, though I simply couldn’t put my years of dental work on the line to see a band that, chances are, I’ll never get to see again.
Finally, after Deiphago and Manticore packed up and cleared house like ninjas, though not having left the venue unbeknown to me, it was time for Cattle Decapitation to take the stage. I expected the worst from them after having learned they were sick as hell, and very tired due to it. Even during the interview with Travis, you can tell they were not in the best of health (of course that goes for me too, being tired myself and really ticked at the way the night was going). But, if you didn’t know that, you never would have thought it until the gaps between songs. Each one performed had some of the most energetic presences and outputs I had witnessed all night, which is tough to say considering how intense Deiphago was. Considering I was already kind of amped up from hearing their performance, I was excited that much of the crowd dispersed and I was finally able to see a band, which made it even more engaging. Sadly, some of the tallest of patrons did decide to just walk in front of me and my fiancee, and the first seven minutes found us spending time trying to see them on the stage that is the same exactly level as the rest of us, and dealing with the smell of rotting cabbage from the seven foot tall man who stood behind me and insisted on breathing heavily against my head, slowly working my last nerve.
Much of their set was newer material, ranging largely from The Harvest Floor to their new album, Monolith of Inhumanity. Of course, this included “A Living Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat,” and “Forced Gender Reassignment,” both met with high praise that even included some mosh pits during the breakdowns and heavier moments that extended well past those two. Unfortunately, the set itself was maybe six, seven songs long thanks to the bands going beyond their time limit, something that obviously wasn’t brought to their attention since they kept scurrying about trying to figure out what song to play next. and what one to cut. You could hear the anger in Travis’ voice when asked the time and groaned loudly when he learned they only had eight minutes left, which sent them into a rushed, hostile line of questioning as to what to play next. And one cannot forget when one of the staff members stopped the band between songs to ask Travis whether he can sell the drunk girl from before a shirt, wasting more of their set time. Everyone was clearly pissed off, including myself, the band, and especially Travis who seemed to be in absolute shock that a staff interrupted the performance about something like that. But, in the end, their performance helped to solidify making the trip well worth it, even if the last song felt like the band just giving up under the weight of the staff and band’s ignorance, as well as their sickness and fatigue.
In the end, I greatly enjoyed the what I could experience of three bands I went to see: Manticore, Deiphago, and Cattle Decapitation. I spent much of the night hanging out with two of the guys from Manticore, who were some of the coolest band members I’ve had the chance to meet next to the guys of Origin. Travis was also a very welcoming guy and addressed me more as a friend than a fan or anything else, and for that I really thank the guy. But, while I had a blast meeting these guys and watching them give their all on stage, I can’t help but hold back the pure anger and frustration I have to the people involved with hosting the show. Between letting bands go over time limits, a situation overheard by staff there, as well as interrupting a band to sell one of their shirts, and that stupid god damn wall that limited the amount of people who could physically see the band perform if the crowd is a bit too big. I can safely say I will never go to another show there until they straighten up their act. It’s one thing to go to a show and not care about opening bands, but it’s another when the main and headlining bands on the tab have to cut their set shorter than the openers, and you can’t even see them because they’re too popular and there’s too many people in the small section of the bar they call the stage. What a travesty to such a kick ass later half of a show that could have been a truly memorable experience for many more people in attendance…