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Backstage News, Front Row Pics

FlashWounds Review: Psychopathic Daze, Lydia Can’t Breathe, Beyond Threshold, (hed)p.e., and Dope

 

Dope

Dope

 

By Alyce Hayes, photos by Julie Williams

(hed)p.e.

(hed)p.e.

 

The scent of nag champa filled the air as people filed into Mojoe’s of Joliet, IL…our second home, as you probably know by now, since so many great shows are held here.  It was a decidedly more intimate setting than I had expected at the venue ~ and by “intimate,”  I mean that the upper floor was VIP access only and I had little trouble reaching the bar or the bathroom the entire night. The slightly smaller-than-usual crowd inhaled the familiar incense and took in the neatly arranged wall of merch tables that gave the place a “friendly neighborhood head shop” feel ~ no accident, I’m relatively sure, but even if the special ambiance were merely a coincidence,  it was fitting for the evening’s headliners, (hed)p.e and Dope.

 

Psychopathicdaze

Psychopathic Daze

Setting aside these bands’ well-known, um, predilections, the evening’s show was anything but chill. If you’re even a casual listener of Dope or (hed)p.e, then you know their music is charged, in your face, and can easily put you in the mood to really tick someone off. The opening bands all shared a similar vibe ~ aggressive but catchy enough to draw in new listeners. To start off the night, Chicago natives Psychopathic Daze warmed up the stage. The band had recently won a battle of the bands to open up for MayhemFest when it hit Illinois back in July. I didn’t have a chance to catch them then, but it was nice to see that the Fest wasn’t their only success. The guys (Tony Castile on lead vocals, Frank Adamo on lead guitars and backing vocals, Ryan Dickinson on lead guitars, Kyle Meiser on Bass, and Mike McCloskey on drums) had a well-defined sound, solid blast beats, and weren’t afraid to be melodic or use clean vocals from time to time.

Lydia Can’t Breathe was next, and you’ll probably remember that we introduced you to this foursome ~ Kyle Bolduc (vocals, guitar), Dan Wilson (guitar), Josh Runfeldt (drums), Shawn Gorree (bass) ~ at the Mushroomhead show we covered in Bloomington.  

Lydia Can't Breathe

Lydia Can’t Breathe


This time, though, rather than opening their set sporting Anchorman suits and singing “Afternoon Delight,” they opted for the theme song from Mortal Kombat, which naturally called for the band to run onstage as Raiden, Scorpion, Sub Zero, and, of course, Liu Kang, an honor reserved for guitarist and lead vocalist Kyle. Once again, their set was full of energy, ridiculous lyrics, and wonderfully tight transitions. But the absolute best was the end of Lydia Can’t Breathe’s set, a performance of the now famous “Peanut Butter Jelly” song. Kyle asked for two volunteers to come up on stage to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and throw them out into the crowd. The shenanigans were perfectly in line with their sense of humor, and the audience ate it up. Literally,  people. Like…right off the ground. Mmm, mmm, mmm

 

Beyond Threshold

Beyond Threshold

Another local metal band, Beyond Threshhold, followed. The band (Erik Virgin on vocals, Todd Paluzzi and Rolland Bell on guitars, Trevor-James Brewer on bass, John Sergel on drums) has a dedicated following, and I’m sure a good part of it is due to their hard-hitting anthem sound. They had a tight style and their songwriting shows a ton of promise. Vocalist Erik knew how to keep the crowd on their feet, that was for sure ~ but while onstage energy is one of the keys to a great show, onstage stamina is equally if not more important. Perhaps my eyes and ears betrayed me, but it seemed as though he had worn himself out halfway through their set. But goodness knows the temperature difference between stage and audience is about twenty degrees (at least), and he made a pretty good recovery under those hot lights towards the end of their set.

 

(hed)p.e.

(hed)p.e.

And then the stage was readied for (hed)p.e. and the band’s imminent arrival was announced by tribal drums coming through the speakers. Everyone putting on bandanas and ICP gear quickly moved to the front, and I began to wonder if maybe (hed)p.e had a similar gimmick ~ much like the infamous Faygo bottles, but perhaps a different substance? The band (Jahred, Jackson, Mawk, Trauma, and DJ Product) took their time coming out, so one group of people started chanting “(hed)p.e.” while a second group followed up with “What!” The back and forth continued until ~ finally! ~ the musicians took the stage.  Jahred was last to enter, dressed in a camo jacket, baseball cap and bandanna wrapped around his face. They started right into “No Turning Back,” the first track off of their latest album Evolution, which I had the pleasure of reviewing back in July, and less than halfway through the song, a mosh pit erupted in the center of the audience, slowly spreading out until I found myself backed up against the sound booth ~ which just minutes before had been about seven feet away from me.  Under different circumstances I might have minded being crushed, but not in this case; while my respect for the band had grown after listening to Evolution, I was officially sold while witnessing their performance this night…so a little bruising was totally worth it. 

(hed)p.e

(hed)p.e


(hed)p.e. proved to be a formidable force as a live act: they were locked in and the show was practically flawless. The fans were going crazy, chanting their name in between almost every song, singing/rapping/screaming lyrics along with Jahred ~ whose presence is formidable and purposeful but not so much as to overshadow how at ease and relaxed he is being onstage. Considering the versatility of his voice, he earns some serious extra points for not pulling any punches on his delivery. Too often we witness vocalists who seem to carry so much promise on a studio album perform their music onstage and do little more than disappoint. They don’t reach for the big notes, they don’t get as brutal with the screams, or they practically just speak instead of singing at all. I’m all for spontaneously creativity and “feeling in the moment,” but sometimes, both are just signs of a lazy singer (or a label production team that’s guilty of taking a hot looking guy or girl whose look will sell albums and trying to pass him/her off as a legitimate live artist) ~ and Jahred is anything but lazy or less than a legitimate artist. The man is a beast on the microphone, whether he’s throwing downt a punk or reggae tune, and we all love him for it. Oh, and for the record, no substances were thrown into the audience during their set.

Dope

Dope

 

Finally, Dope graced the stage with their presence, bringing a show fit for a much larger venue. There was a light show and a video that played almost constantly in the background, and sure, it was a cool effect in the beginning, but honestly, it ended up being a nuisance by the middle of the set. But it seemed like all the ex-Club Kids from the 90s were digging it, so annoying is all in the eye of the beholder.

Dope

Dope

To counter the giant mosh pit, there was a good amount of two-step dancing with frantic hands holding imaginary glow sticks. Can you say, “Party Monster” (and if you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting for?  Go!)? Mojoes is not the best place to have a show with much more than some timed lights and a band in all their raw rockin’ glory, but in spite of the distracting video, Dope was still doing their job by getting everyone ~ even the security guards ~ into the music. And although both (hed)p.e. and Dope are known for having some pretty provocative lyrics, there’s just something about hearing an entire room of people shouting out words like “Die motherfucker die!” and “Kill the fucking enemy,” especially when the atmosphere at the start of the night was so…comforting…that made at least my brain feel slightly…uncomfortable?  Weirded out?  But no matter, as the music was still damn good.

Dope

Dope

 

The whole night proved to be a mixture of the laid back and the incendiary. And what show would be complete without some passed-out dude being dragged out of the venue by his friends and without the street outside the main entrance/exit being lined with cop cars and a fire truck ~ meaning that most of my fellow concert-goers opted to take their leave via the rear entrance…of course, it’s anyone’s guess why…

 

Goodnight!

Goodnight!

 

facebook.com/psychopathicdaze

facebook.com/lydiacantbreathemusic

facebook.com/beyondthreshold

hedperocks.com

dopearmy.com

 

 

 

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