Thanks to Kyle Myers/Striation Arts for photos! (Additional photos by Ellie H. Brooks.)
On March 6th, Carnifex came through Erie, bringing an insanely high energy line-up and crowd with them. This was definitely one of the most brutal shows I’ve been to, both in regards to the performance of each band that played, and the crowd – quite a few people in the crowd left with some very physical reminders of the pit. The pit also featured some stand-out attendees – on several occasions I witnessed cartwheeling, Sunny D, a man in a kilt, and at one point during Carnifex’s set a (properly removed) prosthetic leg being hoisted above the crowd. Now that’s metal.
Locals Obelus played to an extremely attentive crowd and completely set the mood for the rest of the show, and I don’t think I saw a single member of the crowd not at very least bobbing along to the music. Their distinctive death metal is offset by hilarious song announcement moments from frontman Logan Emerling – example, “This song is called Cuckholded By Christ. It’s about Jesus fucking your mom while your step-dad watches.” (I may have quoted that incorrectly….but it’s definitely close.) Find them on ReverbNation and YouTube.
The last local band of the night, Amavasya, once again brought progressive metalcore to the stage with incredible flair. Everything about their music and their stage presence is unbelievably intense, and are a band best to be seen to be believed. You can find their debut album Fruition on Spotify and iTunes, and they have a YouTube channel.
Next up were She Must Burn from London, England. Their set was incredibly theatrical and aesthetically pleasing, the entire band cultivating their own look. Setting them apart was their keyboardist and co-vocalist Aimy Miller, mixing soft, airy female vocals with frontman Joseph Sinclair’s black metal vocals for a completely unique sound. She Must Burn’s debut album Grimoire can be found on iTunes and Spotify, and they also have a new music video out for their song Possessed.
Lorna Shore, a deathcore group from New Jersey, were certainly far more low-key in theatrics (and in demeanor: between songs, singer Tom Barber at one point announced to the crowd, “Who else is stoned? Me too!”), but their style of playing and Tom’s vocals are relentless and dizzying, making for one of the hardest sets I’ve ever seen. You can find their new album Flesh Coffin on iTunes and Spotify, and check out their music video for FVNERAL MOON.
The two bands many members of the audience expressed the most excitement for were Rings of Saturn and headliners Carnifex, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how hype everyone got for Rings of Saturn (or even how much I was going to enjoy their set, as someone who had never listened to them previously). The band jokingly call themselves “aliencore” because of their lyrical content and technical metal playing style, and it’s definitely the most accurate description for some of the heaviest, nastiest, strangest metalcore I’ve ever heard. They have an album coming out this year, and you can find their other work on iTunes and Spotify.
Headliners Carnifex opened their set to total silence, much to my complete shock. When the lights lowered and opening music played, the venue got eerily quiet. Too quiet. The kind of quiet that happens at a show right when you know things are about to get crazy. Members of Carnifex finally arrived onto the stage to a complete roar, and the lighting revealed a beautiful, gothic church-like stage set up. They played a combination of old favorites (and the excited noises coming from members of the crowd when it was announced they were playing older tracks shown the kind of devotion this band inspires) and new, and there was a lot of excitement and smiling from members of all areas of the crowd. And, again, you just can’t forget the kind of admiration represented by taking off your own leg and waggling it in the air to the music of your favorite band. Carnifex released a new album called Slow Death this past August, and you can find it here.
Chief Keef made his way to Basement Transmissions last Saturday, February 18th, thanks to The Entertainment Collective. Opening acts included No Ceilings Entertainment, William Weyes, the Dream Team, Hoolie Gu and unstoppable local DJ Bass Bandage for an incredibly energetic night. The excitement for the show was insane, people dancing together in the crowd almost as soon as doors opened and the DJ started, and this was consistent both during and between acts all night. All groups were incredibly interactive and knew how to pump up an already-excited crowd, some acts (Hoolie Gu and No Ceilings Entertainment, particularly) throwing out shirts and stickers to fans, and at some point Hoolie Gu was even inviting people to the stage to dance with the group. Multiple acts (including William Weyes and Chief Keef) were having their sets filmed, so these are definitely things to get excited about seeing in the future. If you’re up for an entire night that felt more like a dance party in a club than a concert, Chief Keef and the talent supporting him that night are choices for your new go-to. For the fans that patiently waited for the main act, he definitely delivered on high energy and a good time.
Thanks to Taylor Rambo Photography for the photos!
Thanks to Kyle Myers/Striation Arts for the photos!
This past Saturday’s show at Basement Transmissions demonstrated the exact reason why you should go to local shows: great music, amazing connections between bands and audiences, and partying with Sunny D. The entire show was just fun, and all around a great lineup of rock and metal.
Smooth Stone Philosophers
For being their first show, I certainly won’t forget Smooth Stone Philosophers anytime soon. They played a mix of covers and original songs, and worked 3 co-vocalists into their set well. But most memorably, amongst the cohesive 90s aesthetic of the rest of the band, one of the vocalists/guitarists was a very charismatic man in a kilt.
Chillin’ with the Primates
Two bands in the original show lineup for the night couldn’t make it due to inclement weather, and these guys in Chillin’ with the Primates stepped up last minute and played a solid set without a hitch. Their music is 80s influenced hard rock (with stand-out bass playing), and they ended their set with a song titled after the band….which was cute and folksy, lyrically detailing literally chilling with primates on an idyllic tropical island. This was charmingly disarming after the tone of the rest of their songs, and displayed the sense of humor the band possessed and demonstrated the entire night – a favorite moment was one of guitarists telling a facepalm-worthy corny joke between songs: “What do Winnie the Pooh and Ivan the Terrible have in common? The same middle name.” (ba dum tsh)
Gelatin Skeleton is really unique in how strongly their musical presence contrasts their personal presence onstage: between songs, band members were cordial and laid-back while speaking to the audience, but as soon as the music began, the band became a different beast entirely and the atmosphere changed dramatically. Everything about their music is solid (and you have to appreciate “songs about Mermaids and shit”, as quoted from singer Terry Crebel) and the vocals were beyond impressive. There was also a fantastic one-band crab-dance mosh pit, courtesy of headliners Primal Scream Therapy.
Stand-Out Track: Levitate
I don’t know if Bravura’s set marked the true beginnings of the Sunny D epic, but this is when I first noticed it….and Bravura took it and ran with it (not literally, but more on that later). The Sunny D, brought by a group of people attending the show, definitely became an interactive part of the night: Bravura singer Steven Attenborough even exclaiming “this set brought to you by Sunny fucking D” some time after drinking from a bottle (then shoving the mouth of said bottle up his nose). These antics in no way overshadowed the talent or immensely energetic stage presence of the band themselves, though – Bravura’s combination of charismatic stage presence and style of well-thought-out, rock-your-face-off progressive metal make for one of the best shows you can get.
Stand-Out Track: Fruition
Somehow, in a night of nothing but rock and metal, I was completely taken off guard by Amavasya. There was almost no warning – just a nod among members on stage – before jumping straight into one of the hardest, fastest, heaviest sets I’ve ever seen. They have an incredibly fast and active stage presence to match their relentless playing style, and a well-formed brand of progressive metalcore that sets them apart. It’s also worth mentioning that at one point during the set, a member of the crowd ran (literally, this time) in circles shaking a bottle of Sunny D above their head to the music, as if celebrating the spoils of a hard-fought victory.
Primal Scream Therapy
Stand-Out Track: Headsman
Over the course of personally seeing shows at Basement Transmissions, I’ve seen Primal Scream Therapy three times, and each time is better than the last. This was their first headlining show, as well as their album funding show, and I’ve seen them progress so much as a band. They put a lot of thought and effort into not only their music, but their presentation as well, and they have a clearly developed aesthetic and performance style. Their level of energy on stage is incredible, and their potential is pretty much limitless. A particularly memorable moment from the show was when the majority of the band joined the audience in the center of a circle pit with their instruments, and a few members of the crowd joined the singer and drummer on stage to headbang – while shaking bottles of Sunny D with such vigor that I was pretty sure they were going to explode. Primal Scream Therapy is hands-down one of the most fun bands in Erie to see (and they did an impressive cover of The Trooper by Iron Maiden, which gets major props from me).
Stand-Out Track: Tasting Like Oranges Even Though It Isn’t Even Made of Oranges
I never thought of Cincinnati, Ohio natives Sunny D as rock or metal – or even musically inclined at all, really – but it definitely knew how to work a crowd. Having joined us in the form of two-liter soda bottles, all bottles impressively lasted multiple sets. They endured every encounter with audience members and musicians alike with incredible flavor and durability, thankfully rupturing on no one in the course of being in the pit and moshing. Some people might think it’s orange juice, but Sunny D is so much more: tasting exactly like someone challenged someone else to make orange juice without oranges, and at least marginally succeeding. Would see again.
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Thanks to Jessi Szczesny/JLS Photography, Joey Dunn and Jared Keyes for photos!