Live Report: Summer Slaughter 2011
Chris Krovatin is the author of two young adult novels, Heavy Metal & You and Venomous. He is currently working on multiple new writing projects, as well as new material with his local New York metal band Flaming Tusk. He is a contributing writer for Revolver and generally comes off as a good-natured pain in everyone’s collective ass.
On August 14, I saw Summer Slaughter, featuring The Black Dahlia Murder, at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. Here's what I witnessed:
Sunday schedule: Summer Slaughter.
Setting: Starland, Sayreville.
Forecast: Brutal rain all through the drive.
Highway visibility: Laughable.
Emotional resonance: Nothing like thinking you’re going to die during the entire journey to a show to really help you appreciate death as a concept.
Keen observation from my friend Julia: “Why does every band have to have the word "Within" in their name? Why is it so important to make sure people know that things go on inside of other things?”
Band onstage when I arrive at Starland: Within The Ruins from Westfield, MA.
Favorite onstage banter: “This song goes out to all the single ladies out there…this is ‘BEHOLD THE HARLOT!'"
Sustenance consumed: One piece of Starland Ballroom pizza and a Red Bull.
Things Starland Ballroom pizza is similar to: Scabs, papyrus, flattened insects.
Next up: Oceano from Chicago.
Stage banter includes: “If you see someone who’s not moving, punch ‘em in the fucking nose and drag them in the pit.”
My humble opinion: I always prefer a band who’s grateful to their fans, even if they are dark and violent in their banter. The whole ‘HURT SOMEONE FOR US’ thing is really fucking stupid and results in clubs not booking bands that I like. Just saying.
Then again: Isn’t Oceano the band that put out those really graphic snuff-style pictures of themselves a few years ago? So they probably don’t give a shit about playing most places.
Stupid move of the night: Forgetting my driver’s license. Not only can I not drink, but I can’t even stand in the bar area in the back.
Next, we have: As Blood Runs Black from Los Angeles.
Awesome band facts: The lead singer goes by Sonik Garcia and the drummer goes by Leche (Spanish for "milk").
Notable performance fact: Man, how does a growl this huge come out of a singer this small and spidery?
Disappointment of the day: Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse aren’t playing? What the figgedy-fuck, man?
According to FgA drummer/merch guy Francesco: “Our truck broke.”
Too bad, too: The new Fleshgod Apocalypse record is pretty fucking great.
Next, there’s: Powerglove from Boston.
Stage banter includes: “This next song…is from Mega Man X.”
Favorite costume piece: The Samus shoulders worn by the one guitarist.
Favorite track played: The X-Men: The Animated Series theme.
Merch dilemma: Do I buy the Lovecraft-themed Black Dahlia Murder shirt or the Dying Fetus ‘Orgy Of The Sick’ shirt? Oh no!
Speaking of which, we now have: Dying Fetus from Annapolis, MD.
Favorite track played: “Praise The Lord (Opium Of The Masses)”
Blinding realization: All this deathcore, slamcore, whatever-core shit right now…it’s all just Dying Fetus worship!
Random memory: Hanging in Pennsylvania one summer and listening to Destroy The Opposition and Emperor's Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk on repeat non-stop.
Moving on: Six Feet Under from Tampa, FL.
Interesting set-list move: The band opens their set with Cannibal Corpse’s “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled,” and closes with “Hammer Smashed Face.”
What can I tell you: Sometimes, you gotta give the kids what they want.
Cool artistic move: Chris Barnes going to the merch table after SFU’s set and signing autographs, taking pictures.
And now, we have: Darkest Hour from Washington, DC.
Surprise: For as much as they’re couched in this emotional metalcore shit, Darkest Hour can really shred.
Favorite track: “The Sadist Nation.” Old-school awesomeness.
Best onstage outfit: Vocalist John Henry’s torn-elbow shirt. It has a strange Johnny Cash-esque class to it.
Who’s an asshole: I’m an asshole.
Best back patch of the day: Dude with the Ghoul/Toxic Holocaust thing going. I feel like I’ve seen him around before.
Most worn shirts of the day: Easily Whitechapel. I’d say their shirts outnumber everyone else's by a long shot.
And look at this: Whitechapel from Knoxville, TN.
Literally: This band’s music hurts.
Crowd response: Overwhelmingly positive. Moshing in insane amounts.
Strange occurrence: The crowd doing its third Wall Of Death of the day. How many times can you run at each other?
Current state: Sad to say it, but I’m fucking exhausted.
C’mon dude: It’s been eight straight hours, man. I’m beat. There better be an awesome band closing this shit up…
And: The Black Dahlia Murder from Detroit.
Singer Strnad: Sweaty.
Awesome opener: “A Shrine To Madness” from the band’s most recent release Ritual.
Band observation pt. 1: Wow, Trevor Strnad is looking bigger and meaner than ever tonight.
Band observation pt. 2: Bassist Ryan Williams looks fucking pissed. Gotta keep my head down in the photo pit.
Best stage banter: “SCRUMPTIOUS!”
Best track of the night: “What A Horrible Night To Have a Curse.”