This is the second part of a two-part post about the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour’s performances in Seattle and Portland on August 20 and 21. In Part 1, we gave our impressions about the music and posted photos of about half the bands performing in Seattle.
Today, we have a random assortment of observations about our two days of metal in the Pacific Northwest, plus photos of all the bands at the show in Portland.
None of us here at NCS know what the fuck we’re doing with a camera. We like to justify our ineptitude by telling ourselves it’s just like the DIY ethic of underground metal. We also like to make excuses that divert attention from our complete lack of training, such as the constantly changing or almost non-existent light, the non-stop motion on stage, the distance from which we’re taking the photos, and — most important — the fact that we go to shows to listen to the fucking music, not to take photos, so there’s a limit to how much time we’re going to spend snapping away like a fucking tourist.
But, despite our manifold shortcomings as photojournalists, we think these pics are just barely good enough to share, so we’re sharing them — a lot of them, since 11 bands played in Portland and we didn’t miss out on any of them. (after the jump . . .)
But before the photos, some random observations about what we saw, heard, and did:
In Seattle, SUMMER SLAUGHTER played at a club called Studio Seven, with an advertised capacity of about 550 people. It looked like the place was about as full as it could get, and by the time Vital Remains started playing at around 3:00 in the afternoon (the first of the bands on the national tour), it was already pretty full.
With the club that packed, the crowd energy got intense, and especially so when Lenzig Leal (the frontman for Cephalic Carnage) came on stage with a big video camera. He explained that he’d been making videos of the crowds at every stop on the tour, looking for the most brutal mosh pit in the U.S. and Canada. Up to that point, he said Vancouver B.C. and another city (the name of which I didn’t catch) were tied for first.
He then threw down the gauntlet to the Studio Seven crowd and launched into “Endless Cycle of Violence”. And holy fucking shit! The entire floor erupted into a maelstrom of bodies like nothing I’ve ever seen. As I said, there was no room to move, and yet the whole place boiled into violent motion — and I mean absolutely no fucking around.
For several songs, Leal screamed and gurgled and barked with his mic in one hand and that video camera pointed at the crowd with the other, and the floor continued to pitch and heave and collide in a frenzy. It was intense and exciting and scary as shit.
24 hours later we’re in Portland at the venerable Roseland Theater, with a capacity of 1480. At the start of the afternoon, one of the dudes who manages the place told me that they were only expecting about 500 paying customers — so about the same draw as Seattle, but in a place almost three times as big. So the crowd on the main floor was more spread out, and it spread out even more when the theater opened the balcony about half-way through the show.
Leal gave the same speech as he did in Seattle, video camera in hand, except this time he proclaimed that Seattle’s pit was the most brutal he had yet seen on the tour. He issued the same challenge to the Portland crowd. The crowd responded, but the excess space diminished the impact considerably. Don’t know what he said in SF at the tour’s final performance last night, but I’m assuming Seattle was still at the top of the mosh heap.
Leal also had far and away the best song introduction of the night, dedicating a 30-second grindcore tune “Perpetual General Arousal D____” (couldn’t make out the last word) to all the chronic masturbators in the audience, and then extolling the virtues of masturbating 4 or 5 times a day.
More random observations:
In Portland, Jonathan Huber, the missing-in-action vocalist for Seattle’s deathcore upstarts I Declare War, bolted on stage during one of The Red Chord‘s songs, grabbed a spare mic, belted out some of his trademark gutturals, and was then gone like a ghost. (That’s him, walking away with a mic in his hand, in the last of our Red Cord photos below.) I still haven’t heard why he left IDW’s recently concluded national tour in mid-stream or what his future plans are.
We’ve already written that, in our humble opinions, Animals As Leaders stole the show in both cities. My sometimes NCS collaborator Alexis chatted up Tobin Abasi at the merch table in Portland and got him to autograph an AAL t-shirt — which she will now never wear or wash.
Bill Robinson, Decrepit Birth‘s stoner frontman, took a massive hit of weed from a doobie that someone in the audience managed to hand up to him over the crowd barricade at the start of the set. When the smoke came out, it looked like a fucking mushroom cloud, lit up a dozen colors in the spotlights. Visual proof of the lung capacity required to sing death-metal vocals. (I think the dude fired up again much later in the evening at the merch table, because we were over on that side of the floor at the time, and I got a contact high for about 10 minutes.)
Refreshingly, both venues were almost entirely devoid of scene kids. All that unadulterated death metal must have functioned like scenester insect repellant.
It hurts your back to stand for more than 9 hours if you don’t have a job that keeps you on your feet all day. It looked like about 100 people eventually gave up in Portland and moved to the balcony where there was seating. I was sympathetic for sure, but on the other hand, I don’t think of live death metal as a spectator sport that you gaze down upon from balcony seating. On the third hand, no one ever accused me of having any sense.
But I do have enough sense to know it’s time to stop with the words and start with the photos. Here you go — the bands who played at SUMMER SLAUGHTER in Portland, beginning with a local deathcore act called Regiment 26:
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
VEIL OF MAYA
THE RED CHORD
ALL SHALL PERISH