Tuesday December 11th was a night I had been looking forward to for some time: Corrosion of Conformity was going to be playing in Vancouver along with Saviours, Black Wizard and Baptists! While I had never heard Saviours and only a smidgen of Black Wizard, Baptists blew me away when I saw them open for Skeletonwitch a few months back.
As the show was advertised to start at 9:30pm we didn’t arrive to the venue until a little after 9pm. As a result we were surprised to see Baptists were already tearing up the stage. For those outside of Vancouver who have never heard Baptists – you need to. So far, the band has only released a 7″ on Southern Lord (Which you can hear on Bandcamp) but goddamn it are they good! The best way to describe them is as hardcore or crust, but don’t let that description turn you off. I too normally hate those styles, but listen to these guys and you will believe. The band’s frontman was a madman and would hop off stage and get into people’s faces while screaming his guts out. The band’s debut album Bushcraft will be released on February 19th by Southern Lord.
Black Wizard was next and I was only able to catch a short bit of their set as I was madly texting COC’s tour manager to make sure that an interview with Reed Mullin would take place. What I did see was quite impressive – Kind of like stoner metal but a bit more “metallic” at times if that makes any sense. I am interested in hearing more of the band, and managed to find a Bandcamp page here. Check it out if you are interested.
In the midst of Black Wizard’s set I finally organized out the interview with Reed and went to the band’s van to conduct the interview. Reed was a great interview and talked a lot about the band’s history, a possible reunion with Pepper and many other cool things. He was hand’s down the friendliest musician I have met and I feel honored to have met someone whose music I have admired since high school. Unfortunately the interview will not be being transcribed as a few days after it was conducted the phone I used to record it completely and utterly died on me. It happens I guess, but it’s too bad it had to happen with an interview I had wanted to do for so long.
After the interview with Reed was done I managed to catch about 15 minutes of Saviours. Now what I saw of Saviours was pretty damn impressive. They played some cool stoner metal and the packed out crowd seemed to dig them as well. I was impressed enough to pick up a copy of their new album Death’s Procession on vinyl. Along with COC’s Eye For An Eye reissue.
Oh, and speaking of merch: One of the cool things about the concert is that it was sponsored by Scion. Now say what you will about corporate sponsorship and yes, it is odd to see a punk based band like COC being sponsored by a car company, BUT corporate sponsorship = cool things for fans. What cool things you might ask? Well at the last Scion sponsored show I went to (Witch Mountain with Castles) I got a free Profound Lore CD, free Immolation CD and a free Prosthetic Records compilation. At this show I got a free copy of the band’s newest EP Megalodon on CD. Yeah, I know the album has been released as a free download but it’s a really cool release and nice to have the artwork and lyrics. Copies of it are also being sold for a pretty penny on ebay now so it is nice to have been given this item.
At approximately 11:30 Corrosion Of Conformity came on stage and put on one of the best shows I have ever seen. For being a bunch of guys in their late 40s, they had the energy of 20 year olds: Reed pounds the drums like there is no tomorrow, Woody shreds and Mike is far better as a frontman than most people give him credit for. For all of the bitching and moaning I’ve heard in regards to Pepper Keenan in the band, I just have one thing to say: Get over it and give this current iteration of COC a chance. The band’s more recent material is in reality some of the best that they recorded in my opinion, so open your ears and listen to the more recent stuff!
Sadly mid-way through the set I had to leave as I had to get up early for work the following morning but the place was still packed even though it was 12:15am on a Tuesday night! The show was great though and I can’t wait for the next time the band is in town so I can catch them again.
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Picture courtesy of Dai Snusmumriken. Check out the rest of the gig in pictures here.
A small rant I would like to make about concerts in general in Vancouver: Why is there an obsession with starting shows so late? In Vancouver many people who go to the shows live out in the suburbs and rely on public transport to get into the city. The main public transportation system (Called Skytrain) shuts down at 1:15am. Many shows in clubs don’t start until 9:30 or 10pm at night and on package shows (Like this one) the headliner usually doesn’t show up on stage until 11:30 or midnight. If, the venue is a fair distance away from Skytrain, that means that I usually have to leave either right after the headliner starts, or right when they are about to begin. This is actually pretty shitty and something that I hope promoters will begin to take into consideration at some point. I am assuming the clubs like the late shows to ensure people will stay in the clubs to drink until close, but for those of us who don’t drink and live in the suburbs, this really sucks.
Thanks to Liz at Earsplit PR for giving me the opportunity to review the show and speak to Reed!
Check out Corrosion of Conformity’s latest full-length album here: