Butcher Babies, Fish Head Cantina, October 9, 2015
A Butcher Babies show is always a hell of a party! I’ve seen them perform twice before as an opening act and both shows were a 30+ minutes set of extreme metal mayhem. The music is heavy, the drum cadence is blistering, and the vocals are extreme. The band’s front women, Heidi and Carla, are two of the most energetic performers I think I’ve ever witnessed and the jumping, screaming an headbanging never dies. It’s not a show for the faint of heart, so if you don’t like your metal extreme, this is not the band for you. But if you like your metal over the top… come to the show!… you are in for a hell of a ride!
The show at the Fish Head Cantina would be the first time I’d get to see the band as a headlining act, and I was anxious to see if they could keep the energy up for a longer set. The Fish Head Cantina is a bit of an odd venue that I’d never been to before. It is located on the backside of a restaurant. It is of moderate size… maybe 300 person capacity (I’m guessing). The venue is closed on three sides with the long side to the left of the stage being open to a large outdoor patio area that can accommodate even more people in good weather. The show started out oddly enough with a nonmusical circus side show type act called the Coffin Box Circus that consisted of a young couple that set off mousetraps on their body parts, swung beer kegs from their earlobes and a performed variety of other quite odd stunts… it was billed as “the show before the show”… odd.. but weirdly entertaining.
There were several opening bands, the first of which was a local death metal band called ZFL. They were musically good, but, in my opinion, there was nothing outstanding or unique about them to separate them from the massive number of other death metal bands on the scene. Next up was Rabid Assassin, a self described, horror themed theatrical metal band from Pennsylvania. This band hit the stage with facial makeup and bloody aprons with images of the band’s mascot… a skeletal fanged rabbit-like creature wielding a machine gun. This band was also musically good and they seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage as they played their set. They were a bit more memorable for me due to the added visual component of their show.
The final support band of the night was Nekrogoblikon, a very entertaining band from California that plays goblin themed metal music with just enough humor to make it interesting, but not so over the top that it comes across as corny. The music was heavy and fun. The band also has a live mascot… someone dressed as a goblin with a dress shirt and a tie. Now I’ve seen bands with mascots before, some done well, and others not so much. This is one band I thought did the mascot gimmick really well. The goblin was very active with both the band and the audience and spent just as much time out in the audience as he did on stage. He frequently crowd surfed and constantly snuck up behind people encouraging them to head bang an throw their horns in the air. The band obviously had fans in the audience as there were a few people in attendance that were actually dressed like goblins. All in all, it was a very fun and entertaining set.
When the Butcher Babies finally took the stage, it was with the vicious, razor sharp, take no prisoners attitude that they are so well known for. Everything I’ve seen them deliver when they performed as a support band was there and magnified in their expanded headlining show! Heidi set the tone just a few songs in when she told the audience there was only one requirement at a Butcher Babies show… and that was that everyone there had to: “lose their *@#^ing minds”. The audience was only too happy to oblige and the whole place began jumping up and down. The band played a respectable 13 song set with songs from both of their full length albums as we as a couple from their recent cover EP “Uncovered”. The set list was more heavily weighted toward their newest album, “Take It Like A Man.”
The first song of the night was “Monster’s Ball”, from the new album. The lyrics: “No, you can’t stop moving” were predictive of the rest of the night as the band and the audience remaining in a constant state of motion for the entire set. The band kept the audience enthusiasm high throughout the entire evening. At one point in the show, Heidi gave the audience a choice of four different songs and… although I don’t remember all of the choices… “Dead Man Walking” won by a landslide based on cheers from the audience. The musical massacre continued through the final song of the night, “Magnolia Blvd” I thought it was a stunningly good show! The headlining tour is now over, but for those of you in North America, you can still catch the Butcher Babies on the Amaranthe tour in November and with Cradle of Filth in early 2016. To quote “Monster’s Ball” : “Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages…Step right up…!!”