Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Murderdolls, Black Label Society, Children of Bodom, Clutch, 2Cents
Merriweather Post Pavilion
2 Stages, lotsa metal, loads o' stage props, guitar solo's, freaks, boobs, balls, and the singer for 2Cents "package"....this show was crazy & if you missed it you missed one of the more interesting tours to play the Maryland area in quite some time!
I'll start at the beginning, as soon as I arrive at the venue I had a guy ask me if I wanted to buy a bootleg shirt for $20, the shirt looked pretty cool but I wasn't interested & I told the guy no....he immediately goes into barter mode & says, "Ok man, $10." & I figured wtf, it was a cool looking shirt, the band names were spelled correct so I caved in....yup, I bought a bootleg shirt!
After picking up my passes & walking into the venue I was struck with a sad sight....there were very few people there and I asked a security guy at the 2nd stage area if this show had sold well?
The security guy said in a somber tone that the crowd that was there was the bulk of what tickets were sold....apparently the show was a weak sell and as the night went on there were people who showed up, BUT, the venue was definitely FAR from capacity & my guess would be that it was 1/2 packed at best because there were ALOT o' empty seats & the lawn was not even 1/2 packed.
I will chalk the attendance up to the economy & the fact that EVERY tour has suffered low attendance this year...it's really sad because this was a solid line up, the show was stellar, BUT, the turn out was not.
There originally was supposed to be a costume contest where they gave away prizes, BUT, because of the low turn out the contest were scratched! That small fact must have pissed off the people who actually came in costumes!
4:30 - 5:10 PM - MURDERDOLLS
7:10 - 8:10 PM - ALICE COOPER
9:30 - 10:30 PM - ROB ZOMBIE
4 - 4:30 PM - 2CENTS
5:10 - 5:55 PM - CHILDREN OF BODOM
6:15 - 7 PM - CLUTCH
8:20 - 9:20 PM - BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
2Cents were not even listed on the bill & they actually opened the 2nd stage, but before I start to review their set I guess I should explain the set up of the show & the stages:
This tour stop featured the Black Label Society tour joining the Zombie/Cooper tour & they set up a 2nd stage for the Black Label Society tour. The BLS stage was smaller & off in the lawn area which was adjacent to the large main stage area where Zombie/Cooper/Murderdolls were playing. Under the main stage pavilion on the right hand side where they had seats, an entire section of seats were removed so they could set up a wrestling ring which featured Midget wrestling...I believe they had the midget wrestling during Clutch's set so I ended up missing the little people in favor of local heros Clutch. If you walked past the area where the BLS stage was you saw one carnival ride set up & this is where last year's ULALUME festival had an entire circus styled midway area.
Ok, so that's how the venue was basically laid out & when I saw the stage gear set up for 2Cents I was actually confused because there was a drum set in the back, a keyboard rig & having seen 2Cents quite a few times over the past couple o' years I knew that 2Cents drummer also was the lead singer & his kit was usually at the front of the stage....well, when 2Cents set started a guy who had his head shaved with a small clump of long curly hair hanging in the front declared that, "Kerry King is giving away free guitars & Pam Anderson is naked so get over here now!"
At first I though this was the roadie bringing on the band, then it hit me, that guy talking on the mic was Adam, the drummer/singer of the band & this version of 2Cents was TOTALLY different from than what I'd seen just last year...Adam is the frontman now & only sings, they added a new drummer so Adam could be free to walk about onstage & a keyboard player was also new to the mix....2Cents is completely different than what they once were & the new additions to the band REALLY make the band strong!
I've taken photo's of just about every major rock band from the past 10 years or so, I've seen it all, there's not much that shocks me at this point, BUT, what I saw during the 2Cents set did kinda make me go, "Uhmmm, did I just see that?"
What I'm talking about is that during the first song of the 2 Cent set, singer Adam's pants split all the way up & let's just say he was free-ballin' for the entire first song or 2 & it was probably the most uncomfortable thing for the photographers up close to experience... EVER!
Look at the pic of Adam closely in this review & you'll see what I'm talking about....at one point his balls were swinging around like a pendulum on a clock, out in the open for all to see & I stepped to the side where Adam's brother was to laugh at the situation...when the band realized what happened they all had a laugh & a roadie pulled out black tape & taped up Adam's pants to conceal him....I would imagine pulling all that tape off was probably more painful though than being exposed on stage for Adam!
2Cents closed with "Strength Beyond Strength" by Pantera & a few minutes after their set ended the main stage area kicked off with Wednesday 13 & the Murderdolls!
MURDERDOLLS SET LIST:
Intro - The World
Chapel of Blood
Slit My Wrist
Die My Bride
My Dark Place Alone
Drug Me To Hell
(Hybrid If We Have Time) 197666
I Love To Say Fuck
For what it's worth, I felt like The Murderdolls were one of the best bands on this bill...partially because they were dressed to depress, they were all sporting baby powder soaked hair & clothes ala Nine Inch Nails back in the day & the overall look for the band was ALL black, long hair & it's what always made me excited about rock n roll...the band had alot of energy, they ran around throughout their entire set, each member was an individual onstage & owned whatever area they stood in & I felt like it was a kick ass set!
The bulk of the bands set was all new material off their new record...the onstage set list had "197666" listed but it was not played, instead they cut right to "I Love To Say Fuck" which had Wednesday 13 utilizing his "Fuck" umbrella.
Not that anyone other than me would care, BUT, my personal highlight of the day came during the Murderdolls set when Joey Jordison came over to me while I was taking pics of the Murderdolls...Joey came over & let me get some super close pics of him, he gave me the devil horns, we bumped hands & he gave me his guitar pic! I thought it was cool that Joey gave me a nod while taking pics...most bands don't give a shit about the guys taking pics of them & Joey's actually a big rock star, so for him to be cool like that while on a BIG stage was nice...he could have easily just done his thing & not even acknowledged me but he did & I'll admit it, I'm a fan of rock music, I do these reviews because I DO like the music & it was a nice to get a little thank you from Mr. Jordison!
To my surprise, the next band on the bill on the 2nd stage was, believe it or not, Children of Bodom!
A friend made a comment that was exactly what I was thinking as well...seeing Alexi from Bodom onstage, in the afternoon, in the direct sunlight...we all expected him to burst into flames!
I've seen Children of Bodom a few times but never imagined seeing them in the afternoon, outside, in the sun!
Bodom's set was tight, they sounded good & they even did a cover of the theme from "Love Boat", but C.O.B. do not really work outside in the sunlight...it strips away all that "evil" they try to convey while onstage, NO band can seem dark & scary while playing in the afternoon in the sun & what I will say about the Bodom set that made them memorable was the fact that their musicianship really stood on it's own at this show because there was no hiding in a dark club, no "image" to convey their vibe...the show was all about Alexi's guitar solo's & following the C.O.B. set were local hero's CLUTCH!
Clutch was the only band on this bill that looked anti-rockstar! Short hair, in some cases balding, over weight & very "Average" in looks, Clutch allowed their music to be the thing that you paid attention to & during their set of stoner rock meets psych rock you could clearly smell the scent of Mary Jane.
Clutch had a nice sized crowd & it was easy to spot the Clutch fans in this crowd, Clutch are a Maryland based band & their fans, friends & family came out to support their brothers in Clutch.
Following Clutch's set the mainstage started up again & next up was the King of shock rock, Alice Cooper!
Alice opened with "School's Out" & the 3rd song in the set was "18"....in all honesty I didn't understand why he pulled out his 2 biggest songs so early in the set!
ALICE COOPER SET LIST:
Go To Hell
From The Inside(short)
Love The Dead
Alice Cooper might be in his 60's BUT he still has the stage persona of that crazy man he was back in his 20's....up close you can see the years of use & abuse in his face & once a man hits a certain age I truly believe the tight pants should NEVER be worn! I'm not sure if the entire crowd saw what I saw, but Alice had on a few belts which came off more like a homemade corset/girdle & it held his stomach in a bit, but you could still see excessive skin hanging over the top of the belt(s) he wore onstage when he changed outfits.
The Alice Cooper backing band was awesome; Damon Johnson from Brother Cain was on lead guitar & I had no idea he was such a kick ass guitarist!
Alice actually left the stage several times & the band did little jams to fill the gaps where Alice was gone....during the "Love the Dead" break where Alice left the stage I realized something quite interesting...while Alice was gone his bass player sang for a bit & Alice's bass player sounds pretty damn similar to Alice vocally...some might say he even sounded better than Alice as a singer.
In the beginning of the set Alice tossed out large balloons that were filled with confetti...Alice would bring the balloons out & then burst them with a sword that made the confetti fall on top the heads of the pit area crowd.
Huge needles, straight jackets, the guillotine, a crazy nurse, loads & loads o' stage props....while watching Alice's set my first thought was, wow, there's alot o' "Stuff" onstage & when I say "Stuff" I don't just mean props....you had 2 guitarist, 1 bass player, 1 drummer, Alice, a few roadies who moved props on & offstage, some roadies were part of the show & got beat up by Alice, the backdrop was the name "ALICE" hung from nets & each letter was scattered about on the stage almost as it they were hanging from random spiderwebs.
Beads were tossed into the crowd during "Dirty Diamonds", fake dollar bills were tossed into the crowd during "Billion Dollar Babies", Alice tossed a few magic wands into the crowd, I actually caught a flash light that was thrown off the stage, & there was just so much crap on that stage that it must be a pain in the ass to be Alice's road crew!
Where I was during Alice's set, on the left side if you were in the crowd, I saw a REALLY bad fight break out in the pit...basically you had 2 or 3 REALLY big, REALLY drunk guys swinging fists at each other & the fight was much worst than you could even imagine...one security guy was knocked on his ass & hit his face on the concrete...what made it a really bad situation was that the crowd was filled in, these knuckle heads got into it & innocent people were getting hit & hurt...luckily the security stopped it after a minute or so, BUT, trust me, this was a really bad situation, what Alice was doing onstage was NOTHING compared to the violence in the crowd at that moment!
Alice closed with "Under My Wheels" & when Alice's set ended it was the crowds cue to haul ass over to the 2nd stage to catch guitar god Zakk Wylde & BLS for a kick ass guitar fest on the 2nd stage.
The stage where BLS played was packed.....well, it was packed for the crowd that was there...again, the venue was less than 1/2 filled, BUT, the crowd that was there filled in the place & there was some crowd fighting within the first song of BLS's set...big surprise?
Zakk took the stage with clean looking hair, his beard was like one long dreadlock & for the most part the bands set was a mix of new songs from their latest record & obscure ones they haven't played in a while.
"Fire It Up" was my personal favorite of the set & they tossed out large BLS inflatable balls for the crowd to bounce around during this song.
Zakk did one really long guitar solo that included snippets of Jimi Hendrix's solo from the Woodstock version of "Star Spangled Banner" & BLS closed with "Still Born". I was actually surprised the band didn't play "In This River" but I'll assume with it being such a massive "metal" show that Zakk wanted to keep it all heavy for this show.
On a side note, I noticed that Zakk's arms were a little less toned than they used to be & it appears as if he is not working out heavily these days...I know Zakk's had some serious health issues so I am not stating that to be insulting, I'm just stating that because it's something I noticed.
The nights main attraction was up next...the main stage had a large sheet that draped across the stage, but from where I was I could clearly see the onstage set up & the stage was similar to what Rob used on the summer Mayhem Fest, there were TV screens everywhere, a large robot that Rob used to take the stage with & loads & loads o' pyro!
Rob's opening song was "Jesus Frankenstein" & from that point on the bulk of the set was all the Zombie standards.
"Demon Speeding" was the next song played & this is where the band became much more animated & the pace of the show went into overdrive.
"Scum of the Earth" followed & when you see a Rob Zombie show there are so many things happening at once on that stage that you can never truly experience 100% of the show because in order to do that you would have to watch each member of the band individually, then see the all the lights, pyro & monsters on their own, not to mention all the onstage screens that show random horror movie clips, etc., & on a show level, Rob Zombie is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.
The set list for this show was the same as most shows on this tour so I won't delve too much on that matter.
Rob tossed out large balls during "Sick Bubblegum" & this was actually the 4th time balls were utilized during this show...if you're keeping track at home the bands that utilized balls for their set were: 2Cents (due to Adam's wardrobe malfunction), Black Label Society during "Fire It Up", Alice Cooper during "School's Out" & Zombie during "Sick Bubblegum".
I'm not certain whether it was part of the show or not, BUT, a few girls took off their tops & ran across the stage twice before security got to them off the stage....it's interesting because Motley Crue got banned from this very same venue for having topless women, a dildo & whipped cream on stage...I had no issue with the topless women onstage, BUT, I will point out that this was an all ages show & there were some very young children i attendance so if this was part of the "show" it was kinda iffy when you had small children there.
Rob tossed out Witch hats for all the girls in the crowd who didn't wear a costume & at the end of the night, instead of tossing out guitar pics & drum sticks the entire band grabbed pumpkins filled with candy & tossed out tons & tons o' Halloween candy that included everything from Starburst to mini chocolate bars & John 5 sported a "Creature from the Blue Lagoon" mask for the candy toss!
When the band finished "Thunderkiss '65" they left the stage for a minute, then Rob took the stage to tell the crowd that he had just been informed by venue staff that the curfew was reached & they were not allowed to play the last song of the night, then some guys sporting "Event Staff" shirts came out, Rob walked to them on the side of the stage, then Rob declared that they were going to charge him a huge fine if they played one more song but they were doing it regardless and the band ripped into "House of 1,000 Corpses" before tossing out candy at the end.
This was one of those shows that if you were lucky enough to attend it, you'll never forget it...it was weird, crazy, fun & it pretty much sums up what's missing at most rock shows today.
The production for the main stage was over the top, the crowd got what they paid for and this was truly a great night for rock n roll from start to finish!