Napalm Death & Municipal Waste Bring Killer Lineup To Hollywood

By Avinash Mittur

November 14th 2012, House Of Blues, Hollywood CA: For the past month, Napalm Death, Municipal Waste and Exhumed have been touring across North America, celebrating their history as well as the present. With the help of special guests at each tour stop both young and old, every show has been a unique occasion. Last Wednesday night, the House of Blues was treated to a stunning show from the three touring acts, along with an additional dose of carnage supplied by bay area veterans Attitude Adjustment and San Francisco punk legends, The Dwarves.

Though the house music being played over the PA was firmly entrenched in ‘80s hair metal, the theme of the night was old-school punk and crossover. The bay area’s Attitude Adjustment was the first band to kick off the festivities with their pioneering brand of crossover thrash. The crowd was sadly very inactive for the band, with the exception of a handful of kids running about, and the occasional heckler. This didn’t stop Attitude Adjustment from giving an energetic performance though- singer Kevin Reed shouted his lungs out as he ran about the stage and drummer Chris Kontos gave his usual powerhouse show. Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway even joined the band to perform the Attitude classic that his band covered, “Dope Fiend.” This special appearance along with Attitude’s Poison Idea cover, “Lifestyles,” drew the biggest cheers of the set. Attitude Adjustment was a solid choice to open the proceedings, and a great warmup for the havoc that would ensue.

There are few bands better to deliver said havoc than Exhumed. Though they originally hailed from my high school home of San Jose, these days they’re split “across various parts of this fine state” as singer Matt Harvey put it. Matt also took the time to let the audience know that their set would fit with the punk theme of the night by containing the shorter and more direct tracks in the Exhumed catalog. This actually proved to be a very cool move on the band’s part- this resulted in many songs being packed into the short set time, and the setlist itself being wildly different compared to their last go-around on this year’s Summer Slaughter Tour. One thing that this appearance had in common with last time though was the stellar performance. Guitarist Bud Burke’s head refused to stop banging and he and bassist Rob Babcock were constantly trading places onstage. The pitting was light for the first half of the set, but it flared as Exhumed broke into one of their thrashiest tracks, “Distorted and Twisted to Form.” Keeping with the night’s running trope of playing covers from their heroes, Exhumed finished off their set with Siege’s “Drop Dead.” In a way, I’m still waiting for the Exhumed show that matches the sheer terror and insanity of their appearance at the Roxy last February, but I’ll be perfectly content with their reliably killer sets until then.

Exhumed Set List:
1. All Guts, No Glory
2. Decrepit Crescendo
3. As Hammer to Anvil
4. Slaughtercult
5. Torso
6. Limb from Limb
7. Distorted and Twisted to Form
8. Necromaniac
9. The Matter of Splatter
10. Drop Dead (Siege cover)

Sadly, I was forced to miss The Dwarves due to an interview with Exhumed being conducted during their set. What I did hear sounded a bit more on the goofy and humorous side of hardcore punk than what was played by the other acts, but I wasn’t able to see enough of The Dwarves’ set to offer accurate and unbiased criticism.

Luckily enough though, I returned to the floor well in time for the legendary trailblazers of grindcore, Napalm Death. Within mere seconds, the floor erupted into a sea of chaos as Barney bellowed the first words of “Circumspect” from their newest album, Utilitarian. Opening the set with three brand new tracks was a bold move, but the fact that Utilitarian is a fantastic album made it okay. Though the set was heavy on tracks from the last decade of Napalm Death’s catalog, the audience didn’t seem to mind too much. It’s a testament to both the stunning performance and the strength of their recent material that the House of Blues crowd refused to slow down for the full hour that Napalm Death was onstage. The floor truly exploded for the Napalm classic “Suffer the Children” however, and the intensity didn’t relent from then on.

It’s fitting that the music of Napalm Death is as wild and spastic as Barney is onstage. The man was literally never still; his manic and twitchy stage antics made him seem more suited for a straightjacket than the shorts and t-shirt he sported. This only made his performance all the more entertaining however, and Barney’s vocals were stunning throughout the entire show. The one time he had the crowd sing a line wasn’t even for a Napalm Death song, but instead for their cover of Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” This wasn’t the only cover in the set, with Cryptic Slaughter’s Bill Crooks making a special appearance to help sing his band’s “Lowlife.” Napalm Death ended up finishing their set with a quadruple aural battery of tracks from Scum. Barney thanked us for listening to his noise; the House of Blues thanked him with even more noise.

Napalm Death Set List:
1. Circumspect
2. Errors in the Signals
3. Everyday Pox
4. Can’t Play, Won’t Pay
5. Protection Racket
6. Silence Is Deafening
7. The Wolf I Feed
8. Fatalist
9. Practice What You Preach
10. Quarantined
11. Dead
12. Deceiver
13. When All Is Said and Done
14. Unchallenged Hate
15. Nom de Guerre
16. Lowlife (Cryptic Slaughter cover) w/Scott Peterson
17. Suffer the Children
18. Breed to Breathe
19. Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys cover)
20. Scum
21. Human Garbage
22. You Suffer
23. Instinct of Survival

The crowd began to die down after Napalm Death’s set, but that didn’t stop the remaining dedicated fans from going crazy for Municipal Waste. The fun and good times offered by the band stood in very stark contrast to the savage brutality of Napalm Death, but the fans on the floor seemed to have just as good a time. Singer Tony Foresta kept his between-song speeches to a minimum, only making sure to introduce the next song. Much to my surprise, the set was extremely heavy on 2007’s The Art of Partying with nearly half the album being featured. One thing I really loved about the set was how well one could hear Land Phil’s bass. His bass had a very bouncy and springy tone that made it stand out well against Ryan Waste’s guitar- despite being a power trio with a vocalist, Municipal Waste had a very full sound.

Throughout the hour-long set a circle pit was in near-perpetual motion, and the band made sure to match that energy. Tony, Ryan and Land Phil all made the effort to move about and interact with each other throughout the set. Tony and Ryan also made frequent calls for circle pits, and even summoned a small wall of death at one point. Municipal Waste offered the final tribute of the night, S.O.D.’s “United Forces,” which the audience responded to with the appropriate amount of violence. Of course, the traditional set closer “Born to Party” had the audience at their most wild (one crazy kid even leaped off of a PA stack and landed right on the hardwood floor) and after a short encore break the band returned for “The Art of Partying.” The shock and confusion from the earlier faceplant seemed to diminish the crowd’s energy slightly, but this was still a fun end to a fantastic show.

Municipal Waste Set List:
1. Headbanger Face Rip
2. Mind Eraser
3. Terror Shark
4. You’re Cut Off
5. Chemically Altered
6. Beer Pressure
7. Idiot Check
8. Thrashing’s My Business… And Business Is Good
9. Wolves of Chernobyl
10. Intro/Deathripper
11. The Fatal Feast
12. Black Ice/The Monster With 21 Faces/The Inebriator
13. Wrong Answer
Bass Solo
15. Sadistic Magician
16. United Forces (S.O.D. cover)
17. Unleash the Bastards
18. Born to Party

19. The Art of Partying

When all is said and done, this was a truly killer concert. The bands may not have been similar on paper, but the bill worked very well. Seeing groups young and old pay homage to their heroes was a very cool idea, and having the sets be quick and to the point kept with the classic punk theme. The cheap ticket price, only 22 dollars, simply helped to accentuate what a great night this was. If one has the opportunity to attend this tour, do it [click on the flyer above to see hi-res image with all tour dates]. This isn’t a show to be missed, and chances are every show will be just as special and unique as the one I got to see last Wednesday.

[Napalm Death setlist courtesy of]

Related: Napalm Death interview | Municipal Waste interview | Exhumed interview