Review & photos by Steve Martinez
January 21st 2017, Los Angeles CA: I’m 42 years old and I’ve achieved a personal trifecta. I’m attending, shooting and reviewing my first backyard metal show. This is not the typical “your uncle’s ’80s cover band” type of show. This is a grind show… in Los Angeles. The kind you hear about a week or so after it’s passed and you think to yourself, “Fuck! How did I miss that?”
This is a metal genre that is new to me. I’m slowly educating myself on the different bands that play this style. And I must say, the chunky guitar tones and groovy drum beats were instant addiction at first listen. I’m just soaking it all in with a smile on my face (pun intended).
Rigor Mortal Fucktoys started the show with a blend of guitar noise and guttural growls with a mix of WWE wrestling. Wrestling?! Yes, this one man band (TJ Machete) not only records and performs solo, he also throws himself WWE style onto his disemboweled female torso prop which is strategically placed on a ladder. This was a great opening band to give us a hint of things to come.
After a brief pause, No Time For Lube started their set. This 2-piece band blends groovy chunks of metal with comedy in between their songs (their drummer mentioning they’re available for quinceaneras and weddings) with cowbell. An instrument rarely heard in metal but a surprisingly good addition to this band’s style. This was my second time seeing them perform, and won’t be the last.
Next was Machete Dildo. Another solo musician who plays to backing tracks. While many concert goers may not expect to see this kind of performance when going to metal shows, performers with backing tracks seems to be the norm in this style of music. And, it’s appreciated. Up to this point, Machete Dildo was the highlight of the show. Jesse is not only a talented musician, he is also a very talented make-up artist who designs and creates his own stage props and suits. I encourage readers to look at some of his work, and hell… hit him up if you need any kind of prop work done. I’m not getting any financial reimbursement for this mention, by the way.
Pop A Squat was up next. Almost a complete band, just short of a bassist. But that was OK, because their deep guitar tones made up for it. I had previously seen them open for Mexican pornogore band Fuckingwithnuns, so this is the band I was looking forward to seeing the most. They did not disappoint. Their style is what I think of when I think of pornogrind.
Another setup break. Another chance to get to my car and turn the heater on. It’s not raining (yet) but it’s cold. I head back to the show and another performer is already mid-way into his set. Jizzfist was playing his style of grind which consisted of lots of movie and music samples. Probably the most samples used by anyone on this bill so far, and I dug it.
Another car heater break. I thaw out a bit and open the door to listen for music and I hear someone playing. The final performer for my night is up playing. Goremonger, who travelled from Illinois to play two shows in California including this one, is up. Another solo performer singing and playing guitar to backing tracks on a laptop. By now, most people would be thinking, “What’s with these laptop/cell phone backing musicians?” But, you have to keep in mind that this is the norm in this style of music. Many of the well known bands of this genre are not full bands, but perhaps one or two people playing to backing tracks, and people love them and will travel to see them perform. After a couple of songs, I noticed a few drops of rain coming down. The rain started to come down a bit more and Joey announced that he was done with his set. Rain and electronic devices don’t mix and I don’t blame him for wrapping it up.
I decided it was time for me to leave so my drive in the rain wouldn’t be too crazy, so I unfortunately missed the last band. Based on this undeniably enjoyable experience I had at this underground gig of mostly unknown band, I’d encourage you to look for facebook groups and pages of local bands and venues in your area, because they’re out there. Your favorite big metal band started somewhere, so get out there and discover some new music. You never know, 5-10 years down the road, you could say how you saw so-and-so at a small local show and now they’re touring the world and opening for (insert well known big metal band of your liking here). In closing, I’d like to say this: support your local scene.
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