By Andrew Bansal
April 8th 2017, Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles CA: Dallas, Texas crossover thrash group Power Trip released their skull-crushing second full-length album ‘Nightmare Logic’ in February 2017, and have been on an extensive North American headline tour ever since, tearing every stage apart and instigating countless circle pits all across the continent. The second leg of the trek included a West Coast run that brought Power Trip, along with support acts Destruction Unit and Mizery, to downtown Los Angeles last Saturday April 8th for a gig at the Teragram Ballroom. Anyone and everyone who’s heard the new album has been extremely hyped about Power Trip coming to their town, and the band’s Los Angeles fan base was no different. In fact, the LA crowd gave them a night to remember, and in return, Power Trip put on the kind of show only they can.
Doors opened at 8, the ballroom filled up quickly, and at 9 o’ clock, San Diego hardcore quartet Mizery opened the show in front of a sizable gathering. Their brand of slow, heavy, groovy hardcore sat very well with this audience, an interesting blend of thrash, punk and hardcore kids. Most people instantly found themselves enjoying this band’s set. This Power Trip crowd was certainly here for a good time, and got involved in Mizery’s show and responded to the band with plenty of moshing, hardcore dancing and circle pit action. With this being a mere three-band bill, every band needed to put its best foot forward, and Mizery absolutely did that with a solid 30-minute performance. Any hardcore fan would be well-served to give this band a listen, and is recommended to go to a Mizery show.
Next up at 9:50 was Phoenix, Arizona group Destruction Unit, changing the vibe completely from that of the opening act, as they came with a far more chaotic, noisier, experimental brand of heavy music. Feedback and fuzz were used as major components of their live sound, and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Rousseau did not face the audience when singing, as the other guitarist handled most of the crowd interaction instead. Destruction Unit went about doing their own thing through a short 30-minute set, and while the audience may not have gravitated towards them as easily as they did to Mizery, everyone kept watching with interest and curiosity, as this band undoubtedly brought something unique and odd to the lineup and changed the tone of the evening from that of the other two bands. One can always bank on Power Trip to invariably bring compelling, intriguing support acts on their headline tours, and they definitely lived up to that expectation with the lineup for this West Coast leg. Beyond any doubt, Destruction Unit live up to their name.
The crowd had squeezed in as close and tight as they could to get nearer to the stage, and amidst chants of their name, Power Trip hit the stage promptly at 10:45 with the first two opening tracks from the new record, sending the Teragram into complete frenzy and madness, bodies flying everywhere as crowd moshing, crowd surfing and stage diving became constant features of the set. Many bands release great records but fail to make the same impact with the live renditions of the same songs, but Power Trip is clearly not one such band, as all five of the ‘Nightmare Logic’ tunes sounded just as devastating as they do on the record, if not more. For most bands, five songs off of a brand new album could be too many, but here’s a glorious exception to the norm, as this crowd was singing every word of the new songs and would not have complained one bit if the band had gone on to play the entire album.
Readers of this website know that we do our damnedest to seek out and support new music, because we believe in new music. Bands like Power Trip vindicate our belief and efforts by making albums like ‘Nightmare Logic’, and turning up on a stage like this and convincing us of the album’s unmatchable excellence even further.
But of course this set was not all about the new songs, as Power Trip rewarded their loyal LA fans by throwing in four tracks from their much-loved 2013 LP ‘Manifest Decimation’, and even went back to the 2011 self-titled EP to play ‘Suffer No Fool’ which garnered a strong reaction from a very psyched crowd. Songs like ‘Heretic’s Fork’, ‘The Hammer of Doubt’ and the ‘Manifest Decimation’ title track were just as well-received, as the stage-diving and pit violence intensifying as the set progressed. Off of the new album, ‘Firing Squad’, the first single the band put out three months ago, was the most anticipated song, as much as any of the older songs were, and sounded as destructive as expected. The set-opening ‘Soul Sacrifice’, as well as ‘Ruination’ which came later, were some of the other highlights of the performance. They closed with a ‘Manifest Decimation’ tune called ‘Crossbreaker’, very much a fan-favorite, and departed the stage.
That was it, and Power Trip did not indulge in the typical contrived exercise of the fake exit and the inevitable encore. Through a 45-minute set, Power Trip achieved more than what most bands are able to do in 2 hours plus, such was the unabated, inimitable, unstoppable energy, intensity and fury of their performance. They know how to interact with the crowd but not at the expense of their musicianship, and they are certainly professionals at avoiding being hit by stage divers. Despite the unending barrage of divers, the show never stopped, none of the musical equipment was damaged, and none of the microphones got disconnected, not even for a second. It is fair to say that the Teragram Ballroom turned out to be the idea venue for a Power Trip headline show, and handled all aspects of the event perfectly. On another note, the tickets to the show as well as Power Trip merch were presented at “punk rock pricing”, allowing a majority of fans to not only attend the show but walk away with $15 shirts and $15 vinyl.
While it’s true that a typical LA crowd is hard to please, the popular belief that they are not responsive to the bands is contrary to the truth. LA does not hold back in responding to bands that put on a show worthy of it, and Power Trip sure as hell got what they deserved from this fantastic audience. That being said, very seldom do we get to experience shows that create such an intense, high-octane, high-energy atmosphere, and there is no doubt or second thought behind this being the best show we have seen this year till date, by far. In addition to putting out the album of the year, Power Trip is also delivering the show of the year, and if you haven’t yet, you’ll do well to check out both.
Fuck nostalgia bands that rely on age-old classics and get away with the old man pass and exorbitant ticket prices. Fuck fake-aggro, fake-anti-establishment, fake-anti-religious bands that cannot even play their instruments. Power Trip is none of those things, and in the year 2017, embodies everything metal should be about.
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Power Trip set list:
01. Soul Sacrifice
02. Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)
03. Suffer No Fool
04. Heretic’s Fork
05. Nightmare Logic
06. The Hammer of Doubt
08. Firing Squad
09. Manifest Decimation
Remaining Tour Dates:
04/09/2017 – Santa Ana, CA @ Observatory OC (Constellation Room)
04/10/2017 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
04/11/2017 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
04/12/2017 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress