Soulfly, Cattle Decapitation, and More Marquee Theatre Thursday, August 2, 2012
Last night's 16th annual D-Low Memorial Show melted faces at Marquee Theatre. The show, put on every year by Phoenix-based Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera, was a smashing success.
Opening the show was Phoenix metalcore band Prone To Wander. The few dozen people who were lucky to catch their early act seemed to enjoy it, as the band's "let's all trade places after every song, and play every instrument" schtick worked fairly well for them. They possessed all the confidence of a much more seasoned band, with one minor exception. When it came time for bass player Jess Gestrin to take her position on vocals, she seemed to lack the confidence needed to really pull off the lead on "Silent Breakdown." A few more years, and a little work on her stage presence, can only benefit her.
Up next was Talk to Sheep, yet another local metal band. This energetic 5-piece played a short set, to a growing crowd. It lacked a bit of originality but there's no denying the effort they put forth.
The atmosphere changed slightly when Contrary to Reason followed with their slower, more traditional rock. "Fading" was recently nominated by radio station KWSS 106.7 as the "Best Hard Rock Song of 2011." My only gripe was they suffered from having a drummer that was a little too good. Mike Pass seemed to overpower everyone on stage, including vocalist James Cole, whose lyrics were drowned out by the heavy hitting bass drum.
If there's any doubt that D-Low Memorial Show has become a family affair for Max Cavalera, it was obliterated when his sons Igor and Zyon took the stage with their band Lody Kong. They came off as a high school garage band, jumping around stage and throwing their gear. Given the lineage, they may be able to mature in a few years and work on their cohesion as a unit, which was hardly present during their set, playing songs like "Rumsfeld" and if I'm not mistaken, "Cookie Dough."
The family gathering continued with Incite, a four-piece headed by Max's brother Richie. By this time, the crowd was large, and beginning to drink heavily. Songs like "Nothing to Fear" jumpstarted the crowd momentum as the heaviest band Cattle Decapitation, followed.
As one would surmise from the name, this band is epically heavy. This San Diego four-piece's guttural screams and a bass drum, easily mistaken for a howitzer, were a highlight of the evening. Fittingly, if you wanted to take a roller coaster ride through a slaughterhouse, this would be your soundtrack. It has been a long time since I've heard anything like them and they left a lasting impression on many of the crowd members, belting out songs like "Regret the Grave" and "Life Stalker," off their new album Monolith of Inhumanity.
By the time Soulfly took the stage, much of the crowd had already worked themselves into a drunken lather, and what better way to expel that drunken energy than crowd favorites like "Blood Fire War Hate" and "The Prophecy". Cavalera moved through Sepultura song "War for Territory" before taking and busting out his Brazilian Berimbau for the crowd, a much needed regrouping. "Tree of Pain" featuring vocalist Asha Rabouin, brought the mood down with a change of pace that lasted through a few songs including "Flyhigh". Cavalera proved himself to be masterful at crowd manipulation as he ran through a few songs off Soulfly's new album Enslaved, including "World Scum" and "Revengeance". He quickly exited the stage for what has become the obligatory encore, returning for "Eye for an Eye".
All in all, the night was never short on energy. Spirits were high and the alcohol was aplenty. The 16th annual D-Low Memorial show was everything fans expected and more, a fitting tribute to Dana "D-Low" Wells, Cavalera's stepson, who was killed in a car crash in 1996.
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: 16th Annual D-Low Memorial Show Featuring Soulfly The Crowd: Largely under 35 Random Notebook Dump: "Is that guy passed out on the floor?"