Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ramming Speed with Howl, Coctopus (CD release), and Hydronaut [Church, Boston, 1/4/2008]

So after pussing out on Metal Thursday due to distance, illness, and single-degree temperatures, I went in to Boston to catch Coctopus' record release rather than up to Haverhill for the most-of-Pinkerton-Thugs reunion for the first show of the year. Either one would probably have been pretty cool, but I think I made the optimal choice.

This was the first time that I'd been in to Church (which I think used to be the Linwood Grill, but I didn't go to any gigs there either, and could be totally wrong), which despite being in Boston, wasn't too hard to get to. Parking was readily available, but this was a bit of a two-edged sword; I actually got up to the club before doors and managed to get in out of the weather more or less by luck.

It was a while before the bands started, so there was time to front-load on beer and buzz through the distro table; waiting may be expensive sometimes, but when it lands you a Hirax 12", it's usually worth it. A little after 9, though, Hydronaut went on, and the party got rolling in earnest.

Hydronaut [5/7]
If you were expecting Hydronaut to sound kind of like Clouds on the basis of common members, then you probably just don't recall that Clouds didn't really work out like that relative to Cave In. If you didn't know the six-degrees-of-kevin-bacon backstory of the personnel, though, or just didn't care, what you saw from this band was a short but entirely satisfactory set of slightly punk-inflected southern-rock metal that did set the tone for a lot of what was to come. Good music, and worth checking out, but they're still kind of setting themselves up as a band; they don't have any recorded material out yet, but when they do, fans of, say, current Corrosion of Conformity, ought to be interested.

Coctopus [7/7]
Unfortunately, the security (at about the Tabu level here, not nearly as fascist as Mark's) made them turn off the smoke machine after the first song. That being said, once their Thin-Lizzy-meets-early-Maiden sound got cranked up, there was no shortage of atmosphere, or of awesome music. Though Ocean (who had to drop) were initially down as the headliner on this bill, Coctopus put up a more than worthy headlining-class performance. Sadly, this band can't tour for a while (due to some niggling legal technicalties that I can't really comment accurately about), but this just ought to mean than those in the environs of Massachusetts get to see more of them than they otherwise would. Despite the lack of a bar, they'd definitely do well up at Welfare Records -- if the Bones Brigade name among their antecedents doesn't catch the staff's attention, the fact that they're one of the best bands playing this sort of primal metal right now ought to.

Howl [6/7]
The highest-billed on the original flyer of the bands that appeared on the program, Howl put up a kickass set, even if it was a little more back toward the conventional in its mix of death and stoner doom. One of the more aggressive acts in the lineup and debatably the heaviest, they went over well not only with the half of the crowd in the "still metal doods" bracket, but also with the "punx all growed up" segment -- the audience was pretty evenly split, but the split didn't really show itself in behavior rather than what shirts people were wearing.

If this sounds interesting and you live south of Boston, you didn't miss your chance completely; they're playing at AS220 in Providence with Saint Jude before heading out on tour for the next couple weeks. Those in other areas will want to check their local underground venues, as these guys are definitely worth checking out.

Ramming Speed [6/7]
Also going out on tour for the next couple weeks (if for no other reason than they're sick of working real jobs, which no one will blame them for) are these guys, and if people can remember that they're not Municipal Waste, they ought to do well. This may be a little difficult, as they've sharpened and honed their grind-based reinvention of crossover to the point where some may find it difficult to separate them from their more famous Virginian forerunners. Of course, even though their style is a reinvention rather than innovation, this doesn't make Ramming Speed a Waste coverband any more than it makes Municipal Waste a DRI coverband, and this set eminently showed off their abilities at delivering quality thrash. They ain't super-technical, but that's not what you want from a band like this: kickass fast thrash and a turbulent front row is, and that's what we got here, and what people in other markets will be seeing from them in the next two weeks. It's too bad that they only have their 7" available, because they've got more really good songs than are on said record, and not everyone has a turntable, so some toolbags may be able to rationalize not buying their music. However, they won't be able to avoid being mocked by their friends if they also fail to pick up an awesome and fashionable TOP OF THE DUDE CHAIN shirt. Bonus!

Next show technically is tonight at Dodge Street with Cocaine Tongue, but I'm not sure if there'll be enough non-cover bands involved for it to count. If not, it's looking like a matinee grind gig at the Midway Cafe next weekend, and then, of course, Revocation supporting Cyaegha at O'Brien's.

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