Southern Death Threat
At the Media Club on Friday, December 17
If metal music has taught us anything, it’s that its fans are fucking crazy. Take the four willing participants who were crucified—nude—for the Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth’s Black Mass Krakow 2004 concert video. Or that time a 21-year-old metal-head jumped to his death at a Metallica gig in Baltimore.
Luckily for the Media Club, last Friday’s three-band line-up didn’t inspire Satanic ritual sacrifice or suicidal followers, but fans of Dead Eyes Open, Southern Death Threat, and Ninjaspy were determined to show how fucking crazy they could really get.
As soon as Victoria’s Dead Eyes Open hit the stage, a wave of devil-horned salutes and wild screams swamped the room. It didn’t take more than a couple of songs to get the eager crowd moshing to the five-piece’s heavy, progressive-metal melodies. Lead vocalist David Fraelic deftly switched between a chilling croon and true-metal growling on songs like “City Falls to Ashes” and “Newspapers and Empty Streets”. The heavily distorted synchronicity of guitarists John Phan and Matt Gladman gave the band its balls, but the guys showcased their softer side by weaving in prog-rock descants while bassist Matt Harder kept the tunes on-point.
Vancouver’s own Southern Death Threat was up next, boasting a considerable handful of devotees. And, gosh, what gems these guys were! When not drooling over the three hot sluts who took to the stage for a bit of—ahem—dancing, vocalist Nick Oszinski was screaming “You took my load in your face. Oh yeah, bitch, you liked it! You’re such a lucky girl” into the mike. Oszinski went on to suggest that the audience “roll up a hundred-dollar bill and snort this ”˜line of destruction’?”. The song’s generic riffs, snare-heavy drumming, and Fred Durst-inspired rage suggested that the trio would be better suited to play at a UFC match than a beloved bar on Cambie Street, and that might be the exact thing the guys are going for.
Last up was Ninjaspy, the band we’d all been waiting for. The group’s reggae-tinged hardcore is anything but generic, and the group’s unique swagger had fans creating a skank-mosh hybrid that quickly turned into a circle pit.
The clear anomaly during Ninjaspy’s set was the tongue-in-cheek “Out of Tampons”, a progressive, uptempo song intermittently sprinkled with metal elements. Although announcing that he was battling bronchitis, singer-guitarist Joel Parent seemed to keep up the reggae-to-metal vocal shifts with relative ease, and the crowd’s synchronized head-banging and limb-shaking was perfectly coordinated with the music.
With bassist Tim Parent finally getting to showcase some funky lines while drummer Adam Parent (yes, this is truly a band of brothers) laid on the skins, Ninjaspy attempted to wind down with “Evolution of the Skid” at a little past 1 a.m. The sweaty, gleaming show-goers still weren’t finished knocking each other around, though, and chanted for one more song. Happily conceding, frontman Joel announced he’d be singing about his imaginary friend Ted, capping the group’s hour-long set with “Hey Ted”.
After three and a half hours of being knocked over tables and drenched in their neighbours’ sweat, the clear champions of the night were the fans. And although they didn’t crucify themselves for the bands they love, I believe they would have if asked.
Watch Dead Eyes Open perform "We Rule the Wasteland" at the Media Club on December 17.