The Blood Lust Death Tour stopped into south Florida on March 30th, a Thursday night, towards the end of the tour. The show was billed as a “Fort Lauderdale” show but it was actually held in a small city north of Lauderdale, at a venue that has recently been rebranded from a sports bar to a club. Unfortunately for the bands on the bill, it's still more of a sports bar. I had laughed to myself when I saw where the show had been booked because it just seemed unfeasible that these bands would be able to fit their acts on the tiny stage space provided. Every band on this bill is known for their theatrics, props, and high energy moving around on stage, and I couldn't wait to see how this played out.
Davey Suicide was up first and they actually had a good number of fans already piled in front of the pool tables at the back of the room. Davey Suicide is one of those bands that seems to always be touring, so they've gathered a pretty big following while supporting other bands on tour bills. Their presence, however, speaks for itself. Demon horns, skulls, Ringleader costumes are just the tip of Davey's costume changes. With Davey being as tall as he is already – he commanded the presence of the audience toppling over them on stage. Their set, although short, included their latest single “Too Many Freaks” on their freshly released album Made From Fire. The album is a triumphiant return for the band, as they had been innundated with legal issues while trying to break contract with their previous unnamed (on stage – I think we all know though) record company.
September Mourning took the stage next and I was thrilled to finally see them live. I had heard all the stories about how amazing their live performances were and how it all told a story about a “human-reaper-hybrid.” Unfortunately, for me and the SM fans that stuck around, it wasn't as great a show as I'd hoped. Maybe it was the small stage, or the lighting (thank god these bands brought their own lighting rigs because they weren't getting any from the club), or the fact that the acoustics in the building leave much to be desired (let's remember .. this is a sports bar), but the guitar and bass bled into each other with no definition, the drummer was stuck on the side in a dark corner playing to no one, and Emily had very minimal room to move around. I'm not blaming this one on the band, I'm just gonna look forward to the next time I get to see them.
There was very little time between the bands, thankfully, as the crowd just got bigger and bigger in the small area waiting for Combichrist. There is no space between the bands and fans at this venue, and with the stage so low you could easily jump right on stage turning the photographers and fans upfront into squishballs. There was a lot of discussion though - “there's no way Combi is going to fit on this stage” - well they did it, sort of. With drummer Joe Letz to the side (similar to where September Mourning's drummer had been banished to) and drummer Nick Rossi shoved in the back behind some amps (seriously how was he even functioning back there?), Andy LePlegua, Brent Ashley, and Eric 13 moved around the remaining stage space as best as they could.
Now, to be fair, I've never seen a Combichrist show that didn't pack enough energy to blow the power (literally), and the guys didn't let this tiny area slow them down. They used their intimate arena to interact with the fans and the mosh pit went absolutely insane. Which is why is was not surprising that towards the middle of the set the entire front portion of the crowd ended up falling onto the stage and floor by being slammed into by the electro-goth-moshers in the back. The band didn't miss a beat though, and Eric gave out water to some particularly roughed up fans, making sure they were okay. Kicking off with “What the Fuck is Wrong With You?” it was a heavy hitting setlist that knocked out “Throat Full of Glass” “Get Your Body Beat” and “Sent to Destroy.”
Dope was the last band to the stage, and they managed to set up three large screens behind them, that left even less room than the bands before them had to move around. I was pretty shocked to see how much of the crowd cleared out by this point. While it's entirely possible that the crowd had just been more “Combichrist heavy” I think it had more to do with Dope going on at close to midnight on a weekday. The fans that stayed though were definitely having a blast as the moshpit once again took over the area. The set opened with “X-Hale” and went immediately into “Violence” which kept the energy that Combichrist had built up going strong. By the time “6-6-Sick” was on, the crowd was screaming along to every word. The screens set up behind the band displayed prominent lyrics during the songs, creating a sordid metal sing-a-long, light displays, and some movie clips. While I think the screens were a great addition to the tour in general, at this show each member was confined to their area, making it a lackluster performance visually.
Dope is known for high energy, jumping around, and using every inch of stage space – so this show felt llike it was missing something. Virus (guitar), tried his best to move around and jump about but there was only so much he could do, apparently, Nikk Dibs was on bass but I wouldn't have known that just by being at the show. Dibs was shrouded in darkness off to the far side (where the drummers had been for the earlier bands), but Daniel Fox (drums) was front and center right behind Edsel, and he's a great entertainer to watch live. The band checked off many notable hits like “Bring It On” “Bitch” and “Addiction,” but also played their popular covers as well including “You Spin Me Round” and “Rebel Yell.”
While it wasn't the optimal show for any of the bands and left plenty to be desired, it wasn't the fault of the bands at all and was a fun night regardless. Even given a small stage, a small venue, and a crapshoot on lights and sound, you could feel each band putting their all into their performances. Sometimes intimate shows can be the best live performances you'll see, but unfortunatenly for this night the club just didn't work with these bands.
3. Blood Money
5. Bring It On
7. Take Your Both Shot
9. My Funeral
11. You Spin Me Round
12. Nothing For Me Here
13. Rebel Yell
14. Die, Boom, Bang, Burn Fuck