Maryland Deathfest 2007
This is the first in a series of posts about my adventures at the various Maryland Deathfest (MDF) gigs that I have attended in the US. These are leading up to me going to MDF 2012 in May from which I’ll be reporting to this wonderful blog.
2007 was the first time I attended MDF while on a 6 week trip to the US with my partner Ann. Back then MDF was only 2 full days on one stage with a pre-fest on the Friday night. I dragged poor Ann along on Friday night which was quite the eye opener for her. I think we missed Defeatist so amusingly enough the first band I saw at MDF was Australian hardcore band Pisschrist who were in awesome form with singer Yeap all over the stage and in the crowd. They went down a treat and were quite a contrast to the next band which was one man band Putrid Pile. I knew there was only one guy in the band and assumed he’d have a session backing band so I got a surprise when he came out by himself and played guitar and sang over a backing tape. It still sounded bloody awesome but it was sort of surreal to watch.
I don’t think Insect Warfare’s album was out by then and so they totally blew me away with their razor sharp grind. Singer Rahi was a hairy madmen on stage and Dobber’s effortless drumming satisfied my blast cravings very nicely. Poor Pig Destroyer had to follow them and were good but in reality they paled in comparison.
The next day we had some very tasty crab cakes for breakfast and then I left my weary Ann at the hotel and taxied over to the first full day. The line was very long so I missed the first band but a local crusty chick kept us entertained by playing with her pet rats that she kept in a shoebox. But the looks of amusement turned to sadness or disgust when she discovered one of them was dead and tried to revive it. Of course being a deviant I took this photo of her.
Eventually I got in and I was in heaven. A huge metal gig with awesome bands, tons of booze and merch for sale is about as good as it gets. I actually had to be very strict and not buy an vinyl as we still had several weeks of travel ahead of us so I was supremely strong and didn’t even look at any vinyl (I’m not sure how!).
First highlight of the day was Japanese band Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation partly for the rather cute female singer but also because their straight forward grind was really enjoyable. Next was Nunwhore Commando 666 which is a band with Gut members playing dance porno grind who I was very eager to see as I love their recordings. Sadly the sound was terrible and all you could hear was bass and muffled vocals however the stage show was most amusing with 2 attractive women abusing and trying up the masked vocalist for some reason.
I was hoping for good things from Swedish d-beat band Skitsystem but they were pretty lacklustre, however I wasn’t disappointed for long as the mighty Cock And Ball Torture were on next! They are one of my favourite bands and were one of the main reasons I went to MDF. The crowd went apeshit for their bulldozer grooves and somehow I managed to headbang pretty vigorously with a backpack full of merch! It was one of those rare special moments when seeing a band where everything comes together perfectly and I hope the memory never fades. Luckily there was only one stage that year so I had some time to recover while the next band set up and I needed it as Rotten Sound followed and played one of the tightest sets I’ve ever seen. Their precision grind combined with the Swedeath guitar sound was just pulverising. Gorerotted spoiled the mood slightly after that although they were still somewhat fun with 2 vocalists and the classic song Fuck Your Arse With Broken Glass.
Then a massive 1 – 2 combo hit knocked me on my arse with General Surgery followed by Regurgitate! GS were covered in blood and playing one of their last shows with Grant singing. They were insanely good playing oldies off Necrology and new songs off Left Hand Pathology which still rates one of the best albums of the last 10 years. I still consider their set as one of my all time favourites and I’ve seen A LOT of gigs. I was on such a high after their set that it took a few songs for me to realise that I was watching grind gods Regurgitate but they certainly lived up to their legendary status and blasted a killer set (which included my favourite song Vulva Fermentation). Vocalist Rikard switched perfectly between the growls, screams and gurgles and they crammed 32 songs in about as many minutes. I remember nothing whatsoever of Vomitory so I assume I buggered off for dinner or collapsed somewhere. Extreme Noise Terror were surprisingly awesome even though one singer was missing (apparently too drunk to play) and played a killer old school grind set. Brutal Truth sounded exactly the same as the 2 times I’d seen them in Australia (ie. a wall of noise with a few discernable riffs and amusing facials from the drummer) so I staggered off up the road to East Baltimore street (the dodgy strip club area) and rapidly hailed a taxi to escape the sleaze. Quite the amazing day and probably one of the best of my life as far as gigs go.
The next day I was back for more and started the day well with Canadian deathgrinders Putrescence who feature cuddly Mike from Swallowing Shit on vocals. Next highlight was Jigsore Terror who are an old school grind band ala Repulsion or Terrorizer and they really did the sound justice and proved to be a nice surprise. Then came Creepsylvanian mosh merchants Ghoul who drove the crowd crazy with a short but sweet set of songs that all but forced you to mosh or thrash. The whole costumed look and hilarious stage banter really helped but the songs themselves were so much more fun live than on cd and I really can’t wait to see them again this year in both New York and at MDF. They now number among bands such as Crowbar and Damaged that I prefer live than on cd. The fun continued with Birdflesh who have never really blown me away on cd but live they had such a fun spirit of stupidity that it was infectious. The pit was even bigger than Ghoul and the band have songs about cats so you can’t go wrong with them.
Cripple Bastards seemed to play forever and were not too exciting but then Gut came on and all hell broke loose. By the end of a couple of songs there were about 4 friends of the band and 3 scantily clad women onstage dancing around and spilling beer. Eventually security chucked a wobbly and kicked them off which of course led to some tough guy attitude which resulted in the security practicing their “restraint” techniques. The gig was stopped for a few minutes but Gut came back on and played a normal set with no hijinks. I love old Gut songs but their new stuff is generally awful so thankfully they only played a few new songs and concentrated on older classics which sounded great and they were better than I expected.
Dead Infection were one of my most anticipated bands and unfortunately I was disappointed as they had a crap, muffled sound and as vocalist Jaro had recently left the guitarist and bassist both sang and they couldn’t come close to his sheer power. Sure they played From The Anatomical Deeps and tons of stuff off their awesome Brain Corrosion album but it really lacked the punch they needed which was a real bummer for me. Malevolent Creation and Zyklon finished the day but they were pretty boring so I sat and watched them to take pressure off my poor feet which were very painful after 2 days of standing (yes I’m a wimp).
This MDF had been a lot less social as later ones which had dozens of Aussies friends as well as plenty of Americans I had befriended in the intervening years however I did enjoy hanging out with the 2 Aussies I found who were Damon Bloodstorm of Corpse Molestation/Bestial Warlust/Cemetery Urn fame and Frog from Sydney perv grinders Volatile. Here is a picture of us with me looking particularly stupid (and me bloated and sweaty). Frog also introduced me to Urban from Regurgitate who was a very nice chap so here’s another happy snap of him and I.
Again I’ll say thanks to Rev Aaron from Return To The Pit for taking killer pics and I encourage everyone to check out his site and his radio show.
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