Maryland Deathfest 2013 Day 2
After a decent sleep I felt somewhat refreshed and ready for day 2 of MDF. Having been to Baltimore five times now I felt completely fine with lounging around my hotel room instead of sightseeing and all I did for most of the day was a bit of food/booze shopping and watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for the 50th time. For some bizarre reason they had cut bits out including the scene where Cameron is staring at the painting of the little girl which I consider quite an important moment for his character. Anyway enough movie bollocks – it’s time for beer and metal! I started the boozing with a Flemish Sour Ale from Monk’s Café which was pretty tasty (note the pile of Bolt Thrower tshirts in the background).
The first band I wanted to see was Ahumado Granujo at 4.30 however some of my beer loving mates had organised a pre-gig piss up at a local pub called The Brewer’s Art which unfortunately didn’t open until 4. I had seen AG in New York a few nights prior so the promise of fancy craft beers won out. I enjoyed their Ozzy Belgian pale but the Resurrection dubbel didn’t really grab me. Sadly I was only there for 45 minutes as I wanted to see Convulse but considering I still had 8 more hours of metal ahead of me it was probably wise that I only had 2 beers.
A quick cab ride later and I was back at Sonar watching recently reformed Finnish death metal legends Convulse who thankfully decided to ignore their rather experimental album Reflections and just play songs from World Without God (plus a newie). They were the first band I watched on one of the new stages and thankfully the sound was excellent. I was about to describe how heavy they were but I’m typing this up at work and am listening to Realm Of Chaos which is the pure essence of heavy so I’m completely distracted. Suffice to say Convulse put on a great show of slightly-less-than-Bolt-Thrower heaviness and it was unfortunate they were on so early and outside in broad daylight. It’s a shame that the freshly reformed Abhorrence weren’t filling the Finnish death metal slot this year as I prefer their songs but I was really glad to have seen Convulse.
Ingrowing were next and so I returned to the tent stage which thankfully was a bit less packed than the previous night and I could actually get near the stage. Damn World Eater just came on so give me a minute or two……OK back to the Czech grind. I was actually dreading seeing a grind band with the shite tent PA but they actually sounded pretty decent which was a surprise. Their set seemed pretty similar to the NYC show I saw a few days earlier and they again covered Napalm Death’s If The Truth Be Known which was certainly fine by me. It was bassist/vocalist Patrik’s birthday so I’m glad they had a decent crowd response.
Benediction received about 20 seconds of my attention as I left to walk to the other venue but I knew I was seeing them twice with Bolt Thrower after MDF so I wasn’t too worried. The walk wasn’t too bad and went past a rather touching memorial to Holocaust victims, as well as a massively neoned tourist area that looked too loud and expensive for my tastes. I hadn’t printed a map so I just played follow the blokes in black with long hair which worked perfectly. Soundstage turned out great and I really liked the stage setup although I found it bizarre that there was a bloke standing in the mens toilets who handed out paper towel and then hassled for tips. Sorry buddy but unless you are shaking or wiping for me then you aren’t getting didly squat. I did the manly thing and avoided his proffered towel and just wiped my hands on my shorts.
Japanese noise grinders Sete Star Sept were on next and played to a decent sized but not huge crowd. Oops I’m listening to War Master now so excuse me…UNLEASHED……UPON……MANKIND!!!!…ok I’m done until the title track. I had just seen SSS twice in Australia recently but they were killer both times and I was happy to catch them again. I think the set was similar to the Aussie one but their songs are pretty short and indistinguishable so who knows. Their sound was excellent and I didn’t see a bad sounding band at Soundstage all weekend which was great.
Once SSS finished I quickly returned to Sonar to catch one of my favourite death doom bands, Evoken! I had seen them the previous year in New York but had missed a song (a third of their set) due to being stuck in the queue so I’m glad I saw all of their set at MDF. Back to the woeful tent and their sound was decent but the bass was a little loud at the expense of the drums. What they played was awesome though and….CENOTAPH!!…..sorry about that….plenty of people were watching which was great. Unsurprisingly there didn’t appear to be a mosh although I have seen MDF crowds mosh to Portal (I would love to know what rhythm they were following) and Confessor so I wouldn’t put anything past them. Evoken finished off with the song Tending The Dire Hatred off their Quietus masterpiece which was a real highlight for me. As man fights man in the epic struggle for survival the warmaster….oops I got distracted again. I bought their latest record from the band after and the singer shook my hand for me having worn my Inverloch shirt which was cool. Such an awesome band and I highly recommend them to everyone.
Righteous Pigs were on next on one of the big stages and I decided to head back to the hotel as I’ve never been a massive fan and needed a rest (I’m getting old). They sounded pretty awful as I walked past and I heard the singer yell something about “getting drunk and fucking some young thing”. I heard conflicting reports from people who watched them and they were either awesome or crap. The strangest part of the night was that on the walk back to the hotel I heard my name called and just happened to be passing my mate Jon from Canberra who now lives in the US who was on his way to a Coliseum gig at Sidebar. What are the bloody chances of that!?!? Very odd but it was good to see him.
After a bit of a break I trundled back down the blasted hill and joined the massive crowd to watch Carcass. Apparently there was ample shoving and pushing nearer to the stage but I know what they look like so I watched them from the side where they sounded quite OK. It was also closer to the hotdog and beer stands so I was all set. I had seen Carcass on their last Australian tour in 2008 and they played pretty much the same set with no new songs. This was a shame but I understand their desire to not have crappy mobile phone footage of new songs released before the new album. When it comes to Carcass I am strictly a Symphonies of Sickness man and consider Necroticism to be “new” Carcass (even though it’s 22 years old). I enjoy having bitchy conversations with Necroticism fans however I will admit those “new” songs do sound pretty killer live which was a good thing as they played about 1.5 Symphonies songs and nearly the whole of Necroticism! Heartwork was also heavily favoured including Carnal Forge which I really like. Uh oh the song ..For Victory just came on and I can’t remember a single Carcass riff and just want to headbang at my desk!! Killer solo to massive heavy riff ARGH!!! We will remember them!!! OK I’m back. My acquaintance with a power generator on a trailer began during Carcass and my poor feet were happy that I found a seat. I also managed to run into my mate Chad who was the lucky guy who got robbed near MDF last year but thankfully he remained unmolested at that point. Carcass were bloody awesome but I was hoping for a slightly different setlist and I think my dream that one day they’ll tour playing all of Symphonies is about as likely as me ever fitting into any of my old thrash shirts.
The crowd dispersed fairly quickly which meant there was some space in the tent for Pelican who were closing the Sonar location. I had planned on staying to watch them as I’d seen Rotten Sound a couple of times recently however the sound quality was so dreadful that I watched about 5 mins and then shuffled over to Soundstage and caught some of the Finns. They sounded pretty great but I can never watch Rotten Sound and not think of the first MDF I went to where they had the heaviest sound, were super tight and really blew me away. They haven’t changed too much but the last couple of albums haven’t done too much for me. The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy it though. Between bands I had another “small world” incident as I got chatting with a woman trying to sell MDF skateboard decks who heard my accent and then asked if I knew a Melbourne woman she met last year who turned out to be my good friend Kait.
Tragedy closed the night and starting off with Beginning Of The End unsurprisingly garnered a good mosh. Their bass player has the toughest voice! During their set I stepped into the gents for the usual reasons and was disappointed that the paper towel guy had left and I didn’t get to ignore him a second time. In fact I must have been back in there a few times over the weekend and I can’t remember seeing him again. Maybe he was an unofficial toilet loiterer and got turfed by management. Hmm I suppose I should talk more about the band as they were great. Ahh bugger it I’ve run out of Bolt Thrower to listen to and I couldn’t be arsed staying at work any longer.
Day 2 finished and I walked with an Aussie mate back to his hotel as I was supposed to hook up and drink beer with some American friends there but after 20 mins of sitting chatting with him I figured they piked on me and walked back to my hotel to snore the night away.
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