Lunatic's Serenade

Facebook Twitter Google

Ne Obliviscaris/Butcher Babies
Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto
Sunday March 6th

Concertgoers can be separated into two different groups. Those who get there early enough to catch the opening act and those who are fools. I never understood the mindset of people that would say, “I’m just there to see ‘so and so’.” But I’m also the kind of guy that when I go out for a meal, I want an appetizer before my main course. And hell, I always leave room for coffee and dessert, because that is dining out. But I can understand the multitude of reasons to forego that appetizer and ignore that tantalizing dessert menu; I mean it can get quite expensive. The difference here is that concert ticket is the same price whether you are just there for the meat and potatoes or you’re gorging on the full course dinner. And I want to get my money’s worth. Spoiler alert, this tour gives audiences their money’s worth.

So while this show started slightly earlier than what shows usually start at, I made sure to get there in enough time to check out the opening act, Ne Obliviscaris, which is just as hard to pronounce as it is to spell. And upon first look at the concert shirts in the merch booth, I wondered if it was ‘lorem ipsum’ but with a little digging, I realized it is, in fact, Latin. Ne Obliviscaris (Forget not) opened the show with great sound and great stage presence. The six-piece group from Melbourne, Australia is a melting pot of styles. With two singers, one growling death metal while the other projecting melodic vocals, this is a solid progressive metal style fused by some well rounded musicians. And let’s throw into the mix, the one singer, playing fiddle throughout the set as well - and not in some gimmicky kind of way either. This fiddle playing fit perfectly, complimenting the rest of the sound and it was integral throughout most of the set. In fact, the next time the Devil wants to go down to Georgia, he might want to bring Ne Obliviscaris with him.

I had the chance to chat with the drummer of Ne Obliviscaris, Dan Presland. We chatted about this not only being the first time they played Toronto, but this being their first North American Tour to boot. The audiences have been very receptive to their sound and very welcoming this new group. Of course ‘new’ is relative, since the group has been around for 11 years, but AC/DC slayed Australia long before they came to North America. But this won’t be there last tour here, so check them out on Facebook and iTunes and when they come through your area, get out and show some support.

Speaking of showing up in time to catch the first act, it’s because of that mantra that I first learned about the next group on the bill, Butcher Babies. They opened for Marilyn Manson a few years back but having gotten there in time to see this group I never heard of, I left that night not only knowing they stole the show, but also becoming a huge fan. Many years later, I’m still a huge fan and have proudly seen them multiple times. With some groups, by the fourth or fifth time seeing them in such a short amount of time, it starts to get a little repetitive and stale, but not with Butcher Babies as they continue to consistently steal the show with high octane, raw energy and in-your-face attitudes. And humor. Yup, the worst thing a band can do is take themselves too seriously. Think of some of the greats (and my favorites) like Tool. They are the most serious and talented of musicians, but Maynard’s bizarre humor shines through in their work as well; same with Rammstein and Type O Negative. These heavy weights understand the concept of fun and Butcher Babies are about having that same fun.

“Spoiler alert, this tour gives audiences their money’s worth.”

Even during this particular set, which was actually plagued by a faulty sound system during the first few songs, Butcher Babies used their raw energy and fun party personalities to make what would otherwise throw lesser bands off their game, a null and void issue. And that is not just because of Heidi and Carla’s enticing command of the audience, it’s because Henry, Chris and Jason are solid musicians that work flawlessly together. While Heidi and Carla deserve and demand so much attention, make no mistake about it, this band is as good as it is because of all five members. If one was missing, I don’t think the same sound and energy would be there. So yes, while the sound guy at this show deserved a punch in the back of head, Butcher Babies didn’t let it slow them down. If anything it got their blood pumping and made for an even rowdier show.

Heidi emerged from the darkness surrounding the stage, chanting “There’s blood everywhere,” sending the band into their opening song ‘National Bloody Anthem’ (from their first EP) which went straight into the high energy ‘Blonde Girls All Look The Same.’ Add the usual suspects from their albums ‘Goliath’ and ‘Take It Like A Man’ and you have one helluva show. Add to that, their classic song ‘Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine’ which gave the audience a chance to crowd surf to the front and shake Heidi’s hand. Of course she did not “encourage” this and of course she did not “tell people to do this” but let’s just say the ‘implication’ was there. (Remember what I said earlier about a band having fun and not taking themselves too seriously.) The song was followed, and rightly so, by Heidi leading everyone in a round of applause for the Security team. What nonmetal fans don’t realize when they see a metal crowd is we have each other’s backs. We want to have a good time, not get hurt.

So my hat goes off to Henry, Carla, Jason, Chris and Heidi, the hardest working band out there who give so much of themselves to their fans. For the life of me, I will never know why some people hate on this band. Oh wait; yes I do, because narcissistic people have a soapbox to stand on to offer opinions and feel important by striking down those that do what they don’t. Sure, I give opinions on here as well, but I use this opportunity to praise and spread the word of great work. I want to let metal fans know what’s good out there. But to all the ‘haters’ that use the Internet to try to bring down the hard work of this band, I offer this quote from a kid’s movie. That’s right, dialogue from a children’s film is most fitting for the haters of the Internet: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the ‘new’. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”

Butcher Babies is one of the best new bands to come out of the woodwork and we are lucky to have them. Their energy, talent and work ethic is beyond reproach and they steal every show they do. Next time they come to your town, go.

I will return with part 2 of this review… The Headliner – Cradle of Filth.

Ryan M. Andrews, HMS

Back to Lunatic's Serenade Menu