Eyehategod, The Obsessed and more at 89th St. Collective (2019)
89th St. Collective (Oklahoma City, OK, USA)
Eyehategod, The Obsessed, Self Inflicted
April 1, 2019
The tour is billed… "4 Strikes…From The Elementary To The Penitentiary" and features EYEHATEGOD, THE OBSESSED and local support. It really is quite the powerhouse lineup, and a chance to see these bands in a small, intimate venue like 89th St. is an opportunity not to be squandered. If you really think about it, its a wonder the old building that houses the 89th St. Collective is still standing after this show. From the pure blunt force that is EYEHATEGOD to the precision sonic assault of THE OBSESSED, the structure certainly absorbed its share of trauma on that night. Even the local act, SELF INFLICTED did their absolute best to crack the foundation.
Having seen/reviewed EYEHATEGOD their last trip through OKC (supporting BLACK LABEL SOCIETY), I was excited to have an opportunity to see them in a headlining role. I wasn't left even slightly disappointed. Okay, well maybe a bit disappointed. Unfortunately the house sound system couldn't get vocalist Mike Williams' vocals high enough in the mix. The rest of the band's sound simply nullified his vocals. The show must go on, and as Williams indicated, "we'll make do". They certainly did. Their set simply raged in pure punkish glory, with Williams screaming his vocals from the lip of the stage, undeterred by the technical difficulties, or perhaps just determined to overcome them. Guitarist Jimmy Bower delivered riff after riff and lick after lick.
Williams and Bower certainly garner the majority of the spotlight, but the contributions of bassist Gary Mader and drummer Aaron Hill must not be overlooked. The band is really tight, and come loaded for bear each and every night. "Lack of Almost Everything", "Jack Ass in the Will of God", "Parish Motel Sickness", "Shoplift", "Sister Fucker Pt 1&2" and "New Orleans is the New Vietnam" were all present in the setlist and delivered with William's trademark ferocity. Even with the issues with the vocals, this was a much stronger performance than their previous stop in town. Here's hoping that EHG will put together a new album of material soon.
THE OBSESSED could certainly be headlining their own tour if they wanted too. Scott 'Wino' Weinrich is as much a master of Doom riffage as anyone. There's a handful of guitar legends in Doom metal that stand out for their ingenuity and innovation in the genre. Pike, Scheidt, Wino and Bower are pretty much the top of the heap for me. The opportunity to see Weinrich and Bower perform back to back on the same stage was simply too much to resist. When I earlier said THE OBSESSED utilized precision strikes, I meant it. The band is simply a well oiled machine.
With Wino leading the charge, Reid Raley on bass and on Brian Cosantino drums powered through a jaw dropping setlist that included songs from 2017's Relapse Records release "Sacred " as well as some deeper and older classics. "Climate of Despair", "The Way She Fly", "Sacred", "To Protect and Serve" and "Neatz Brigade" were all highlights. Wino's style of playing runs from the rudimentary basics of a simple riff to mesmerizing technical runs that he seems to easily accomplish. Seeing him do it so close and in person is both inspiring and discouraging for an amateur hack guitarist such as myself. My next goal is to catch one of Weinrich's shows highlighting his acoustic approach. As it was with EHG, the vocal mix seemed a bit low, but Weinrich's guitar was absolutely front and center in the mix, and he and band unquestionably put on one of my favorite sets of music this year.
Local support for the show was SELF INFLICTED, and these boys did themselves really proud. They without question held their own and seemed to have impressed the main acts as well as the packed audience. Throughout each set it was commonplace to have members of the other bands sidestage checking out the competition so to speak. Following SELF INFLICTED's enjoyable set, I was able to catch Wino providing accolades to guitarist Phil Wriker for his playing. SELF INFLICTED were a nice surprise, and as well as they played, I'm disappointed in myself for not having heard them before.
The band includes the epically bearded Keith McCormick front and center on bass and vocals, Alex McCormick on the drums, Chris Kaufman on guitar and the aforementioned Wriker anchoring stage right guitar. Musically I was really intrigued by these guys. There was more substance to them than just your usual up and coming band that tries to rely too heavily on soul crushing riffs. The closing instrumental was really memorable for me, with a bluesy almost psychedelic feel that I have no doubt could have explored some more territory had their time not been up. Definitely a band to keep an eye on. Check out their self released album "Sweet Taste of Emptiness" for more.
Besides the vocal issues, the only complaint I have is the same one I usually have at 89th St. and that's the lighting. The room is really dark and stage is typically bathed in a all encompassing red light. Perhaps most in the crowd like the mood it sets for the tunes. But for a photographer, it provides environment to capture photos. It seems that the venue recently added some new lighting and I was hopeful that they would be in use. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I suppose there's always next time. Ultimately though, the staff at 89th St. continues to book these ridiculously good shows and treats the audience incredibly well. So despite my selfish complaints, that's all that really matters in the end.