Blood Shed Productions at The Oddfellows Hall! Before we get into the bands, let's touch on the setup and environment a bit. A few dozen people were constant for the attendance, peaking during the last few Blood Shed artists surprisingly, but the crowd was active and energetic throughout! Merchandise tables were set up to purchase demos from the label and (oddly enough) pet rocks for $2 a piece (I wonder how many sold?) Solid setup for audio and lights, but a constant issue was quiet microphones, though everything was audible when need be. The day's opening act was Brutaly Fatal, the one man death metal project from Blood Shed collaborator Austin McCrea (complete with Jason mask), who played a short 4 song set, including 3 originals & a Rolling Stones cover. Compared to his studio output, he seemed a bit shakier (his vocals often seemed to fade and stutter), but he does have bass skill, and I hope he gains more confidence for future sets!
Project Legion's second live set! No, their name didn't change, the Facebook page name changes appear to have been in jest. James started off with a solo folk/acoustic set with him on guitar, before welcoming Project Legion bandmate Chase Wigmore and guest drummers Johnny Belanger and Mike Haggith (both in place of recent temporary drummer Daniel Horton) for heavier funk/alternative songs that definitely got the crowd going! James' solo material is a fun change of pace as usual, and hearing his songs fleshed out is always a welcome sight! Heavy, creative, and easy to rock along with! The Project Legion set saw the same performers play a shorter set of originals that were most distinguished in that Chase shared vocal duties, and their original material was a bit more aggressive. Their set was short with no song introductions, so I had no time to get a video after snapping pictures, but hopefully we'll see them back on stage soon to get a larger bead on them!
Chase Wigmore playing a solo set that was, though very different from Project Legion, well received on it's own! After a short book recitation, he sang and played acoustic guitar to assorted unplugged originals that covered many genres, with jazz, funk, and folk influences, and a few evil vocal passages for good measure. Much like James Watterworth, Chase is hard to pin down musically, but he shown a lot of vocal creativity, interesting mannerisms, and a nice command of the crowd that even got some people dancing! Very solid set, if a shift from the rest of the night, but hopefully Chase keeps up this unique material in future gigs!
Also to note, there were a few impromptu guest performances between some of the middle sets, including drum solos from Pillory's Bret Shuttleworth (who nailed "Painkiller") and former Stillbroke mainstay Sam DeDominicis (nice to see him back in town), along with a surprise cover of Lamb of God's "Laid To Rest" by The Bear Hunters' Mitch Sirie and Johnny Belanger, and.... me? I did provide vocals on said cover, and much to my surprise, people liked it, so thanks to everyone for the kind words!
The second half of the concert began with two Blood Shed Productions grind projects, those being porngrind duo Rotopsy and goregrind solo act Crucify The Whore! In their live forms, both projects have a drum machine to handle percussion, and while Rotopsy featured singer Dylan Taylor and bassist/backing vocalist Ringsnaps Gibson, C.T.W. featured Ringsnaps on vocals and guitar only. Musically, both projects are fairly similar, and the pig squeal vocals will remain an acquired taste for many, but I will admit that in both cases, Ringsnaps' projects sound a lot better live! There's more spontaneity, aggression, and a fuller sound all around, compared to the somewhat emptier studio material, and in a live setting, these songs come through a lot better and incited some good moshing! I will say that I'd like to hear Dylan growl more complicated stuff beyond scattered single growls, and stage presences could be loosened a bit, but if both Rotopsy and Crucify the Whore can translate their live energy and heaviness to studio (or get a full live band going), they'll rise even faster! Kudos for doing what you want your way!
Crimson Crusade, who put in another brutal and entertaining set for fans! Essentially an expanded variant of their Echo Bay set, they debuted a new original named "Beyond This God" and a new cover of Lamb of God's "Blood of the Scribe", joining established originals like "Pillage" and their fan favourite Death covers. The new tracks were well done, and I like how "Beyond This God" turned out, so we'll have to see where things go in coming concerts! The guys were on form from previous shows, especially concerning Robert Sartini's very nice lead guitar work, but Devon Lucier's stage presence often seemed disconnected from the other band members, and I'd like to see him move around and engage more with them. Still, Crimson Crusade devastated once again, and the fans responded in kind, so hopefully they keep this up going forward and continue on an upward path!
And lastly, your headliners for the evening were fellow death metal quartet The Bear Hunters, who brutalized themselves to cap off the festivities! Playing mostly the same set as from Echo Bay too (though oddly missing "Deception" from the setlist), The Bear Hunters were up to their usual tricks, and new songs "I Fear No God" and "Transcend Judgement" definitely left a good impression on attendees! Mitch Sirie's 8 string guitar was on full display too (as was his and Johnny Belanger's bear blood), and Justin Lam's bass skill as as great as ever, so fans of the music had nothing to worry about! The absence of a rhythm guitarist is still present, but it's slowly becoming less of an issue the more comfortable they get without Josh in town. If anything, the big issue was Nik Deubel's vocal audibility, as though while his growling was fine, he was hard to hear for much of their set, but that was a recurring issue throughout the night, so I won't pass judgement. Very solid and trypically brutal set from The Bear Hunters, and don't miss them next at Viva La Battle!
Overall, this show actually exceeded my expectations going in, and it's nice to see the Blood Shed Productions artists put in entertaining sets despite minimal lineups! Posts on the Facebook event page indicate that the label and promoter Tyler St. Amour hope to promote more concerts (one headlined by Thekillingfield was teased), and it would be cool to see them get into the full promoting game locally and help fill Dismembertainment's void! We'll see what happens, but for now, click here for photos of each official performing band on Wednesday (or see them at our Facebook page), and as for videos? I got 6 (Project Legion's set was too short, and Chase didn't play a full solo "metal" track), so here's Brutaly Fatal covering The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" and playing the original "Drowning In Poison", James Watterworth (with Chase Wigmore & Mike Haggith) playing "I'm Gonna Love You", Rotopsy playing "Let Us Rot" and a new yet-untitled track, Crucify The Whore playing "Bunk Shake & Headache" and "Braindead Baby Blender", Crimson Crusade playing "Consumed", and The Bear Hunters playing their new song "I Fear No God"!
That's all for now, but stay tuned for a new news post either tonight or tomorrow, along with this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post tomorrow as well! Thanks everyone!