Impaled – Lawrence, KS – September 15th, 2008
The concert took place at The Jackpot in Lawrence, KS on a chilly school night. The first band, playing to a barely filled bar, was Maruta. Maruta is certainly different, seeing as the only members were the vocalist, guitarist, and drummer. No bass player for this grindcore outfit. They ripped through their set but the crowd was unresponsive. Maruta definitely had hardcore influences and incorporated a bit of breakdowns into their music, and the crowd were metal purists tonight. There was absolute silence in between Maruta songs. All in all, though, they accomplished warming up the crowd and kicked off the night to a not-so-bad start.
The second band was Illogicist from Italy. Illogicist absolutely blew me away. The mix was perfect and you could hear each instrument perfectly. Their style of music was Progressive Technical Death Metal. Jaw-dropping talent and solos combined with unexpected tempo changes and odd time signatures made for an outstanding experience to bang your head to, even if the headbanging wasn't always on the beat. Illogicist stole the show.
After that was the beginning of some well-received grindcore. By this time, the Jackpot was packed and the mosh pit was in full force. The band next on the bill was Dallas' “Kill The Client” and they did good ol' fashioned grindcore. The vocalist even went off the stage and into the pit (kind of surprising, the pit was particularly crazy) and did some songs. He called that “doing it house-show style”. No guitar solos from Kill The Client, but they didn't need them. Full of aggression and fueled by the craziness of the pit, they tore through their set and left no head un-banged.
The co-headliner Phobia took the stage and offered up more traditional grindcore songs. A handful of songs lasted no more than a few seconds. Most rarely lasted past the minute mark, but the crowd absolutely loved it. The band had the packed bar eating out of their hands. Some would scream the words into the microphones, some would stage dive and hit the floor, only to get right back up and try it again, and some would put their arms around each other and declare war on every other member of the pit, all the while with huge grins on their faces. With song titles such as “Death To False Punks”, “Beers, Bitches, and Bullet Belts” and “Let's Get Pissed” no one took Phobia seriously which made for more reasons to have fun and headbang.
By the time the headliners Impaled took the stage, there were only about 50 people left in the Jackpot. It was about 11:30 on a Monday night, so I expected as much. Decked out in matching uniforms and washed in the red of Christmas lights and flashing lights, Impaled began their set. The mixing for them was sub-par, though. For some songs, the two-guitarists and the bass blended together and the high-pitched vocalist just sounded like static. The low-guttural vocalist (who was also in Phobia) sounded great all night long, however. Playing intro's to songs via an iPod just resulted in what sounded like more garbled static over the sound system. Impaled deserves a bigger venue and a better sound system. Still, they made due with what they had and gave what they called “the true underground metal warriors” a great set of grind-influenced death metal and humorous medical overtones: “We all know school is important, we did go to school for twelve years”. They ended the night with a particularly crushing performance of their classic “Operating Theater” to end a great night of metal. I just wish it could have been at a place with a better sound system.