Show Reviews


  • Corey Mitchell


I am old and married to a kindergarten teacher, therefore, I can only go to concerts during the sweltering months of summer.

This is my summer vacation (Part II).

WHERE: The Ten Eleven – San Antonio, Texas
WHEN: June 10, 2011

After the previous night’s cockrocktravaganza (AKA Mötley Crüe), I needed something to get me grounded again. Nothing like a solo trip to a seedy bar in the seedier side of San Antonio to check out two seedy-ass noisy bands which have graced my Bleeders’ Digest lists this year. I dug both KEN mode’s Venerable and Deafheaven’s Roads to Judah, but the definitive nod must be given to the former for sheer testicle obliteration. As a result, I was stoked to catch Deafheaven first, followed by KEN mode. Weird line-up as the former tends to fall into the USBM category while the latter can best be pitted in the Quicksand and Poison The Well’s sandboxes.

I arrived at The Ten Eleven, after parking about a quarter-mile away, and walked into a tiny pit of a joint. I knew I was in for something special, especially when I noticed the room was simply one giant red box with a pseudo divider wall that separated the bar side from the live music side. Weird set-up, but definitely different. I’m not much of a drinker, so let’s just say my choices for non-musical entertainment were severely limited. No worries, I was there to listen to two exciting bands – Deafheaven at 10:00 p.m. and KEN mode at 11:00 p.m. This was perfect as it would allow me to catch both bands and then head over to my friend Roland Fuentes’ new club, Nightrocker Live, and catch the Jason McMaster-led Broken Teeth starting around 12:30 a.m. As is often the case with live music in a non-arena setting, my plans were soon fucked.

There was a set-times sheet up at the register at the front of the bar. The first thing I noticed about it was that the price had dropped from $10 $8 $6. The second thing I noticed was that Deafheaven and KEN mode’s playing order had been switched with Deafheaven now the new headliner. Not sure if this was a band choice or a club choice, but either way I was ecstatic that I was definitely going to see KEN mode.


Up first, however, was a San Antonio crust punk/black metal/doom band called Ecocide. I am a big fan of KEN mode’s labelmates SubRosa with their female violinists and vocalist, so I was obviously intrigued by this five-piece which features a tiny violin-playing hellion named Heather Heidi (Thanks, Van D.) who has a banshee scream that could upset Dani Filth’s constitution. Check out this iPhone video I shot of the band. Note – I went outside the back of The Ten Eleven for a breather only to be greeted with sounds from across the river of a Disco/Conjunto-style cover band playing “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” by Barry White.

Cool band. Unfortunately, one of their fans in the audience told me this would be one of their final shows. Too bad, because they rocked the tiny crowd of 30 patrons.

As Ecocide tore down their rigs, I noticed KEN mode main man Jesse Matthewson standing by his band’s merch table. I walked over to say hello and he immediately told me how tired he was. I am not a big fan of entertainers who complain about how hard their work is because I know practically everyone reading this article would gladly switch places. It’s one of the things I’ve learned during the several hundred book signings and media appearances I’ve done while on my numerous book tours — don’t let people know how tired you are. I gave him an encouraging pat on the back and reminded him that the best 45 minutes of his day were soon coming up. That seemed to do the trick.

I was impressed to see the band setting up their own gear and doing it rather quickly. A sign of true professionals at work. Less than 15 minutes later, the trio comprised of Matthewson, his brother, Shane, on drums, and stand-by bassist Jahmeed Russell (filling in for Thérèse Lanz who replaced Chad Tremblay…phew!), took to the tiny stage packed with Orange amps, red walls, and fronted by 20 black T-shirts (as in a very small crowd).

First and foremost I must say, it was FUCKING LOUD!!! Seriously, it was louder than Mötley Crüe the night before, where I had a fourth row/front row seat. Here’s my iPhone footage of the eardrum testing sound of the band cranking out “Obeying the Iron Will” off Venerable:

Despite the tiny stage and the tiny crowd, KEN mode came out rocking the joint as if they were playing to 20,000 people, unlike Mötley Crüe the previous night. And also despite being in the business for more than a decade, these guys still seem hungry. Their intense sound and full-throttle fury won me over instantly, even if my ears were bleeding. I was unfamiliar with the band before Venerable, so I had no idea what the songs off their first three albums sounded like, or if they even played them. All I know is that they rocked balls hard and will continue to be on my radar (and get my full support) as long as they keep releasing new material and hitting the road.

After KEN mode left the stage, a few more people left the club, leaving an audience of about 15 for Deafheaven. I usually love shows with tiny crowds — I’ve seen Metallica, Pantera, Anthrax, Soundgarden, Faith No More, Primus, Nine Inch Nails, Sepultura, Enslaved, 1349, etc. – with gatherings of less than 20 people and nothing is better — but I was conflicted. Even though I bestowed the Bleeder tag on Deafheaven’s debut release, Roads to Judah, I was not blown away by it. I decided, instead, to head over to Nightrocker Live and check out my long-time friend and metal music legend Jason McMaster and his band Broken Teeth.


WHERE: Nightrocker Live – San Antonio, Texas
WHEN: June 11, 2011



I have never seen Broken Teeth live before, so I was really looking forward to it, even though I was Old Man Exhausted and seemingly deaf after KEN mode. Roland’s club looked cozy and comfortable and I was happy to catch up with Jason momentarily as he was setting up gear. Unfortunately, they were having some serious side monitor issues and were more than 30 minutes behind schedule. As a result, I only got to catch a couple of songs that fell somewhere in the realm of AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Electric-era The Cult. Good stuff, but it was too late for this Old Fart. I had to bail as I was planning on driving to Austin to catch Rush the following night.

Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes in the real world. Made the wrong choice and ended up missing out on two bands I really wanted to see. At least I was lucky enough to experience KEN mode with a small crowd. Of course, my eardrums were less than pleased. No ear plug preaching, please. Thanks.


© 2011 – All videos and photos by Corey Mitchell

My Summer Vacation – Part I: Mötley Crüe, Poison, and New York Dolls


Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is currently helping Philip H. Anselmo write his autobiography.

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