LIVE REVIEW: BLACK BREATH, MARTYRDOD, THE SECRET, BURNING LOVE, AND ENABLER AT RADIO IN BOSTON, JULY 5, 2012
Boston has no shortage of music venues; there’s O’Brien’s, Great Scott, and The Paradise, to name a few. There’s been a rising star among the contenders as of late, however, and that venue is known as Radio. A narrow room covered in red brocade wallpaper with a low stage greeting you upon entry, Radio has been host to a number of fantastic shows in the area starting the moment they opened their doors. Even with the venues encouraging start, it was made apparent right quick that the show featuring Southern Lord heavyweights Black Breath was easily going to be one of the biggest drawing events the venue had seen to date.
The place was packed well before the opener took the stage. Unfortunately, however, Radio did not seem as equipped just yet for such a crowd in the air conditioning department, as the sweltering 90 + degree day seemed to only worsen in the thick of things inside. No matter – this crowd is used to sweaty, smelly events. Enabler soon took the stage, delivering a hefty dose of sludge soaked hardcore. They were definitely a fun band to watch; bassist Amanda Daniels had no qualms about kicking off her moccasins before the first chord was struck, and drummer Andy Hurley (interestingly enough, a member of Fall Out Boy) assaulted his kit like it was the last time he’d ever see the damn thing. Absolutely a band you want to keep an eye out for if you’re into punk/hardcore crossover stuff.
With the audience even more drenched in sweat, Burning Love took that stage. Now that is a fun band. I had heard enough about them to warrant my full and utmost attention, and I’m glad I paid them that much of it. Vocalist Chris Colohan owned the stage as soon as he took to it, with each member vying for a chance to do the same. Not to say the band was all vocals and no heart in other departments – just that Colohan was clearly cut out for the gig of frontman. His antics entranced the crowd easily and kept all of us wanting more.
Then, it was time for The Secret. I had a bit of time to get to know these guys in the weeks leading up to the show while they were recording their upcoming album, so it was refreshing, though not at all surprising, that my new Italian friends damn near stole the show. Vocalist Marco Coslovich addressed the audience in an almost passive way – violent and untamed, though slightly unsettled, unnerved. His, as well as his band members’ performance was fitting of the sounds they churned out; black metal riddled grind with a hardcore attitude. The crowd, growing larger and smellier by the moment, ate it up feverishly. It was clear that The Secret had won over at least a handful sweat-drenched New England hearts.
Martyrdöd was up next, and like most in attendance, I anxiously awaited their reign over Radio. Donning an English Dogs shirt frontman Mikael Kjellman took to the mic with vigor, attacking with incessant barks as crusty death metal riffs filled the room. I had been hearing time after time how this band was supposed to be “crusty black metal” and of course, that description was music to my ears. However as they played, I felt more like they fit under the “true Swedish Death Metal” spectrum. Either way, I was pleased. With a third of the crowd donning Entombed shirts (myself included… heh), I don’t think anyone was left disappointed. In fact, there were a number of people who had never heard mention of the greatness that is Martyrdöd who then left singing their praises. Truth be told, I felt their performance could have been a bit more raucous considering the bands they were playing with, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed with what I saw and heard. At this point, each attendee was coated in a sheen of sweat and the venue, well… reeked. No rest for the wicked, though, and no salvation from the smelly, either. Black Breath was about to take the stage.
Black Breath has a great reputation in Boston – the last time they played just over a year ago was another show that was not to be missed, though wasn’t quite as packed as it was this time around. Surely the overwhelmingly positive response that their new release Sentenced to Life factored into the overwhelming attendance, a point made even clearer when just about everyone in sight seemed to scream back word for word “Feast of the Damned” off of the album, right out of the gate. At this point a circle pit formed at the front, commanded by vocalist Neil McAdams; arms were flailing, beer was spilling, sweat was spraying, and all that wholesome stuff. The entire band gave 110% and it was not at all lost on the crowd. I think as a whole we were all just so happy to have Black Breath back on our turf, so much so that one would think we had all gotten together prior to the show to rehearse shouting each lyric back at the stage for the entirety of the performance.
Then of course a fight broke out. Not between two people, not three; I can’t really say how many exactly but it looked to me like six. As the fists were flying and their owners were being shoved out the door, the band paused for a second, only to pick back up and finish their set as if nothing had happened at all.
All in all, this was one of the most enjoyable show experiences I’ve had in a while, and from what I gathered after the fact, I’m not alone in that. If you catch the Southern Lord tour storming through your neck of the woods, I’d absolutely encourage you to check it out.