Last night, the sludgy black/death metal band Goatwhore came to Omaha, playing with a number of local bands. The venue was the Lookout Lounge, a small dive bar tucked away in a corner of a strip mall near one of the busiest intersections in the city. Apparently it is an often-used venue for local metal bands and some of the more underground bands to come to the area. I will have to keep an eye out for more shows there. Four local bands opened up for Goatwhore: Drowning in the Platte, Exit Sanity, Orpheus, and Autopsick. Many of them have strong local support. It was the first time I had heard of any of them, but they all impressed me to varying degrees.
Drowning in the Platte is a two-person death/grind band from Columbus, Nebraska, a city about half an hour south of me. The members are brothers and they originally had a bass player, but now exist with just two members. They had a fairly short set, but had some decent songs, and I like the layered vocals between the two members, similar to Deicide. Still though, it was missing the bottom end a bit.
Omaha's Exit Sanity was probably the biggest surprise of the night. They had some terrific, catchy songs and their vocalist sounded like a cross between Phil Anselmo and Kirk Windstein of Crowbar. Musically, the band blends a number of different styles together: some hard rock, sludge and groove metal elements. On top of everything, they were there just to have a good time, and certainly looked like it. The singer (and probably other members, we could not see well) was tossing back beer between songs and bantering with the crowd. My wife and I were both very impressed with this band.
Orpheus took the stage next. The local band played a combination of thrash and death metal with some aggressive riffs and shrieking vocals. Where Drowning in the Platte was completely bereft of a bass guitar, Orpheus was notable for having their bassist stand out throughout their set. And he was very impressive, though I am not sure that the sound was supposed to work out quite that way.
Autopsick was the last of the local bands to take the stage and their sound was rooted in old school death metal bands such as Immolation, Incantation, and Morbid Angel. They were probably the most polished of the local bands, though based on some admittedly minor research, I am not sure that is really based on anything more than my own impressions from last night. They did seem to have a bit of a local following. I even saw some people come in wearing Autopsick t-shirts. Apparently the band used to be known as Rotting Malignancy, which was more of a brutal death/slam band, and I now want to find more information about that inactive band.
Finally, the headliners arrived and delivered a blistering set. Goatwhore has been one of my favorite bands for several years now. Their music is fast, intense, and aggressive, with very little room for anything close to resembling melody or softness. Between the grooving black/death metal riffs of Sammy Duet, and the rasping shriek of Ben Falgoust, the band's strengths were on full display. The small, dirty, dank venue matched the band's own raw and filthy sound perfectly. They played for a little more than an hour and their set spanned their entire catalog, even closing with a song from early on in their history, when they did tend to have a bit more of a melodic sensibility and used some clean singing. It was a terrific show for the band and reinforced their standing as one of my current favorite bands.
There was originally some concern about going to this concert. I had a lot of major hearings scheduled for the week and was not sure I was going to be able to attend this one. After a few of the hearings dropped out, it became more likely that I was going to be able to go. My wife was mostly concerned about some bad reviews she read about the bar, but it turned out that we both actually liked the place. We will be keeping an eye out for shows there in the future. And I can now say that I have seen Goatwhore in concert. My wife even enjoyed them a bit more than she thought she would.