By Andy O'Connor (TX)
Houston was poppin' over the weekend. Namely, because of the All-Star Game. Flocka was in town, as were Jay-Z, 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Birdman, and a whole host of ballin' luminaries. Of course, much as we get hyped over some quality trap, we (well, just I) hit up Bad Ass Weekend at Walter's on Naylor Street instead. It lived up to the moniker. Lots of quality grind and death metal to be had in Screwston.
In the spirit of the festival, I'm giving y'all bite size reviews of the bands that played.
SHITSTORM: Dudes from Torche -- specifically, drummer Rick Smith and bassist Jon Nunez (who plays guitar in this band) prove they can grind just as well as they can pop. Which is to say, VERY well. Vocalist David Smith was asking for codeine, but gettin' up on that drank would have slowed the grind down. Friday night could have ended with them and everything would have been all cool.
DESPISE YOU: This band looks like they'd get profiled at a bar on Dirty 6th, which is why I love them. When vocalist Chris Elder modestly suggested to get on stage, he soon found himself crowded out. Easily the most turnt band of the fest.
DROPDEAD: Fast and furious, just like you wanted them to be. Bob Otis keeps his rants more concise than Keith Morris. But really, though, can he expect marked change to bloom from this show?
WAR MASTER: Houston's finest in Bolt Thrower worship. Rahi, formerly of Insect Warfare and Hatred Surge, sings for them now, and he couldn't be a better fit. Coulda sworn "Cult of Greed" was played faster, guess to appeal to the punx. I'm not complaining.
TURBOKRIEG: War Master guitarist Benn Gott's project is just a little punkier, little rockier. With a name like that, they have to be. They delivered the goods.
HATRED SURGE: The trio has morphed from a very Despise You-influenced sound to a gnarly brew of doom, hardcore, grindcore, and pure hate. Lotta attempted murder in the front row, including one guy who kept trying to nap on stage. I think I may like them a little more than Mammoth Grinder now.
MAMMOTH GRINDER: Not to say that Mammoth Grinder didn't bang. "Total Extinction" never fails to whip up a mean pit. Wade Allison's hoodie/cap combo defines "mysterious guy hardcore."
CHURCH WHIP: Tumblr punks got it all wrong. Raging punk with a singer that has a questionable sense of balance. Oddly garagey/psychedelic in some places. I'm a total apoligist. [Former Crustcaker Sean Walsh's grindcrushing unit Skullshitter opened for them in NY, and Vice captured it.]
KILL THE CLIENT: Workmanlike, always crushing grind. Champ Morgan could have REALLY made good on his "Hall and Oates cover set" promise, but as long as they used that George Carlin's "a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman" sample, I wouldn't have minded.
IN DEFENCE: Cheap Dimebag jokes can't cover up that you'll never be as good as Pantera. Band is like the musical equivalent of God Bless America's William Hung parody.
FUCK THE FACTS: Canada? More chill than us? With these dudes? Hardly. Die Miserable, we didn't.
P.L.F.: Pretty Little Flower. Pulverizing Lethal Force. Played Lovably Feral. Punching Loquacious Fucks. (Nobody talked that much, I just wanted to use "Loquacious."
CHEST PAIN: Godflesh stomp is never a bad thing, and that helped these dudes play first on the second day. Chris Dorner shirts did seem a bit opportunistic, though.
RAPTUROUS GRIEF: They probably had the nicest gear out of everyone at the fest. Furious grind with a pronounced low end went over well as people were starting to fill in on Friday.
PORKERIA: The lone 956 representative of the weekend. Lots of awkwardness ensured when a replacement guitar couldn't be found immediately, but Chest Pain's Brian Chamblee saved the day.
RUSTED SHUT: Didn't play. Bummer.
Oh, and IS also hit up Screwed Up Records and Tapes at its new location further down on the South Side. The store looked somewhat empty to be honest -- the CDs are kept behind the counter, and the floor just had a few clothing racks and a list of what CDs one could purchase. They really needed a drank fountain. Nevertheless, it was great to finally visit such an institution.