When Eyehategod had to postpone their tour with Discharge this summer due to Mike IX William's health issues, the band enlisted long time friend Phil Anselmo to cover for him during a couple of gigs. They were eventually able to reschedule their tour for the fall, but William's health has continued to keep him off the road, so for this round EHG grabbed Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe. When the band announced the updated line up on their social media pages, there were some questions as to whether or not Blythe would make a good stand in, so we decided to hit the show when it came to Portland and see it for ourselves.
Soon after doors at Dante's, local death crew Blood Freak pounded out a ripping good set filled with old school riffage, and some pretty convincing bellows and roars from their vocalist, who I believe goes by the name of Maniac Neil. Good stuff.
Portland's own Toxic Holocaust took the stage next, and the crowd was full of devoted local fans going apeshit from the first song. This was my first time seeing them live, and I was impressed with their delivery as well as their ability to work a crowd. Frontman and founder Joel Grind cranked out his tunes while almost casually directing the audience to pit it up, and pit it up they did.
The band has the early thrash/hardcore sound nailed, but more importantly their songs are memorable and energetic, and performed flawlessly.
After they ended up their set, the club was packed, sweaty, and ready for Eyehategod.
The New Orleans road dogs set up quickly, and as Randy Blythe took the stage there was a definite vibe of "How is this going to turn out?" in the crowd. Mike Williams, after all, is the voice of EHG to many fans, as guitarist Jimmy Bower is the soul, and his misery inspired words and stage presence are a huge, if not mandatory, part of their recorded and live persona. Without his punk-ish nihilism the band would be a completely different beast. There wasn't any reason to be worried, however, as Blythe managed to channel the aforementioned misery into his own more energetic stage persona, and still was able to sound like Williams without ripping him off completely.
The audience ate it up, and even the rest of the band seemed like they were having a great time watching Blythe lose his shit while they delivered their now classic riffs like a well oiled machine. When they ended their set after a brutal noise breakdown the crowd was still rabid for more. I've seen EHG many times and this was easily one of their better recent shows. Check them out with Randy if you get the chance, and hopefully we will see Mike on the road soon.
British D-Beat legends Discharge were up next, and their high octane speed got the whole place going, chanting along at the top of their lungs.
The band has gone through numerous lineup changes, including a fairly new lead singer, and I had heard some fans talking before the show about their disappointment that original singer Cal wasn't up there, but the current gang did a tremendous job of playing the hell out of some of their classic hardcore punk tunes, as well as some newer ones. The crowd went off along with the band, and the night ended on a loud but good note.
Catch this tour if you can, it's got everything you need if you love losing yourself in extreme music.
Written by Matt Schmahl, Photos by Alyssa Herrman