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By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 @ 2:08 PM

At Fitzgerald’s

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Review By Michael Warner

THIS SHOW WAS INSANE! I just thought I should start off with that to illustrate my point. This was by far, not only the craziest, but the BEST show I have been to in Houston since I moved here in the end of 2013.

This show was not just a part of the advertised tour. You see, two good fellow promoter friends of mine, Jaron Sayers and Juan Newton, combined this show with a bunch of others for a yearly festival here in Houston called Badass Weekend.

This year was the biggest year for it. Downstairs in this venue, TERRORIZER (yes, the legendary grindcore band), PLF and NAUSEA were also playing. And to top it off, one ticket got you into BOTH THE DOWNSTAIRS AND UPSTAIRS SHOW! AND IT WAS SOLD OUT COMPLETELY! This review however, is going to cover the upstairs portion of the show.

Unfortunately, because of the entire 290 highway being closed, as well as because of the rain. I missed BLACK CROWN INITIATE. I did see them last year at the House of Blues opening for BEHEMOTH, and although the band was talented, they weren’t really my cup of tea.

So, when I got to the venue, PHOBIA started playing almost right after I got upstairs. The place was still filling up at this time (lots of people were still trekking over from a day show headlined by DECEASED), so even though there was a big crowd, it was not going to be as crazy as the rest of the night. PHOBIA played a blistering, brutal set. I have seen the group more than once before this, and I have to say that this time around was the best set I have seen them play. I am assuming this is because, unlike the other times I had the opportunity to see the group, it was in smaller places where the sound was not as good as at Fitzgeralds. The band was well received, the crowd enjoyed them, and the band seemed to be having a lot of fun.

IRON REAGAN. This is the part of the night where not only did the crowd start to get really big, but at this point onward, the night erupted in total violent, moshing mayhem. IRON REAGAN had the crowd on their feet pretty much from the minute they hit the stage, and the entire time the crowd was moshing and stage diving (not easy to do here). This band is fantastic, and although some people like to write them off because of their ties to MUNICIPAL WASTE, I like this band way more. The band even did two covers. With one, Matt from EXHUMED joined them on stage, and with the other, Barney from NAPALM DEATH did (who had his arm in a sling, more on that later).

EXHUMED is a Houston regular. This band has played here tons of times. And it is easy to see why they would. Their fans here are fanatics. The people watching them were just as crazy as when IRON REAGAN was playing. Moshing and stagediving. And the band was up to their usual gore-metal antics, which included the lunatic with the chainsaw coming up on stage and running around.

VOIVOD was the odd-man out of these bands. By no means is that a bad thing. But the band had a set that had some of their shorter, thrashier songs and some of their more progressive, longer songs. So, watching the crowd itself was interesting. During the shorter songs, it was the same as with the previous two bands; lots of moshing and violence. But during the more progressive songs, the audience was more still, intently listening to the music. They never lost them though. The crowd was crazy for them too, and they were met with extremely loud applause after every song they played. By the time they were done playing their set, the audience was shouting for more songs, even though TERRORIZER was playing downstairs near the end of their set. On a personal note, it was GREAT being able to see this band. This was a band I thought I would never be able to see live, especially after their original guitar player Piggy died. This band was my highlight for the night.

NAPALM DEATH was the craziest show of the night though. By the time they took the stage, TERRORIZER was done playing downstairs, and so everyone from there migrated up to the main room. The already packed audience became uncomfortable. No one seemed to mind though, because everyone was still partying, still drinking and partying.

NAPALM DEATH had two things noticeable about them right before they played. Barney’s arm was broken and in a sling. And they did not have their long-time guitar player. Those two things were certainly noticeable and had some of the audience commenting.

Any doubts though were laid to waste and decimated once they played though. NAPALM’s set was brutal, and as violent as the audience was earlier in the night, they ERUPTED and complete and total chaos ensued (I had a few bruises and a small, bloody scab on my hand to show for that the next day). And they played all of the songs everyone wanted to hear. And they even delved into the early, grindcore material from before most of the members of the band were even a part of NAPALM DEATH.

By the time it was all said and done, I was covered in sweat and booze that was spilled on me, was sore, my throat was hoarse, and I was absolutely worn out. But, it was the most fun I have ever had in Houston.

Serious Kudos to Sally Pena (Headbanger Photographs) for being able to pull off the shots you see below this review. How in the hell she was able to do this with all of the chaos is a mystery to me because I could barely stand in one place.

Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Sally Pena (Headbanger Photographs)

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