Three Inches Of Blood Live In Saskatoon

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Wednesday, June 12, 2002 @ 1:23 PM

Blood, Compromise, etc. Haunt

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That didn't take long for another reasonably "metal" gig to make its way to town. A whole two months of no real concerts this time as opposed to the disturbingly long four or five months I had to wait in between Helix and Fishbone for a real concert...

Anyway, Vancouver's Three Inches Of Blood -- described by MuchMusic's "Loud" host George Stroumboulopulous as being a hybrid of Iron Maiden and The Haunted and also described by another music fan on another music message board as Three Inches Of Penis -- were in Saskatoon on Saturday night with a few local bands and some guests of their from back home and from along the way. The venue was the not-so-spectacular Wah Qua hall located next to a Chinese restaurant and was rented out for an all-ages show, meaning no alcohol on the premises. Straight-edge right up the ass, I thought. The biggest clue that I overlooked was the doorperson marking X's on people's hands with a marker to keep track of people coming and going and some people arriving with the X already on their hands. But $10 for 6 bands sounded like a good price (Supersift were supposed to be on the bill but inexplicably cancelled) and surprisingly nobody went completely Linkin Park on me in the moshpit the whole night. Even cooler was meeting up with fellow KNAC roomie Rob (a.k.a Aries_Veil) for a while as well as with CFCR "Metallurgy" host/DJ Brad and hanging out with them. The "no alcohol" policy still chafed my ass, though. But on to the bands.

Local band Killing Paperboy was the first band to take the stage after an hour's delay with the sound and set-up. Branded as local metal and little else, they managed to live up to what little they had that was promoted about them. The music itself could be classified as a garage band supergroup version consisting of members of Voivod, Morbid Angel and Death. Very energetic but it apparently wasn't enough to get a moshpit going. Half the band needed to share the blame for their rigid stage presence while the lead guitarist desperately needed to be reminded that thrashcore bands do not win recognition from their peers with Vinnie Vincent stage moves that smack of avant-gardeism. Or maybe his guitar wasn't getting a lot of sound reception. Perhaps the latter, seeing as the sound reception often stalled a few of the other bands that night too. Despite all of those minor flaws, the Paperboy delivered right to the door but it's time they opted for a new route for their music. Their dedication deserves it.

After trying to track down some of the members of Killing Paperboy to give them some KNAC stickers via their roadies and members of the other bands that played with them, local hardcore act D.F.A. took the stage with their brand of politico-hardcore. Pretty standard material for a hardcore band but they had the energy, the conviction and the audible vocals to pull it off. "Destined For Assimilation" (hence the band name), "No Respect" and a respectable cover of a classic Left For Dead song whose name escapes me right now went down well with the crowd that night. They too earned their KNAC stickers and then some. Especially since I missed Killing Paperboy before their gig.

Preshure Point out of Edmonton were the only band, in my opinion, to kinda suck. The emo-meets-mallcore-halfway-through-the-climax-of-every-other-song-that-didn't-sound-like-Sum-41-style tunes on "Seventh Day" and "Other Days" were not enough to convert me to their music and watching their lead guitarist leap around the stage like a wannabe John Sykes was pathetically fucking gay. Not as gay as everything associated with a Crowned King live gig but parts of that gig came dangerously close to ranking right up there. Nice save on the guitar switch midway during "Epic" when the adaptor blew and the jack cord game undone. Too bad it was the last song when that happened. Usually when something like this happened to Morally Sound they went on an instrument-trashing orgy of Pete Townsend proportions. This was not the case for Preshure Point as their music lacked balls. And that's why Morally Sound never went emo.

Up next were The Riff Randells, who were billed as "grrl rock" from B.C. and had made a compromise with, um, Compromise, to play before them (sound problems, obviously). Both bands made the right direction as the Randells' peppy hybrid Ramones/Donnas/Shonen Knife sound sandwiched in between the hardcore sounds of Compromise and the Dungeons & Dragons melodic metal of Three Inches Of Blood would've failed dismally. But they came, they played and were good sports about it. And I suspect that the trio's only male bass player and the female drummer have something going on behind the scenes judging by the way they were looking at each other during their performance and it wasn't in the Paul Simonon/Topper Headon way either when they played. Or maybe they were related? Since I've heard Craig Williams play bands that sounded a bit like them, I gave the Randells some KNAC stickers even though the music really wasn't my thing (look, I think Shonen Knife sucks, okay?).

Compromise or "Edmonton's answer to Poison The Well" as they were billed took to the stage after a brief rehearsal/warm-up begged me to ask one question: Wouldn't a band being billed as sounding similar to Poison The Well want to set up and rehearse to the sounds of Poison The Well as opposed to, say, Boston, Harlequin, Guns 'N Roses, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden and Heart? So much for my theory about hardcore bands having nothing but pent-up emotions of sadness, anger and despair. At least I didn't have to hear System Of A Down on the PA again like I did for every other band up until Compromise. Songwise, their music was your standard hardcore. Much like Candiria, if Candiria were actually any good and had a better stage presence. The sound still wreaked havoc on them by the fourth song and it was reflected on the pained and contorted expression on the singer's face but the songs that did swathe their way through the sea of white noise such as "For You" (dedicated to the birth of the singer's little brother), "These Wings Once Possessed" and "Completely At Its Mercy" among a few others at least were enough to FINALLY start a major moshpit going. Not much of a Poison The Well fan but Compromise won points for their determination anyway.

Headliners Three Inches Of Blood finally took the stage and the crowd quickly took to them, as did both me and Rob and a handful of Rob's friends who were with them (including a fairly attractive blonde commenting on my dyed and faded Guns 'N Roses sweater-turned T-shirt). The Haunted-meets-Maiden sound proved to be fairly accurate after all as songs such as "Destroy The Orcs," Balls Of Ice" and "Curse Of The Lighthouse Keeper" proved their impact upon the crowd even though the bass player and rhythm guitarist had the stage presence of store mannequins. And even though the the last few songs (including the aforementioned "Curse...") sounded like a 13-minute extension of "Killers" they put out a pretty decent set for a band that didn't go by the name of Cryptopsy...

Surprisingly, I was cleaned out of KNAC stickers that night. There wasn't even enough to go around for Three Inches Of Blood. Hell, the backup singer/screecher literally got the last one. Was the drought for good metal gigs in town over the past year really that serious that it took me over 12 months to get rid of my KNAC stickers that I get from Eveready Ed now and then? This makes a person wonder as he's wandering down the suburb of Riversdale at 1 A.M. desperately looking for a cab to drive him the hell outta there before he gets jumped by panhandlers. But the gig was worth it despite being in the worst neighborhood in Saskatoon. I wish other bands could be just as bothered these days....

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