Metal shows can sometimes be a kind of satanic church service, and on October 26 at the Cobalt, HEDḰS, a local stoner thrash band, opened for said service. The intense two-piece made up of vocalist / guitarist Claire Carreras and drummer Taya “Taser” Fraser didn’t need anything but their maniacal energy — except maybe booze. Wild eyed and possessed by some unholy spirit, they performed songs from their latest EP Turn Up for What.
Oakland-based Dealer took the stage next. Bassist Aaron Cundy stood in a classic power stance with his hair a curtain over his perpetually downturned head, while guitarist / vocalist Kevin Klausen sang with distorted reverb sounding like his voice came from a cave somewhere in hell. Instead of headbanging, the sea of clearly content folks in the crowd politely nodded along.
If it weren’t for all the leather vests and Motörhead shirts, the crowd could have easily been at a folk concert, based on their demeanor. Luckily there was one guy in the crowd who was expressing himself much to everyone’s enjoyment. Cutting across the floor, he placed both hands on the amp as if he were trying to absorb some power from Dealer’s riffs. Darian McKinney, the drummer, held it down, and even managed to keep his shirt on for most of the energetic set.
Then came headliners Ho99o9, a New Jersey hardcore hip-hop act. There was an atmosphere of focus as theOGM, one half of Ho99o9, came out in a trashed wedding dress. All eyes were on stage as he moved around in a trance and crouched into a fetal position. Eaddy, the duo’s other half, came out with an undismissable aggression.
The moshing began and the two commanded their “DeathKult Disciples” with ease. Backed by a highly skilled drummer who awed the crowd while Ho99o9 took a breather, the performance was theatrical, aggressive, and hard to look away from.
Eaddy closed the set by stripping naked, jumping in the crowd, and moshing with all the large denim-clad boys in the pit. Someone in the audience who’d clearly come for the other headliners asked “What was that? What were they doing?” Another stunned audience member replied, “I don’t know but they’re doing a fucking good job at it.”
The final band took to the stage, yelled “WELCOME TO THE SHRINE,” and proceeded to shred. The Shrine, a Venice Beach based trio, returned to Vanouver after playing Levitation earlier this year. Not to be reductive, but they looked and sounded like Led Zeppelin’s angry, illegitimate babies who came to punish and discipline with their riffs — they call their music psychedelic violence, so they may not mind that comparison. And it’s probably true, considering that frontman Josh Landau opened with a song about “the time my mom took too much acid and left me in the sand.” The Shrine closed and everyone went home happy and exhausted.