Dead in the Dirt (Southern Lord)
w/ Heartless, Centuries, Super Mutant, Grit
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Better than: Sitting at home, waiting for work, waiting to die.
Squirreled away in a warehouse complex that borders the desolate Everglades highway that is State Road 27 lies the Talent Farm. The Talent Farm is an all ages venue that caters to artists from all genres, from pop-punk bands seeking a spot on Radio Disney's top twenty, to the darkest and most clandestine of metal and hardcore groups looking for a place free of the burdens that can come with playing the bigger, corporate owned venues.
Though Sunday night shows can be a bit of a gamble regardless of genre, last night's featured an excellent lineup of local and touring acts, and for those that were willing to sacrifice a few missed hours of sleep, the reward was a show that was as intimate as it was intense.
The show was opened by Grit. They are is a trio of young men playing a style of fast and pissed-off grindcore. Grit's set was characterized by a pension for feedback and a screaming drummer that sounded as if he was having a mental collapse behind his kit. The band played a quick set that ended with a shout out to the Miami Heat followed by a song that could not have been much longer than 30 seconds.
Super Mutant was the next band to take the floor, ignoring the awkwardly tall stage that lurked behind them -- as is (apparently) de rigueur for bands playing the Talent Farm.
The members of Super Mutant are young -- high schoolers to be certain -- yet they commanded the attention of the older members of the crowd with ease as the entire room was tied together in a united head-bob during the opening bars of the band's set. Super Mutant's music could be described as grindcore with a trashy twist and a definite Napalm Death influence. Lead singer Joey Collery mentioned a compilation soon to be released on Toxicbreed's Funhouse that features the young band's take on two Despise You tracks. If their performance last night is any indication of what's in store on the covers album, I would make sure to keep an eye peeled for it.
After Collery thanked the audience for ignoring their dads to be at the show, the band closed the set with a song that put the audience in a very rowdy state, prepping everyone for the last local band of the night, Centuries, from West Palm Beach.
Centuries started their portion of the evening by unleashing an unholy din of apocalyptic sounding hardcore upon the crowd, that did not stop until the last notes of their set. The show marked the band's first night of their tour supporting headliners Dead in the Dirt and Heartless. As is befitting of a band that tours frequently, Centuries performance was tight, focused, and buttoned up with a stage presence that could be measured in the number of miles they've traversed as a band. Towards the end of their set, one of Centuries' more anticipated songs tore a rift in the center of the room that was quickly filled with flailing limbs and scattering bystanders. The movement in the room seemed involuntary as crowd and band coalesced as one in the middle of the Talent Farm's floor. Microphones became communal and the rhythm of the band's anger took hold of those involved. The set ended unceremoniously, as if everyone were so drained by the experience that they couldn't bear the weight of a few parting words.
Once the crowd had recovered from Centuries crusty hardcore onslaught, Heartless from Pittsburgh took the floor to play an intense set of powerviolence infused hardcore. The van the band shares with co-headliners, Dead in the Dirt, was recently broken into. They said the member's laptops, band fund, and other important personal affects were taken. The band played as if they were in front of the thieves themselves, segueing into and out of songs with a fury that escapes words. The band's cathartic, nearly blind rage was translated through their instruments and unto the audience that was feeding off of every minute of it. If there is any silver lining to the horrible situation Heartless has found themselves in, it would be what an honest release they appeared to provide audience members looking to hear something pissed, violent, and completely unbridled.
Dead in the Dirt from Atlanta, Georgia, was the final band of the night. The three piece had more amplifiers lining the floor behind them than they had band members, and they used them to their full volume potential to batter the ears and organs -- caught in their seemingly endless range. Dead in the Dirt's songs were a potent cocktail of drum and chug driven heft, punctuated by blast beats and incredibly fast and chaotic passages. The "vegan/straightedge/atheist" group had the floor filled with people moshing with reckless abandon. Dead in the Dirt's live delivery trumps anything heard on their albums, and packed an immense wallop in such a small place.
As Dead in the Dirt moved between songs, they stopped only long enough for guitar playing vocalist Blake Cannally to spit out venomous barbs about the state of affairs in the world. Dead in the Dirt's drummer displayed an incredible amount of control, and his powerful playing was a major highlight of Dead in the Dirt's sound; they make a huge noise for any band, let alone a three piece.
Personal Bias: I've had a B-52's song stuck in my head for way too long.
Overheard: "It's as big as a whale"
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