Soulfly does Point Blank (NAILBOMB) in Toronto, 19 October 2017

Soulfly does Point Blank by NAILBOMB

with Cannabis Corpse, Noisem & Lody Kong

October 19, 2017 at The Opera House in Toronto

It’s been a while since I’ve written a show review so bear with me. It’s also been a while since I’d driven to Toronto so naturally I got lost when the GPS on my phone shit the bed. Thusly, I missed the beginning of opening act Lody Kong’s set. Honestly, the biggest draw here was Soulfly playing Nailbomb’s Point Blank so not really a big deal in my eyes. However, I was excited for Noisem and Cannabis Corpse. Pretty solid lineup, if I do say so!

I should be a bigger Lody Kong fan as Max Cavalera is basically my hero and his progeny, Zyon and Igor make up 2/3 of the band. Enough of the crowd seemed to be into them though. Could have had something to do with all the PBR and Old Style Pilsner I saw floating around out there. Lody Kong performed admirably but there’s just that little something missing from the band that would put them over the top. As a friend commented, “They sound like something we would have seen at the Kathedral back in the day” (2000-2001). Back when I used to see shows in Toronto on the regular. They’re a hard band to categorize but they sounded kinda sludgy with metal/thrash touches and a lot of screaming. Good for a support act.

During the short interval between them and a band I very much wanted to see, Noisem, a merch check was warranted. And a Soulfly/Nailbomb purchase was quickly ruled out. $45 or $50 for a t-shirt. Are you kidding me? I ended up with two Cannabis Corpse patches, both Noisem CDs and a Noisem shirt for $40. That’s more like it. I wanted a CC shirt too but they were a little too weed-themed for this dad to wear that often. The fact that theme and budget consciousness influenced my decision makes me feel too old.

Apparently I haven’t been keeping up with the Noisem camp as I was surprised to see them come out at a trio. Hardy and Sebastian Phillips manned the drums and guitar as expected but seeing Castle Freak’s Ben Anft handling vocals and bass was a surprise. (Nice guy. He was on the merch table.) Despite the relatively new lineup they tore through a tight set of high energy thrashing death with a bit of a doom breakdown thrown in for good measure. I’m terrible at song titles but since they only have two full-lengths under their belt it’s safe to say they covered some from both. The crowd seemed equally as impressed with the set as referenced by the band having to go out to the van and get more CDs to sell. If I wasn’t so old and decrepit I’d have gone right down there and mixed it up with the kids. Their half-hour set was high octane throughout and did not disappoint.

The night’s penultimate band was the Phil “LandPhil” Hall-led Cannabis Corpse. A band after my own heart. My concert mate had never heard them before but they weren’t even 10 minutes in and he was buying their stuff on iTunes. That’s how impressive they were. Of course, the weed obsessed death crew isn’t breaking down any walls with their cheeky (but way clever) marijuanification of classic death metal sounds (too much effort, man) but the execution was deadly. Plus, the cleverness has a pretty smart edge to it.

Moving through a good portion of their albums, Cannabis Corpse raged and ruined through their all too short set. Again, I’m terrible at song titles and announcing them in a death growl doesn’t exactly help, and since I forgot earplugs (no excuse!) the nuances of Hall’s growl blended into the filth. I don’t see a lot of death metal bands live mostly because unless I want to headbang my way to a world of pain, they can be kinda boring. Not so with Cannabis Corpse. The playfulness of their shtick changes the dynamic without overdoing it. And it took a good while to wipe the grin off my face when a dude dressed as a giant nug of weed comes out with a 5-ft inflatable joint and joins them on stage to headbang away and use the joint as an air guitar. It was a welcome touch for a fun but relatively serious evening.

Now for the reason this night was different than the usual metal tour passing through the Big Smoke (Ha! Big Smoke, 5-ft joint. I’ll see myself out): long time favourites of mine, Soulfly playing Nailbomb’s classic 1994 album Point Blank. Say what?! That’s right. They played the industrialized thrash/speed metal side project of Max Cavalera and Fudge Tunnel’s Alex Newport. Now, I’m sure some were disappointed not to see Mr. Newport up there beside Cavalera but honestly it didn’t take away from the experience in the slightest. In place of Newport was Max’s son Igor. He can scream in the Nailbomb style just as well. “Nailbomb” played (I believe) the entirety of Point Blank but not necessarily in the track order. Maybe they did. Who cares? It’s NAILBOMB LIVE! To these ears they sounded heavier than on record and the synths/samples seemed more muted. Zyon Cavalera’s live drumming may have added to the heaviness as well.

About 20 minutes in most of the band (including bassist Mike Leon) took a breather while guitarist Marc Rizzo ripped off a blazing solo that seemed to raise quite a few fists and horns. Later on Zyon threw down a drum solo too. Both of those were just footnotes during a set full of aggression. Circle pits, moshing, and scream-alongs dominated their set. I don’t know what the bangers down front heard but from just behind the soundboard they sounded great. The biggest reception, obvious to any Nailbomb fan, was for “World of Shit”. A roar came up from the sweaty masses with the first recognizable riff before Max (not the sample) barked “Hate is reality!” into the mic. That same roaring crowd was only too happy to belt out “WORLD OF SHIT” over and over with Igor as well.

I’m not going to get all hyperbolic and say it was a historic night or anything but realistically it could be a once in a lifetime night for those in attendance. Never say never but are we really going to get to see Nailbomb, a band that committed commercial suicide over two decades ago, live again? Probably not. But it seems Max is on a retro kick with Return to Roots (which I missed) and now Nailbomb. Maybe an Arise Again or Chaos 2018 tour could be in the cards? That would rule. But for now we can relish in the fact that we essentially got to see a band that I never thought I’d see perform their one and only (and stone cold classic) album, albeit with a modified lineup. Myself, the packed Opera House, and the rest of the tour stops got to cross something off our bucket list we never even thought to put on it “For Fuck’s Sake”! Very cool, brother.

Now back to your regularly scheduled “24 Hour Bullshit”.

Keep up with all Matt’s exploits on Twitter @Kingdomofnoise!