By Natalie Zed
This may be a strange beginning, but I almost didn’t go to this show. After an afternoon where absolutely nothing had gone the way I had hoped, I was sorely tempted to just give up on having a day, pour myself some whisky, and watch a Deadliest Catch marathon. There’s always an ugly voice lurking at the edges of my consciousness when things go poorly, a voice that loves to give me excuses, think up ways that I could give up or lay down. It’s the most seductive voice in the entire world. “It’s raining. You’re tired. Come on, let’s go home. Tell me all about it.” Luckily, I am stubborn, particularly when I have any kind of job to do. Also luckily, there is no surer way to drown out that voice, and no more fool-proof mood-booster for me, than heavy metal. So I found my way to The Mod Club only a little late, ready to bruise my eardrums and soothe my brain.
Before I get on to the bands, though, I have to acknowledge the sheer organizational badassery of Inertia Entertainment and Noel Peters. Every single Inertia show I have ever been do is well-staffed (meaning not just that staff is present, but that they all really know what the hell they’re doing) and meticulously organized. Oh, and is also a flat-out fucking great time. There’s a positive vibe in the room at every Inertia Entertainment show I’ve had the pleasure of attending; those folks deserve to feel some love for their labour.
By the time I walked into The Mod Club I’d missed Remain entirely; Lily the Pirate and I had just enough time to buy some horrifyingly-expensive beer before Burning the Day began. The crowd was still somewhat thin while they were on stage, though you never would have known it by the way they played. I was not blown away by their musicianship (though the drumming did impress me) or their stage presence, but I was thoroughly pleased with their attitude. Burning the Day poured positive energy into the room, were grateful for all they got back from the crowd and were extremely gracious to all the other bands they shared the stage with. Their set was clean and concise, and served as a perfectly enjoyable aural appetizer.
Goatwhore‘s performance was the highlight of the night for me. They managed to project an incredibly dark and intense presence, all while having a fucking blast. Louis Falgoust roamed all over the stage, frequently punching at the audience’s raised fists and vigorously shaking hands between songs (once lifting me clean off the ground in the process). Drummer Zack Simmons played with a serene, almost meditative expression on his face, wonderfully at odds with the auditory onslaught he produced. Goatwhore composed their setlist of material from all four of their albums, drawing most heavily from Carving Out The Eyes of God. The crowd loved what they were being given, positively lapped it up, ecstatic when each new song title was called out. I spent their whole set feeling the burn in my neck muscles and screaming my lungs out. If Satan ever has a bachelor party, Goatwhore will have to play the gig.
Last up were the Vancouver-based 3 Inches of Blood, who continued to show every sweaty body packed into the Mod Club a damn good time. There is something solid, straightforward, almost wholesome about their brand of traditional heavy metal that is particularly satisfying. Cam Pipes sang about orcs and hammers while unleashing a series of throaty old-school wails—what was there not to love? While my own personal tastes placed 3IOB in the honourable position of runner-up for most kickass performance of the night, they certainly tore the place up. Lily the Pirate would disagree with me in this regard; she loves traditional metal, and certainly would have crowned 3IOB the night’s champions. All hierarchies of awesome aside, there was no mistaking the fact that a great time was had by all. The denizens of the pit were bloodied and bemused by the time 3IOB were finally done with them.
There was one more thing that occurred at this show that really made it stand out for me: about halfway through 3 Inches of Blood’s set, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Sammy Duet, the guitarist/vocalist for Goatwhore, beckoned me and Lily to follow him towards the set of doors that led backstage. I felt myself beginning to bluster; I was certain I was about to get in trouble for something (though what, I could not possibly imagine). Between the volume and my own obliviousness, it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what was going on. Finally, it sank in: we were being invited to go backstage. I felt myself suddenly grin and blush, become giddy; I explained (as best I could next to an amp) that I was covering the show, and had to watch the rest of the performance. Sammy shrugged, kissed Lily’s hand, and retreated backstage. I spent the rest of the night feeling at once flattered, awkward, and like the biggest nerd on earth, having cheerfully turned down an opportunity for groupie-dom to take live review notes on my phone.
I wished I could have had the chance to explain a little more fully: “Listen, Goatwhore, I am sure you’re very nice. But, really, I am here for the music; if I follow you backstage, I am going to miss what’s happening out here. And while I am sure that we would have An Adventure, in the name of Journalism (and, er, Virtue), I must remain on this side of those doors.”
Postscript: As we were leaving, we saw a young man buying his girlfriend a pair of Goatwhore panties. His girlfriend was most definitely not with him that evening. Odds that he got in serious trouble for presenting her with a pair of undies with Goatwhore written across the ass: 100%.