As I walked down Toulouse Street (that’s usually pronounced too loose for those of you unfamiliar with the area) with my lovely companion, Spynal, in tow, my mind began to ease. The pervasive smells of creole food and the cacophonous skronk of a hundred different bands drifting though the air made the car trouble that almost derailed this evening seem a million years past, even though it had been just fifteen minutes earlier that we were stranded on the side of I-10 West barely ten minutes outside of the city. After the disaster with Spynal’s car the Sunday after the Eyehategod concert and my own car problems had destroyed our plans to see Cannibal Corpse the previous week, I was determined to make it to this show. We had left my house around 7 P.M. in hopes of making it to the quarter sometime around 8:30. The French Quarter can get quite crowded on weekends, so it only seemed logical to try and get there as early as possible. Unfortunately, a little before 8 P.M., my brother’s car (which I had borrowed for the evening against my better judgement) decided to die on us. We sat on the side of the road for a little under 40 minutes while I waited on one of my family members to deliver my car (which I should have taken in the first place) to our location. Despite the car problems, we still managed to arrive only a few minutes late.
Our destination this time was a bar that may or may not be a converted theater on Toulouse Street called One Eyed Jacks. Whether it was actually a theater at one point or not, they definitely play up the aesthetic. The walls are a deep burgundy colour, the bar in the entry room looks like it could have been transplanted from an old school movie house. Hell, the floor in the performance room was even slanted, the walls had arbitrary red curtains hung on them, and it was lit with dim reddish orange lighting. All in all, it was a tad cheesy and seemingly designed to pander to the offspring of the privileged that we know as the idle rich or “hipsters.” As we entered, Ossacrux were a few songs into their set. While I do like Ossacrux, missing most of their set was no big deal, as we had already seen them just a few months ago when they opened for Goatwhore. As with last time, though, their set (what we saw of it) was tight and professional. This time, however, they actually looked like a band as opposed to a random trio of dudes playing Death Metal tinged Hardcore. As we waited for them to haul their equipment off of the stage and the next band to set up, a pair of middle aged weirdos who were seated at the table in front of us asked Spynal to take pictures of them. After that, they proceeded to engage in an over the top makeout session and largely ignored us for the rest of the night. After an overlong soundcheck, the next band were ready to perform, or so we thought.
Demonic Destruction are a band that I was completely unfamiliar with. I have no clue where they are from, but they are a quartet peddling old school, no frills Death Metal. Unfortunately, they really only got to play about two songs. After their soundcheck, I noticed both the drummer and the guitarist hopping on their cell phones with an almost panicked look on their faces. While the drummer, guitarist, and bassist were all set up, soundchecked, and ready to go… the vocalist was nowhere to be found. We were treated to about a 15 minute instrumental jam before the fucking vocalist finally decided to show up. I have to admit, they have a lot of potential, but such an unprofessional frontman needs to be gotten rid of before he becomes a detriment. It would be different if they were opening for some local band, but this is Morbid Angel. During their set, some tool was attempting to start an altercation in the pit. We watched as the bouncer hauled him out of the venue by the neck. Even while in a tight headlock, he was still thrashing about. You have to admire his persistence. While Demonic Destruction were breaking down their gear, Spynal noticed that their drummer had “dirty laundry” stuffed in his bass drums. I lectured her on the finer points of bass drum triggering thinking I sounded really awesome, but I’m sure she thought I sounded like a nerd. As we watched the next band’s gear being set up and I saw the drummer setting up a kit that consisted of two very small toms, a floor tom, and a pair of electronic pads in place of bass drums, I began to be filled with a sense of dread. Some half assed Fear Factory or Daath-like industrial Death Metal abortion I thought. After another overlong soundcheck (during which the bassist treated us all to a quick rendition of “Beat It”), it was time for VadimVon.
VadimVon are a Death Metal band from South Carolina that seem overly obsessed with Sumerian mythology and Demonology. The only word I can think of to describe them is boring. They have no stage presence and all the songs they played sounded nearly identical. The only one that particularly stood out was a track called “Speak Thy Name.” The crowd was relatively cool in their reaction to the band, as the only time they really got any kind of real positive response was when they invoked the name of Morbid Angel. After their mercifully short set ended, Spynal and I decided to move closer to the stage. Fortunately, One Eyed Jacks’ performance room is sort of tiered. There’s a bit of a makeshift wooden floor built in two tiers over the old slanted floor. Standing on the second tier, we were able to get a decent view of stage and stay away from the pit ninjas.
During Morbid Angel’s set I was standing next to what could best be described as a cluster of superfans. There was one fat dude in particular that was air guitaring and essentially trying to mirror David Vincent’s moves. The guy also seemed to know every lyric to every song the band played that night. After every song he and his friends could be heard screaming “DUDE! I can’t fucking believe they played that song!” After some prodding from David Vincent, the Moshpit reached its critical mass when the band launched into “Maze of Torment.” I guess they must have all windmilled and lawn mowered themselves out, because after that the only person left in the pit was some gangly twit that kept running around in a circle by himself. As with the guy who was forcibly ejected, I have to admire his persistence. It was a good set, thankfully completely devoid of electronic music. The band sound quite good in a live setting. Good tone, tight playing. The only thing I didn’t like was the sound of Tim’s drum kit. It sounded like he had every drum triggered. At that point, you may as well just play a set of Roland V-Drums or a Yamaha DTX kit. Destructhor and Trey Azagthoth have all the stage presence of potted plants. Vincent and Yeung were a bit more entertaining to watch, especially Yeung who flails around like a Death Metal version of Keith Moon. The band closed out their set with “Where the Slime Live” and “God of Emptiness,” two personal favourites of mine… so, I was quite pleased. Spynal tried to get some pictures during their set, but the band’s banks of strobe lights made that something of a fool’s errand.
As we walked out of the venue and back down Toulouse to my car, we talked about the next show we would attend (which, right now, is Amon Amarth in October in case anyone is wondering) and laughed about how something always seems to go wrong when we go to concerts together. As we approached the parking lot, I saw a Smart car parked on the sidewalk (way to be consistent with those bootings Landrieu). After paying 25 dollars to be able to park in the lot, I can see why people would be compelled to flip those things over. As I flew down the Interstate, through the vast expanse of nothing between Slidell and Picayune, with Spynal fast asleep next to me, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction. It felt like I had legitimately snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. In closing, all I can say is that I hope things go a bit more smoothly next time.