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They say trends tend to repeat themselves about every 20 years. This would seem to prophesies that Nu Metal would be making a resurgence in the music world. I don’t know if this 20 year trend cycle is true for everything, but it certainly is real for Nu Metal. The genre is beloved by many and joked about with hindsight by many more. With the music Festival Sick New World taking place earlier this year in Las Vegas, tens of thousands turned out to sell out the festival and prove Nu Metal never left their hearts. One of the most prolific bands of the era was Mudvayne who sadly disbanded in 2010, and after an eleven year hiatus finally came back to much fanfare. Their tour with Rob Zombie last year was considered one of the best metal tours of the year. This year Mudvayne decided to keep that momentum going with the Psychotherapy Sessions Tour. Bringing with them other recently reformed Nu Metal favorite Coal Chamber, along with GWAR, Nonpoint, and the Butcher Babies. Dr. Chad Gray has clocked in, and the patients have arrived for their therapy session at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA.

Opening this stacked tour were Hollywood natives the Butcher Babies. This tour happened to start incredibly early on a Thursday evening, so it was very unfortunate to see that people were having a hard time getting into the venue before the show started, causing the Butcher Babies to perform for an incredibly small crowd. This didn’t seem to hinder the energy of the Butcher Babies, as they were ready to pump up the patrons who were able to get there in in time. Co-vocalist Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey are nothing but pure entertainment to watch, as they chase each other around the stage flipping each other off, playing off each of like teenage girls, as well as letting out some of the most ferocious roars you would hear this night. Guitarist Henry Flury drives the songs with his riffs and melodies, while bassist Ricky Bonazza and drummer Chase Brickenden hold down the low end that let the fans in attendance headbang. The Butcher Babies played a solid set consisting of songs “Red Thunder,” “Best Friend,” “Monsters Ball,” “BEAVER CAGE,” “It’s Killin’ Time, Baby!,” “Last December,” and closing with “Magnolia Blvd.” To the fans that made it in time, the Butcher Babies gave it their best and the energy was given right back to them.

Up next was the Florida boys Nonpoint, who were decked out in all red attire. Where more bands are performing in more casual clothes and attire, it’s nice to see a band that has been around for over twenty years still prioritizing stage attire to bring a show to the crowd. Opening the night with “Victim,” lead signer Elias Soriano has a commanding voice, and performs with his dreadlocks flailing in front of his face. The man is the epitome of a front man. Lead guitarist Jaysin Zeilstra and rhythm guitarist Rasheed Thomas are a dynamic force to be reckoned with. Layering their guitar lines to help create the sound Nonpoint is so well known for. While bassist Adam Woloszyn and drummer Robb Rivera were perfectly in sync. Rivera specifically knows how to play up to the crowd while keeping the band on beat. Nonpoint manages to keep the Nu Metal sound alive while mixing their sound with aspects of metal in songs like “Dodge Your Destiny,” “A Million Watts,” “Chaos and Earthquakes,” “Ruthless,” and ending with “Bullet With a Name.” As fans continued to trickle into the FivePoint Amphitheatre, Nonpoint continued the trend that Butcher Babies started, by giving it their all and performing their best show regardless of how many people were in the venue for their set.

As parts of the stage, and the amps positioned in front were covered with tarps, the fans in the front row screamed as they knew what was coming up. The mighty GWAR was ready to hit the stage and let the blood flow and spray all over the place. Looking at the fans who pushed their way to the front, you could tell which ones were here for GWAR, as they were wearing white. At a GWAR show, you can create your own personal souvenir shirt by wearing all white outfit and come home with your clothes drenched in GWAR fluids. For this show it felt as if GWAR was over stocked with blood that they needed to let flow, as their lackies would let the blood fly through out entire songs, and the fans drank it all up. The band themselves are filled with solid performers that have really crafted a community of diehard fans, but the stage show that GWAR brings with them is what puts them over the top. From monkey henchmen swinging 12” dicks on stage, to massive 10 foot tall monsters fights happening on stage, to pulling the guts and intestines out of a sacrificial body. The GWAR fanatics screamed for more and more blood and never let it up. The bloodbath continued for every song like “Hail, Genocide,” “The Cutter,” “Mother Fucking Liar,” “Sick of You,” “Completely Fucked,” “Let Us Slay,” “Fuck This Place,” “Berserker Mode,” and ending with the AC/DC cover of “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It).” GWAR are a sight to behold, and a live show you must experience firsthand to truly understand why people love this band so much. Though I tried my best to stay dry, I still even took some GWAR blood damage to take home with me.

Now I have been fortunate enough to see DevilDriver quite a few times, and Dez Fafara has always come across as a straightforward metal vocalist. When I heard my friends talking about Coal Chamber having a reunion and Dez fronting the band, I had to look them up because I was not familiar with his first band. Seeing Dez with colored hair and some smokey guyliner caught me off guard but made me excited to see how he would be live with Coal Chamber. The band started their set with “Loco,” and as Dez hit the stage with minimal face and eye makeup, he had a different energy to him than that of his performances with DevilDriver. With Coal Chamber, Dez still had the powerful scream/sing style vocals, but he let himself be looser with his stage persona. Guitarist Miguel Rascon weaved his guitar parts with heavy chord progressions, and high-pitched wails. While bassist Nadja Peulen, with her fiery red hair, was the finger plucking master of the night with her driving bass lines. Drummer Mike Cox balances the power that Coal Chamber brings along with the melody that lets the mosh pit flow. Playing songs like “Fiend,” “Big Truck,” “I.O.U. Nothing,” “Rowboat,” “Drove,” “Dark Days,” “Oddity,” “Another Nail in the Coffin,” “Something Told Me,” and ending with “Sway,” The old school Nu Metal fans were happy to see the reformation of Coal Chamber.

Draped across the front of the stage, a black curtain donning only the Mudvayne logo hung to keep the audience from seeing the stage set up. As the opening notes to “Not Falling” played, vocalist Chad Gray’s shadow was cast as a larger than life image against the back of the curtain. Once it finally dropped the crowd erupted with excitement for the show they were about to see. One aspect of the band that I am happy to see they brought back is that they are wearing new variations on the L.D. 50 era Mudvayne looks. Vocalist Chad Gray has elevated his clown-esque look to include a bullet hole right through his forehead, and cracked paint. Showing just how battle worn Mudvayne has been over the years. Guitarist Greg Tribbett, painted with a style akin to the demon from Insidious, and riffs that screech just as intense as the monster. Bassist Ryan Martinie has shaved his head bald except for two patches of hair that are spiked into devil horns, making him the fiend of the group. Drummer Matthew McDonough altered his look to appear more like the Jackal from the movie Thirteen Ghosts and would carry just as menacing of a look as he glared at the crowd. Something that has always stood out to me about Chad Gray as a frontman, is that he is not afraid of the audience. He would constantly stand on the amps in the pit to get just a tad closer to the audience, and even jump on the barricade multiple times. Allowing the crowd to hold him up, and even embracing any crowd surfer that could make their way to the front. The man is a singer but understands how important the fans are and really shows them love back. Mudvayne played all the fan favorites including “Under My Skin,” “Internal Primates Forever,” “World So Cold,” “A New Game,” “Severed,” “Death Blooms,” “Fish Out of Water,” “Dull Boy,” “Determined,” “Nothing to Gein,” and when going into the often meme’d  “Dig” the crowd could not hold back from singing the Ryan’s brbr deng opening bass notes of the song. Finally ending with “Happy?” Chad once again jumped into the crowd and let the fans sing with him.

I was able to see Hellyeah once, so I had experienced Chad Gray’s performance before. And though a lot of his same energy and love for the fans are there. Seeing Chad dressed up with the Mudvayne makeup and attire, he just comes to life even more with such a bigger presence. We are finally seeing a resurgence of Nu Metal, for better or worse may depend on who you ask, but to the fans that showed up this night, it is for the better. Though we have bands like Korn and Deftone’s that have been carrying the torch for years, it is amazing to see beloved bands like Mudvayne and Coal Chamber reforming to help us fans relive the heyday of Nu Metal. I hope both of these bands will put out new music soon and can’t wait to see what the future holds for the rebirth of Nu Metal.


Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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