Chris Loomis

Mushroomhead @ Galaxy Theatre – 4/16/2011

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The Jagermiester HED to HEAD tour featuring headliners HED PE and Mushroomhead along with openers Livan and Better Left Unsaid marched into Santa Ana at The Galaxy Theater on Saturday April 16. This being the second night of the tour, I was confident all participants would be fresh and eager to melt some eardrums. This lineup is surely an interesting one to say the least. You have HED PE with their (as they call it) G-Punk style – a fusion of Punk Rock, Hip Hop with a touch of Heavy Metal and Reggae mixed in. Mushroomhead playing it’s Industrial, In your face, Electro-Heavy Metal with opening bands Better Left Unsaid playing straight up Bleeding Through meets Pantera metal and UK alternative rockers Livan.

The Galaxy Theater is a great small venue in the heart of Orange County and on this night the OC metal faithful came out in masses to support this tour. The night started off with a blistering set by Southern California’s own Jahmbi who recently played the California MetalFest in Anaheim so the OC locals were no stranger to this band and the crowd participation proved it. The highlight of their set was a cover of Sepultura’s “Roots Bloody Roots”.

Next up was Modesto California’s Better Left Unsaid. I was eager to see this band as I had interviewed them earlier in the day and was very curious to witness their assault. At close to 9:00pm, Better Left Unsaid hit the stage and slammed into “This End Begging”. A very high energy set with lead singer Adam Raffety belting out a metal/thrash/hardcore combination. A very guitar oriented band, guitarists Rob Fernandez and Greg Fender shredded some killer solos throughout each song. The crowd seemed to really dig this band as most of the floor area was filled with fist pumping moshers. Better Left Unsaid ended their set with “To the Lastman” and certainly warmed up the crowd for what was to follow. (The crowd seemed very interested in this band as their merchandise table was flooded with fans after their set).

Another Southern California band, rock/rap artists Back Yard Pimps followed Better Left Unsaid and played a decent 30 minute set that seemed to keep the crowd entertained.

UK Alternative Rockers Livan were up next. The crowd became very impatient as it took Livan a good 30 minutes to finally hit the stage after Better Left Unsaid. Although this type of UK rock is not my style, the live show was entertaining and Livan did a great job of winning the crowd over by the end of their set. The most entertaining part of Livan’s set was watching drummer Seven Antonopoulos’ animated skin bashing behind the drumkit. Seven is formerly of Opiate of the Masses and other LA Jam bands.

Next up was what seemed like most of the crowd was there to see – the MIGHTY Mushroomhead. Supporting their seventh studio album “Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children” Mushroomhead played second to last on this night. With their signature water-filled drum kits on each side of the stage, Mushroomhead came out and blasted into “Come On” and the crowd went absolutely insane. For 60 minutes, the eight members of Mushroomhead behind their eerie masks belted out their blend of heavy metal. The crowd never relaxed for a minute, fist pumping and screaming every word to every song and the band seemed determined to throw back the same energy with killer performance. The visual highlight of their show is certainly the drummers hitting the water-filled drums with a blend of different colored back-lighting thrown in – this makes for a fantastic effect and lends to a dampening experience if you are in the first couple of rows from the stage – you get wet. The set ended with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Empy Spaces” and then a killer version of “Born of Desire”.

Now the HED PE chants really started throughout the venue although at this point it seemed at least half the crowd that was there for Mushroomhead had left. I guess the diehard HED PE fans were all that remained to see the Huntington Beach Heavy Metal-Hip Hopsters do their thing. A few minutes before 1:00am HED PE hit the stage and the half-empty Galaxy Theater erupted into a groove filled moshpit. Being from Huntington Beach, this was more or less a hometown show for HED PE and they certainly delivered a high energy set to their loyal fans. With songs from their entire catalog, HED PE rocked, rapped, thrashed and scratched through a 60 minute set.

A great night of diverse music with Mushroomhead being the highlight. . . catch the Jagermiester HED to HEAD tour as they criss-cross the US and end back in Southern California at The Key Club in Hollywood on June 10.

Better Left Unsaid
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