April 6, 2015 Coal Chamber rip up The Emporium Patchogue, NY 4-2-15 w/ Filter & Combichrist
Back in the mid-1990s, there was an immense amount of talented bands coming out of the Alternative Metal scene. All unique in their own way, one of the standout acts of the time was Los Angeles, California’s Coal Chamber. With their self-titled major label debut album in 1997, the band made an impression on the scene that would dub them one of the hottest acts of the time. Following up with 1999’s Chamber Music and 2002’s Dark Days, Coal Chamber was all but dissolved by 2003 to the disappointment of many fans. While lead vocalist Dez Fafara went on to form the highly successful extreme Metal act Devildriver, guitarist Miguel “Meegs” Rascón and drummer Mike Cox formed We Are The Riot, while bassist Rayna Foss took the time to raise her daughter. Now over a decade later, to much the surprise of fans, Coal Chamber resurfaced in 2013 for a co-headlining tour alongside Sevendust.
Provoking excitement, Fafara and company decided it was time to put together a new Coal Chamber album and set a release date of May 19, 2015 via Napalm Records. After months of hard work in the studio, Fafara, Rascón, Cox, and returning bassist Nadja Peulen set a supporting tour for the record that began March 6th in Tempe, Arizona. Putting together an absolutely stellar lineup around them, the announced tour included American Head Charge, Combichrist, and Filter. What some might call as one of the best Alternative Metal lineups of 2015 thus far, the tour had a stellar response in New York City on Sunday March 29th only to find themselves fifty miles east out in Patchogue Long Island on Thursday April 2nd to perform at The Emporium. With a Thursday evening show always being a hard sell, a large crowd of fans came out in support of the tour they had been waiting a long time to see, ready to jump-start the holiday week a day early.
The opening act for the evening was Detroit, Michigan band Saint Ridley. An unsigned act, the band has been working hard to make an impression after appearing on 2013’s Dirt Fest main stage alongside band such as Sevendust, Trapt, Paramore, and others. Consisting of Paul “Saint” Ridley (vocals), David “Texas” Flynn (guitar), Matt Dalton (guitar), Richard Von Schlager (drums), and Cody Dennis (bass), the band took the stage as doors opened immediately, catching the attention of those arriving. Possessing a sound that is dark, heavy, and reminiscent of earlier generation Alternative Metal, they played tracks like “Burn.” Ridley’s vocals can best be described as moody with a sense for roughness when needed. Playing on with songs like “Rust” and “Fool or a King,” the band showed their influences even touch on a more Grunge feel as they provided a thick groove. As their first national tour, Saint Ridley are a band with a bright future. Be on the look out for them in 2015, they may just pop up on another big tour soon.
With American Head Charge no longer on the tour, as per a few days prior, the next in order went to crossover Aggrotech band Combichrist. Making their epic return to touring North America in 2014, following the release of their seventh album We Love You, Combichrist keep the energy flowing into the new year. Having overwhelmed New York City last April, the band came to Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville back in October, but this would be the first time they ever made their way out to The Emporium. Lead by Norwegian born vocalist Andy LaPlegua, drummer Joe Letz, electronic/percussionist Z Marr, bassist Abbey Nex, and newest member guitarist Eric13, Combichrist took to the stage, immediately provoking tension in the crowd. That tension was soon cut once they began with newer track “We Were Made to Love You.”
As LaPlegua moved about the platform, the band matched his energetic output as strobe lights and a sea of smoke made the atmosphere that much more intense as they went into “Can’t Control,” “Throat Full of Glass,” and “Maggots at the Party.” Feeling like a dance party from hell, each member of the audience found comfort in the harsh beats of Combichrist as “Never Surrender” and “Love Is a Razorblade” came next. LaPlegua came across grateful for the positive response as Letz took a Tom drum and reached out into the audience to let a fan beat it momentarily as they went into set closer “What the Fuck is Wrong With You?” Amped-up and lost in the performance, Letz tossed the drum at his kit upon the conclusion of the song and Combichrist owned the stage with a fantastic output. Be sure to catch them before the North American tour ends and they head over to Europe for some summer festivals.
Next up was Cleveland, Ohio based veterans Filter. Often distinguished early on as an Industrial Rock band, perhaps because of founder Richard Patrick’s association with Nine Inch Nails, Filter has been a band that defies categorization. First formed over twenty years ago, the band’s sound has morphed and shifted numerous times, but through it all, has stayed true to its heavy roots. Having recently released the spectacular 2013 album The Sun Comes Out Tonight, Filter has been extremely active in the past two years touring all over. While the surrounding lineup has changed over the years, Patrick has always assembled a fine group of musicians, and the 2015 edition of Filter consists of guitarist Oumi Kapila, bassist Ashley Dzerigian, drummer Chris Reeve, and keyboardist Bobby Miller.
Walking out in relatively subdued fashion, the band let the music do the talking as they blasted out 2002’s The Amalgamut track “You Walk Away.” A treat for long-time fans, Patrick quickly introduced another older track in “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do,” which had fans bouncing around the floor. Mixing up the set, keeping things fresh, newer songs “We Hate It When You Get What You Want” and “What Do You Say” led to a positive response before Patrick took the time to converse on a personal level with the audience. Open and honest, Patrick had many on his side as he expressed his thoughts on the state of popular music, as well as the country in general. The politically driven conversation was the perfect segue into the 2008’s “The Take.” Showered with unhinged screams of Patrick, chugging guitars of Kapila, and throbbing drums of Reeve, the band had the room fully enthralled.
Offering up another surprise, Patrick admitted his affection for the next song as he went into the powerful, yet often overlooked track “No Love.” Moving forward, Patrick explained the story behind one of band’s signature tracks, “Hey Man Nice Shot,” and immediately as the song kicked in a mosh pit ensued. Still as vital as the day it was recorded, the song had people singing along to the chorus, loud and clear. Having everyone cheering, Patrick then asked everyone if they were part of the fold before going into the fan favorite “Welcome to the Fold” as their finale. As the set closed, Patrick promised to return for a more lengthy set in the future and expressed thanks for the support through the years. Abbreviated set or not, Filter has so many throat grabbing songs that no one was bored or let down from start to finish.
Allowing the audience the time to catch their breath and get a drink, everyone was geared up for the return of Coal Chamber. With the stage decorated with a heighten platform for Cox’s drum kit, and massive screens on each side of the stage, the band walked out one by one to a sea of cheers. Wasting no time, they rekindled fond memories of the past, going right for the heart with 1997’s “Loco” and “Big Truck.” As Fafara clearly appeared ecstatic to be on stage with his bandmates, but most of all friends, Coal Chamber sounded as tight and razor sharp than ever before. Greeting the packed floor with warm words, Fafara and company then went into new song “I.O.U. Nothing” off their forthcoming album Rivals. Digging into the track, fans crowd-surfed toward the front looking to grab hands with Fafara, and the vocalist made sure to reach out whenever the opportunity was available.
Shifting gears back to 2002, Fafara asked the audience if they remember Dark Days, and the band rattled out a slew of the albums tracks with “Fiend,” “Rowboat,” and “Something Told Me.” Meegs’ guitar chops cut through the night air, Cox’s drumming hit hard as well as precise, and Peulen’s bass rattled the floor. Complemented by an array of classic clips from Horror films like Halloween II: Season of the Witch (1982), Deep Red (1975), and Fafara’s personal favorite Viy (1967), among others, there was no denying the dark ambiance that saturated The Emporium in glorious fashion. Keeping the audience yearning for more, Fafara whispered into a retro dynamic microphone “Tick tock, tick tock,” leading into “Clock” as more moshing began and continued through into “Drove,” Chamber Music’s “Not Living,” and “Dark Days.” Amidst the chaos on the floor, Fafara took responsibility for the audience, pointing out to watch out for one another in the pit. Continuing to keep the adrenaline pumping, the bass heavy “I” followed by new song “Rivals” and “No Home,” where Meegs added some flair with use of a talk box.
Seeming to zip up in a matter of moments, the set wound down with the unmistakable “Oddity” before Fafara proclaimed they would not be partaking in a self-indulging stage exit, and went right into the final song “Sway.” Provoking fans to chant along to the sound, “the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire” were the final echoes that ran through everyone’s heads as this absolutely killer show came to a close. For those who have waited over a decade for the proper return of Coal Chamber, the wait is over. This band may be just hitting their stride for a second coming bigger than the first, and with that said, fans would be remiss to not see what they are brewing up live each night.
4/6: Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls
4/7: Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
4/8: Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte
4/9: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
4/10: Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
4/11: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
4/12: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live