August 24, 2015 Mushroomhead Take Over Revolution in Amityville, NY 8-18-15 w/ Scare Don’t Fear & Unsaid Fate
Theatrical Nu Metal outfit Mushroomhead began in Cleveland, Ohio as the result of band mixing. Gaining immediate attention once audiences got a look at their elaborate costumes and masks, the band’s choice to hide their identities from the public created a buzz among Metalheads, and their avant-garde style music did the rest. Over two decades since their formation, the band has released eight studio records, including their latest release, 2014’s The Righteous and The Butterfly, which was a critical hit for the band, charting higher than any other release. The album also welcomed Vocalist J-Mann back to the fold where he remains today. Along with Vocalist Jeffrey Nothing, Keyboardist Tom Schmitz, and Drummer Steve “Skinny” Felton, the four founding members of the band teamed up with Waylon Reavis on vocals, Tommy Church on guitar, Rick Thomas on turntables, samples, programming, and percussion, Ryan Farrell on bass, and Robbie Godsey on percussion to bring this year’s tour to the next level. Starting on a new string of dates with (Hed) p.e. August 15th in Manchester, New Hampshire, the tour will run through Friday September 12th where it will conclude in Flint Michigan. Just three days into it all, on Tuesday, August 18th, Mushroomhead, minus (Hed) p.e., brought their elaborate stage show to Long Island’s own Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville where they put on a show the likes of which are rarely seen in today’s Metal scene.
On this Midsummer night, the air was still and thick with the day’s heat. The line outside of Revolution Bar & Music Hall was buzzing with fans wondering what this night would bring and what theatrics they might expect from tonight’s Mushroomhead show. Once inside, fans gathered on the floor to check out the openers of the night, beginning with The Hard Way from Bellmore, Long Island. Vocalist Billy Handy Jr. led the band through a powerful set of originals from their latest release Sonatas of Anger, Hatred & Frustration (Vol. 1), along with Guitarist Bobby G., Bassist KK Miskovits, and Drummer Mike Podber. “Going for Blood,” “Stab in the Back,” and “Step Aside” were standout tracks from their set, drawing strong reactions from crowd. The Hard way delivered a tight set of original Metal and showed what the Long Island Metal scene is all about.
Misery Kills was up next. Formerly Misery, this local band was a crowd favorite. John LoCasto on vocals, Joe LoCasto on bass, Dom Barranco on drums, with Duane Conlon and Corey Schaefer on guitars, gave the crowd a heavy dose of New York Hardcore from their catalog of crushing tunes, including 2015’s release, My Ugly Insides and it was the single, “13 Miles” that really got the pit churning. The Hard Way and Misery Kills proved to be a strong representation of the local scene.
The first band on the touring bill, Scare Don’t Fear came from Providence, Rhode Island and dropped some ill Rap Metal on those gathered, combining Hardcore and Hip Hop vocals. Vocalists Chris Jungles and Frankie Screamz united for some very interesting results while Guitarist Tom McNamara, Beats maker Larry Ohh, Bassist Ryan Grandmaison, and Drummer Jeffrey Braunreuther provided a heavy foundation on which the two vocalists could create. Jungles spent most of the set down in the pit with their hardcore fans, as Screamz worked the crowd from above. Performing songs from their latest release from 2014, From The Ground Up. Scare Don’t Fear fired out song after song of thumping beats with hard-edged guitars. Most of all, the band showed their dynamic range and put on a great show to an eager crowd.
Next up was Vocalist Jackie LaPonza and Unsaid Fate who have established themselves as a Hard Rock force. A Cleveland native, LaPonza recently appeared in Revolver Magazine’s Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock issue, with good reason. On stage, LaPonza paced like a lioness ready to kill. Guitarist Don DeBiase, an Ultimate Warrior fan, paid tribute to his hero with his shirt and on his guitar, as he tore into the first song. Bassist Nino Spadaro and Drummer Mike LaPonza were a tight rhythm section, adding all the heavy. The band began with a couple of high-energy, straight-forward Hard rockers, before changing gears a bit when LaPonza asked the crowd about their experience with the loss of loved ones. “Always” started out sweet before it turned heavy and passionate, with great harmonies.
LaPonza changed the mood again with “Never Coming Back.” The crowd roared as she introduced this song about betrayal, not mincing words, she asked the crowd to think about their “troubled” relationships. Next up was “Faithful,” a song with a strong groove and heavy breakdowns that drove the audience to swirl in the pit. The closer was a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In The Name Of.” Having the crowd angrily singing along, fists were held high in the air. UnSaid Fate got everyone to push up front with their powerful set. LaPonza, exited, thanked all of the bands, and all in attendance.
Finally, the lights dropped low and the crowd swelled as an epic intro grew louder. An eerie, orchestral piece played as an invisible choir heralded the arrival of Mushroomhead. One by one, the band took the stage as their alter egos. Crazed, horrific masks, each one different, and yet strangely appealing. Vocalists and original members Jeffrey Nothing and J-Mann took the stage alongside Waylon and surveyed the crowd. Skinny took his place behind the drums, while Guitarist Tommy Church and Bassist Ryan Farrell followed. Keyboardist Tom Schmitz, and Percussionists Rick Thomas and Robbie Godsey were the final members to take the stage. The orchestra faded out as the band began the maniacal, circus feel of “Qwerty” from 2014’s The Righteous and The Butterfly. The pounding tune had the crowd bouncing and stomping around the pit. “Bwomp,” from their 1996 album Superbuick, continued the bizarre scene as the three vocalists traded the spotlight. During the keyboard outro to the song, the crowd screamed loudly as the band took it all in. Hatrix stood center, with his right fist in the air to began “Our Apologies” from their latest release. J-Mann stepped up along with Reavis to contribute their unique vocals to the mix.
Next up, the band went into “Sun Doesn’t Rise” from 2003’s XIII, one of their more successful offerings, had a more melodic, catchier vibe. It began with only a tribal drum beat and vocals, as Skinny and Nothing teamed up to kick it off, before the rest of the band joined in. The crowd threw fists in the air in unison. Thomas and Godsey switched sides randomly, running back and forth, adding to the general chaos onstage. The band returned to The Righteous and The Butterfly and brought out Unsaid Fate’s LaPonza, who in fact appeared on the record. Joining them for the live rendition, she was a contradiction among the nightmarish figures surrounding her, as she delivered an intense performance, with a ton of energy, and the crowd once again showing her a lot of love.
Moving right along at a speedy pace, “Save Us/Embrace the Ending” from 2006 Savior Sorrow had the crowd singing along throughout, with hands in the air. Sinister bells marked the beginning of “Solitaire/Unraveling” as the crowd roared in approval. Then there was “Out Of My Mind” and “Son Of 7” showcasing more of the new record and kept the audience involved as the pit churned and fans pumped their fists. Keeping excitement high, LaPonza returned for the final time where she helped out the band with “Among The Crows,” and once again succeeded in dispelling the ghoulish atmosphere if only around her part of the stage.
Mushroomhead proved that they are at home anywhere. From large arenas and festival, to mid-sized venues, the intensity of the show never wanes. Complemented by a Long Island crowd that was supercharged to see their return to the area, and a diverse bill supporting them, Mushroomhead staged a great show that delivered a powerful performance.