Every once in a while IMP sends out one of its rogue journalists on a machine to go to a festival, get super drunk, see a bunch of old friends – and hopefully see some bands to write about. Matt Bacon got a chance to attend this years House Horror Film Festival and this is what happened to him. HUGE thank you to Dante Torrieri (Useless Rebel) of Blow The Scene for his photography work!
And so the festival began. In the minutes leading up to Child Bite triumphantly kicking off the festival someone from Superjoint Ritual was kind enough to get me backstage and I found a comfortable spot to watch the masters have a go at their craft. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the backstage area too. It was nicely laid out – done in such a way that even a deranged degenerate like myself could find their way through the mysterious twists and turns of the maze that defines backstage life. There is an inherent charm to The Aztec with it’s Meso-American décor and wealth of bars scattered about the venue – even if the drinks are expensive as all get out.
Child Bite unleashed what was perhaps the best set I’ve ever seen from them – and I’ve seen them a lot. These guys can play to say the least and watching them tear it up is always a pleasure. The fact of the matter is that Child Bite understand rock and roll on a fundamental level. They are pushing the boundaries and forcing people to absorb the inherent magic of their music. With their live performance, Child Bite break all the rules and push every boundary – not the kind of stuff for the faint of heart. The bands dynamic frontman, Shawn Knight stomps across the sage, belting out epic odes about anything, everything and nothing at all. The fresh crowd seemed into what the band had to offer, after all, this is not a group to be taken lightly, they understand exactly what they want to do, and moreover, how to do it, and that’s what makes them great.
Up next was Warbeast – a band who seem to cross the death metal generation gap with their distinctly thrashy attack. Featuring members of the death metal old guard alongside upstart drummer Joey Gonzalez and a pair of young and hungry musicians. These guys are pushing their sound to the extreme, with exciting guitar solos and vicious rhythms coming to define the music of a band who seem doomed to destroy and destined to die. Here’s the thing, with their jacked up lead guitar player covered in spikes and leather alongside their singers Giger-esque mic stand, these guys look and feel exactly the way a death metal band should be – and that helps to create a very exciting vibe. Once they get into it, it’s hard to deny the inherent magic and drama of this band. It’s more than enough to capture the imagination of the young and faithful gathered at the Aztec. Suffice to say, Warbeast put together something special at Housecore.
It speaks to the depth of this festival that Eyehategod played on fourth billing. That being said – it was probably for the better that they did. While every other time I’ve seen Eyehategod the band was totally on point and incredibly dangerous, this set was definitely the weakest I’ve ever seen from them. It seemed like there was some sort of drug or alcohol problem fucking up the band. It felt like a dull punk performance – Eyehategod didn’t seem to have their usual edge and the audience seemed largely let down. While I’m not going to say these old masters are fading, I’m certainly left wondering what’s to come next from these sludge icons. Eyehategod are one of the most exciting bands in the world and I pray that their legacy only continues to grow.
The Exodus attack was especially notable. I’d seen these guys earlier this year at Hellfest and had sat in the bus with them earlier in the day in a state of total shock over the terrorist attacks in France. That didn’t seem to slow these thrash masters though. Commanding a swirling circle pit with his trademark enthusiasm, Zetro guided the band through a slew of classics alongside a few newer tracks easily invoking the spirit of the 80s. It speaks to the incredible and enduring legacy of Exodus that Zetro can so easily storm through songs that aren’t even his and make them sound utterly sick. After all, he’s a rock and roll icon who has far too often been cast by the wayside. That being said – I get the impression that Exodus is only going to get better and keep the band pushing into even more exciting territory.
I’ve seen Superjoint Ritual seven times now, and part of what I find charming abut them is how every show seems to be slightly different. There is an intricate balance here, between the unholy energy of their 45 minute long sets on the Danzig tour as opposed to longer headlining sets where Phil takes a moment to ramble and muse to the world at large – much to the disdain of some fans. The latter was the kind of set that Superjoint played on Friday night – and personally I was in love with it. Superjoint Ritual deliver crushing and evil songs of a sort that no other band in the world can compete with. They’re a blast to watch, and extremely funny. So what if Phil likes to get drunk on stage and talk about whatever he wants? Sure the band ended up joking around with Dave Hill towards the end of the set – but how many people get to claim they’ve seen Phil Anselmo perform My Sharona? He’s Phil Anselmo – it’s his fucking festival and his fucking band – get over it.
And so the hour came for one of the headliners of the festival – the almighty, the unholy, and the utterly unfuckwithable King Diamond. Borne to earth from a twisted affair, and fervently dedicated to his own brand of Satanism, King Diamond deserves his place as a metal legend. Within two songs, I turned to my buddy, a man who had brought his fifteen year old daughter to the show, and said “This is already life changing” And it was. Playing a slew of classics before breaking into the classic Abigail album King Diamond left the crowd utterly amazed – this is a band who are impossible to reckon with and who have established their rightful place as kings of metal.
Beyond anything else – King Diamond’s stage show was amazing – with lavish costumes and a badass stage set up there was an aura of majesty around the performance space. As he soared forth with his searing vocals, it became increasingly difficult to reject the burning power that King Diamonds performance can bring. Beyond that – his backing band was on point. Every guitar solo blazed out menacingly, the bass lines remained fresh and exciting, and the drum work dynamic. Notable though was the presence of King’s wife, almost hidden, on the side of stage providing backup on some of the higher vocals. What this says about the masters voice, I don’t know – but it may be something to keep in mind before saying that this great man has another decade or more on the road.
The night came to a close and the crowd was in awe – some fans even going so far as to say that King Diamond would be impossible to top – that he had pushed too far and come out as the best band of the weekend already. In all honesty – he probably was. But considering his years of experience on the road and prodigious talent it was really no surprise. The point being – the first day of Housecore had been truly special, even if was more of an evening. The best band of the festival had already played but we were still left wondering what more madness was to come.