Summer Slaughter’s tenth year was a murderous success. There is no doubt that extreme music is keeping the underground alive.

Over the years my agenda at metal shows has changed. There was a time when my main goal was to get mega fucked up and hit on women available around the venue. I viewed gigs like a keg party held at a cash bar. Santa Claus could be on stage fronting Metallica and I wouldn’t have given a fuck as long as I could smoke and drink. Getting drunk isn’t my priority now, it’s perpetuating the scene.

Not everyone has the ability to leave something memorable for the masses. Not all of us are  artists, athletes or debutants but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some impact. I write because I want the metal scene to survive. Not just the music but the whole spectacle of live gigs and events. In a world where stay-at-home singularity is the norm, metal promotes a non-discriminatory unity. I want to ensure there will always be a place for those who desire it. Metal will always be my second family.

I was excited about this show because it was technically my first one of the summer. The last gig I attended was Prong back on May 18th. I’m a big fan of Cannibal Corpse and I was happy they weren’t playing the House of Blues. I hate the restrictive door policies and poor closed-circuit television system. I’d take the Concord (2047 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647) over it any day of the week even though parking is a bitch!

Cameraman Roger Schultz and I arrived just in time to purchase a seven-dollar thimble of beer and catch Suffocation’s set. I ran into a friend, a part-time member of another high profile act who recently toured with Suffocation. He perceptively pointed out this was the best the band has sounded in years. I considered the statement as I took in the show. Suffocation redefined brutal as vocalist Ricky Myers reached a guttural level so low the floors actually vibrated from his delivery! Suffocation is the real deal, if you ever get the chance to see them live I highly recommend you take it!

I had some plans to hook up with Brazilian death metal legends Krisiun and I figured now would be the perfect time. As I made my way through the Concord I took note of the solid renovations as I haven’t been there in years. There were bars everywhere. The place was clean with plenty of tables to sit or stand at. I reached the Krisiun merchandise table and spoke with Donnie, the group’s tour manager, who instructed me to head outside and knock on the band’s tour bus.
 Here’s where shit got fucked up; due to the length of this show, we were all given ‘special’ wristbands which would allow us to leave the venue twice during our attendance. An ‘x’ kept track of the number of times out. Not a horrible idea in itself but of course when I made my way outside and reached the tour bus I was accosted by a ridiculously overzealous security agent who demanded I leave and return with someone who could verify my attendance. This Hulk Hogan wannabe was ready to kick us out until others arrived to cool him down. Knowing this return trip was going to kill my exit limits, I asked to have a security agent escort me back inside to ensure I wouldn’t get ‘dinged’ for my return visit. I headed back upstairs and explained to Donnie what had transpired. The tour manager was having none of it. He left the merch table and personally escorted us down to the tour bus. He asked me to point out the Hulk Hogan wannabe and proceeded to unload on him. It was awesome!

Some people assume because you have long hair, tattoos or piercings you are not intelligent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Donnie had us carte blanche access when all was said and done. He’s a class act that stands up for metal and I couldn’t have been more grateful. Donnie led us back into the restricted area where we ran into Alex Camargo (bass/vocals) of Krisiun who just happened to be putting away some equipment. A couple of quick introductions later and I was set for my interview.

After the Krisiun interview I needed to drink a beer and check out Nile. It’s been years since I saw this band live and I needed to get embalmed. Nile has built a solid reputation in the metal scene and I believe it’s well-deserved. Originality and solid execution have kept this group at the forefront of extreme music. Summer Slaughter only reaffirms their place amongst the death metal greats. It was pure sickness hearing “Black Seeds of Vengeance” chanted live.

After Nile, a new agenda sprung to the forefront. Last October, I caught Cannibal Corpse with Cattle Decapitation the day before Halloween. Roger managed to score a drumhead signed by Cannibal but it was unfortunately damaged in a tussle with his girlfriend a couple of weeks later. A bottle of vodka erased guitarist’s Rob Barrett’s signature. We needed Rob to sign this fucker again! Prior to the event, I emailed my contact at the label to see if my request could get to Rob directly, no dice. Eventually, Roger decided to retrieve the drumhead from the car and bring it inside the venue, hoping to get Rob’s attention onstage. He used his veteran concert experience to skinny his way up to the front of the stage and recruited all those around him to try to get Rob’s attention but alas, it was not to be.

The closest he came to obtaining the signature was an idiotic security guard who thought Roger wanted his signature! I was flushed with disbelief as I jumped in-between a pair of head bangers ready to snatch the marker out of his hand! Luckily, Roger was way ahead of me. He grabbed the marker and drumhead away before you could say Tomb of the Mutilated! Despite this minor setback, I enjoyed Cannibal Corpse immensely. The energy they bring is undeniable, ripping through song after song like a spree killer in a McDonald’s parking lot.

If there was a sour note, it came from the fans, not the band. I absolutely hate it when fans yell out ‘Slayer’ during a show but it’s worse when a group other than Slayer is actually on stage performing. The chant had me embarrassed. As much as I respect Slayer they are totally irrelevant in today’s scene. Please stop chanting Slayer, it makes you sound old!

All in all, Summer Slaughter’s tenth year was a murderous success. There is no doubt that extreme music is keeping the underground alive. The dedication these bands have to the scene is amazing. I’m already looking forward to next year! \m/

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