This past Thursday I headed to Philly’s intimate Voltage Lounge to catch a stacked lineup with Phobia, Ghoul, and DRI all playing, who were on their way to Maryland Death Fest. Due to traffic I got to the venue a bit late and missed the two openers, but got there right as Phobia was playing their opening chords. I battled through the sea of denim vests and long hair to the front for Phobia.
I’ve been a fan of Phobia ever since I saw them open for Municipal Waste back in 2009, and have been a fan ever since. These Orange Country dudes play grindcore leaning more towards the crust punk side of things, and Phobia ripped through a quick set playing a bunch off their latest Unrelenting with a decent amount of Cruel (my favorite) and Means Of Existence thrown in as well.
The band played an incredibly tight set, and while most in the crowd didn’t really know or appreciate them much, a small yet dedicated group of us partied along.
I don’t remember much of what was played, but some highlights for me were: Facist Face Smash, So Full Of Hate, Let’s Get Pissed, and Rape, Theft And Murder.
Holy shit, nothing could have prepared me for thrash metal band Ghoul’s set. While my metalhead friend has been telling me to check them out for years now, this was the first time I was actually going to see them, and what a ridiculous and face melting set.
For those who don’t know, Ghoul, who keeps their real identities hidden play thrash metal with over the top theatrics including costumes, props, and plenty of fake blood. Pretty much imagine Gwar if Gwar’s music sounded better…
Donning full executioner garb, it didn’t didn’t take the band long before drenching the crowd in fake blood through the use of skulls and infant dolls they disemboweled onstage and sprayed it’s blood on the crowd. The pit was constant and rowdy, and the band had a cheesy yet incredibly entertaining costumed storyline that involved cops, mecha-warriors, giant robots, etc. They kept things incredibly light hearted and fun, and never broke character.
I didn’t really even dance around much due to a sprained ankle, and by the end of Ghoul’s set, I was covered in fake blood and beer. Easily stole the show, one of the most entertaining live bands I’ve ever seen.
I’ve been listening to DRI since I used to skate to Dealing With It in high school, yet somehow I never got a chance to see them. While a decent amount of people left after Ghoul, there were still plenty left for the long-running crossover thrash kings. Often credited with starting the crossover thrash genre which mixed punk and thrash that bands such as Municipal Waste followed in the 80s (in fact, the genre is named after their album Crossover), it was rad to see them play in a smaller venue considering they were heading to MDF and NJ’s huge Starland Ballroom the next few days.
DRI took the stage, and immediately broke out into “Who Am I” which had the crowd sitting and dancing along. These guys must love what they do, because they told the crowd that their setlist was around 40 songs long, and they weren’t kidding. They played a few hour set, which is definitely a long time as far as punk bands go, but they slayed.
DRI played a bunch off most of their releases, even throwing in some new songs as well which is supposed to be coming out on EP later this year (the first time DRI has made new music in over 20 years). The new songs they played were awesome, much more similar to their first album and more rooted in punk/hardcore than metal, so I’m definitely looking forward to hearing that.
It’s hard to remember what was played with a set that long, but some songs that come to mind:
Setlist (Not in order or complete):
Who Am I
Dead In A Ditch
Suit And Tie Guy
Argument Then War
I’m The Liar
How To Act
As Seen On TV
Wage Of Sin
I’d Rather Be Sleeping
Syringes In The Sandbox
Nursing Home Blues
I Don’t Need Society
All For Nothing
Beneath The Wheel
Five Year Plan