Live review: Hot House Heftones, Pain After Death, Pig Mountain, Towering Pyre, MC Cataclysm, Clavius, Hectagons



Hot House Heftones, Pain After Death, Pig Mountain, Towering Pyre, MC Cataclysm, Clavius, Hectagons

Hot House

June 25, 2011

The Deal: Over the years, I have been to several parties at the Hot House and I can't say that any occasion has ever been a bad time. The music is always good and the atmosphere of the party is pretty much agreeable with the relatively unavoidable intoxicated party drama. I've been going to shows there for at least three years and every time has been some notable experience that I cannot forget. I watched Villains United turn into Quantum Foundry and then MC Cataclysm there. I watched Zeus become who they are today, as well as my first Hectagons experience. Although I've always been impressed by their line-ups, when I heard that Hectagons, Clavius, MC Cataclysm, Towering Pyre, Pig Mountain, Pain After Death and The Hot House Heftones were playing in the same night, I had no choice but to submit to the crazy awesome and unpredictable night ahead of me.

Find photos from the show here.

The Good: I hate more than anything when a house show gets started without the actual party in effect which was definitely the case this night. Maybe 10 people were there, but, because of the time, Hectagons was made to play. Regardless, Hectagons provided its musical delight to the fullest, creating satisfaction comparable to cupcake consumption. I hate that they only get to play so often, because they are just that damn good. However, it probably makes me appreciate them more because they are not nearly over-saturated. As Buck stood to the right of the stage on the floor, Ricky and Korey dominated the stage. Ricky provided smooth, yet complex drumming while Korey played earth shaking bass lines on his stand up and Buck's electric guitar sang like no voice could. Hectagons has the premise of jazz with the attitude of experimental metal or punk. While tuning in between songs, Buck cued soft rock hits from another era to keep us entertained — “Oh What a Night” and “Lady in Red” and a couple others. It was a perfect humorous compliment to their technical extravagance. I could listen to them play for hours.

Clavius was an early adulthood formation of three of the best musicians I know: Ricky Culp, Buck Boswell and Jeff Wilkerson. They didn't last as long as I would've liked because Jeff had to move away for law school but they were absolutely phenomenal. Thankfully, Jeff visits from time to time and when the timing is right, they play a set. Tonight, this was the case and I was thrilled. The three geniuses played their technical southern rock, displaying their deep-rooted friendship. Their interactions with each other were that of pure joy, especially Jeff's. The genuine smile on his face was contagious. They only played a small set, about 15 minutes, but they included such jams as “There's a Snake in My Boots,” making those of us that had heard them before grin from ear to ear while others that were experiencing it for the first time banged their heads.

MC Cataclysm brought the hip-hop with his intelligent rhymes that were spit with precision. While I enjoyed his set when he didn't have back up from MC Exactly, I really like the addition; it's definitely complimentary, accentuating different lines that weren't quite as strong before. Never seizing to amaze us, Cataclysm even rapped in Chinese, getting the ladies dancing and the room fairly full. Then MC Exactly took hold of the rhymes and knocked it out of the park. The beats were sick, the MCs' lyrics were well-written and with good delivery. I've gotta say, Charlotte's hip-hop scene has been mostly underground, but lately talent like this is coming out and coming together.

Before the red and orange glow of party lights, the four that make up Towering Pyre stood before us. I cannot stress how awesome these guys are. Lately for me, they have crept up and caught me off guard with how solid they were. It doesn't matter where they play; Morgan always catches people off guard. A couple of songs into the set, a drunk dude came up from the corner of the room and gave her knuckles proclaiming “I went for five minutes without realizing you were a girl.” Morgan just smiled and continued her fierce growls from the bottom of her gut as the band played their epic tunes.

I was stoked to see Pig Mountain play as I missed their show a couple of weeks back. As soon as the first deep notes were vibrating through the air, my head began uncontrollably moving as the sludge took over my body, sending it in full propelling motion. Doob's raspy vocals and Dillon's pounding drums guided the way for Ricky's thunderous bass and Doob's driving guitar to take you to another land, a land of sludgy gratification. A faint smile dominated Doob's fierce face showing us his soft core during his moments in a tough, whiskey-drinking persona. In the midst of their set, all the boys took their shirts off, dripping sweat and loving what they were doing, taking us all up Pig Mountain.

As soon as Pain After Death began, a brutal pit broke out in the middle of the floor, consuming everyone around it into a mass of sweaty bodies — all in the name of metal. Joe Payne's pedals began getting jeopardized as people were flying towards the stage. Dan Royer attempted to guard them but it was a failed effort, so Joe ended up having to move on stage. As soon as Dan was no longer on guard duty, he transformed into a completely different creature. He goes to a dark, interesting place, falling to floor in the middle of the room, screaming his guts out in fits of emotion as pits form around him. They are definitely an impressive group, tight in their skills and had a crowd response to back that up.

Throughout the night, in between the sets, MC Cataclysm grabbed the mic, beats were queued and cyphers began. While the Hot House Heftones were setting up, a group of ill MCs were cyclically rhyming and tearing it up, passing the mic. The drummer of the Hot House Heftones got in his chair and provided a beat for the guys while the rest of the band was setting up. Two worlds united and brought us an impromptu collaboration that might as well have been a set it was so good.

During the Hot House Heftones' set, there were not that many people inside the house, but the ones that were, were jamming out like none other. I would say it was because everyone was pretty much inebriated at this point but the music was catchy. A jazzy premise and a rock sound, they showcased a multitude of instruments that switched up from song to song and displayed how versatile in talent each member was. The latest addition to their group is a lovely lady with a unique and beautiful voice with the ability to play banjo, violin and saw. As the partygoers outside started recognizing music was playing again, people began to file in gradually and a pseudo dance party began.

After the Hot House Heftones finished performing, MC Cataclysm started an intense and sweaty cypher. Although I wanted to stick around, it was somewhere around 3:30 am, so I decided to take myself home to pass out. I would imagine the music went on informally for quite some time. The party warriors would know… maybe.

The Bad: House parties are always full of people that get progressively wasted throughout the night. While it isn't too bad for the majority of the party, towards the end of the night people are so intoxicated that they can get a bit abrasive and sometimes out of hand. I always take this as my exit cue. There was a little of this but thankfully there was certainly a lower douchebag count this time around.

The Verdict: House shows are always a good time and a chance to witness the scene at its most raw and honest. Although things sometimes get out of hands, it's pretty much a social experiment so people are typically prepared to deal with these sorts of situations. I'm really glad that this night went smoothly. It was an overall magical musical experience with a great line up and great performances while people were partying down.

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