Saturday April 22 in Columbia, MO. It’s the week after homecoming and the town is in the bizarre state of flux that is part football Saturday, part semi-humid fall weekend day. While there are a few things going on, the town does seem to lack some of the energy it tends to have on a weekend. However, as I got some errands done, I got ready for one of the few shows in this town that would seriously blur the divide between punk and metal. Thus, In Defence were returning to town for the first time since late May.
First up was local band The Phaggs to kick things off with a definite punk flavor. Diving headfirst into a set of the noisy HC with screamed vocals and guitar that nearly crumbles under its own semi hollow bodied distortion that’s become their signature. However, while their presence on this bill is slightly surprising given the more metal leanings of some of the bands, this trio (on this night anyway) is showing themselves to be the tightest they’ve ever been live. Yes, they definitely owe a nod to early to mid 80s hardcore and its hard to tell what they’re singing about, but Justice and his bandmates have come a long way from the chaotic, nihilistic band that they began as and may be one of the better bands in this town that a lot of people don’t know about.
Definitely flying another sonic flag altogether was Creaturezoid, whom I’d heard about for a couple years but somehow had always missed live due to either obligations I couldn’t get out of or arriving at an afternoon show at Flat Branch Park just as it ended; thus I was interested in hearing them. Their set was pure speed/death metal built on a wall of scooped tone guitar chords, tight songs, and a lot of solos. Dished with a singular power, the band’s songs go for the jugular with a solid footing and an edge that draws from earlier bands but isn’t completely beholden to them. While Columbia isn’t known as a metal town per se, this is a band that could play a vital role in making a dent towards that direction. If you dig thrash and 80s style crossover metal Creaturezoid is definitely worth checking out.
The Proselyte came from Boston and are on a short leg of a tour with In Defence. Since I’d never heard of them before I was curious to see what’s they’re like as they set up their wall of amps. What emerged from the speakers was doom/stoner metal (for lack of a better term) that arose from midtempo rhythms, a mix of heavy power chords and some bluesy leaning guitar licks and an energy that the band played as their lives depended on it. While there was a huge amount of gear on stage (by Berlin standards, anyway) the band played the fine line between volume and pure aggression as the songs pummeled over the crowd with a swagger that veered from assured to pure noise. They were also the loudest band on the bill with one person noting they stepped outside for a second and could hear everything perfectly. While their type of music isn’t everyone’s quart of brew the Proselyte know their sound and excel at giving the crowd a pure sonic attack that will stick with them.
In Defence were about to tear the house down by kind of bringing it back to where it began. The Minneapolis based quintet threw down a short, sharp blast of hardcore punk infused with a definite amount of pure metal throughout. Dual guitars blazed away at these somewhat humorous songs as the crowd got into instant pit mode. There’s a power and energy here that carried the band through a set that was, sadly, too short whether riffing on a new bass drum pedal that broke before it even got used or moshing vs. circle pits, the band maintained their mix of raw energy and hardcore attack that has been their bread and butter live. While there wasn’t the circle pit dance lesson like there was last time they were in town, In Defence again proved their ferocity as what hardcore and metal can come across as when it put together well and actually done right. Once again, they put on a live show you have to see to believe.
Post show, it was off into the Columbia night. For Saturday night it seemd unbelievably quiet. Maybe it was the early afternoon loss the Tigers had to Oklahoma State, maybe it’s the time of the semester. Regardless, it seemed to be a chilly though reflective contrast to the power and energy that took place inside Cafe Berlin that nigh thanks to the venue, Thorazine Overdose Productions for putting it on, the bands, and those who made it to the show. This was an interesting way to spend an autumn night; a way I wish others could’ve shared.