One of the most unique concert experiences I’ve ever witnessed was at the Baltimore Soundstage on November 2nd coming in the form of Brujeria, Powerflo and Pinata Protest, along with local Baltimore openers, Earthworm Von Doom. This had to be one of the most eclectic line-ups I’ve ever seen. It was a very mild evening for November in Baltimore which was lost on the miniscule crowd in attendance. It was a Thursday night and ticket sales on a weekday are usually sketchy at best. But, this night’s turnout was dismal.
With barely 15 people assembled, yet cheering them on, Baltimore’s own Earthworm Von Doom hit the stage precisely at 7pm.
Consisting of only two players, Trip Cahouet on drums and Sam Friia on bass, EVD trounced the crowd with their brand of grindcore madness playing all original material with some very creative titles. My personal favorite was “Chia Seeds and Pubic Hair in my Drain”. Trip is a phenomenal drummer and Sam’s screams and growls were epic. They put out an amazing amount of sound for two guys. Fans should absolutely look forward to their future work.
Up next was Pinata Protest, a five-man ensemble billed as a Tex-Mex punk rock band out of San Antonio, Texas. Right away, we knew this band was different as the front man, Alvaro Del Norte, came out with a flourish brandishing his electric accordion. Backed up by Jose Morales on guitar, Richie Brown on bass and Chris-Ruptive on drums, these guys were highly energetic, playing a mix of ethnic influenced punk rock that was both slightly strange and mildly enjoyable. All of their songs were sung in Spanish. Consequently, I have no idea of song names or lyrics, but I did recognize “La Cucaracha” coming from the tiny trumpet that Alvaro utilized towards the end of their set. They also had a great crowd reaction from the barely 30 people in attendance. But, many in attendance knew their songs and enthusiastically participated when Alvaro instigated a “red salsa versus green salsa” wall of death which resulted in a very spirited mosh pit for about a minute.
Next in succession was Powerflo, an amalgamation of former members of other fairly well-known bands. Their line-up is a powerhouse consisting of Billy Graziadei (Biohazard), Christian Olde Wolbers (Fear Factory), Sen Dog (Cypress Hill), Rogelio Lozano (Downset) along with Brazilian drummer Fernando Schaefer. The east coast/west coast collaboration takes traditional New York Hardcore to a new level. Sen’s L.A. rap-style vocals bring a hip-hop vibe to Billy’s NY Hardcore influence through songs like “Resistance”, “Victim of Circumstance” and “The Grind”. Powerflo is tight as a band, edgy and put on one hell of a show. Powerflo just formed this year but has the potential to be HUGE if they continue on their current track. But, that remains to be seen as the rumors fly about their future endeavors.
Finishing out the evening was Brujeria, a deathgrind metal band hailing mostly from Mexico. Upon doing a little more research on this band, I came up with more questions than anything. While on stage, they appeared to have 6 members. However, their promo photo shows 8 members and their Wikipedia page lists either 7 or 10 members, depending on where you’re looking. I hesitate to list any of them for fear of getting it wrong.
Brujeria was a brutal force exuding a wall of sound that shook the foundations of not only everyone in attendance, but also the very foundations of the building itself. Donning bandanas covering their faces to perpetuate their Mexican outlaw storyline, Brujeria perfectly portrays the Mexican stereotype, even down to the Machete hanging off of Juan Brujo’s (John Lepe) hip. Brujeria’s songs are also all in Spanish but I was able to recognize “Pocho Aztlan” and “Plata O Plomo” both off their latest release, ‘Pocho Aztlan’ which hit the airwaves in September of 2016. Brujeria’s performance was raw and in your face and the level of political trash talk rivaled even that of the most fringe Fox News journalists. Brujeria put on a great show despite the politics. I understand the reasoning behind the politics, I just do not believe a metal show is the proper place for it. Metalheads gather to hear music, not get political. Metal, or just music in general, should bring people together. Not further separate them.
Brujeria’s live performance was brutal, loud and politically charged but the unique wonder of the overall show came from the wild cast of openers. Powerflo kicked major ass, Pinata Protest was a hit with the crowd and definitely keep your eyes and ears open for Earthworm Von Doom.