Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mayhem - Nov. 16th, 2011 at The Park Theater

When my drummer AJ picked me up at 7:30pm, I was expecting a full band lineup that would be hauling ass until 1 am. I looked at the show postings, and saw that it was playing at The Zoo, but AJ then informed me that the venue had changed to the Park... and then that all the bands but Mayhem dropped off the bill... This was a little bit more than discouraging, and I had half a mind to just get back home instead of wasting money on Mayhem. I made the decision to cough up $25 and wait around until 11:30 to see Mayhem and maybe talk to them briefly. There was a $60 VIP meet and greet with Mayhem after they apparently finished their laundry at the laundromat across the street, but I didn't feel it was necessary to spend that much to meet Mayhem. When the time came closer, the Park was filled with black and excitement. This was the best turn out I have ever seen for a band playing at the Park Theater, and it would be the most brutal show I've seen.
The crowd at The Park
As soon as we were all allowed to crowd into the theater, it was obvious that this was going to be a smokey and wiley night. I couldn't predict how crazed the crowd would get, and almost thought there would be no mosh pit whatsoever, simply because blacker metal usually doesn't garner that kind of activity. The pit at this show was constant, even when there was no music, and the kind of moshing was more aggressive than a lot that I had encountered, even at a show like Exodus.

This tour's lineup consisted of some old favourites: Necrobutcher, Attila and Hellhammer, of course; Then their newest members: Morfeus and Teloch on guitars respectively. Mayhem opened with Deathcrush after the instrumental Silvester Anfang lead them out on stage. They played a lot of classic Mayhem which will be shown on the set list I was very generously given after asking one of the "bouncers" nicely. Ah yes! The bouncers! I didn't expect Mayhem to have side-bumpers like the two gentlemen that would catch wayward crowd surfers, and toss them back immediately into the sea of violence. There was one person who crowdsurfed to the stage, was promptly thrown back, but then was put back on the stage by the crowd again! Always watching like hawks, the bouncers always ran awkwardly behind the band while performing, just to be ready for whoever dared to make it onto the stage.

Mayhem didn't appear all that ridiculous on stage, the only one that might have gotten a laugh was Attila, but that's okay, because he did every Mayhem song justice- Especially Cursed In Eternity and Funeral Fog. Attila did not appear pompous on stage, although he was the only one who dressed up, so to speak. Complete with leather pants, a cape and black metal props. However, he did not carry any animal heads and there was also no blood. Attila has been doing this enough to know that he does not need to rely on theatrics to perform well.
Necrobutcher, Attila and Teloch
Widening as if he were going to drink the last beer on Earth

All right, I lied- I could have laughed about Necrobutcher, because he is such a character. He often looked at me while I took a picture of him, so that I have some memorable shots of him posing. He is very entertaining and down to earth as I found. After the show, he came back on stage briefly and came up to me. I told him "I took some beautiful pictures of you!" and he hugged me tightly, kissed me on the cheek and said "You're beautiful!" then he left to find the people who promised him the green bounty of Canada. I saw him again by the tour bus, and he fit right in with everyone who held his company. I would hang out with Necrobutcher any day.

Morfeus and Teloch played consistently, and as far as I could tell, there was no messing around beyond what the black metal genre allowed. No face-melting or gut-busting guitar solos, but everything was played well and evenly. I was only able to get a few pictures of Morfeus before trying my hand on the other side of the stage, where I was pinned for the rest of the show. Teloch was a stiff musician, with little expression or playfulness on stage. His look was often of concentration, and he did not seem to be overwhelmed with joy at playing in front of a brutal crowd of heavily buzzed or drunk metal fans, constantly at the ready to surf on stage, or ram themselves into other show-goers. I did like Teloch's LTD deluxe though, with the vibrant yellow trim on his solid black guitar.

 Hellhammer, as we should all expect, was a beast on the drum kit and counted in, when I wasn't even sure I would be able to jump in as a musician. Mayhem simply seemed to know what to do and when. Complete synchronization. Hellhammer is the foundation of such rhythm, and kept himself centered, and difficult to see. Unfortunately I only have one shotty picture of him, simply because the center of the stage was a danger zone, especially for someone holding an expensive camera. I was once even accidently tossed into the fray, and repeatedly pushed while I had my camera in hand. I dropped it, was grabbed and thrown again, but amazingly I found my camera unscathed and then decided it was best to sit on the staircase up to the stage for the rest of the show. I still sustained injuries, even from the seemingly safe stairs, but some people were tossed on top of my leg, pinning it against the corner of a stair, and I have maintained that painful bruise, even a week later.

Hellhammer, Attila and some guy's orb clutching hand.

I would also have to say, that this was probably one of the most well produced metal shows I have ever experienced. The sound was so evenly dispersed, everything could be heard perfectly and you could easily distinguish between guitarists, and the bass wasn't turned down into obscurity. Perhaps the only thing pertaining to sound quality that could have been better would have to be Attila's level. Occasionally Attila wasn't quit loud enough, but you could always hear him a bit. Hellhammer, as we should expect, was just a beast on drums, unfortunately, between the two Mayhem banners on stage and the rage that was in the center, I could not see him very much, let alone take pictures.
The banner hid Hellhammer, but it's really cool!
 The banner seen above is really quite a piece, but the tour shirts being sold had an emblem that was too small. They should have used the banner's image on their shirts. The merch only sold men's shirts, and none in a small. Weak.
Attila - Obligatory noose, skull, inverted cross microphone and Bathory shirt

I asked one of the bouncers very nicely, and in one of my cutest voices if I could run up quickly and get a picture, and he said I would get one, but never pulled through for me. My consolation prize was that he did give me one of the coveted set lists. After receiving the set list, I was determined to have it signed- so I did!

 After the show, I was told to wait by the tour bus to get pictures. When I went there, Necrobutcher was having a good time smoking with a group of people, and soon Teloch showed up as well as Morfeus. I saw that they were watching Fargo in their tour bus, and made small chit-chat with Teloch about it. I asked him about the whereabouts of Attila and Hellhammer, and he told me they were still changing in the back of the theater, but offered to get their signatures for me. This was certainly better than nothing, and I had no idea if either of them would be up for schmoozing with fans. He promptly took the set list and got it signed for me, which meant a lot to AJ and I.

Teloch was a very distant sort of fellow, and gentle as well. I found out he was on welfare in Norway, and received $1500 a month to support himself. Norway, as many must know, is a very oil-rich and wealthy country, so things are typically more expensive than in North America. That amount of money sounds like a lot, but I can't imagine it covers more than the bare minimum for Norwegians. I also discovered Teloch was an avid photographer, and asked AJ and I where he might take interesting pictures. Unfortunately, that far up Osbourne did not seem like a nice place to take photographs, even at night in the still cold that seizes Winnipeg. So we let him get on his way, and noticed him taking photos in the crowds direction at the front of the Park, where we said our goodbye's to our fellow metalheads and headed home.

Now for a picture dump!

Mayhem clearly tattoed on Necrobutcher's back

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