THE HOLY MOUNTAIN + Cobra Noir @ Zoobizarre

By Johnny Suck - Turn Down the Suck - 04/08/2006

Walking into Zoobizarre, my first reaction was “huh?”, which was quickly replaced by “oh shit, this is going to be awesome!”. It was my first time there and I was struck by its layout. The main room is essentially a long, narrow, low stone arch -- think of an oversized fireplace. While not a place for the claustrophobic -- even at its highest point, the ceiling was within easy reach -- it’s the type of venue that has potential for insane/amazing/legendary shows. That it is entirely made out of stone may cause you to question the acoustics, but for the type of show that I love, for the type of show that this was supposed to be, sound quality is far less important than atmosphere. It has that cozy, secluded, nothing - in - the - world - matters - except - for - what’s - going - on - in - here atmosphere, which gives shows that ‘this is something special’ feeling.

The first band up were Last Days, who I called ‘pretty crap’ in my last feature. Perhaps that was a bit harsh, as this time I didn’t find that they were bad, just not at all good. I’d rate them 8.5/10 for style, 6 for sound, and 5 for songs. They’re playing the right type of music, a style of hardcore punk that fits perfectly on the bill, but they aren’t quite doing it right.

Cobra Noir, on the other hand, is doing it right. Intense, aggressive (but not unaccessibly so), fast at times, sludgy at others, catchy, sort of fun, and of course, heavy. Their set, while technically and stylistically excellent, was brought down by a few critical problems: it was disappointingly short, there were too many new songs, and the crowd completely sucked. In all honesty, I was probably one of the three most active people there -- and anyone that knows me will tell you that that is a bad sign. It was actually pretty shocking because the last time I saw Cobra Noir, the crowd was completely wild causing the show to be an amazing experience overall. Why none of those people showed up this time, I have no idea, but it was a serious let-down. Only during the last song did any signs of life appear but it was too little, too late. Lame crowds are nothing new; I’ll even admit to watching plenty of shows standing still with arms crossed, but seeing so much potential go wasted was an absolute shame.

The crowd for The Holy Mountain was better, but still not that good. Zoobizarre was the perfect venue for an audience to go nuts and have a great time, but unfortunately most people kept their wits about them. The ones who didn’t keep their wits -- including yours truly -- were in for a treat though. Blasting lethal hardcore, THM simply rip live. It wasn’t long before the dozen non-lame people in attendance were soaked in that lovely mixture of their own sweat, other people’s sweat and spilled beer. This wasn’t the type of show where you go into details about things like the song selection or the artful musicianship; it was the type of show where what’s important is how many times you got knocked to the ground or hit in the head. Out of all such instances, the highlight of the night was this: sitting down on the edge of the stage to rest for a minute, having THM’s singer decide to climb onto my shoulders, and then me standing up and getting right in the center of the pit with him doing a song while sitting precariously on my shoulders. That he didn’t get knocked out on the low ceiling or dropped head first on the ground is a wonder, and it was one of those random, unique moments that makes a show more than ‘just another show’.

All in all, it turned out to be a pretty good time. I still think that it could have been a lot better had Cobra Noir’s set been up to par and if the crowd had been less lame. The night was made by The Holy Mountain, who delivered everything that could be expected from them, and Zoobizarre, which turned out to be a pretty interesting venue that I know will be the setting of a great show or two sometime in the future. In the end, on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being ‘feels perfectly fine’ and 10 being ‘broken’, my bangover the next morning was about a 6.5. That’s just where I like it -- your neck will be sore for a couple days, but damn you must have had fun!

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