By Mark Derricutt
Artist: Escape The Fate
Date / Venue: Saturday October 1st, 2016 - Kings Arms, Auckland
Resistance is futile, so why even try to Escape The Fate? For one thing, because they put on a hell of a show.
Up until 3 hours before the show I’d never heard any material from ETF, I didn’t catch them at last years WestFest because well, I think Mayhem were playing at the same time and that’s more my style. So was I pumped and psyched for the show? I’d have to honestly say - not really. What was destined to be a quiet night of recovery from the previous night's gig outing turned out to be another rawkus wild night of shenanigans.
So I wasn’t pumped for the show - that often happens, you might have had a crappy day at the office, a girl might have not replied to your text, anything could sour ones mood, and a wet, miserable, chilly Auckland eve never helps. That being said, shortly after arriving at Auckland’s Kings Arms we had Written By Wolves setting the tone with their ever present high energy, very danceable version of metal/hard rock - front man Michael Murphy effortlessly working the crowd getting everyone in the right mood - and with a killer cover of Metallica’s Master Of Puppets they even made this sourpuss get in the zone (and to be honest, this was probably the highlight of the night for me).
Now, as I said I’d never heard ETF before, and knew even less about them, so I listened to a few songs on YouTube before arriving, only to soon learn all the songs I’d listened to were from the bands previous singer - oh well, my point of reference just changed - but this is rock - so let’s roll with it.
As the intro music started, and the band took the stage the packed out Kings Arms crowd roared… to silence. A minor technically glitch stopped everything in stone, the band quietly apologised and retreated the stage… rinse… repeat… ROAR! And we’re off - almost instantly the crowd is getting into it - screaming kids going crazy as almost every song gets announced, or it’s memorable hook intro line plays - it’s kinda weird being on the outside this time, having no connection to the music, it’s like I’m old or something - but really, it’s just unfamiliarity.
Each song seems to have it’s own flavour, some more thrashy and all out moshable, others - heavy with a slower pace, with big killer memorable hooks and choruses that get everyone singing along - sadly to my ears, the more memorable the hook the more simpler the songs appeared, but not in that “stripped down, spacious with room to breathe” vibe, just… simpler - and I just didn’t connect with them as much as the more complex songs. None of this phazed the audience tho, they were lapping it up.
The highlight for me was watching drummer Robert Ortiz, the only remaining original member giving one hell of a standup performance, and when I say standup - I mean it. Between drum rolls, fills, insane beats, Robert would standup high above the kit giving what everyone, photographer and music fan a like wants - a view of the man hidden behind the kit. Coupled that with being right up next to lead guitarist Kevin "Thrasher" Gruft provided an appreciation for the material I was hearing, even if it wasn’t really my cup of tea.
So, have I been converted to a fan? Not quite, the Borg were correct - resistance is futile, but we’ll darn well go down fighting in the pit.