voivod

     On June 1, Brick By Brick hosted Voivod, King Parrot, and Child Bite as part of the ensemble’s 2016 Post Society US Tour along with local support from Nukem. The bill was a righteous way to kick off the month, and many were in attendance on the Wednesday night. Local act Nukem was the first to play and drew a decent amount of people to the stage. Their music was pretty plain but drummer Norm Leggio added a lot to the band’s dynamics. Bassist Donald Lauder’s tone was punchy while live guitarist Laura Christine added an extra layer of sound with the second guitar; both of which worked to Nukem’s advantage. My biggest issue lied with frontman Steve Brogden who relied too hard on sounding like a vocal hybrid of Destruction and Havok while doing goofy hair-flips before solos. Nukem has played on a slew of great bills and certainly have potential, but there’s much work to be done for the band to advance.

     Detroit post-punkers Child Bite commenced their set shortly after Nukem. The four-piece burst onstage combining groovy elements of Dead Kennedys with gritty, unpredictable noise rock. Frontman Shawn Knight was wildly engaging as he embodied the volatile vibes of both Jim Carrey and Mike Patton. Bassist Sean Clancy windmilled surprisingly hard for someone with glasses, and drummer Jeff Kraus did an excellent job nailing the intricate stop-and-go time signatures. I would have liked to have seen more on-stage energy from guitarist Brandon Sczomak, but his bandmates more than made up for it. Child Bite’s live presence meshed excellently with their eccentric musical style and fit right into their place on the Post Society Tour.

     King Parrot’s subsequent performance promptly opened the night’s first mosh pit. Self-described as a “Grindin’ Thrashin’ Punk Wrecking Machine!” the Australian quintet couldn’t find words to better represent themselves as they pummeled San Diegans with blast beats, high-pitched vocals, T-Rex arms, and sweat. Lots of sweat. After hearing so much about King Parrot, their performance at the Brick established for me why they are an increasingly common staple in heavy music.

     The venue was flooded by the time the lights dimmed for the Canadian metal legends. The anticipation for Voivod’s return to a well-deserved headliner spot came to its ultimate climax as the room exploded with the starting notes of with Rrroooaaarrr’s “Ripping Headaches” followed by Dimension Hatross’ “Tribal Convictions.” This opening set the standard for what was to be a full-bodied sonic assault assembled from more than three decades of well-crafted sci-fi influenced thrash/prog. Voivod has always been known to create music that punishes the ears and challenges the mind, and their San Diego performance was a prime manifestation of that.

     Songs like “Killing Technology” and “Kluskap O’Kom” got the crowd moving and roaring. Drummer Away and new bass player Rocky formed a crushing rhythm section, allowing guitarist Chewy and vocalist Snake to take the reins in showmanship. The newer tracks from Post Society and Target Earth were great fits in the set, and my only complaint was that “Forever Mountain” didn’t get played despite it being on the purported setlist. Not one point during their set did Voivod appear tired or apathetic. In fact, it was everything I could have hoped for in a performance from one of heavy metal’s finest.

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