Brick by Brick was host to a night of grindcore, hardcore, and pure energy this past Friday past as Pig Destroyer played their first San Diego show in their 20-year career. The headliners and the support bands represented a diverse mix of styles, albeit unified by an intensity of sound. San Diegans came out in force to partake in the mayhem.
Opening the show was Call of the Void, the four-piece from Boulder, Colorado – and boy did they set the opening bar high. Avoiding easy definition, Call of the Void bring solid hardcore influences with a healthy dose of sludge and grindcore seeping in. Gordon Koch’s drumming presented an exotic array of blast beats, d-beats, and more fills than you can shake a fist at, and this paired perfectly with the molasses-thick guitar riffs. The resulting product was so original and captivating that it is hard to imagine ever tiring of their sound. Special mention goes out to Alex Pace on bass, who managed to keep his cool even when his instrument’s strap peg fell out. Kudos.
Oakland’s Necrot were up next, mainly sporting tracks from their acclaimed 2017 release, Blood Offerings. Necrot stay true to a vision of old school, no-frills death metal, somehow giving them a sound heavier and more engaging than flashier variants. Unfortunately, Necrot’s performance had some sonic drawbacks. The tone choice for the guitar may be well suited for studio recording, but on the live stage it sounded muted and lacking in clarity. From that, it was hard to feel like there was much variety throughout their set. Despite this drawback, it’s easy to see why Blood Offerings has been receiving so much attention of late – Necrot practically embodies the vibe of authentic death metal.
John Cleese was probably not thinking of LA’s power violence act Despise You taking to the stage when he famously intoned, “and now for something completely different”. Nevertheless, that is how their arrival felt. The inclusion of three vocalists in Despise You’s line-up seems fitting for how forward and in-your-face their sound and attitude is. This attitude worked to get the crowd energized and involved in the performance, even leading to a handful of audience members being pulled up to the stage to rock out alongside the band.
Last but certainly not least, Pig Destroyer took to the stage to close off the night. If the opening acts were impressive, Pig Destroyer were unbelievable. It was evident right from the start that the bandmembers are veterans of the stage. Scott Hull’s guitarwork was a symphony of precision and brutality, J. R. Hayes’ vocals were on-point and filled with passion, and God alone knows how Adam Jarvis has so much energy to put into his drumming. Pig Destroyer played songs from across their entire discography, managing to cram a respectable amount of music into just under an hour.
Of course, no one would have complained if Pig Destroyer’s set went for longer, but there was no impression that anyone in the audience was left unsatisfied by their performance. The audience’s immersion in the performance was demonstrated simply in the intensity of the pit. From start to finish, Pig Destroyer kept the atmosphere roiling. Their performance felt less like individual tracks and more like waves of energy. And if those waves of energy make their way back to San Diego again, you can be sure as hell I’ll be there.