Thursday, June 21, 2012

Witch Mountain on Trial

Witch Mountain

Witch Mountain came to the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln Tuesday night. I hadn't been to a live show in 8 years . . .

An Aside

Maybe I should go into that. You can skip this part if you want, but it might provide some context.

I had a friend from high school. During college, we went to a few live shows. Not often. We saw Metallica, Rob Zombie, Korn, System of a Down, Powerman 5000, Godsmack, Static-X, and Skrape over the course of about four years. I know, not the coolest, most cred-building list ever, but it is what it is. Last I knew, he was getting into Hatebreed, and, probably the Dropkick Murphys or something. I don't know anymore, because he's apparently written me off. The feeling is mutual.

The only other live show I've attended was A Perfect Circle, with my then-girlfriend now-wife. She liked the music OK, but the people at the show freaked her out. I should have taken her to a metal show instead, because those fucking goths. Anyway.

So I haven't had anyone to go with. And I'm not the kind of person who "does things." My idea of fun is watching a movie, by myself, and having a few beers. Other people are usually the ones who make me "do" things. And I had no idea how people find out what bands are coming to a small, out-of-the-way city like Lincoln anyway.

The result is, I hadn't been to a live show in 8 years. I was going to see Master with Lightning Swords of Death a few months ago, but Master (or their people) failed to check the requirements of immigration law, so that fell through. I was just going to forget about the live thing altogether, but when I found out Witch Mountain was coming to town, I couldn't resist.

The Show

The Bourbon Theatre is a small bar, with the stage set up slightly from a pit at the back. About 30-40 people were in attendance, mostly metalheads but also a few people who looked somewhat out of place. I can't gauge accurately how many women usually show up to metal shows, but I got the impression there was a higher percentage turnout. And only one chick was dressed like the skanky stereotype, while her boyfriend held her arm like a man holds his wallet at a pickpocket convention.

The opening act was Drunktank, a two-man thrashy, somewhat grindy operation out of Omaha. The drummer works at a cemetery. I didn't pay much attention to them, and their set was over about as quickly as it started. They did a fine job of warming everyone up, though.


Then came Ezra. What can I say about Ezra? Do you remember than band from the 90's called Better than Ezra? Well, they were full of shit. These local thrash/death veterans nailed it. They were extremely professional, and had a sound inspired in large part from early Sepultura and primitive death metal. It was catchy, too, and had me moving despite the fact I'd never heard them before. They turned out to be cool guys, too, and hooked me up with a two-song demo.

Lord Dying has been on tour with Witch Mountain for a few weeks, and they came off as a band that's ready for a label. They played a fast style of sludge, not too far removed from early Mastodon but certainly distinct. It seems they've talked with at least one label that you've definitely heard of, and plan to record a full-length perhaps after this tour. Lord Dying should be a name you'll hear again.

Uta Plotkin
Finally, to the headliners, Witch Mountain. Despite some monitor troubles, they put on a hell of a show, playing the most immediate cuts from the new record (the first four) as well as South of Salem standout "Wing of the Lord." They were loud as fuck, and played the songs extremely well. Taxi driver / soul singer Uta Plotkin's stage presence gives the sense that she's just a regular metal chick who's really getting into some of her favorite songs, letting the hair fall into her face and forgetting that she's being watched. It's not exactly like she had a lot of room to run around dominating the stage anyway, but she was relatable and got the crowd pumped. Her vocals were a tad quiet on the PA, but from what I could hear, she was delivering.

The band as a whole was tight, and they grooved (thanks to drummer Nate Carson, who was very cool). Other than one minor slip-up early in the set, they played everything perfectly.

Did they change my mind about live music? A little. I'm not about to start going to shows regularly, but they've proven to me that a show every now and then, by a band who are in it for the love of the music, can be worth my time and the $40 I dropped on cover, beer, and T-shirt.


  1. Nice! Good to hear you made it to a show, I don't go as often as I used to (when I thought I "couldn't live" without them, haha.) And what a show it must've been! Thanks for the writeup.

  2. Nice review! Glad to see you making it out to a show! I used to go to shows by myself all the time, prior to meeting my wife... I'm a shy motherfucker and didn't really identify w/ the other local metalheads. Luckily I married a metal fan, so now I always have a date, which is awesome. I need to listen to Witch Mountain more...

  3. Sounds like a good time. Glad your first show in 8 years wasn't a dud.

  4. Going to shows by yourself is fun. Hope Witch Mountain come to San Jose.

  5. Good to see you made it out to a show. I keep an eye on the Bourbon's page to see if they have anything interesting coming. Of course it's pretty tough to get out during the week running your own law firm.

  6. Yeah, it doesn't look like anything good is coming up. I mean, I appreciate what Swans have done for extreme music, but that doesn't mean I'd want to see them.

    I feel bad for the bartender, though. Trapt and Theory of a Deadman on consecutive nights? They don't make good enough ear plugs.

  7. My wife's sister asked me if I was planning on coming back to town for Theory of a Deadman. My reaction: laughter.