Aug. 6, Revoultion.
The menacing wall of sound directly inside the entrance to Revolution should have been a keen indicator of what was in store for the hordes of people who showed up for a healthy dose of staggering industrial jams, delivered by among the most highly regarded veterans of the post-grunge, hard rock/metal genre. In a phrase, they got their money’s worth.
Opening act God Fires Man, an energetic four piece from New York City, played a high-octane set of aggressive hard rock that went over extremely well. Donning everything black minus tattoos, the lead singer was quick to announce its bassist was born in Little Rock, which resulted in his posing for pictures with fans on the sidewalk long after their set ended. For a crew resembling Vivian from “The Young Ones,” credit their business acumen for announcing that by dropping one dollar in a bucket and signing an email list, they would receive a link for a free download of their debut album “A Billion Balconies Under The Sun,” before they fell asleep in their hotel room. Or, fans could purchase a copy on site for $10. Needless to say, the jar passed quickly. They tuned up the crowd nicely for the evening’s headliner.
For a band who’s only released four albums in 15 years, Filter still carries enough weight to draw an audience and put on one hell of a performance.
Flanked by a bulletproof ensemble consisting of guitarist Mitchell Marlow, bassist John Spiker and drummer Mika Fineo, lead singer and occasional guitarist Robert Patrick eased into top form, sporting mirrored tear-drop sunglasses, eerily similar to those worn by actor-brother John, who portrayed the bounty-hunting cyborg cop in Terminator 2, while navigating the stage like a stealth lion familiarizing himself with new hunting territory.
As expected, Filter had the crowd in its hands from the opening number. But the show’s momentum, fueled by the band’s intensity and an adoring packed house, steadily progressed like a finely tuned engine with each passing song.
About one-third into the gig, Patrick gave pause between songs to indulge in an overwhelming roar from the crowd. Grinning ear to ear, he shouted, “This is what we do, people! It’s not just us playing, but what we get in return from you being here is what makes this whole thing what it is. Thank you.”
The band even took on-the-spot requests. “If that’s what you wanna hear, then that’s what we’ll play,” Patrick reiterated on more than one occasion.
Filter is not only known for kicking out heavy industrial jams laded with chainsaw intensity, but for softer and slower melodic tunes as well. This diversity surfaced quite strategically after a few consecutive jawbreakers, allowing Patrick to splash the jammed stage front with anointments of bottled Willie Nelson water.
Enough can’t be said for Filter’s musicians. Spiker switched to guitar at least twice, almost going unnoticed, but grinning as if he’d been caught looking down someone’s shirt. Fineo made his three-piece sub-compact Spaun drum kit sound like a marching ensemble, and gave himself enough elbow room to swing for the fences while repeatedly giving his sticks a backhand twirl with the precision of a ninja. Marlow’s guitar attack was subversive, as was his stage persona. Eyeglasses, short crewed hair and arms completely sleeved with ink, he often stood perched high atop the stage monitors while fans below him nodded along with him with utter synchronicity.
Revolution’s sound quality was superb, and the touch of echo effect on Patrick’s vocals added just the right amount of depth to his banshee screams and softer melodic vocal deliveries. Way to go, Mitch Hale. Glad you’re still with us.
The instrumental tease leading up to Filter’s signature number was accompanied by Patrick’s inquiry to the crowd about guns and strangers and fragile mentalities. “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” allowed full audience participation and proved fans can recall lyrics verbatim, versus included. This is where the show peaked, band firing on all cylinders and Patrick frozen in time, fists wrenched, eyes shut tight, reaching for the sky, delivering a primal scream that’s probably still echoing the Revolution walls.
But fans demanded more and the four-song extended encore concluded with ‘Cancer,’ dedicated to “Mother Earth, because she’s a cool mom who’s trying to take care of us.”
Patrick’s showmanship is well-crafted and his audience interaction and dialogue was sincerely genuine, as it’s not difficult to realize when a crowd is being handed cookie-cutter one-liners applicable to any venue, from stadiums to nursing homes. He even graciously accepted a camouflage ball cap and wore it through an entire song before handing it back to the first outreached hand grabbing for it. Thanked the crowd repeatedly, exclaiming, “People, I could just keep doing this all night.”