Eyehategod

support Bottom Feeder
author AP date 01/08/12 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Copenhagen needs more events like "Dirty Days of Summer". I mean, what could be better than combining doom, sludge and southern rock with a Louisiana-style barbecue, cheap beer, and DJ:s from the nation's underground media (including the undersigned on day two) into three themed evenings. Fantastic. The first of the three nights, featuring the legendary Eyehategod, was the heaviest in terms of music, and given the reputation of the evening's headliners, it was no surprise that the venue was at maximum capacity, brimming with grizzly metal dudes stuffed with savory spare ribs and Jambalaya and profuse quantities of ice cold beer.

Bottom Feeder

Despite spending considerable time researching and involving myself in the Danish music scene, I've yet to come across Bottom Feeder in any context. As such, their performance tonight is a positive surprise - one that will surely tempt me to their shows in the future. Given the downtrodden, dirty, groove driven sound of the five piece, they seem like an apt choice for support for Eyehategod. Personally, however, I would have picked the second song of the set as the opener, given its more engaging character compared to the slow-burning doom rock of the first track. It's really good stuff, and aside switching the order of those two, I take note that the band have constructed their setlist with expertise to create a nice ebb and flow throughout, with each energetic piece followed by a trudging one, and vice versa.

With regard to the performance itself; what you have in Bottom Feeder is a band that takes a very casual and relaxed approach to playing shows. Vocalist Jimmy sucks on a cigarette in between his rotten growls, swaying from side to side as if under some form of trance, while the remaining musicians - guitarists Nikolaj and Hasse, bassist Sebastian, and drummer Jonas - deliver their respective parts without much fanfare, your usual headbanging aside. As such, Bottom Feeder is not the most visually exhilirating band to experience in a live setting, but the drawn out and extremely heavy nature of their music does its bit to compensate for this.

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Eyehategod

With 24 years in the bag, Eyehategod is one of the earliest and most mysterious bands of the sludge metal movement. Following the success of their two previous appearances here - most recently at Roskilde Festival in 2011, and before that at Loppen in Christiania in 2010, they face an expectant crowd, but seemingly take no notice and proceed to improvise their way through as many songs from their discography as they can fit into their one-and-a-half-hour set, including such classics as "Sister Fucker" and "White Nigger", as well as a number of brand new songs, the titles of which sadly escape my attention.

It is probably no secret, nor a surprise that the band's vocalist Mike Williams in particular, is stoned out of his mind; such is the laid back and somewhat disconnected nature of his interaction with the audience. But then again, this is one of the fantastic things about a band like Eyehategod; that despite their status as legends in the sludge metal circles, there isn't a hint of elitism or pride in their demeanor. Instead, what you have in them is one of the warmest and most audience-friendly bands I have seen to date - which is quite surprising considering the hostile nature of their music.

Eyehategod perform to us in a kind of haze that suggests they create music they can trip to, rather than music that caters to a wide audience. It's extreme and inacccessible, but once you're able to penetrate the thick wall of noise resonating from their enormous amp stacks, it is easy to hear why the band is loved by so many. Closing my eyes and letting the groove flow through me, I convince myself there is nowhere I'd rather be tonight. In my mind I travel through rotting swamps and obscure drinking holes in New Orleans, only occasionally opening my eyes to confirm that Eyehategod are still high as a kite, yet delivering an incredible performance nonetheless. It is difficult to explain exactly why it is incredible, but that is the feeling they evoke, and it might have something to do with the extreme intimacy of the show. It's up close and personal, and the crowd is enraptured.

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Photos copyright of Rasmus Ejlersen

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