By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
Last year, the venue that Matt and I frequented to the most, was the Observatory in Santa Ana. This year, we have been to the world famous Whisky a-Go Go more times than any other venue/club. On June 13th, I heard that the Butcher Babies were making a stop there, while on their Kings & Queens Tour with alternative metal stars, Nonpoint. I caught them twice last year, and I was dying to see them rattle my metal brain once more. Matt really wanted this show as well because his favorite band of all time, Canadian hard rockers Sumo Cyco, were tagging along. Luckily for us, we were able to get in and catch the heavy metal magic of the night. Islander was also on this tour, replacing Cane Hill, who unfortunately had to drop out due to an injury. That was a bummer, but it still turned into a bombastic evening in West Hollywood.
I first caught Sumo Cyco in Pomona last year, and I was amazed by their electric showmanship, particularly from frontwoman Skye Sweetnam, aka Sever. The band originating from Ontario, Canada, has a good mixture of hard rock, alt. rock, and punk rock. Sever waltzed down the stairs, sporting a black and white stripped jail style jumpsuit, and woke the fans up with “Sleep Tight.” The entire set, she was exhilarating with the microphone, and pumped the crowd from the stage as well as off, dancing with fans and moving throughout dance floor. Matt “MD” Drake was an earth-shattering force on the guitar. He even got down from the stage and put Sever on his shoulders as he was shredding. The energy they put into this show was off the charts. Bassist Oscar Anesetti surged effortlessly through the songs with his plucking, while drummer Matt Trozzi kicked out the beats big time. From “Anti Anthem” to “Free Yourself,” “Fighter,” “Cry Murder,”and “Move Mountains,” Sumo Cyco showed Hollywood how punk rock is down in Canada.
Full Sumo Cyco slide show below:
Up next was South Carolina’s own Islander. They were one of the opening bands during the Stone Sour/Korn tour we attended last year. We only got the last 2 songs, but we got a chance to really see what they were all about. The nu metal rockers lit up the evening with their style of rap metal and alternative metal that the fans loved to hear. Founder and vocalist Mikey Carvajal has a similar rapping metal flow that I have heard from other vocalists, like Fred Durst and Jonathan Davis. The fans were trembling with joy, when they heard Islander kick some major ass. I will admit, I am not too familiar with their songs yet, but I will keep my ear out for new material in the future.
Full Islander slide show below:
Nonpoint is another band I first caught last year at the Wiltern, when they opened up for Alter Bridge. They go charging for the jugular with their opening number, “Bullet With a Name.” Singer Elias Soriano is a smooth rapper who gives a lot of soul and speed to his rhymes, while jumping around like a madman. Drummer Robb Rivera brings a metallic bang to the music while having his kit facing stage right. It is a very unusual position for a drummer to put his set in, but it works for him. Armed with big, square strobe lights that flash in an instant, Nonpoint was a booming force at the Whisky. From “Dodge Your Destiny” to “Wheel Against Will,” “What a Day,” and “The Truth,” Nonpoint riddled the metalheads of Hollywood with stimulating heavy rock ‘n’ roll. The first time I saw them, they were okay. However, this time around, they were much better to me.
Full Nonpoint slide show below:
Then the lights dimmed, and ferocious guitar riffs echoed throughout the venue as the Butcher Babies roared with “Korova.” Heidi Shephard and Carla Harvey banded together to show the fans how girls bring the heavy metal thunder. Both of them were vicious on the mics, tearing apart every eardrum in the venue. Guitarist Henry Flury was a fucking beast on the axe, riffing some mean licks. Butcher Babies has reached a new stratosphere with their 3rd album, 2017’s Lilith, from which 9 songs were performed that evening, including “Burn the Straw Man,” “POMONA (Shit Happens),” “Headspin,” and “The Huntsman.” The crowd reaction was invigorating, with a mini mosh pit being started up, which I had to get in on. They also played their classic hits like “Magnolia Blvd” and my personal favorite, “Monsters Ball.” Each song was more vicious than the last. They ended the night with “Underground and Overrated,” which I thought was the best choice for a closer.
Full Butcher Babies slide show below:
Once again, there was excitement in the air when the Butcher Babies came back home to Southern California. Heavy metal was thunderous that evening with an array of amazing performances. Not only was I blown away by my friends in the Butcher Babies, but Nonpoint, Islander, and Sumo Cyco had me banging my head the whole night; when I was not shooting them. Matt certainly enjoyed himself as he saw his favorite group again, especially since they remembered him from the last time. It is always enjoyable to be at the Whisky. To the Butcher Babies, Nonpoint, Islander, and Sumo Cyco, I salute you. Horns up!!!