By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
It has been a long 18 months since I saw a live metal show in Los Angeles. The date was March 6, 2020, and DragonForce brought Extreme Power Metal to the Regent. The pandemic was in its infant stage and I did not think much of it, let alone how it would change our lives forever. Right around the time people were getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day, bands were starting to either postpone or cancel their tours for safety reasons. It is a long time not to see or cover a show in L.A. With the vaccine and new safety measures, touring started to pick back up. One of which that was announced was the Butcher Babies hitting the road with Infected Rain and Stitched Up Heart. Dubbed the Butcher Babies vs. Goliath Tour, their last stop was at the infamous 1720 Warehouse on the outskirts of Downtown L.A. on October 7th, and I was not missing it. With Rabit working Knott’s Scary Farm again, I covered the event along with Rockaholic and our friend Dylan Bennett, aka Buff Metal. Let this Monster’s Ball be hellacious!
After the local group got the crowd pumped, my favorite L.A. Gothic/alternative metal gang in Stitched Up Heart took the stage. Having followed them and befriended with them since their formation, they left little to the imagination that night. Frontwoman Mixi with her turquoise hair was a mistress of heavy metal, serenading the fans with her harmonious singing and monstrous screams. She even showed off her guitar skills, bringing extra rhythmic flow to the set. Her guitarist husband Merritt Goodwin riffed the shit out of the melody, while drummer James Decker and bassist Randy Mathias were rage-fest warriors on the beat. Their energy was off-charts as Stitched Up Heart danced the night the only way metalheads know how to dance: headbanging and spinning rapidly. Their seven-song set was enough to pump up the adrenaline in the 1720, from “This Skin” to “Warrior,” “Catch Me When I Fall,” “Lost,” and the popular “Monster.” Their best song of the night was “My Demon” as Mixi brought her A-game as a frontwoman. The pandemic may have brought us darkness, but Stitched Up Heart helped bring us back to the light.
Full Stitched Up Heart gallery below:
Up next is the Moldovan outfit Infected Rain. I have been a fan of theirs since listening to 2017’s 86, and I waited patiently for them to head over here. Not only was this tour their very first in the U.S., it was also their first time playing in Los Angeles. Frontwoman Lena Scissorhands recharged the fan’s batteries with “Pendulum.” Lena mesmerizes and terrorizes at the same time with her beastly screams while whipping her orange dreadlocks all over the place. The guitar licks were attacked perfectly with swift precision thanks to the duo efforts of Vidick Ojog and Vladimir Babici. Bassist Serghei Babici (Vladimir’s brother) and drummer Eugen Voluta were coordinated with beat very well as they ravaged the shit out of it. Performing stuff from 86 and their 2019 breakthrough Endorphin, Infected Rain infected our ears with a sweet mixture of nu metal and metalcore. From “Mold” to “Black Gold,” “Freaky Carnival,” “Endless Stairs,” “Orphan Soul,” and “The Earth Mantra,” they brought Moldovia pride to the City of Angels. They ended their set with “Sweet, Sweet Lies,” where members of Stitched and Butcher Babies came on stage armed with pillows, and of course, a pillow fight commenced. At the end, Vidick took a power nap with pillows and blankets provided. Sweet dreams to Infected Rain.
Full Infected Rain gallery below:
Smelling blood, sweat, and beer in the air, Butcher Babies got their night rolling with “I Smell a Massacre.” The dual vocal efforts of Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey were a rip-roaring pleasure to hear. Both women stood tall and screamed bloody murder as loud as they can go. The chemistry between the two is always fun to watch. Guitarist Henry Flury was a fiery inferno as his fingers rapidly walked along the frets. He is normally not known for soloing, but he did throw in a couple that were searing. This tour marks the debut of their newest bassist Ricky Bonazza, and I can say his style of playing meshes nicely with the Butcher Babies. Drummer Chase Brickenden continues to display his immense talent on the kit, especially with the double bass pedal. During the performance, that was when I jumped back into the mosh pits for the first time in a while, and it felt good. Everyone in the band was having a blast playing for their hometown, especially with songs like “The Mirror Never Lies,” “Monster’s Ball,” “C8H18 (Gasoline),” their newest single “Bottom of a Bottle,” “The Deathsurround,” “Axe Wound,” and “Yorktown.” When the Butcher Babies started to wrap up their set, all the bands came back to the stage and started having shots, even during “Magnolia Blvd.” That is the perfect to cap off a tour, with shots of whiskey!
Full Butcher Babies gallery below:
18 months is a long time to wait for shows to come back, but the wait was totally worth it. Every band brought 110% to their performances, and I could see the joy in their eyes to be playing live again. The Butcher Babies and Stitched Up Heart were fun per usual and Infected Rain exceeded my expectations. I knew on record they kill, but it was live that their reputations perceived them. Rockaholic, Buff Metal, and I had one hell of a night at 1720, especially in the mosh pits. With more shows to come, we will be ready to headbang some more. To Butcher Babies, Infected Rain, and Stitched Up Heart, I salute you. Horns up!!!