OBSERVE: Head Hits Concrete / Cetascean / Ahna / Cooked And Eaten / Soot

HEAD HITS CONCRETE_8290 copyThis is the second post in the hopefully on-going series of live show write-ups. This time the focus is a gathering of Vancouver and Winnipeg bands on the mainland, getting my ass of the island for the first time in a few months.

After spending a little time at the New Amsterdam Cafe in the afternoon I walked to the show. The lineup included the dissonant legends Head Hits Concrete who wrecked shit and injected potent socio-political energy into the city. They alongside Cetascean, whom toured from Manitoba with them, the evolving doom-death-grind entity AHNA, Cooked And Eaten which brings some serious grindcore, and a new blackened death formation known as Soot gave a  formidable battering to those in attendance

If you’d like a glimpse into one of the stops on their tour, read on after the break.

SOOT_8045 copyFirst up was the new black/death metal onslaught of Soot. Six Brew Bantha vocalist on bass and I believe the Violent Restitution guitarist in there too. They don’t have anything up from what I know and I regret  not recording one of the few songs they dragged everyone through that evening. Real filthy and old school. For now you’ll have to settle with non-moving pictures but I would assume at some point you’ll hear more from them.

COOKED AND EATEN_8088 copyCooked And Eaten don’t have anything to sell you but their live shit is a blast. This is one of the groups I saw supporting Iron Lung and Column of Heaven with Osk a while back, with Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) on drums who’s been getting a lot of good attention lately. Anyway their set was fun as fuck and on the last song members switched up instruments, obviously worked out well too.

AHNA_8122 copyAhna came out with a full line up which they consider the closest to what they’ve put down on record. It was certainly different from fastcore fest with the dual bassists and all. Since they have two new splits out — one with Contorture and the other with the next band up Cetascean — they burned through some of it on Friday, and it’s much different from the sludgier style in past records. A strong thread of death metal wraps around Imperial Decline’s material and shows Ahna evolving differently than you’d expect.

The two guitars makes this change obvious and feels like it’s building off their Bridgeburner split, blasts and crawling death. Live it went with only one hiccup on the lead which was something connection related. Recovery was quick, right at a crushing moment too.

I picked up the split with Cetascean, the Contorture 7″ isn’t pressed yet however. I’ll have something related to both up on the site in the next little while. Also Anju gave me an Ahna shirt, they look awesome but I’m an ass and somehow lost it by the time the night ended. Next time though maybe I’ll fuckin wear it and not lose it.

CETASCEAN (WRE)_8206Cetascean from Winnipeg tore up the space with ease and passion, pushing through a good sampling of their catalog including a few new ones. One you can hear and watch below. It deals with misunderstanding of mental illness, systemic failures, and suicide with a fervor can be tasted. It hits very hard.

The three piece had a nice 10″ called Crows out last year that I forgot to mention in my year end. They also have a new split 12″ with Ahna as mentioned before, both of which you can download on bandcamp.

Go do that, or watch some of the footage I from the evening. Photos below:

Something both Winnipeg groups were educating and collecting support for during the tour was the CN Rail blockade by the Mohawk activists from Tyendinaga and Akwesanse, particularly the legal battle activists fighting territory/environmental destruction and self-determination have become embroiled in. It’s a deeply political and social concern that is increasingly becoming widespread here in Canada and to our south, one worth being involved in or aware of.

If you’re interested you can learn more about the issues and how to be involved or support the grassroots efforts over at The Tyendinaga Support Committee or if you see these guys ask them, they’ve got more info than I do.

Halfway into Cetascean’s set, between shots while I was enjoying the energy, someone (who I later found out was Wretchederin, guitarist of The Rebel Spell) gingerly tugged on my camera and then offered to take some shots of their own. First time I’ve had that happen but I’m up for the unexpected. Turns out as noted she has a solid history in the DIY underground of Vancouver and I’d imagine Canada in general so it ended up a pretty cool hand off for a few bold shots.

It also gave me more time to record some video too. I’ve separated my photos from the shots she took of Cetascean below, check ’em out.

HEAD HITS CONCRETE_8241 copyHead Hits Concrete are long time legends of noise-grind in Canada, the sparse glimpses on wax and tape piling up since 1999 are significantly rewarding. Last year I spaced on their Hollowed Out Human Husk 7″ which is their first release since reforming post-2004. And I mean if you like dissonant and chaotic shit like Daughters, Idylls, Ether Binge or shit Demian Johnston is involved in you’ve gotta at least poke your head into their politically lucid lashings.

Looking at their bandcamp just after the year end there was another nice surprise in the form of three new demo tracked; a few of which they performed viciously that night. HHC is particularly interesting in that as mentioned they have sharp tongues relating to genuine social issues, both widespread and local in their draw for inspiration. Politics seeps into every surge and bend, with most tracks intro’d that night by a articulate and raw speech from Mike.

They played a good variety from past records and a lot of new stuff, ending on the visceral song “Phoenix” as an encore.

Below you can see them frozen from that evening. A few more videos will be up later on the channel.

Another strong coalescence of the local music scene and spirit in Vancouver, one of a string of shows many of which I am unable to attend. However I made it to this one and I’m glad I did. If those reading have the opportunity to see any one of these bands in the future, attend and support them. More examples of good fast music from sincere hearts.

Those reading can view hi-res photo on my fickr page. The next show I’m going to is in May so expect another similar article around that time.

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