After decades of success and coming up at the same time, Powerman 5000 and Hed(pe) have finally given fans a chance to see the two powerhouses tour together on their current co-headlining tour. When fans come out to catch this tour they get more than their money’s worth.
With opening band Sunflower Dead on the trek with them, the tour made a recent stop at Kokomo’s Centerstage Bar and Grill and with two local openers the crowd was ready for a night of metal.
After one local opener finished up a mediocre and off-rhythm set that was hard to get into, another Indiana local band- Black Earth- took the stage for one of the better local sets you’ll see. They have the sound of classic Misfits and other old school punk bands with a vocalist who sounds reminiscent of a young James Hetfield. They were definitely a surprise and a pleasant one.
With two local bands playing, the show was scheduled for a 7 p.m. start time but the two took way too long setting up and the show started closer to 8:30, setting everything back exponentially.
Sunflower Dead started off the touring bands with an eerily fun opening during which frontman Michael entered the stage alone, marching across with an accordion and a creepy smile, setting the stage for one of the most impressive performances you’ll see from a newer band.
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The brought the house down and made way for the co-headliners and made numerous new fans with their straight-up metal onslaught. Their appearance is an interesting one but fits the mold of some of the most notorious appearance-based metal bands ever and they could be considered Mudvayne reincarnated.
Hed(pe) was up next, fresh on the heels of their latest record- Evolution– and they were in classic form. Playing a set that consisted of mainly older classics mixed with a few new songs in there, fans from any era of the band were comfortable. The band hasn’t lost a step in their long career and the moshing escalated quickly during the set.
Anyone who’s been a fan of the band would have loved the set. Fans have taken to the new material so well that many fans were yelling for new songs- which never happens.
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Due to the long wait and delays throughout the night, Hed(pe) finished up a little after 12:30 a.m. and the crowd was getting tired. Powerman 5000 was scheduled to go on around 11-11:30 p.m. but didn’t hit the stage until around 12:45 or so.
Obviously frustrated, they took the stage and began giving the crowd what they’d paid to see and what the band came to do- destroy the crowd. They opened with “Invade, Destroy, Repeat” from their latest record, Builders of the Future, but things went south almost immediately- so much so that a very heated frontman Spider One stopped the song shortly after starting to address the issues.
“We were supposed to go on over an hour ago,” he yelled. “This crowd has been waiting ALL NIGHT, this girl [pointing to a fan in the front row] drove over four hours to see us and comes to every show- it’s not fair to her to make her wait all night! We were supposed to have a soundcheck and everything is fucked! This kickdrum is up WAY too loud. What happened to being professional!?”
The band stood there while the sound crew worked to correct the issues but the band grew restless, as did the already-exhausted crowd- and the band decided to just skip the song and blast right into the rest of the set.
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It was hard to hear everything clearly as the sound problems didn’t stop from there but for the rest of the night the band was very courteous and professionals and it was clear they were just frustrated due to the late start and everything not being up to par, which is understandable.
Their set was loaded with a good number of songs from Builders of the Future and the new tracks got just as good of a reaction and crowd participation as the classic songs.
Spider One apologized later in the set for his outburst and pointed out that “everyone needs to have a tantrum every once in a while” but it was obvious throughout the set that the band was doing their best to get through the set and give fans the best show they possibly could without losing their cool again.
It worked to their advantage because they were so visually frustrated that they began joking about things on stage and it made for a fun atmosphere. For the fans, it didn’t matter how bad the sound mix and quality was, they wanted to see Powerman 5000 and hear the songs they love and they definitely got that and Powerman put on one of the best stage shows Centerstage Bar and Grill has had in quite a while.
As far as the soundman is concerned, he should have had everything up to par and in order- that’s what soundchecks are for. The crowd was lucky the band didn’t just pack up and leave with how late the show started and ended but due to their true professionalism, they stayed, played a show and gave the fans their money’s worth. My hat goes off to Powerman 5000 and I hope Centerstage is able to sort out the sound issues. I’ve seen numerous shows there and this one was out of character for the venue. Hopefully Powerman can give the venue another chance, come back and experience it for how good it truly can be.
Pre-show interview with Jackson of Hed(pe):