Live Review: Butcher Babies in Pittsburgh

The Butcher Babies are currently out on the road in support of their newest endeavor Take It Like A Man and if the tour hits your town, do yourself a favor and check out what is one of the best live bands on the planet in an intimate club setting while you still can, because very soon this fantastic band will be playing arenas exclusively. When the tour hit the Altar bar in Pittsburgh on a rainy night in March two local bands had the honor of starting the show. Both melodic rockers Through These Walls and melodic metallers NeverWake delivered rock solid performances that got the crowd moving and left them primed and ready for the insanity the Butcher Babies were about to unleash, job very well done gentleman! Let’s start by bringing attention to the fact that the amazing players in this band do not get enough credit, which is a shame since they are three of the strongest musicians in metal today and for what is essentially a trio guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Kline and drummer Chris Warner create a massive wall of sound that sweeps over the room with the crushing force of a 100 foot tall tsunami. Flury has offered up some of his best riffs to date and his skills as a soloist are equal or better than that of any of his peers, while Kline is laying down a heavy bottom end that would make bass masters like Geezer Butler and Lemmy proud and Warner is pounding out copious amounts of furious double kick, so much in fact that we would love to strap a pedometer to his legs to see just how far he goes in a single show. Now let’s discuss the breathtaking performances of the band’s two lovely and beguiling frontwomen Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd. Harvey has tapped into her lower register to such a degree that you would bet your life it was a man singing and that is all her, not a shitload of vocal effects. The same holds true for Shepherd who has gained total vocal control and is singing better than ever. The pair has even starting to incorporate the softer elements of their clean vocals, giving them a whole new dimension of sound. The prowess of their vocals is just one aspect of their live shows that makes them so entertaining to watch, the raw energy they bring is infectious and fills the room. In Fact, at no point does the dynamic duo ever stop moving, using every single inch of the stage. From neck breaking windmills and thrashing or straddling the barricades to get up close and personal with fans to launching themselves 6 feet into the air of the amps, you just can’t take your eyes off of them. The set had great flow with newer cuts like “Butcher,” “Igniter” and “Monsters Ball” meshing beautifully with classics like “Blonde Girls All Look the Same,” “Axe Wound” and “Magnolia Blvd.,” but a couple of the true highlights came when Heidi had security gather in the pit to receive the never ending wave of crowd surfers during “Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine” and the medley of “The Deathsurround,” “Goliath” and “I Smell A Massacre.” After a mind blowing experience like that, all that’s left to say is WOW!!! -Eric Hunker Click here for photos of Butcher Babies Pre-show interview with Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd: