Mushroomhead in Pittsburgh reviewed

Despite having formed two years before them, Cleveland’s Mushroomhead constantly draws comparisons to Slipknot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, a Mushroomhead show is nothing like that of their metal brethren.

It is an up close and personal, musical and spiritual extravaganza unlike anything you may have experienced before, one that frequently finds the band members out in the crowd as much as they are on the stage.

The band have been out on the road for over a year now, relentlessly promoting their newest blackened offering The Righteous & The Butterfly for Megaforce Records and have recently wrapped up tours with I.C.P. (Insane Clown Posse) as well as a stint on last year’s Mayhem Festival and their not done yet.

The hardcore road dogs have just launched another leg of the tour. This time they are co-headlining with Rapcore/Nu-Metal legends (Hed) P.E. and have relative newcomers UnSaid Fate serving as support.

On top of that already stellar line-up, when the tour hit Pittsburgh, lucky fans were also treated to killer sets by local artists Scare Don’t Fear, Prime8 and Chronic Zombies, so they really got their money’s worth.

Chronic Zombies unique brand of Horror rap got things off to a great start and was well received by the crowd as was Prime8’s groovy stoner rock set, complete with violinist, but it was Scare Don’t Fear’s aggressive set of Hip Hop Metal that pushed things over the edge Into The Pandemonium.

Fellow Cleveland area rockers UnSaid Fate fed off the crowd’s raw energy and charismatic lead singer Jackie LaPonza force fed it all right back to them. She and her band’s mesmerizing melodic hard rock set was without a doubt the biggest and best surprise of the night. Remember that name, as they have a very bright future ahead of them.

That would have been a tough act for many bands to follow, but then again (Hed) P.E. isn’t just any band and lead singer Jared Gomes isn’t just any frontman. He and his band have been doing this for over twenty years now and know all too well how to work a crowd.

For his part, Gomes as always is a magnetic performer that is hard to take your eyes off of. His spastic jerking movements making him look like a slightly deranged mental patient as he instructed the all too willing crowd to do his bidding and follow his every command.

Not to be outdone, his band is equally impressive and entertaining to watch, with new bassist Kurt Blackenship stomping around the stage, mugging it up for the fans and their cameras, as new guitarist Gregg Harrison emulated his inner most Dimebag, both in spirit and style, all the while, drummer Jeremiah Stratton beating his kit into submission.

Fans were pummeled with a blistering set of some of the band’s best material and as their set raged out of control, you could see the diehards desperately trying to start a moshpit, but it was not to be, as the place was just too full that night.

Full or not, when Mushroomhead hit the stage, they weren’t fucking having any of it, they not only insisted on the pit, but at times started the damn thing themselves, by jumping out into the crowd.

Like always, the band could not and would not be contained to just the stage, instead making full use of every inch of the venue. From the pit to the balcony and back down onto the bar tops, nothing was off limits to the band’s insanity.

As you can well imagine, the fans further fed on that insanity, using it as fuel to mosh and crowd surf as the band tore through classics like “Sun Doesn’t Rise,” “Save Us/Embrace The Ending,” “Solitaire Unraveling,” “Simple Survival” and “Born Of Desire,” alongside newer cuts like “Qwerty,” “Our Apologies,” “Out of My Mind” and “Son of 7.”

Fans were even treated to a stunning and rarely heard or seen performance by the band with the addition of a female voice, when Jackie LaPonza joined them on stage for “We Are the Truth” and the band’s recent contribution to the Game Of Thrones mixtape called “Among the Crows,” then launched herself into the crowd from the front of the stage.

As if all that wasn’t enough, they even tossed in a couple of kick ass covers. Including a cover of “When Doves Cry” by Prince that blew most fans minds and left them begging for more. They always leave them begging for more.

-Eric Hunker [lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Mushroomhead in Pittsburgh/\”] Pre-show interview with Waylon Reavis: