Earlier this year Corrosion of Conformity reunited with Pepper Keenan and shows were announced. The only question is why would you not be there? I mean, the shot to get to see them live particularly like this was a no-brainer for me. But this date was particularly special as YOB and Black Cobra were on the bill. Picture perfect union if there ever was one. A true dream bill that more than lived up to what I had been hoping and waiting for.
The Loft at Center Stage in Atlanta is upstairs from the main theater and is quite a bit smaller but cozy nonetheless. The stage was small but that would prove to be a nonissue for the larger than life bands that played. Security was accommodating and seemed to have an uneventful evening due to the crowd paying more attention to the band’s than tearing each other apart. The bar staff was overly nice and drink prices were actually not too bad. I got to give props where they are due and all of the event’s staff deserve it for an orderly and friendly night.
The crowd was thin for openers Black Cobra and for those that missed it, shame on you. These guys completely ripped through a good selection of songs from their discography and even pulled out a trick shot with a new one. The sound was dead on and extremely loud, perfect for this band. First time ever seeing these guys live and my takeaway is that I’m still amazed by the fact that two people can make a sound that huge. The thick guitar tone does double duty so for this duo, no bassist, no problem. Midway through their set the crowd that was in attendance was up front, soaking in the insane volume. Of course me being short I found out early on that all the giants in Georgia came out so I had to jockey a bit to get a good spot. It was a satisfying 40 minutes that I wish lasted at least double its time. Also it will probably be the one that carves at least another five years off my hearing but I don’t mind when a band is this good.
In the 30 minute gap until YOB took the stage, the crowd reached its peak and when the feedback off the first fret strum and subsequent pedal effect started it was electric. This was my second time this year seeing them, the first was in a smaller more intimate venue and the mood of the set had a somber feel to it. It was killer no doubt but here, at this venue, the band was at full tilt, and full adrenaline. Mike Scheidt flailed his guitar around like a madman and along with scorching through his riff wizardry he really put on a show. I’ve never heard his vocals hit the same ferocious tones. Same can be said for bassist Aaron Rieseberg, particularly when locking step with Mike. Travis Foster
is one of a few drummers I’ve seen that can shred yet make it look like it’s just another day at the office and his efforts on this night followed suit. YOB is one of those bands that gives you their all each and every time, this show was no different. “Marrow” made an appearance and again it was mind blowing. The crowd largely just stood in awe, no pits just sheer amazement. The sound was even better than it was for Black Cobra and literally shook the building. The lows hit you square in the chest and when Mike would launch into his deep growled vocals it was intense. Yet another “experience” had seeing this band and if I had the money I could easily follow these guys around like a Deadhead (YOB-head).
The Orange amp towers stood teasingly to the side through the first two acts and once the stage was cleared it was those amps that filled the floor space to either side of the stage. COC took to the stage with a roaring crowd, everyone in attendance glad to see the reunited band. They went right into “Broken Man” and it was like I was hearing Deliverance again for the first time. Having been away from these songs as long as they had, they truly sounded great. Not one lick was missed. Pepper Keenan interacted with the crowd in his affable way, announcing that it was good to be back in Hotlanta finally and of course the crowd cheered in agreement. I’ve always called Woody Weatherman ‘smiley’ because I’ve never seen the man frown and no disappointing here. He was all smiles from start to finish.
The band rocked through a large number of Deliverance songs which was ok by me plus we got “Who’s Got the Fire” which I had hoped for. Mike Dean was like a man possessed particularly on his chorus lines and Reed Mullin kept his drum grooves extremely tight all night. At one point Pepper thanked the crowd for being patient as they were getting back in the groove of all these songs and all I could think of was just how good every song sounded, and how much it really didn’t seem they ever had a layoff at all. The encore of “Clean My Wounds” was exceptionally good and put the perfect end on a perfect night.
This show will stand, for me, as a highlight of my concert going this year. It was one of the few that felt like a triple headliner and a mere moment missed would have been a moment too much. There was also a feeling of strong kinship between the bands. Usually acts will passingly mention the headliners but it seemed like more than just that. Mike Scheidt mentioned at one point that he was there as a fan as much as he was there to play. The energy was through the roof for each band’s set, the sound was dialed in perfectly and for once it didn’t matter where you stood you could enjoy the show sans any moshing. I guess I’m just an old but color me happy when I can just stand there and take it all in instead of having to watch my back. Thanks to the bands, crowd and venue for an outstanding event.