So I finally made it to a metal show at Rochester’s Water Street Music Hall. Why the long wait? Because there is lots of venues in New York State that I have to cover and yet to visit. And this one took me a while, and one thing that the city of Rochester has going for itself….they have three very high profile venues for metal music. The Main Street Armory, The Montage, and Water Street Music Hall. Main Street being the largest, with the Montage being the smallest, Water Street falls right in the middle and likely have the biggest advantage of booking shows at this point. And let me say that other than the parking situation there, the venue is dynamite. Decent sized stage, clear sound, large bar area, balcony, etc., really nothing not to like about the place. And when you add bands like Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, and Jasta under that roof, magic happens.
I arrived in time to see openers Madlife’s set. The Los Angeles based industrial metallers were received well by the crowd (it was early so at this point the venue was not packed yet) and delivered a high energy set. They had a very goth-like image to them with a sound similar to Orgy. The big highlight from them was their cover of “Love Song” by The Cure as well as a cameo from Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory.
After Madlife, Jasta swept the entire floor with their explosive set that knocked (literally) everyone on their asses. Seeing Jasta was a real treat because he is usually so busy with Hatebreed, he rarely tours as his solo outfit. Jamey Jasta was already in familiar territory, having toured through Rochester and the rest of Upstate New York many times, had already won the crowd over before he even stepped on stage. And it was his time to shine to show off his vocal skills that he normally doesn’t use with Hatebreed. The set consisted of mostly his solo album including “Screams From The Sanctuary” and “The Fearless Must Endure.” His band was real talented (consisting of Steve Gibb, Charlie Bellmore, Chris Beaudette, and Nick Bellmore) gave them all a proper introduction towards the end of their set. The crowd opened the pit up to add to the crazy atmosphere that was brewing, and Jasta gave the fans a real treat by playing “Buried In Black” from Kingdom Of Sorrow’s first album and closing their set with Hatebreed’s anthem “I Will Be Heard.” I believe Jasta should try to find more time to tour because they certainly left the crowd something to remember.
When Fear Factory graced the stage, they wasted no time what so ever. It was down to business, pedal to the metal as they unleashed two songs off Obsolete “Shock” and “Edge Crusher” which is the clear recipe to ignite a crowd. Vocalist Burton C. Bell sounds as brutal and vital as he has been for years, Guitarist Dino Cazares has a very likable stage presence and still has one of the most clutch hands to ever strike an electrical guitar. And now with bassist Tony Campos (ex Static-X, Soulfly, etc.) in the fold, Fear Factory has a new chemistry on stage that the crowd really dug. With the new album Genexus out, it was only appropriate that they played songs off that album, and the songs they decided to play “Soul Hacker” and “Dielectric.” The crowd never stopped moving and security certainly had their hands full as well. Although it was a short eight song set, Fear Factory did right by closing with two songs off Demanufacture including the title track, and finishing with “Replica.” Fear Factory arguably, was the best damn band of the night. Period.
Coal Chamber stormed on stage late into the night. Although a great fast pace set, The Nu Metal legends only played for 45 minutes. Tickets were really cheap so overall I felt I got my moneys worth, I just feel that more songs from their catalog should have been played. Nothing from their second album Chamber Music either. But still played some solid tunes such as their famous opener “Loco,” “Big Truck,” “Fiend,” and a couple off their latest record Rivals that they’re currently promoting. Frontman Dez Fafara at his age still has a fierce voice and a powerful stage presence, however, I have been on the record stating before, drummer Mikey Cox is an absolute wrecking machine behind the kit. It’s not very often the drummer of any band performs their balls off, runs like machine, and still be so precise. The crowd went bananas…and the bodies that were getting thrown out of the venue by security started piling up very heavily when Coal Chamber was on stage. Coal Chambers production was the best from any of the bands that night, with their giant monitors on display and spectacular lighting really makes them a treat to go see. They ended their night appropriately with “Sway.” No encore. Dez Fafara had some choice words before their last song. He’s very anti encore and told the audience that encores are “bull shit” and a waste of time and that if a band is making you wait for another song you want to hear that you should walk away. Personally, the way I feel about it….it’s nice to get a head start on traffic.
In conclusion, it was overall a fantastic night for fans to rejoice 90s metal. It was a damn shame that all the bands didn’t play longer sets.