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The Rock Show: Mushroomhead LIVE!
Posted on Saturday, October 28 @ 03:47:17 MDT by roadrash
 ShowsOn a crisp October evening, at least by Phoenix standards, Mushroomhead brought their unique brand of metal to the Marquee Theater and definitely didn't disappoint. The evening turned out to be full of surprises, all of them good.

By Mary Ellen Gustafson
Photos by Thomas Garner


As the stage was being prepared for Mushroomhead, the crowd was already chanting for them. Several canvas tarps had been draped around the stage and as they were removed an elaborate stage set took shape. Tall “stone” walls with holes in them rose in each back corner. The drum kit sat on a big block of “stone” masonry. In the front corners of the stage were irregular shaped rock walls with drums set in them. On the drummer’s left was a spinning setup with a portion that looked like a glowing orange cauldron on it, while a spinning keyboard setup was positioned on the right. There was also a variety of weird looking equipment on both side of the stage and suspended above and behind the drum kit. Not being very familiar with Mushroomhead, especially live, this promised to be quite the show.

When the house lights went out the chanting grew to a roar, the backdrop fell into place with a purple glow shining off it and the lamp on Shmotz’s head appeared at the back of the stage. Loud organ music filled the air as the rest of the band members filed in, backlit by four green lights shining right in our eyes. The stage lights came up and the band launched right into “Damage Done” off their new album Savior Sorrow. At the beginning, both Stitch and Shmotz were at the front of the stage, beating the drums set in the rock walls, which were lit from underneath, with big yellow sticks as water sprayed everywhere with each strike. Jimmy Nothing and Waylon traded off vocals and strutted around the stage between Gravy and Pigbenis, all of them with very pronounced movements. Waylon took over megaphone duties on this song, which was very heavy on the drums and bass with some crazy keyboard work and samples.

At the end of the song Waylon did the typical “Hello Tempe . . .” yelling at the crowd to be louder as they continued to chant Mushroomhead, then started singing “Simple Survival.” Waylon sang, Jimmy Nothing was pretty much the screamer and together they did a hell of a job on the vocals. They used a lot of backlighting and white twirling lights during this song and actually most of their songs.

”Bwomp” had Waylon standing up on one of the front drums punching his fist in the air yelling “Hey” and the crowd was right with him. The music was strange and hypnotic and the lighting was red with strobes going off like crazy. The crowd was singing along, horns in the air everywhere and as the song progressed Stitch or Jimmy Nothing or Waylon would jump up on a front drum and shine a light out into the audience until the super heavy instrumental ending and the stage went dark. To say this was a crowd favorite is an understatement. They went totally nuts!


A soft white and blue light shown down on Shmotz as he played a short, melodic piece on the keyboards, then the drums slammed and the whole band was playing and moving around (only the vocalists move fast in this band and there are spotters at the side of the stage for the rest of the band members wearing the masks) to “Burn.” The crowd had their hands in the air and was bouncing around during the song, cheering wildly at the end.

”Sun Doesn’t Rise” brought another huge cheer from the crowd and a sea of horns pointing in the air. The stage was bathed in red light and strobes as Waylon and Jimmy Nothing traded vocals. This time Nothing was up on the front drums yelling “Get yer fist up!” while Waylon was singing. For “Erase The Doubt,” once again there was quite the light show plus Stitch was crouched up on the front drum shining his hand held light out into the audience. The crowd was jumping up and down with the music and this song featured killer guitar work from Pigbenis and keyboards from Shmotz. The megaphone was back and the trade off between the two vocalists really enhances MHR songs in my opinion. The crowd went totally crazy at the end, which was the norm by now..


Just when I thought things couldn’t get any crazier, the band broke into “Never Let it Go.” Tons of lights were shining into the crowd, everybody had their hands up pointing at the stage, Waylon and Nothing sounded terrific and Stitch was back up on the front drums shining his light out over the audience, first from one side of the stage, then the other. And that was just during the first part of the song. The music got faster and harder and suddenly a cannon went off that shot white squares of confetti straight out into the room while strobe lights came on that made it look even cooler as the paper drifted down from the ceiling during the rest of the song. It was a really killer effect AND a great song!

”Solitaire/Unraveling” was a heavy duty song both musically and lyrically and the audience was very familiar with it. Massive heavy drums opened the song and the lighting stayed red with the white backlight. Both vocalists were singing but were holding the mics out over the audience quite a bit for them to sing along or answer back. The crowd was really into this song and as it came to a close the vocals became extremely harsh and pissed off sounding.

The following song, “Save Us,” featured some major guitar from Pigbenis and a heavy bass line from Skinny. It was a very melancholy sounding song and my notes said the vocals sound tortured. There were very few times Waylon and Nothing sang together, but they did on this song and it was very haunting.

Switching gears completely was “12 Hundred.” Stitch and Shmotz were back at the front drums with the water thing happening again; Waylon, who had been yelling at the audience all along to get louder, join in, etc., said something to the effect of “C’mon you psychos! I see you out there and I know you want one. Get a fuckin’ circle pit goin’ ” and immediately a large one formed that stretched from the stage to the sound/light enclosure in the middle of the venue; Nothing started with the fist and “Hey, hey, hey. . .” and they were off into this super heavy song. I looked away for a minute and looked back just in time to see Stitch stage dive into the crowd right where the circle pit was (luckily there were still a lot of people standing instead of moshing!), got passed around quite a bit and finally ended up back on the stage, while the rest of the band totally rocked this song. When it was over, they thanked everyone and left the stage – for about a minute.

The stage was dark, but you could hear Waylon ask “Do you wanna hear more?” which of course was greeted with screams and whistles, so the band returned to the stage. I’m honestly not sure if they performed one song or two for an encore. I can’t read my scribbles. I believe they played “Kill Tomorrow” with a lot of raised fist “Hey, hey, hey” encouragement for the crowd and everyone was singing along and dancing. Pigbenis was up on the front drum playing guitar, the music was super loud and there were lights flashing all over the place until the song ended. Pigbenis was still up on the drum clapping and waving his hands encouraging the crowd to keep up the applause. The rest of the band members threw water at the audience and then the empty bottles and anything else that wasn’t tied down until they ran out of stuff, even after the house lights came up.

I have to say it was one hell of a show! If I had ANY complaints about Mushroomhead’s set, it would be about the almost constant back lighting that made it difficult to see the band members and the fact that the drum kit was turned up so loud it was very hard to hear the vocals or even the other instruments. The music was awesome when you could hear it properly and I know from their albums that it sounds good when it’s not being overpowered. There are still a lot of dates left on this tour and I highly recommend spending the bucks to see this show. It’s not that expensive, you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy it and it is SOO worth it!


MH_Schmotz.jpg (187078 bytes) MH_Waylon.jpg (134359 bytes) MH_Jimmy.jpg (132939 bytes) MH_Pigbenis.jpg (185328 bytes)

MH_Gravy.jpg (229853 bytes)

MH_Vox.jpg (133249 bytes) MH.jpg (150138 bytes) MH_Skinny.jpg (153584 bytes)


Marquee Theater
Tempe, AZ


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