words by Ilya Blokh, photos by Samantha Marble
You can judge the intensity (and quality) of a show by what remains on the ground after the crowd clears. Usually there are beer bottles- sometimes a stray shoe or a cell phone. After Concussion, Mutant Supremacy, Magrudergrind and Misery Index tore apart The Union Pool on Saturday, February 20th there were two items of note: a bullet and a tooth.
Local act Concussion opened with a short but sweet set of pummeling thrash - I was psyched to finally see them play with a decent sound system. They have a good mix of fast riffs and technical guitar lines, but shine especially when they find a moment to slow things down and build up tension. They recently added two new members (Dan from Haunted Castle/Mutilation Rites and Matt from The Dip), have been playing a ton of shows, and are planning to record new material soon.
Mutant Supremacy were up next, with a straight-forward, conservative take on old-school death metal. It was a bit too wall-of-sound for me, though I dug the alternating high/low pitched vocals. There was even an appropriately cheesy band/fan exchange (all of it growled): "Thank you." "You're welcome." "No one is welcome here."
Magrudergrind tore through a blistering set of short, nasty, delicious songs that finally got the crowd moving. These three unassuming looking dudes have the grindcore/powerviolence thing down to perfection - nothing too techy or melodic, just blindingly fast grind that only lets up for a brief moment here and there. They've got great stage presence, and their banter and bizarre sound-samples are a welcome breather between songs.
Misery Index finally took the stage and, despite the intensity of the preceding acts, raised the bar all the way to the fucking roof. Constantly shifting from chugging, groovy riffs to breakneck speed, all of it backed up by unrelenting blast beats and chunky growled vocals, they are the sonic equivalent of swinging a wrecking ball around a room. Several minutes into their set the crowd virtually exploded and didn't let up until the last discordant note dropped out of the air. Things got surprisingly explosive for The Union Pool - a place where crossed-arms and flaccid head-bobbing are the norm - and much of the audience ended up seeking refuge on top of the bar.
In short, an amazing performance - Misery Index could easily be playing Gramercy, Irving, etc, so I'm glad they stick to smaller venues. Magrudergrind and Misery Index will be touring for the next month and putting at least a few dentists to serious work.
More shots of Misery Index and Magrudergrind (none of Mutant Supremacy or Concussion, sadly) are below.