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by BBG (who is in California right now)
Ghoul in Orange County
Try as you might, you could not escape the Dystopia chants at an otherwise quiet industrial park in Orange County on Sunday night (9/25). It's understandable considering the greatness of Dystopia, and the fact that 2/3 of its members were playing in newer projects (Ghoul and Mange).
The two day at California Discord Fest, which originally featured appearances from Rattus, Dropdead, Despise You, Lack of Interest, Ghoul, Mange, ACxDC, Murder Construct, unannounced guest Exhumed and many others, was pared down considerably after a 9PM police visit on Saturday broke-up the show at its original location at The Vortex in downtown Los Angeles. Unconfirmed rumors blame a lack of correct permits. Regardless, locals quickly picked up the slack with house shows that night, a set by Magrudergrind included, and two new shows were scheduled for Sunday.
Though the bulk of the local lineup did not play (including Lack of Interest and Despise You), the two Sunday makeup shows were quickly scheduled outside the city in Fullerton with Dropdead, Exhumed, Ghoul, and Mange. The shows were set in a practice studio approximately a fifth of the size of the original venue and it was soon invaded by a swarm of punks, a good number of which did not get in due to capacity. Rattus, in their reported final US appearance, played the early show at the venue which I unfortunately missed due to a miscommunication (fail on my part).
The late (6PM) make-up show on Sunday featured a headlining appearance from Dropdead, who teamed with Exhumed, Ghoul, and Mange. Dropdead was great as usual, though the band has been sticking to a similar script with respect to set list for years now; the band hasn't released any new material in a while save for splits with Converge and Look Back and Laugh (who they covered at the show). Exhumed's booming death metal that wowed me at Maryland Deathfest didn't disappoint either, so make sure to catch them in NYC at Europa on 11/9 (tickets are still available). Mange, who opened the show and struggled with equipment diffuclty, played a more-sludge-leaning version of powerviolence that had the crowd primed for faster material; this was definitely a crowd built for speed.
But my clear favorite was definitely Ghoul (possibly due to never seeing them before), whose crusty thrash was both powerful and campy. Shrouded in blood-soaked hoods, the band ripped through a set of oldies and new material while costumed "guests" came on stage to soak the crowd with fake (?) blood. Ghoul is definitely a fantastic live band, and their low-tech approach to stage gore will fit perfectly with tour-mates Gwar (who hit Irving Plaza on 11/23, tickets). Make sure and get there early.
More pictures from California Discord Fest, including Ghoul and Dropdead setlists, are below. A second set of photos, which includes some of the bands from Saturday before the fuzz broke up the party and that Magrudergrind house show, are on the way.