Otep in Sauget is just Okay
John Kujawski
1/17/2010 7:53:00 PM

Anyone who ordered a pizza at Pop’s Nightclub last August no doubt must have noticed the concert was cheesy as well. It really wasn’t a surprise that the turn out was good for Otep, a four member band from Los Angeles, Califonia who have been actively playing their unique brand of metal throughout the last decade. The band is fronted by Otep Shamaya, a female singer, who has a great deal of performance talent and skills. One would think that this would have been a great show, but it wasn’t. The actual music was quite good, making the night at least an adequate experience, but the way the way the songs were presented left a lot to be desired.

It was clear it was going to be a rocky evening right from the start. Shamaya made her entrance onto the stage and started yelling at people to make noise and start a mosh pit before the band had even hit their first notes. This was pretty much the way the set was the entire evening, with her yelling at the audience and telling them what to do. She came across a bit like a nagging camp counselor, the kind that claims to be wild and crazy, but just ends up boring the kids. It was literally painful to sit in the audience, listening to her tell how Sauget was a town she looked forward to playing before the tour was even booked, and her statements regarding the United States government weren’t attracting much in the way of attention.

In addition to the ridiculous speeches, the set really had no flow at all. By the time the audience would start moshing, Shamaya would usually leave the stage to take a breather before the next song began. The waiting time between one song and another was annoyingly long. Perhaps the dorkiest moment of the evening was when Shamaya ran off the stage for what seemed to be for a costume change. When she returned, she was wearing an overly large pair of sunglasses.

Luckily, the evening was not a total loss and the music was actually pretty good when the band took the time to play. Shamaya sang well and her death metal growl sounded strong as ever live. Fans of course didn’t know a lot of the material because the new Otep CD Smash the Control Machine [Victory Records] wasn’t available until August 18th. Still, many of the new songs sounded good and older tunes like “No Way Out” and “Confrontation” were real highlights. Plus, drummer Mark “Moke” Bistany was consistently impressive throughout the evening. It was worth it to come out to the gig just to hear him play.

Despite playing some good songs that evening, the show ended on a somewhat annoying note. After the 55-minute set had ended, the band came back on stage for encores. But instead of playing one of the old favorites, they went for a new song no one had heard. The band did not even find the time to play “Filthy,” one of the best songs they’ve ever recorded. Yuck.

Otep- Pop’s Nightclub
August 10, 2009
Sauget, Illinois


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