The Split Personality of Taste of Chaos
Ross Gordon
3/19/2006 8:24:55 PM

Now that hardcore is moshing in mainstream waters, it’s hard to know what to expect when a mega-band, many houred metal festival is held both indoors and sponsored by an energy drink. Will it be too radio-friendly? Will it be an indoor Ozz-Fest? Will it maintain hardcore integrity? Will it wake the dead?

Your answer would be, a little of all of that, actually. Rockstar Energy drink’s Taste of Chaos tour hit St. Louis on March 13, featuring 18 different bands and as many layers and translations of the genre. What sets Taste of Chaos apart from Ozzfest is the daring (and a little schizophrenic) inclusion of emo/emo core. Can these two tastes work together? You be the judge:

Funeral for a Friend--After having problems at their last St. Louis show in October with Story of the Year (three songs into the set the drummer collapsed), the band’s fans looked forward to their return. Alas, it was not to be. For reasons not clear, the band dropped off the bill and all acts were pushed up earlier on the schedule.

With only twenty minutes per set on the “MySpace stage,” the side-stage acts took over when the mainstage bands did their switches of equipment. First up on the side was The Smash Ups, who were really just that: every genre of music on the radio today smashed into a few fast, punk/hardcore ditties.

While we loved The Receiving End of Sirens at the Hi-Pointe and the Warped Tour this past summer, here at Taste of Chaos their abbreviated set didn’t give them the chance to shine that this multi-talented band deserves.

After a few side-stage acts, the crowd was ready for a bigger set. The first main-stage band up was As I Lay Dying. If you ever wondered if this multi-toned growling lead can pull it off live versus in the studio, now you know that he’s for real. This five-piece Christian metal band played songs from both of their albums. The crowd seemed to really enjoy them—or maybe they were just ready to get aggressive--because theirs was one of the biggest mosh pits we’ve ever seen.

Next up was Atreyu. The audience was ready for their act when they opened with “Bleeding Mascara.” They played several songs from each of their two albums and a few from their new CD, A Death-Grip on Yesterday [Victory Records] to be released on March 28th.

Two of the most popular bands on the tour, Thursday and Silverstein, didn’t play the St. Louis show which was a disappointment for many.

Story of the Year hit the mainstage next. These local heroes to many of the teens in St. Louis definitely got the crowd going, although nothing special really happened. Overall, it was a pretty mediocre performance.

One of the most anticipated mainstage sets, Thrice, opened with their new single, “Image of the Invisible.” For a tour that is self-proclaimed as ‘chaotic,’ it seemed a little odd that this band was more toned down in performance than the previous couple of times we’ve seen them. But for what Thrice lacked in chaos, they made up for in LOUD. Playing mostly to promote their newest CD, Vheissu [Island Records], a lot of fans of the older (harder) Thrice seemed disappointed. The crowd was happy to hear “Deadbolts” and “Artist in the Ambulance.” Surprisingly, they didn’t play one of their biggest hits, “Stare into the Sun.”

They say the best sound is halfway between the sound guy and the stage. We’re hoping things sounded better there, because from where we sat the side stage Street Drum Corps were not well mic-ed. Ever see one of those street jam bands playing trash cans? That’s pretty much Street Drum Corps. They aren’t quite good enough to be in the Blue Man Group, but they were still a lot of fun. Covered in glow in the dark paint, they’re a wanna-be Stomp. And they almost are.

The headlining band of the night was The Deftones, but they’ve certainly slipped in popularity—at least with St. Louis’ younger, hardcore set—as much of the crowd left after Thrice. The Deftones’ song selection was great, including a few songs from each CD such as, “Around the Fur,” “RX Queen,” “Seven Words,” “My Own Summer,” and one new song. If you’ve seen the Deftones before you know that it’s hit and miss with them: they either blow you away or they miss the mark. Unfortunately, this evening it was the latter. Lead singer Chino looked and sounded wasted and forgot lyrics, but the crowd that was left were still into them. The people that were there for Deftones were only there for Deftones.

So yeah, overall this event had a definite split personality and few there appreciated all of it; the younger kids and the girls hung closer to the more radio friendly side-stage, and the moshers were looking to make a physical statement about their music up front at the main stage. Both succeeded--and we’ve got the bruises to prove it. They don’t call it Taste of Chaos for nothing.


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