The unholiest of British black metal hit the Mayan Theater in Downtown Los Angeles last night, dominating the appropriately gothic venue with the help of the top-heavy Butcher Babies and a few thousand wild extreme metal fans for one of the most brutal tours of 2016 to date.
A rainy evening and gridlocked roads made getting to Downtown a nightmare for most ticketholders, but you’d never know it looking at the packed floor of the Mayan on Wednesday night. Fans dressed in their most metal leather and lace outfits were everywhere in the cavernous theater and when the Butcher Babies came on stage, the mayhem started up in earnest.
Heidi and Carla have come a long way from their early ‘slut metal’ and nipple tape days; they’re still sexy as hell, but with two studio albums and years of touring under their belts, the girls and their three man band are masters of metal domination and absolutely owned the crowd like the veterans they are.
The girls whipped the Mayan crowd into a frenzy as they bounced and headbanged across the stage, rocking out to hardcore riffs and engaging the audience over a tiny barricade. Heidi screamed for crowdsurfers midway through their set, and she and Carla slapped hands with every kid that tumbled towards the stage without a missing a roar.
For the night’s finale, Heidi proved her metal badassary by jumping directly into the mosh pit and screaming her lines into her wireless mic while metalheads charging around her. The Butcher Babies’ 50 minute set was an impressive display of metal musicianship as well as stage presence, and the band left a deep and sweaty impact on their hometown crowd.
Cradle of Filth fans filled all levels of the Mayan in time for the band’s headlining set, creating a sea of black and spikes across the floor. The five man (and one woman) band were an all-out force from the very start, as Dani Filth screamed his signature high pitched shrieks and the crowd churned in earnest.
Between the thundering guitars, Dani’s screams, and the enjoyable symphonic touches of keys and harmonic vocals from female member Lindsay Schoolcraft, the sonic tapestry of the night was incredible. The crowd lost their minds in a sea of headbanging, moshing and crowdsurfing, and Cradle of Filth’s instrumentalists regularly stepped to the edge of the stage to perform right in the faces of front row fans.
Dani and his band knocked out eight or nine songs in a row, before leaving the stage and returning for an impressive six song encore. Hits of the night included Heaven Torn Asunder, Blackest Magick In Practice, and of course, fan favorite Gilded C*nt. Popular single Nymphetamine was saved for the end of the night, and was one of the chances for Schoolcraft’s voice to really shine.
Wednesday night’s show was originally scheduled at the Avalon Hollywood, but its relocation to the Mayan worked out fantastically. The theater’s intricate design and castle-like atmosphere perfectly suited Cradle of Filth’s evil music and stage show, and despite the atrocious weather outside, the concert was heavily attended and raged with an overpowering energy from start to finish.
Cradle of Filth typically tours the US once a year, so it may be some time before the masters of scream return. But the Butcher Babies are LA-based, so keep an eye and ear out for the hottest frontwomen in heavy metal to hit a stage near you soon!