More and more these days tour packages offer a variety of artists from different music sub-genres to try to attract a diverse crowd and expose potential new fans to music they may have never heard before. It is commonplace at this point for your favorite band to be accompanied by another band that you may not think necessarily “fits” with said favorite band. Usually, if you are an open minded music lover, you end up liking the other artist after the experience and becoming a fan. With the increasing cost of touring and the decrease in sales of music that we have experienced in this millennia it only makes sense that artists would “carpool” if you will and attempt to share each others fan bases. We as American music lovers are used to this concept by now. It is almost refreshing that The Savage Imperial Death March Tour is just enough outside of the box that fans were shocked for two very unique but rather different bands like Napalm Death and the Melvins to hit the road together. Adding Melt Banana as the opener for this epic night of greatness makes for a delightfully weird experience.
As strange as it seems for grind-core pioneers, Napalm Death, and the legendary Melvins (sludge, doom, stoner rock, alternative, or whatever you prefer to label them) to share a tour schedule it is actually not surprising for music fans who enjoy artists from both sides of the extreme music spectrum. It is well known that the two bands have had a long standing friendship and have planned a tour like this for quite some time. They even collaborated on a split album in 2013 (the Melvins and Napalm Death Sugar Daddy Split Vol 9). So when they hit the stage at the Agora in Cleveland, Ohio on April 21, 2016 they were welcomed by a packed house of grind-core fans, stoner/doom fans and just about every weirdo in between.
The night began with a fantastic and fitful performance by Japanese weird mongers, Melt Banana. Next to hit the stage was the Melvins. From experience every Melvins performance is as unique as the sound they produce. From the ever evolving lineup (this time around bass is covered by Steve McDonald of Redd Kross), to the extreme variations in set lists from tour to tour you never know what you are going to get. Once again the Melvins did not disappoint. Their set was a fast paced tromp through old favorites and a few covers like “Deuce” by Kiss, “Frosted Flake” by Redd Kross, and Alice Cooper’s “Second Coming” and “Halo of Flies”. They finished off with a scorching performance of “Night Goat” with Napalm Death’s Shane Embury joining them onstage. As the band was leaving the stage drummer Dale Crover approached the audience and started singing an acapella rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”. The rest of the band and the audience quickly joined in.
Last to take over the stage was Napalm Death. They played a crushing set starting off with two songs from their latest album, ‘Apex Predator-Easy Meat’. They opened with the title track followed by “Smash a Single Digit”. Barney Greenway tore across the stage like an epileptic on speed throwing kicks in the air higher than his head. When the music stopped between songs he addressed the crowd as an English gentleman. A man anyone would want to have tea with. The rest of Napalm Death’s set was full of old favorites and a few cover songs as well. They played the title track from the 1987 debut album ‘Scum’ as well as the title track from the 1989 EP ‘Mentally Murdered’. They closed with “Adversarial/Copulating Snakes” from the latest album.
The Savage Imperial Death March Tour continues to storm across North America through May 8, 2016. This is a once in a lifetime experience. Get out there and see this show!
April 24 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
April 25 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
April 27 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
April 29 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
May 1 Seattle, WA The Showbox
May 2 Vancouver, BC The Venue
May 3 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
May 5 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
May 6 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
May 7 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
May 8 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour