It’s been more than four months since absolutely none of us has been to any decent live shows due to the situation in which we’re living. And while I won’t spend a lot of time focusing on that, it is obviously important to highlight because such an event is already changing many lives, possibly for the long run. As we all know, the music industry has been dramatically affected, and whether you call it a curse or a blessing, many artists are using the available tools to keep playing music for their fans and also to support themselves financially. While I personally thought that online events were not going to be as successful, SUICIDE SILENCE showed us a highly creative way to turn a streaming session into an experience.
We all know that this band has had a fair share of controversy in the past, due to the passing of Mitch Lucker, the uncertainty of the band’s future, the addition of singer Eddie Hermida, their disgusting self-titled release and now their introduction of a VIRTUAL WORLD TOUR that sells tickets for fans in a specific geographic area for a specific date and time for only $10! I immediately thought this idea was incredible, and even thought it didn’t come from a band that I consider a favorite, I still respect SUICIDE SILENCE enough to stay tuned and spend some time watching and hearing some old school material along with some kickass new songs from their latest album Become The Hunter (out now, Nuclear Blast Records).
As the Dallas date approached, I was more than ready to enjoy every minute of this innovative idea. The virtual experience started off with some old footage from Mitch Lucker and other videos of the band in different stages of their career. It was fun to see how things have changed after so many years, and it was phenomenal to remember those days when I used to jam The Cleansing from front to back multiple times. After this footage, “Unanswered” started things off and it sounded amazing. Two sweet minutes of hard headbanging before Eddie introduced the next song giving a shout out to Deep Ellum, wishing he was eating an ice cream in this Dallas neighborhood. Up next, the band played “Disengage”, but not without ordering us to shake our booties like a dancer and shouting out the late Abbott brothers.
During the performance, SUICIDE SILENCE was complementing their streaming session with a few comic segments that weren’t too bad. A few too many for my taste, but I had fun watching them. Up next, from Become the Hunter, “Meltdown” and “Two Steps” were shaking my TV’s sound system, as I was desperate to hear those songs at a live show. Other songs like “You Only Live Once”, “Wake Up” and a not so common “Hands of a Killer” made it to the setlist in that order. All of them sounded absolutely killer, with great production that would make anyone say this show had a great quality. The band obviously took some breaks to do some talking, shouting out cities like San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso (Texas is a big state, so it’s easy to forget average cities like Houston from time to time).
Moving on, one of my favorite songs was next in “Cease to Exist”. For this one, the band encouraged us to run back and forth to the fridge to release some energy, which I couldn’t do, but man, it was a great time. After ending this song, Texas’ traditional chant couldn’t be forgotten: “The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas!”. I’m not a native Texan, but I could consider that as a song from the setlist. The session is about to end at this point, when it’s time to the fans to vote for the next track, and it turned out to be yet another favorite: “Bludgeoned to Death”, which got me headbanging like crazy and even getting weird looks from my family as to why I was moving around like a possessed maniac, but this is what we do, right?.
The final song of the set happened to be “Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down” from the new disc, which got all the musicians into what they were doing, including Chris Garza (rhythm guitar) doing some rolls on the floor as the song was wrapping up. After finishing the short set, I must admit that the entire experience was far better than I expected. I was hoping to hear quality music, but the additional content also made the night a good one, regardless of the situation.
Before proceeding with the Q&A session, the band showed even more footage, specifically from the late Mitch Lucker, which brought a perspective on how Garza, Mark (lead guitar), Alex (drums), Dan (bass) and Mitch used to hang out. Just a bunch of great friends living the life, having fun and sharing some laughs. The Q&A had some interesting questions, but none of them were really deep, and the majority of them were terribly written (a lot of people need some serious writing lessons, even when it comes to the use of social media)… except one from my buddy Zane: “how ‘bout them cowboys?”.
Overall, SUICIDE SILENCE’S VIRTUAL WORLD TOUR has been a very well executed idea that could probably open up the door for other bands to try similar things in the near future, even when this madness is over. The most positive aspect that I see about this is that bands will be encouraged to try innovative things in their sessions, stages, songs, body language, etc., but the most valuable: giving the fans the opportunity to hear songs that bands may not play very often during a tour for whatever reason.
Even with a global pandemic putting a very hard pause on certain aspects of the music industry, we still get passionate bands like SUICIDE SILENCE to step up and bring something unique for us to stay sane. There are still a couple of shows left of this tour and the band gives free access to any of them from time to time. I can’t wait to get back to those venues, and I’m really hoping that will happen soon. Until then, stay safe and keep rocking!
BAND IMAGES: HRISTO SHINDOV
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE