Confusion plagued me when I got to the venue. Did I want to stand up front? Did I want to sit upstairs? The delay in decision-making cost me a great seat, but I did end up sitting in the balcony for the show. I was unfamiliar with Hollywood Undead, but had seen Butcher Babies several times. My photographer just kept grinning when I’d ask what Hollywood Undead was like… “You’ll see,” he kept saying. I’m not the biggest fan of rap, and he knew it.
Demrick was up first. Two guys, hopping around in a strange way, one manning the turntable in between hops, the other…a full-time hopper. Being unfamiliar with Hollywood Undead, but familiar with Butcher Babies, I was in a bit of shock with the genre of music. The opener was not at all what I was expecting. It was mediocre… I think. I’m just not that familiar with rap or current rap trends. They seemed a bit amateur, and the girls on the side of the stage (that ended up helping to carry the limited gear afterwards) was a bit distracting. I remained confused on why they would open this show with Butcher Babies following…that is until after the Butcher Babies’ set.
The Butcher Babies are a metal band that have two very pretty, sexy girls that lead the band. Everyone knows this. I’ve seen them a few times, and am always curious, like everyone else, on what they will wear. Why do they have to dress so sexy? Why can’t they just rely on their vocals. I know they don’t like to talk about their sexiness in interviews, and really want to be seen just as serious musicians. Perhaps the nipple tape in earlier years was a bad move? I don’t know. It is all in the past now, however…. well, it was on this night anyway.
Ominously, just before they took the stage, the house music turned to the Village People. The crowd sang it loudly and proudly. It was really weird. Metal people singing the Village People loud! Proud of it even. Then, while the crowd sang the ridiculous song…out came the Butcher Babies as the Village People. There was absolutely no sex appeal in their costumes. As a matter of fact, the girls actually sported mustaches. Carla was dressed as a cop, Heidi as a construction worker, Jason as an Indian…er… Native American, Chase as a cowboy, and Henry as a biker. With the exception of the occasional hip wiggle by the two lady stars on this night, you wouldn’t even consider them to have ever pushed the envelope regarding lack of clothing.
Seeing Butcher Babies based solely on their talent was a treat. When you remove the sexiness, they become musicians. They are likable, gracious, funny, and comfortable. The band was tight and the girls were on-point vocally. Their banter with the crowd was aggressive, encouraging them to mosh and “fuck shit up,” and it was thoroughly enjoyable. When Heidi head banged, she had to hold tight to her hardhat. It was actually quite endearing. While they should have been the headliners with different bands on either side of them, they were the highlight (for me) of the night. Towards the end, Carla’s mustache fell of and Jason (bass) tried to pull off her sideburns! It was fun to watch. They pulled out two inflatable rafts and yelled, “I’ll race you to the other side and back”! To which they both jumped into the rafts, held up by the fans and crowd surfed their way to the back. However, both rock-starlets were let down by the Portland hands that carried them. Both rafts overturned in the class four hand rapids of the Portland weaklings…and I fear they both fell to the ground. One climbed back in and made her way to the stage, the other just walked back.
With a mishap of a drunken man trying to steal my photographer’s camera bag and seat while he was shooting…I awaited Hollywood Undead. What would they actually be like live? Would they be more like Demrick or Butcher Babies? I had done my research, but just wasn’t sure what to expect. Why are people so crazy for them? A number of scenarios ran through my head. None were true. Hollywood Undead are their own unique thing, and bring a unique blend of metal and rap. I sat next to a 21 year old girl, who came by herself…skipping a family birthday party to see them. She said she would never miss a Hollywood Undead show. Ever! She was crazy for them, and told me that they provided the music of her teens, and will always be her favorite. As they busted out on stage, the crowd, who had been in their seats were now on their feet. Hollywood Undead were enthusiastic and people were seriously CRAZY for them. Their illuminated palm trees, and vivacious performance made their set thoroughly enjoyable, even for those who were unfamiliar. Groove-oriented and catchy, touring on their fifth release, “Five (or V),” which was released on October 27, 2017, Hollywood Undead put on an amazing show. True to form, the masked men performed three highly vibrant songs, and then removed their masks. Here is the set list that we enjoyed.
Whatever it Takes
— Mask Removal —
Been to Hell
Comin’ In Hot
Another Way Out
Party by Myself
Day of the Dead
Everywhere I Go
Hear Me Now
It was a slightly weird marriage of bands on this night, but those who were there for Butcher Babies saw something special in this Halloween special performance. With post show fan backlash on Facebook regarding their costume choices, apparently not everyone was pleased. However, the full covered costumes turned them from beautiful sex goddesses who can sing, into musicians who can sing…and even more importantly, perhaps, put on a great show without a gimmick. I think this is what they are leaning more towards, and certainly how they want to be perceived currently.
Hollywood Undead brought their unique blend of metal and rap to rabid fans who were thirsty for what they offered. Their stage presence was interesting, their sound was globally enjoyable, and their mishmash of metal and rap is certainly unique.
While the fan base was a bit divided, both sides seemed to enjoy “the other band,” with the exception of Demrick, which was really unmemorable.