The excitement surrounding Max Cavalera and his band Soulfly was audible on this very cold February night in Portland, Oregon. I’d interviewed Max previously and it was the greatest mistake in my journalism career. It was a fantastic interview…one of those organic and inspiring interviews…and the recorder failed. When I got home, I plugged in my trusted recorder, and the file name was symbols and words that made no sense. I sent the file off to two experts; no data. So, when I was granted the interview with Max this time around, I was really excited to right my wrong, and…I took two recorders.
Sitting in the back of the very large bus was Max in a Necrot shirt and his iPad playing music. I nervously told him of my previous faux pas and started the interview. Max is one of the most humble and inspiring musicians that I’ve interviewed. His passion for the scene and for music is admirable and infectious.
Supporting his newest release “Ritual,” I asked him what his ritual was prior to the show. You can hear his answer and the full interview on www.mirp411.com.
Portland’s Ligature Marks, featuring Kyle Baltus of 36 Crazyfists, is fast becoming one of Portland’s most popular bands. The crowd was energized, with many singing along with vocalist Benjamin Charles on songs such as the crazy good “Fire and flood.” They were an excellent selection to open this show.
Skinflint was a band I was unfamiliar with. This three-piece band from Botswana, Africa was the odd band on this bill. Moderately interested, and always polite, the Portland crowd welcomed them with open arms. Obviously a fan of Iron Maiden, the sometimes overly animated front man/guitarist did shine with catchy and well-crafted solos. There was nothing wrong with this band, however, on this night, they just didn’t match the pace of the other four.
A band we’ve seen often in Portland, Incite was totally on point (but they always are). Vocalist Richie Cavalera may possibly be one of the most energetic front men out there. He sings with intensity rarely seen, and doesn’t seem to even break a sweat. Touring with their newest release “Built To Destroy,” Incite are equipped to match the pace and talent of even the most revered groove and thrash metal bands…and they likely can out last in a duration contest.
I was super excited to see Kataklysm on this tour and was sad when I heard they had to drop off. But that sadness faded quickly when I heard Trevor and his band Unearth would be stepping in. Producing one of the best metal albums in 2014, Unearth caused a tie for the best band of the night for me…when I knew without a doubt there would be no question it would be Soulfly. The heaviness, fervor, grittiness, and breakdowns this band produces are exactly what causes us to love metalcore.
The simplicity of Soulfly’s set speaks volumes to their talent and uniqueness. A simply covering of green jungle gauze (I have no idea what it’s called, I just know it camouflages things) draped over the speakers, and a simple rug lined the stage. Max feels like your beloved metal friend, and commands an audience like no other. He sways back and forth perfectly with the groove, and sometimes plays guitar with his right hand while snagging the mic from the stand and singing in it with his left hand…simultaneously. He drops to his knees on the floor, and commands everyone to “Sit the fuck down, so that we can jump the fuck up…together,” and we do it. Bringing kids on stage and making it work no matter how shy or awkward they are, Max is truly an ambassador for metal and someone we look forward to seeing, with any project he tours with.
I was surprised that there was no encore, but was thoroughly exhausted at the end. Soulfly played songs off of Ritual, as well as older beloved songs.
We at MIRP were privileged to be a part of Chris 51’s Headbanger’s Live project. On this night, a pilot was being shot for a series created by writer, tattoo artist, GeeksterInk founder, Headbangers Con inventor, and fellow metalhead. We saw him on the side of the stage headbanging and in the front row. We saw him handling business and in the pit. When the front row got more “friendly violent” than I like (and unsafe for MIRP co-founder/photographer Jerimia and his camera gear) we ventured upstairs with our VIP credentials to a private area where moshing was non-existent, the view was pristine, and headbanging was done sitting down.
Max and his Soulfly were a perfect selection for the pilot of Headbangers Live, and the Bossanova Ballroom was the perfect venue. The powers to be would be fools not to pick up Headbangers Live.
We learned the next morning that Incite’s van was hit by a tree in Southern Oregon, causing a windshield issue (but the band is reportedly OK). We at MIRP are sending our love and thoughts for a successful and safe rest of the tour, and sending our gratitude for a night that won’t be soon forgotten.