Mudvayne | Coal Chamber | GWAR | Nonpoint | Butcher Babies | Show Review – Aug. 23, 2023 – Ridgefield, Washington – RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater
Due to the current local wildfires, the air quality for this show was not great. Luckily, this show was on a week day so there was space available to move those that would have been in the lawn to the covered seated area. It was great walking through and seeing friends that I mostly see at metal/rock shows. The anticipation of seeing Mudvayne, Coal Chamber, Gwar, Nonpoint, and Butcher Babies was palpable.
Starting the night off, bringing tons of energy from Los Angeles was metal band Butcher Babies. The first few songs came from their most recent album release “…’Til The World’s Blind.” Including the Saweetie cover of ‘Best Friends,’ (which the Butcher Babies’ version is better in my opinion.) Singers Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey showcase their love for each other during this cover and it was infectious. Butcher Babies always brings it, no matter the size of the venue. They instantly get your attention and you start headbanging and/or moshing within seconds. Every member seems to be having fun, which is an awesome site. I absolutely love seeing this band perform live!
Next up, was rock band Nonpoint! This band formed in 1997 and is a band I personally used to listen to in high school (and still do). I love all the music they put out. Singer Elias has a way of putting pure emotion into his singing allowing you to feel what he is feeling. Robb setting his drum set sideways was a very cool decision; it instantly gave the stage a different look and gave the audience a suggestion that “shit is about to get real.” Fellow drummer, Mike Cox (Coal Chamber) even took some time to catch part of this set and give Robb some teasing side stage. Each member wore red and kept the energy going by rockin’ out and jumping around on stage. Nonpoint has so many great songs that I am sure it was tough to figure out what songs to pick for their short set. It seemed like they picked the top song from each album, ending with the popular and timelessly relatable “Bullet With a Name.”
After Nonpoint was finished, some of the crowd started putting on white shirts over the mostly black band shirts they were wearing. And if you know…you know why. Next up was the scratch your head, wtf, heavy metal band GWAR. I think they would find this as a compliment but, every time I see GWAR, I still think ‘what the fuck’ and it just gets weirder and weirder. Everyone should really experience a GWAR show at least once in their lifetime. The music is heavy, the costumes are intense and funny, they periodically kill something on stage and squirt the audience with ‘body fluids,’ and sometimes there is a message. They are vulgar and not politically correct, but audience members wear their stained shirts like a badge of honor. You’ll definitely be entertained, be shocked or be laughing during their set.
Next up was the mighty Coal Chamber to give us that nu metal feel. Coal Chamber has been around since 1992, but the band did break up for a little bit. The line up has changed slightly, but they are back touring and in direct support of this show. If you came to the show expecting Coal Chamber to be like Devildriver, you were sorely mistaken. Even though they share the same singer in Dez Fafara, the style and stage presence is completely different for the two bands. Coal Chamber seems to have more fun on stage and express themselves a bit more. The last album that came out for Coal Chamber was back in 2015. I know for the people around me, the songs were very nostalgic. Coal Chamber played their big hits such as ‘Loco,’ ‘Fiend,’ and ended their set with ‘Sway.’ My personal favorite was ‘Big Truck.’
Finally, the band we were anticipating and most looking forward to, the progressive nu metal band that we have not seen in years, formed in 1996…the almighty Mudvayne! Their last album was way back in 2009! Since Mudvayne is sort of known for their face paint and crazy antics on stage, I was wondering what sort of show we would get. The show started off with one of my personal favorites ‘Not Falling,’ and it seemed like I was transported back to the early 2000’s when I was a young teen. Mudvayne looked and sounded great! Members Chad Gray (singer), Ryan Martinie (bass guitar), Matthew McDonough (drums), and Greg Tribbett (guitar), looked so comfortable on stage — plus the great touring addition of Marcus Rafferty (backing vocals/guitar). The stage is clearly where the men of Mudvayne belong and have been longing to do for years. Sure we are all older, but the heart and love for what they do on stage and the love and appreciation they receive from us as an audience was tremendous. These songs were undoubtedly anthems for most of us at some point in our lives. From hits like ‘Death Blooms,’ ‘World So Cold,’ and ‘Dull Boy.’ They ended their set with the heavy hitters “Dig” and “Happy?”
Chad Gray took a moment to talk to the crowd, and really spoke from his heart, stating that fans of metal music are so welcoming, it has changed his life. He humbly spoke for the entire band saying how honored they were to be playing in front of us. The faces of the metal fans might change but the heart and soul remains the same. Chad told the crowd that he found his purpose, he is here to empower and “inspire people to want to fucking be better, to band together, and to take care of one another with the fucking spirit of what heavy metal represents.” I”m not going to lie…I teared up a little. Chad, the world is better with you in it and it’s better with Mudvayne’s music in it.
Just knowing that someone believes in you and may have gone through what you have or are going through really helps. Chad said “to the persons that need to hear it, the world is better with you in it.” It was really fucking moving. It’s just one of 100 reasons reason why I love rock/metal shows. There is so much love and understanding at these shows — the metal community, no matter where in the world we live, are just that…a community. Thank you Mudvayne!