Extreme musicians…really nice guys.  It was another fantastic lineup by kingbanana.net Presents.  It was a night of old friends, new friends, and amazing metal in a zoo like setting.  Lola’s room is a beautiful room in the belly of the historic Crystal Ballroom.  The main part of the venue was designed with a floating floor designed in 1914 for ballroom dancing.  James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Ike & Tina Turner, Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix have all played there.

I had an interview with a member of Suffocation, so I arrived early.  When I arrived, I ventured downstairs to the McMenamins bar to grab something to eat.  As I walked in,  I two of my good friends sitting in the oversize booths.  I could not see who was facing them, and assumed they were alone, so I walked right over and sat.  To my surprise there was Terrence of Suffocation facing me.  My friends introduced me and I explained that I was doing an interview with one of them.  Terrence said he wanted to nap, so maybe he’d find someone else to do it.  By the end of dinner, Terrence said he wanted to do it; it made the interview nice, as we’d had a chance to meet and chat prior to formally talking.

When we finished eating, we all walked outside to hang out in the nice autumn Portland day that was surprisingly  void of rain.  Joining us was relatively new guitarist, Charlie Errigo.  Warm, open, silly, and friendly, he was fun to be around.  Terrence and Charlie agreed to do the interview after soundcheck.  Soundcheck is possibly my favorite thing to witness, as it feels like the band is playing just for me, and I asked if I could come up and watch.

After soundcheck Terrence collected me and we went to the dressing room.  This venue is classy, providing one of the nicer dressing rooms in town.  Food, drink, comfortable, matching chairs, nice art, and music softly playing.  Moyses Kolesne of Krisiun (who I’d interviewed before) was sitting opposite us, but left soon after the interview began.  We waited a moment for Charlie, and then decided to just proceed without him.  It was nice to get the chance to talk openly about Frank’s departure and the future of Suffocation.  What I found most enjoyable was the fact that Terrence is so well spoken and open.   We concluded the interview and I waited for the show to start.   I’m always treated with such respect and privilege with Kingbanana shows, and between the promoter and the venue staff, I was allowed all access and to come and go, which was a treat.

I waited by the merch area while the team set up and was struck by the amount of merchandise.  All bands had a wide variety to choose from, including hats, girl shirts, guy shirts, and hoodies. The show was about to start and I ventured accross to the hall in Lola’s room to get a good position to see the show.

Since there was no stage, the band was trapped in a cage like barricade towards back of the room.  It was odd, but functioned.  I heard someone say, “I want to feed them…it seems like we are at the zoo.”

I could not see a thing during Visceral Disgorge, but the sheer energy of this band made me take notice.  I made my way to the side of the “stage” to see Krisiun, which is always a pleasure, but was met with others who were there before me and also wanted to see them unobstructed.  I stood far back for Cattle Decapitation because I saw what was happening in the pit and wanted to save all my energy for Suffocation, with this being Frank’s last tour.

Everyone was in place for Suffocation in this sold out show; it was packed.  I could not see a thing, but magically, just as the men of Suffocation were about to take the stage, an opening on the right side of the stage was visible, close to where the band walked in and out; I ran for it.  I could see the band closely, but only from the back.  The security guard stood back from his post so that my view was unobstructed.  As Suffocation took the stage, guitarist Charlie took off his guitar, handed to the security guard, and found his way to me in the crowd and said, “I wanted to do the interview…. next time, OK?”  I was thrilled.

Frank paced band and forth like a caged animal, propping himself up on the barricade to be close to the fans.  Terrence and Charlie kept the frantic pace that makes Suffocation so special.  The rhythm section their job laying down the foundation for what would be an epic night of brutal death metal.  Frank was talkative and genuine, saying things that made us feel special.  On this night, we were all part of something very special.  was clear that he would miss what has kept him occupied for so long.

It was odd that there was no stage and for some reason the lights were turned nearly off during their set, but it was audibly awesome.  It was hard to see, but Suffocation is a band that you can almost see entirely with your ears.

Suffocation played:

  • Thrones of Blood
  • Effigy of the forgotten
  • Funeral Inception
  • Pierced rom Within
  • Surgery of Impalement
  • Dismal Dream
  • Jesus Wept
  • As Grace Descends
  • Liege of Inveracity
  • Breeding the Spawn
  • Catatonia
  • And Infecting the Crypts as an Encore

I left immediately following the show, but heard something really incredible the next day.   Lola’s room/Crystal Ballroom sits on Burnside in downtown Portland, and there are homeless people everywhere.  Apparently, there was a homeless woman with a dog that was loitering around the venue after the show.  The members of Suffocation gave her something warm to eat, treats for her dog, water, money, and conversation.  I found it to be incredibly heart warming that such an extreme band was so kind and compassionate, but I wasn’t surprised after spending time with Terrence and Charlie earlier in the day.

I spoke with Charlie in the days that followed and told him of the rumor I had heard about the homeless lady and their bout of kindness.  He said, “We like being one of the most extreme bands.  We like to show compassion and kindness wherever we go.”

I’ve liked Suffocation since a boyfriend (death metal drummer from the South) gave me Effigy of the Forgotten, Breeding the Spawn, and Pierced from Within in 2003.  But I have to say, after my recent experience with them…I more than like them.

While Frank will be missed, per Terrence, the band will go on, and I have no doubt will thrive.  The interview yielded plans for the future and how they embraced and mourned Frank’s decision to leave.

You can hear our interview with Terrence here: https://www.mirp411.com/interview-with-terrence-hobbs-of-suffocation-2018-portland-oregon/