Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection, Grand Rapids (US)

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES / MADBALL

Date: 21st October, 2016
Venue: The Intersection
Ticket: $25/€23 (in advance) - $30/€28 (day of show)
Promoter: n/a


I consider SUICIDAL TENDENCIES a really special band but also a misunderstood one, simply because most of the times the majority of metalheads are single-minded persons who fail to see beyond their limited listening habits. I won’t go deeper on this, but if you dig a little into S/T’s story, you’ll see what I am talking about and how confused was the Metal scene the moment Mike Muir walked upon Crossover territories mixing different styles of music but always keeping a transparent and honest-to-the bone attitude, lots of ‘true’ Metal bands out there don’t even know it exists. Adding to this the absolutely fantastic (and extremely current) “World Gone Mad” LP, and then you should understand why we were so eager to spend 7 hours total driving through three states to get a headlining taste of the S/T Family, because the supporting slot this band had in the recent MEGADETH US tour was merely breadcrumbs...

One thing we completely missed was the time-zone change and this kicked in while driving, and along came the stress because aside from the show, we had arranged an interview with Mike. And to make things even more ‘entertaining’, the cell phone decided to not send the 'heads-up' SMS to the band’s management without telling us so, and the stress levels entered the red zone... However, we are talking about the S/T Family and this does not only apply to the band members but to the entire team, so the interview did happen without even thinking twice that it was less than an hour till show time. I don’t know how many musicians would go the extra mile for a couple of fans, but Mike and his team are definitely the exception to any of these 'rules', so I’d like to thank them for making this happen.

After the really interesting chat with Mike (stay tuned 'cause the interview will be posted soon), we entered The Intersection where MADBALL were already deep in their set. The venue is really nice with a wide stage, plenty of viewing spots depending on your Metal appetite and, most importantly, with a clear and loud sound, so all the signs were pointing towards a killer time. MADBALL did a great job getting everyone into a Hardcore / Crossover mood and I think it is pretty fair to say that this scene is still keeping it real having on the spotlight the ‘sweating-your-arse’ onstage and ‘giving it all you got’ mentality which I think works absolutely awesome with a metalhead’s thinking (not the closed-minded ones, of course). Even though I missed almost the entire MADBALL set, I will tip my hat to them for their onstage energy that helped me flush out all the stress which had accumulated some hours ago.

Yeah, everyone was ready to welcome SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and it felt a million times better than it did a couple of weeks ago when this band opened for MEGADETH where the excitement was almost non-existent. There were lots of S/T fans inside the really nice venue and I could not help but keep smiling seeing the two kids standing at the front row, wearing the S/T gear under the watchful eye of their father.

Moments before the show, the band members were up and ready behind the stage and even though there have been countless of shows, one could see that there is still excitement and, in fact, this is what separates SUICIDAL TENDENCIES from the rest, and this will become clear in a sec. The lights went out and the trademark intro of “You Can’t Bring Me Down” made once again my heart pound hard. Each and every time I hear this one gets me back to my teen years when this song kept my spirits high, no matter what. The band entered the stage and it was like looking at caged lions wanting to get out and run free reflecting the excitement I was talking about. Mike took his position on stage left and asked: “what the hell is going around here” and then boom! The band and the audience started moving around like thousands of volts had just run through their body. Oh my, that was amazing, even though it was almost impossible to get decent photos with everybody running around like crazy. I mean there was a mosh-pit going onstage with Dean, Ra and Jeff were running in circles when not doing backing vocals while Mike was going from one side to the other, making the stage looking crazy small. “I am not telling you what to think, I am just making sure you’re thinking” Mike said during his usual words of wisdom breaks where good things are being said in the most simple and direct way. Once again, he is offering food for thought moments before songs like “Two Sided Politics” (how fitting) and “Freedumb” that featured the “War Ensemble” drum roll cameo. Of course, Dave Lombardo was hitting the drum skins hard, sharing the same energy surge with the rest of SUICIDAL like he has been in this lineup for years.

Even though I took a photo of the setlist (as a reminder to help me put these words together), I did not look carefully at the songs because I wanted to be surprised, something that happened after the adrenaline rush titled “Trip At The Brain”. Yeah, it was time for a new one and this was the amazing “Clap Like Ozzy” that sounds ten-times more powerful than it does on the record. The drums and the bass lines opening this one will get you going no matter your age or your fitness status, and this is why a nice mosh-pit took over the venue’s arena. By the way, I have to give lots of kudos to the fans inside The Intersection who knew how to mosh and how to treat each other with respect; one more characteristic of the S/T family. The situation got more steamy with “War Inside My Head” where some crowd surfing was in order. Before this, Mike talked about how everyone has to fight for himself and not to wait for any politician to do what is right for you. Oh man, how much l love this line: “when I was young, I used to fight with my hands but now I'm fighting with my brain”. “Subliminal” came next without pausing, underlining how awesome Crossover gets when it is played the right way live.

Just before “Send Me No Money”, Dean Pleasants raised his hand the moment Mike asked how many of us have seen SUICIDAL TENDENCIES many times all over the world... Haha, this kind of shows the top form of this band which I hope will play more and record more. After this ‘statement’, I think it was very fitting to continue the set with the most appropriate, stomping and killer “We Are Family”; like I said, this band and these fans are part of the same family.

“Are there any skaters out there?” Mike asked and I am sure he already knew the answer. You see, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES have a strong bonding with this scene and it is no wonder that you can buy some S/T skateboarders. After seeing quite a few hands in the air, Mike invited some onstage for the next song to celebrate the induction of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES in the Skateboarding Hall Of Fame. The band’s frontman sees more than just doing some fancy tricks with the board: “if you fall down, then get up and try this again. It does not matter how many times you fall down, but how many times you get up”. Of course, “Possessed To Skate” came powerful and saw lots of moshing, on and off the stage. “I Saw Your Mommy” (don’t you just love the SEX PISTOLS type singing and how the tempo climaxes?) was as always a delight and “Cyco Vision” was greeted with a nice wall of death - good times!

When SUICIDAL TENDENCIES are not headliners, aside from the really short setlist, there is something else missing, and that is getting fans onstage to sing, headbang and celebrate this band’s still going legacy with the massive “Pledge Your Allegiance”. But before this one, Mike nailed the low-registered singing of the amazing and kind of sad “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow” and gave me tons of goosebumps. It is been almost 20 years since the last time I had joined those fans who got onstage to pledge their allegiance, and man, I felt like a teenager doing it again, like I had just traveled back in time. Yeah, that’s the beauty of music; it can take you in places and wake up lots of memories.

The band and the fans left the stage but the venue was still full of S/T fans and the chanting ‘one more song’ was the only thing needed to get SUICIDAL back. “This is another new one” Mike said before adding “make every second count” and left “Living For Life” conclude this fine night.

This was another S/T concert full of energy, sweat and dedication to this music that brings everyone together, and for 90 minutes keeps them united no matter the color, the political or religious affiliations. Thank you SUICIDAL TENDENCIES for a wonderful night and I hope to see you live again really, really soon.

"The power of the sweat
The pain we won`t forget
The worst is coming yet
But you know we`ll be waiting for it!"

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES setlist:

01. “You Can't Bring Me Down”
02. “Two Sided Politics”
03. “Freedumb”
04. “Trip At The Brain”
05. “Clap Like Ozzy”
06. “War Inside My Head”
07. “Subliminal”
08. “Send Me Your Money”
09. “We Are Family”
10. “Possessed To Skate”
11. “I Saw Your Mommy”
12. “Cyco Vision”
13. “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow”
14. “Pledge Your Allegiance”
15. “Living For Life”

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Suicidal Tendencies @ The Intersection (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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