Show: Drowning Pool
Date: November 4, 2010
Venue: Nokia Theater
City: Los Angeles, CA
Photos by Nicolas Bates
Written by Michelle Oberg
The MTV generation metal heads broke out their favorite hard rock/post grunge band tees to rise together amongst darkness, and mosh pitted rage for a live performance of Drowning Pool at the Nokia Theater. The three-year-old "Theater of the Year" has had the most iconic artists in the world. Adding now to the list: Drowning Pool.
Fans slowly made their way into the venue, spending every last second prior to the 7:55pm start time double fisting beers at the bar. The lights dimmed, the crowd roared amongst the shadows, Rodney Carrington's "Titties & Beer" blared through the speaker system as if it were a last minute decision upon seeing the audience's appearance. Ryan McCombs (vocals), who broke the curse of the one album per singer, was the first to arrive on the scene, and as he sang along for a verse then the strategically thought out intro volumes lowered. With a mic stand raised high to the sky, stage lights flashing, he welcomed the receptive fans as the rest of the band made their way to their stage positions. Multiple stairs surrounded the 4-foot high drum riser, leading the set-up imagery to assume there will be some very close interaction between Ryan, C.J. Pierce (guitar), Stevie Benton (bass), and Mike Luce (drums).
After the befitting introduction, they broke right into "Sinner" as their first song of the night. The bass originally came off too loud, drowning out the guitar and drumbeats, but was corrected by the end of the song. Floor patrons rocked out while Ryan, CJ, and Stevie simultaneously surrounded Mike on the riser and the rest of the crowd still shuffled inside. It was still a mildly empty venue, but that changed as the set went on, by the last song there were only a few straggling vacant seats. The spotlight never left Ryan as he paraded between singing behind Mike, and getting up close with the GA crowd. He continued to hold his mic stand high above his head as he created sounds from someplace deep below the earth's surface.
"Feel Like I Do" brought upon more interaction with the band and the audience. Ryan and CJ brought their stage personas to a maximum by getting as high atop the stage as possible and then low. It's hard to remember at times that these songs had different singers. A moment of rest and rehydration for the band took place as Ryan spoke to his following. The talking prefaced the next song and how they expected every person in the room to act outlandishly to "37 Stitches," which was followed by "Turn So Cold," and "Step Up." These songs sound better live than they do on any album, and only seemed to get better as each song carried on. But it was the finale that really took it to the dark side.
Ryan thanked everyone for coming out and set the stage for later bands by ordering "the crazy motherfuckers" to rise up and show appreciation for the evening of disturbed demonism. Mike, CJ, and Stevie hung onto a tune for the entire length Ryan spoke. The packed venue reacted loosely so he posed it as a question to force earsplitting sounds from them. "Where are the crazy mother fuckers at?" he demanded to know. Not getting the reaction he hoped for, a final attempt was made at getting everyone in the room to lose control in animalistic rage, including the "laid back" people who managed their way between the true metal fans. It was the last time that anything needed to be said, as every single person in the room roared at the top of their lungs and Drowning Pool broke straight into "Bodies." Watching in awe as the fan favorite hit, and best song performance of the evening took hold of the room, Ryan leapt off the stage into the pit of belligerence, which at this point swallowed everything inside it. Instantaneously swarmed, he continued to scream until the very last note of the song. CJ, and Stevie stood at the forefront of the stage in support of their tight unity. It was the best possible way for them to end their show, and undeniably, aided Five Finger and Godsmack with a crowd prepped and ready for more.
The show unexpectedly took a positive turn from initial observations, and swayed my judgment to become a better fan. CJ and Stevie tossed some picks out into the sea of heads, and Mike threw his sticks, an always enjoyable showing of fan appreciation. Through the highs and lows, from beginning to end, Drowning Pool's live performance gets 4 stars for their interaction, stage presence, and continuously amplified sound progression. For more info, news, and tour dates go to www.drowningpool.com.
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