Like a band of pirates coming home to port, Ill Nino returned to New York in grand fashion. As their booty, they brought a new disc’s worth of material. And, just as the pirates they resemble, the dreadlocked band came back to a warm reception and had a helluva good time.
Playing before a sold out Irving Plaza crowd, the seven members of Ill Nino seemed to be in prime form, despite it being an early date on their tour with labelmate Spineshank. Tearing through tracks on their debut Revolution/Revolucion and their new release Confession, the local favorites played a surprisingly tight set. Incorporating two new members over the summer, the group seemed as comfortable with each other as they were with the venue and crowd. Guitarist Ahrue Luster and percussionist Danny Couto seem firmly in the fold of the Latino rockers. Set highlights were of course the band’s biggest songs to date, “God Save Us” and “What Comes Around” from their first Roadrunner release and “How Can I Live” from the Freddy vs. Jason soundtrack (as well as Confession).
Spineshank were no slouches themselves, playing their electronic-tinged brand of metal to a very receptive crowd. The Los Angeles quartet has actually traded some of the industrial sound for some melodic hooks, but they have not lost an iota of intensity. Bringing a new album’s worth of material across the country, Spineshank seemed to be relieved to be on the road after 16 months in the studio. Their set, which was the same length as Ill Nino‘s, included songs across their three albums. Their newest, Self Destructive Pattern, was to be put out the next day so as of midnight, it was made available at the merch table. Much to their credit, the New York crowd seemed familiar with the group’s older material from Strictly Diesel and welcomed the Californians almost as warmly as they did local bands Ill Nino and 40 Below Summer.
Despite a huge, vocal following in the audience, 40 Below Summer had an extremely short set as part of the undercard. Due to some technical problems, the New Jersey group were only able to play three songs before heading back into the night. Of course, the hometown fans went crazy the entire set, especially during the closing “Sideshow“. Starting off the evening was Skrape, who also were faced with technical issues. Contrary to 40 Below, Skrape was probably better off with a short set.