Sorry boys, but Wednesday night at the House of Blues was owned by the ladies! The corridors of the club were filled with the lilting sighs, and cruelly perfumed melodies from UnEarthed.com favorites My Ruin, and Otep – with a strong shot of pure grain Drunk with Power to take the edge off.
We ventured out on this uneasy night, just one week and one day after the acts of terrorism blackened the skies of the East Coast and with defiant faces against the looming presence of war; we went there to rock. And rock we did.
It was evident by the sparsely attended show that there were still traces of somber fear in some, and a lack of promotion from others… but that didn't stop those of us in the audience from tearing it up and letting loose in our own way.
As we lurked in the Cajun-inspired, red-walled, heavily-decored backstage room upstairs with the members of My Ruin, we could watch Drunk With Power on the overhead television monitor while they stalked the stage below. Tairrie B. (vocalist, My Ruin) spoke about how this night marked the one year anniversary of her band's last gig with Drunk With Power, right here, at the House of Blues. As deeply saddened as she was by the recent horrors in America, she found light and positivity in the fact that this was still a special occasion for her.
Before we knew it, we were ushered through the back stage area to begin preparations for My Ruin to take the stage. The room went dark. And with an impressive roar from the small crowd; the velvet patchwork curtains opened, revealing a darkened stage, black lights and flashbulbs twinkling, and the members of My Ruin assumed their positions. Attired in black leather pants, a clinging long-sleeved shirt, and a baseball cap proudly displaying an American flag, guitarist Mick Murphy opened the set with a grinding wail from his guitar. It was time to get heavy.
Tairrie took up her microphone, decorated with huge red silk roses, black beads and rosary cards and pierced the air with her sandpaper growl. From then on, it was non-stop agro-metal in the finest female form. A denim jacket clad, dredlocked, and sloe-eyed Meghan Mattox manipulated her bass as if it were a pet black panther as she prowled and swayed at her end of the stage, while the lovely and naughty Yael pummeled her drum kit into submission.
In a brief and subtle moment of silence, Tairrie B. addressed those of us in attendance by forgoing the speech about the terrorist attacks, instead offering her gift of cherishing the moment, she admitted that her band, especially Yale, had been touched and heartbroken by what happened. And with that, she reminded us not to take anything or anyone for granted. After those words, it was back to the tasks at hand straightforward hard rock in the sultry, dark and dreamlike way that only My Ruin can give. Tairrie B. invited a couple of friends from Los Angeles bands Sinder and Hotwire to help her close the set with a bang. Favorite tracks: “Unmanageable“, “Blasphemous Girl” and “Burn the Witch“.
Set changes took up the space between sets and then it was Otep's time to turn us on. After getting used to seeing this band perform many times as a 5-piece with two guitar players; it came as a slight shock to the system to see an emptier stage, especially given the size of the space at the House of Blues. However, new recruit to the Otep troop, guitarist Robu, did a decent job of filling the empty spaces. Musically, the sound was obviously not as lush and layered, but Otep Shamaya (vocals) made up for that with her own brand of bad ass energy and that signature, smoky purr blended with hiphop stylings and ethereal touches of cryptic, spoken word stories about the evils of organized religion, abuse and defiant anarchy. Moke (drums) and Evil J (bass) held steady and hard with deep-end bass grooves and skin pounding thumps while Otep prowled the stage and worked the crowd into a frenzied mini-mosh pit.
Being at the tail end of a string of unrelenting tour dates that have included Ozzfest; the tragic loss of Otep's beloved brother, Mikey; and the harshest losses America has ever seen has no doubt worn the members of this band down, and wounded them in ways that may have peered out during certain moments last night. But the energy to start laying down studio work on the upcoming release may just be on reserve. I know a lot of us are looking forward to the new stuff. In any case, Otep gave a powerful and impactful performance to the House of Blues. Favorite tracks: “The Lord Is My Weapon“, “Fill thee” and “Possession“.
The energy and satisfaction with the show from all of the bands that played was evident in the voices and the expressions of the audience members as they filed out of the club. While I was waiting for my car, I overheard one guy saying, “Damn. That shit was hard! Now I know why the kids are going so crazy on this shit. I'm all down with that. It's a good time to be getting' heavy! I wanna hear some more!”