Superjoint, Child Bite, Death Collector, Battlecross, and ImJohnWayne rev up The Emerson in Indianapolis
Wednesday January 25th brought the newly reformed Superjoint (formerly Superjoint Ritual) to Indianapolis’ Emerson Theater. I had the opportunity to sit down with guitarist Jimmy Bower prior to the show. The fall and subsequent rise of Superjoint, which fell apart in the early 2000’s, was described by Bower as “When we disbanded, we were all fucked up man, ya’ know? Then we got back together for Horrorfest, it was Kate Richardson and Corey Mitchel’s idea. So we called Kevin, and Phil (Anselmo) suggested we get Blue and Steve. We called Shelton (better known as Hank III) as well. Shelton is a lot, I think, a lot different artist than he was back when we were in Superjoint. His solo career is going really good. So we got Steve and Blue. The name Superjoint, it’s like it’s a new band now. Two new people in the band, a different sound.” A sound that Bower describes “like going through a windshield”.
Caught Up In The Gears Of Application, released last November, is the first Superjoint album since 2003’s A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred. This album is Superjoint at their vicious, brutal best. Bower described the making of that album as “When we started writing we were trying to go for like the first record, the kind of style of the first record, hard core and stuff. We got in a room and started writing and everything and I think what we came out with is a new band, a different sound. It’s fresh, it’s good.” Bower has also been busy in other areas, too, as he went on to tell me “I’ve been working on a solo record. I play my first solo show at club Siberia in New Orleans for the Mike IX Benefit. I’m nervous as fuck about it. I’m not very comfortable singing anywhere but around my house. I hooked up with this cool fiddle player dude, Will Darvill, he actually does a jam night down in New Orleans on Thursday nights and I went and did two songs there. It’s scary man, it’s like I’ve played in front of a ton of people on drums and guitar, but to sit there with a acoustic and singing is a whole different game. But I like the challenge.”
For any of you guys, or gals, out there that want to emulate that low, nasty, crunchy tone that Bower delivers, he told me his set up is pretty basic: an Ampeg SS150 solid state head, a noise suppressor pedal and his Gibson Sonex. “I really like the tone the old solid state heads give,” he says, “the natural distortion is already in there, it’s pretty gritty. The Sonex that I play has always been a real low endy sound, not a real high pitched tone.”
A Night at The Emerson
With support from Indianapolis bands Death Collector and ImJohnWayne and tour support from Child Bite and Battlecross, this was to be the heaviest metal show to hit Indianapolis this year. Death Collector kicked things off perfectly and are really accomplished musicians for being young. I’m not positive, but I don’t think any members are over 20 yet, a fact you quickly forget when they play heavy and hard in the vein of early Metallica. ImJohnWayne did not waste any time taking the stage. Vocalist Josh Short always attacks his vocals with an intense ferocity and forces all those in attendance to pay attention to his band.
Child Bite was up next. Holy fuck, what a surprise this band turned out to be. Vocalist Shawn Knight killed it combining the tenacity of Iggy Pop and the charisma of Neil Fallon (Clutch) as Child Bite delivered a superb mash up of thrash/punk/hardcore. The amount of energy this band projected into the crowd felt as if everyone there was holding onto the same live wire. I could see Child Bite quickly becoming one of my favorite bands. Battlecross came out and were as solid as ever. Seriously, this is a band that simply delivers every show with high energy headbanging with great thrash melodies and hooks every single time they perform. For the first of two times in the night, we’ll get to the second later, the show was stopped by vocalist Kyle Gunther as he asked for security to come up and requested the lights be turned on over something he witnessed in the pit. After some pit etiquette the show resumed. Battlecross announced that this would be their last time through Indianapolis for a while, which is a shame because this band is so good live.
As it neared time for Superjoint, you could feel the excitement of the crowd grow and there were several screams of “We love you Phil!” emanating from the crowd. Following a lot of controversy for an incident involving Phil at last year’s Dimebash (if you don’t know what I’m referring to you’ll have to look it up yourself as I won’t rehash it here), I had earlier asked Bower if he had seen any backlash to the band and he said, “No I haven’t. He’s doing real good, I’m proud of him. What he did was a pretty serious thing, man, but at least he was a man about it and apologized. That’s about all you can do, right? Then move on with your life.”
When Superjoint made their way to the stage, the full force of the audience came crashing to the front. Metal legend Phil Anselmo walked out, Barq’s root beer in hand, and immediately noticed a young boy in the front. Phil then took this boy and lifted him on stage and made him a seat by the drums and allowed him to stay there for almost the entire show. You could tell the guys in Superjoint were in good spirits as they interacted with the audience nearly non-stop, with Phil even stopping to sign autographs during the set. Phil spent most of the set on the edge of the stage to be as close to fans as he could, which was close as there was no security barrier. With a set list including songs like “Ruin You”, “The Alcoholik”, “Caught Up In The Gears of Application”, “Antifaith”, “2 Songs” and “Asshole” which Phil dedicated to himself and included a brief snippet of Pantera’s “Walk”.
Once again, during the Superjoint set, the show had to be stopped. This time it was apparently a dispute that Phil could see and he handled it beautifully. He went over to those involved and told one subject to move to the other side of the room. I can’t speak for those involved, but I think I would feel like a complete ass if someone like Phil Anselmo had to stop a show and call me out for my actions. But after all, it was a metal show and shit happens, but apparently on this night at least two people missed the sign at the front of the Emerson that clearly states in big letters “Don’t Be A Dick”.
The newly revamped Superjoint looked and sounded great, so be sure to check them out if you get a chance and in the meantime give a listen to the new album Caught Up In The Gears Of Application for a kick ass dose of pure American metal!