I Am Slam: An Evening with PARTY CANNON, PARASITIC EJACULATION, and EPICARDIECTOMY
Your intrepid Editor-in-chief left the safe confines of his
mother’s basement beautiful and elegant home to attend a slam free-for-all.
Slam, what you like is in the limo.
Slam, what you get is no tomorrow.
Slam, what you need you have to borrow.
“Slam” – David Bowie
When I first heard word that Czech moronic-slam legends Epicardiectomy were touring the states with Party Cannon, auteurs of the often brilliant Partied in Half, I was thrilled. Finally, a chance to let my hair down and head bang to a billion interchangable death metal breakdowns in the otherwise stuffy and uptight burg of Austin. I couldn’t wait to round up all my friends and make a full night of it. Then a helpful soul in our excellent Facebook group pointed out that the show was on a Monday night. And that I had no friends. Regardless, I was determined to attend and have a killer time. How often does an American man get the opportunity to see a Scottish party slam band and the apex of Czech slam in one night? RARELY, probably!
I left work Monday night, went to the gym, got a haircut, warmed up some leftover chicken and broccoli, and called my grandmother to wish her a happy birthday. After hanging up the phone, I checked Facebook to see what time the show started. The first band, Houston’s Diminished, would take the stage at 8:30. It was 9:15 and Party Cannon were scheduled for 9:30. Damn.
I made it with minutes to spare. Traffic was clear and I was able to park right outside of The Red Eyed Fly, a venue I hadn’t visited since my days of performing there with my dipshit college band. We were not good. The Red Eyed Fly will (or at least used to) book anything. The inside was much cleaner than I recall. A goth bartender cheerfully grabbed me a beer and I made my way past the disdainful door girl and into the outside stage just in time to see Party Cannon setting up.
Party Cannon released one of my favorite EPs of 2013 with Partied in Half, six tracks of self-aware slam that dared to be silly. Everything that made that record enjoyable was upped by 67% with their latest record Bong Hit Hospitalisation, a full LP of brutal death metal that manages to be fun, technical, and even memorable.
These nice young Scots didn’t disappoint with their live show. After a few technical hiccups, Party Cannon launched into a solid groove banging out the hits from Partied in Half and Bong Hit Hospitalisation. The instrumentation was flawless; the boys in Party Cannon can play really, really difficult shit really, really fast. While soundchecking and in between songs, various members betrayed their ear for pop by quickly riffing through Fleetwood Mac and Michael Jackson tunes. For their final song “We Prefer the Term Living Impaired”, Parasitic Ejaculation’s guitar player jumped to the stage and began windmilling. His iPhone launched across the venue approximately 1.2 seconds later. It was a pretty solid set.
While dicking around with my phone between sets I listened in rapt attention to some dirtbag’s tale of doing too much cocaine, listening to “Texas Flood”, and accidentally setting his car on fire. I missed that story’s undoubtedly thrilling conclusion as a friendly young man approached and asked me what I thought of Party Cannon’s set. He was a sailor on a brief leave in Texas and eager to see as many metal shows as possible. This enthusiastic metalhead had never heard of any of the bands playing but wanted to check it out anyway. This would be his first (and quite possibly last) experience with slam. We bonded by discussing how much ass Pantera kicks (all of the ass).
To be poseurifically honest, I had never listened to Parasitic Ejaculation before this night. That was a mistake. This group of young dudes from Santa Cruz tickled the sweet spot in my lizard brain that craves hardcore and death metal breakdowns. Within minutes of taking the stage, Parasitic Ejaculation’s vocalist took off his shirt to display his soft, white, gelatinous body. He proceeded to jiggle about the stage while bringing tha motherfucking slams. Despite repeated complaints about the heat and lack of crowd movement (there were a handful of very enthusiastic kids. I suppose they may have been talking about me and a couple other grumps hanging out cross-armed in the back but LOL I’m old so no), the band threw down a brilliant set of slam that made my synapses fire with violence and joy. The verdict? Imminently headbangable.
I went back to the inside bar and found Blueshammer had taken over the inside stage. I quickly returned outside where I was joined by my sailor friend and his sister. I tried my best to explain what they could expect from Epicardiectomy. They seemed incredulous when I described the drummer’s tom-less kit. And grill. And his self-chosen nickname THA BLASTING DON. “But are they any good?” HAHAHAHA.
Epicardiectomy took the stage but all was not well. This lineup had changed. It was the same tiny drummer in a flat-brim cap surrounded by cymbals, and the same shoeless guitar player. Some time in the last year, vocalist Tom was replaced with a guy named Andrew. He resembled Milan, the drummer. Both small framed, mosh-shorted, and making overt wiggerish arm movements. This lineup, a single guitar, a drummer, and a bree-ing vocalist would bring me crushing disappointment.
For a group as simple and repetitive as Epicardiectomy, it’s pretty dang essential that the individual pieces sound, I dunno, decent? We’re all familiar with scooped mid guitar tone (most famously utilized by Dimebag Darrell). For this show, guitarist Serge Gordeev decided(?) to ditch the mids AND the treble all together. It was an inaudible blur. The BLASTING DON did an admirable job of blasting away at his two 9-inch snare drums, but his bass drum sounded thin and weak. Combined with a total lack of 808 bass drops, the result was a clicky mess with a swarm of shitty guitar. The novelty of watching their vocalist pretend to be Method Man while vomiting cricket vocals soon lost its luster.
I looked down at my phone and the clock showed 12:15 AM. I had work in the morning so I weighed my options: leave and be functional at my rewarding job, or continue to watch Epicardiectomy and hope to hear the iconic words “Show me circle pit, show me, show me“. Casting aside the warm backwash of my beer, I waved goodbye to my new friends, and exited the venue accompanied by the steady tap-tap-tapping of a billion ping pong balls and the worst guitar tone a human has ever intentionally achieved.