Review/photos: Despite threats and evacuation, Summer Slaughter Tour melts faces with Cannibal Corpse, Job For a Cowboy and more
And not to distract from the music of the day, but you can only add so much authority at a metal show before fans start hiding in the bathrooms. So when law enforcement started mixing in with the crowd, fans knew something was awry. But more on that later.
On a lighter note, maybe it’s because I have lived in Florida my entire 38 years, but I think of metal like I think of hurricane categories. For example, there were bands ranging from Category 2 (Periphery) to Category 4 (Cannibal Corpse, above, and Goatwhore) at the Ritz Ybor, but there were no Category 5s. Still, this tour brought in a ton of fans from around Central Florida, from commercial radio yuppies to true followers of the Tampa death metal scene.
The show started out great. I got there just as Exhumed were playing their last song, and from what I could tell, the audience was already on beer No. 3 and enjoying the day. Up next were Goatwhore, who scrambled the brains of the early arrivals. (I did not expect fans to be there so early — it was Monday afternoon after all. I guess people held off on applying for jobs until after this tour passed, because The Ritz was packed by 4 p.m.)
As Job for a Cowboy was setting up, 15 minutes past schedule, I started reading the body language of the stagehands and band members. Something was not right. The band members were pulled from the stage, and there was silence. No background music, and all lights on in the venue. Fans eventually started grumbling. Eventually, the lights lowered and the stage took life.
Job for a Cowboy started ripping through their set, but I could tell they were not at ease . They didn’t move much and they didn’t have the same energy as expected. Suddenly, in mid-song on the second song, they were rushed offstage without warning. The music stopped. Lights came on. Boos came from throughout the venue. This was a first.
Indeed, it was not a technical issue. Something serious was taking place. Tampa police officers started walking the crowd and pointing flashlights at people. Some concertgoers, including myself, tried to make it outside, but were told to stay inside.
Police used tape to cordon off a block of Seventh Avenue from 15th Street to 16th Street. K-9 and undercover officers mixed in with the crowd. The entire crowd was told to leave the venue and wait on Seventh until told to return. Later, we learned that an unknown person made threats to start shooting into the crowd when Job For a Cowboy took the stage. Apparently the threats had enough credibility to delay the show and ensure the crowd’s safety.
After about an hour’s delay, all ticketholders were allowed inside the venue again, after a thorough patdown (not a search) of their body.
Prior to the music resuming, Tampa Police Lt. Barry Moskowitz took to the stage to explain the incident to the crowd. Fans’ attitude went from “Screw the police!” to “Oh damn, really? Okay, it’s cool.”
The show then started where it left off. Job For A Cowboy returned to the stage, and killed it. It was a great show, and the crowd was very happy to be back in the swing of things.
I lost a little of my metal mojo when The Faceless and Periphery played, and I saw those commercial-rock fans throw up lights in the air. Remember those hurricane categories? Categories 1 and 2 may deserve lighters in the air, but Categories 4 and 5 would pour gasoline on the lighter and burn you alive. It’s just an insult that says, Your music is weak and not worthy.
Cannibal Corpse was the headliner, and after the drama and the heat, everyone was ready. I was a little worried because it appeared that the crowed thinned out, but when CC took the stage, I realized that all of their fans were just congregating in the smoking room. It was a heavy show and worthy of the long wait. Vocalist George Fisher’s neck is the size of most men’s thighs, and no one in the metal scene can thrash hair and head quite like him. And his ability to piss off the crowd and taunt them with 'Do what I say or else’-type statements match his snaring glares.
Cannibal Corpse played a long set, unlike the other bands that had to trim one song each off their setlist, CC just played until people were exhausted. No fancy lighting or stage antics; just jeans and t-shirts, and their bobbing and thrashing hair. From Torture (2012), to Butchered at Birth (1991), they played a good set from albums old and new. Their show matches the music perfectly.
Despite the safety concerns, this show was great. I feel this emptying the theater was the right decision by the Ritz management, and the Tampa Police Department did a great job of investigating the incident. The Ritz even gave everyone 21 and up a ticket for a free beer to recognize their understanding and appreciation.
Hopefully everyone learned from this incident that occurrences like the Aurora, Colo. shooting can happen anywhere.
Review/photos by Andrew Carlton, tbt*
JOB FOR A COWBOY:
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME:
VEIL OF MAYA: