Denver metalheads threw down on Tuesday night, as the mighty Mushroomhead blasted into town on Insane Clown Posse’s Shockfest fall tour and showed local Juggalos the meaning of heavy metal music.
Mushroomhead was just in town a couple of months ago for Mayhem Festival, but a 20 minute set at the Fillmore only whetted the appetite for new music from the alt-metal masters, especially as songs from recent release The Rightous & The Butterfly continue to grow in popularity. Shockfest may be touring under ICP’s name, but that didn’t stop metalheads from coming out to see one of the best live bands in existence.
True Mushroomhead fans could be spotted instantly throughout the ICP crowd on Tuesday, with Pantera t-shirts and even genuine masks standing out among the crowd of face-painted Juggalos. When the lights went down around 10pm, the entire venue began glowing eerily thanks to the band’s new obsession with blacklights, which created a spectacular and otherworldly effect as painted, glowing band members began stalking around the stage.
With J-Mann back in the group alongside Jeffery Nothing and Waylon, there were 9 total musicians crammed against each other, blasting away on guitar, keyboard, and of course the band’s infamous water drums in a mindblowing display of aggressive playing. New songs QWERTY and Our Apologies kicked were the first songs played, and ratcheted up the energy level to the highest point of the night so far.
The band’s triple vocalist attack seemed to resonate in the crowd, most of whom pressed closer to the stage as the singers traded off verses with machine-like precision. Waylon jumped into the crowd early on in the show, surfing halfway to the soundboard and back, and later would again venture out to stand upright on the hands and shoulders of fans in an impressive display of balance and trust.
Classic Mushroomhead songs on the night included Headbangers Ball favorite Sun Doesn’t Rise and Solitare/Unraveling, both of which generated noticeable singing from the crowd. With the general age range averaging right around 18, it was good to see fans participating in music that came out when most of them were still in grade school and still sounds as heavy as ever.
The night finished, as it always does, with Pink Floyd cover Empty Spaces and the hard-hitting, head-crushing Born of Desire. All nine band members pulled on identical Jack-O-Lantern masks, uniformly cut with standard Mushroomhead markings, and between the evil masks and skeletal body paint, the final minutes of the set were a headspinning overload of riffs, drum blasts, and psychedelic spookiness as fans screamed along to the music and headbanged for all they were worth.
If Mushroomhead’s Tuesday night show was the only metal show most Juggalos saw this year, then the band has more than paid its dues to the metal community at large. Too often the common ground between rap and metal is ignored or mocked by both parties, and Shockfest proved that Juggalos and metalheads are both, shall we say, ‘family.’
Click here for a full review of the night, including Insane Clown Posse’s Faygo-soaked headlining set.