Thursday, March 28, 2002

Coal Chamber a bright spot of Jagermeister tour

Concert review

By Chris Varias
Enquirer contributor

        Nu metal is like any other term labeling a brand of pop music. The origins of its coinage are vague, and it has come to be used to define any number of heavy-metal subsets from the 1990s and after.

        That's why it's fair enough to call the Jagermeister Music Tour a nu metal showcase. Although the five-hour show, which pulled into a sold-out Bogart's Tuesday night, proved the five participating bands had little in common besides plenty of volume.

        Drowning Pool earned the headlining slot on the strength of “Bodies,” their hit single and ode to moshing, which they saved for the encore. The rest of the Dallas band's hour-long set was a sort of ode to the days before moshing.

        Had singer Dave Williams been sporting one of those old-school poodle hairdos, it would have been easy to mistake him for Sebastian Bach or Bret Michaels or another '80s hair-metal icon. Mr. Williams' singing was yelps and screams worthy of those guys, and the lyrical content and between-song chatter was full of a good-time spirit, rather than the self-conscious misery most of today's hard-rock bands embrace.

        Traces of the '80s emerged only briefly in the music. A couple of songs began with a big, dumb, simple Def Leppard drum beat, but soon shifted into colossal-sized hard-rockers with a driving rhythm earning the band its place in the extended nu metal family.

        “Bodies” was the song of the night, but the ever-touring Coal Chamber put on the best show. Their industrial-tinged brand of metal is always a Bogart's favorite, and they crammed a few songs from their forthcoming album Dark Days into a quick 40-minute set.

        On bass was Nadja Puelen, a new member who happens to be a woman, and who did nothing to alter the group's loud-and-fast-rules aesthetic.

        Ill Nino is said to have a deep Latin influence to its music, but the only sign of anything like that was a percussionist onstage, and he could not be heard at all over the drone of their somewhat hip-hop influenced hard rock.

        Like Ill Nino, 40 Below Summer was a nu metal cliche, but the band was worsebecause of a horrible opening-band sound mix they played.

        Toledo's Lazy American Workers also got the bad mix, but for 20 minutes they played the brand of old-school punk for which sound quality isn't a factor.


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