On Friday night, metal fans at the Pearl were treated to a triple dose of hardcore music from Skindred, Sevendust and Disturbed.
I knew little about Skindred before this show but I figured since they were on a ticket with Sevendust and Disturbed, they wouldn’t be playing chamber music. Benji Webbe, lead singer of Skindred, sounds like the love child of David Draiman (Disturbed’s singer) and one of Bob Marley’s daughters. The Welsh heavy metal group blends hardcore rock with reggae to form what the band calls “Ragga metal.” The result is an up-tempo, dare I say, perky vibe for hardcore music that usually deals with death, rage and the inevitable burning of hellfire.
But I had come for the headliner. I saw Disturbed a few years back at the House of Blues, and I remember promising myself I would bring ear plugs the next time. Taking a quick look at the ear-plugged security guards and fellow photographers around me, I was beginning to regret forgetting the nerdy but necessary item.
For that last show the band had brought along a veritable sideshow of friends who warmed up the crowd by hanging bottles of Jagermeister from their eye sockets, ears and facial piercings. I was eager to see how they would kick off this show.
Singer David Draiman was wheeled out onto the stage in a straightjacket and Hannibal Lector mask by a man dressed in scrubs. The “nurse” helped Draiman get out of his costume, to reveal one-piece Dickies-style coveralls sporting the band’s name down the side.
The band went on to play a sampling of hits like “Land of Confusion,” “Stupefy” and “The Game,” while the backdrops changed between Disturbed’s signature demonic creature and the image of an army of zombies from the cover of their Ten Thousand Fists album.
When the band returned for an encore, the backdrop changed to an even more terrifying version of the demon, this time, emerging from flames.
Draiman told the crowd that he has noticed a larger number of young children at their shows recently and pulled one such young fan on stage with him. He told the boy that the band didn’t plan on censoring themselves, so he needed to do them a favor and “put some earmuffs on” when necessary. The twelve year old boy wasn’t at all scandalized by the performance and told the crowd this was his third Disturbed show and his favorite song was Indestructible’s “Inside The Fire” – a perfect segue into their Grammy nominated hit. Following a drum solo, Disturbed closed the show with “Down with the Sickness.”
As the lights came up and people filed out of the Pearl, my loudly ringing ears had me reiterating my previous promise. Ear plugs. Ear plugs. Ear plugs.