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The Classic Grand, Glasgow
Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

mushroom head

Exeter rockers Sanguine were short notice replacements for American Head Charge on this tour and were an unknown quantity to the busy hall as they launched into their first number.

A female-fronted four piece they are full of energy and spirit and remarkably hard to pin down musically. A far cry from the Symphonic Metal favoured by similar line ups on the European scene they mix samples with blazing riffs from guitarist Nick Magee.

Vocally Magee adds some full throated roars but he is matched in that department by front woman Tarin Kerrey who has a really strong melodic voice in her repertoire too. In fact there were times when I wondered whether a microphone was really necessary.

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This all sounds a bit nu-Metal or alternative in style but then they also throw in some groovy pop-Metal in 'Pretty Girl' and went to other extremes with almost Metalcore style screaming Metal. I found the variety fresh and interesting although it seemed to puzzle some of the people around me.

mushroom head

The presentation was a little mixed as well with Magee roaring at the crowd between songs and Kerrey chatting to them like they were old friends and I thought they struggled to reach some of those present tonight. Personally I really enjoyed them, a band keen not to be pigeonholed and with some good tunes on offer. I look forward to seeing them again.

It's been a few years since Mushroomhead played the UK and I wondered before the show how much of an audience they had in this country these days. A packed Classic Grand told its own story on that front and a huge roar greeted the Cleveland-based Metallers' entrance.

Mushroomhead are all about the theatrical side as a live act and they didn't disappoint tonight. This was only a club show but the minimal lighting was used to maximum effect so that all the members looked suitably creepy in their trademark masks. The big floor toms at the front of the stage were soaked with water so the spray flew through the air when the extra percussion was utilised.

mushroom head

The band members all played their parts well and an already high energy level went up another notch when vocalist J Mann went crowd surfing, even managing to stand up on the shoulders of his fans for a second.

Special guest for the tour, Unsaid Fate singer Jackie Laponza added some female touches to proceedings with some atmospheric vocals while dressed in a white ballgown but seemed happier on the heavier songs she was involved with when she got to go up front and interract with the crowd.

The crowd totally loved it when any of those on stage came front and centre so I thought it was a shame they didn't do that more and sometimes preferred to wait at the rear of the stage for the samples to start off the next song.

As for the songs behind all this energy and image I was a little disappointed personally. Mushroomhead have a bunch of good songs with more melody than offered by the likes of Slipknot but not much of that was in evidence for me. 'Qwerty' worked well as an opener but songs like 'Out Of My Mind' and 'Sun Doesn't Rise' didn't really stand out as much as I would have liked.

Their fine take on Pink Floyd's 'Empty Spaces' might surprise Floyd purists with how well it works but the quality of most of their best tunes was lost in the energy and attitude a bit tonight.

mushroom head

After an hour it was all over and most of the crowd here went home sweaty and sated, happy to have seen these guys live in this country again. Me, I thought it was fun but a better sound mix and a greater focus on the songs would have made it even better.

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