Corrosion of Conformity at Triple Rock Social Club, 3/08/12

Corrosion of Conformity
With Torche and Valient Thorr
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Thursday, March 8, 2012

View a slideshow from the concert here.

The metal was dirty, gritty and covered with back hair Thursday night at Triple Rock. A triple bill of Southern-based talents attracted a hearty crowd of bearded locals who wanted to pump their fists, bang their heads, and scream along with the sonic blasts unloaded by North Carolina's Corrosion of Conformity and Valient Thorr, and Miami-Atlanta products Torche.

Strikingly, each act pulled a different segment of the crowd forward. Valient Thorr's wild antics were especially impressive because there was so much gear piled up onstage behind them. Shirtless frontman Valient Himself -- yes, that's how you address him -- tapped into the serious pro wrestling history of Minnesota, and in addition to name-dropping Mr. Perfect, he at one point mentioned how he wanted to "come off the top ropes."

Corrosion of Conformity at Triple Rock Social Club, 3/08/12
Photo by Erik Hess

The band's material varied from the stadium-ready AC/DC riffage, to machine-gun precision pieces that let drummer Lucian Thorr beat the kit til it bled. All the while, it was a lot of kinetic punk energy and tongue-wagging from the supporting cast, and a guy with a huge pot belly was so delighted that he took his shirt off to fully revel in the moment.

Torche represented the most manicured -- appearance-wise -- on the bill, but they were no more merciful in their approach. Although Steve Brooks is the benevolent frontman, it's often easy to place more visual focus on bassist Jonathan Nunez, who bounced his bald head up and down like a basketball throughout his teeth-shaking, shudder-inducing thuds.

Corrosion of Conformity at Triple Rock Social Club, 3/08/12
Photo by Erik Hess

With little banter to speak of, they snatched a few doom-inflected chords of for a triumphant run-through of "Sandstorm" and generally kept things moving in a sludgy, satisfying way. Among the new songs, "Kicking" from the forthcoming Harmonicraft clearly had the dude in the "Torche Rules!" T-shirt stoked, but the joyous, meaty track was familiar to the entire room, and inspired one of the many fitful, uncontrolled freak-outs from our tattooed assemblage.

Lastly, the grinding, blistering Corrosion of Conformity brought forth some dudes from the crowd who were old enough to remember when the band began 30 years ago. Now a three-piece, following the departure of vocalist Pepper Keenan, there's absolutely nothing that feels lacking from their swampy approach, which often sped along like a semi truck and trailer that just lost its brakes. The band's excellent new self-titled album got plenty of attention, with "Moneychangers" providing an apt workout for drummer Reed Mullin, and his flowing grey mane.

Corrosion of Conformity at Triple Rock Social Club, 3/08/12
Photo by Erik Hess

Contrasting Mike Dean's hyper-serious barks into the mic and expressive bass lines was the comic relief of Woody Weatherman on guitar. In a sleeveless workshirt, pointy beard, and mile-wide grin, Weatherman was The Big Lebowski's "the Dude" in the flesh.  At any given time, there were a dozen dudes air-guitaring his sweet riffage. CoC's material runs together a bit -- like if a meth head threw on some hardcore, CCR, and Kill 'Em All simultaneously in three separate stereos -- but in a way that made your chest feel warm.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: This was not my first metal show, but every single person at the Triple Rock had the T-shirts to prove they'd been to more. I made sure to buy a Torche tee on the way out.

The crowd: Some dudes' beards had beards of their own. And, there were a few couples. Also, this was one of the best-smelling audiences of 2012. A lot of tasteful cologne choices.

CoC Set List:

Intro/Psychic Vampire
Loss For Words
Mad World
7 Days/Your Tomorrow
Rat City
Hungry Child

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