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Mudvayne, ‘Masters of Horror’ hit Indy

Mark Bemenderfer | Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Indianapolis is home to many things, such as the Indy 500 and land of the Hoosiers. But there was a different draw Friday night.

Outside the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis, a line of people curled around the block, waiting to get in. The reason for the line waited in the Egyptian room, a large conference hall with a performance stage at one end. The “Masters of Horror” tour had come to town to perform in front of a sold-out audience.

The roster was stacked with four impressive bands, Bobaflex, 10 Years, Sevendust and Mudvayne. The energy in the room was electric as the fans waited semi-patiently for the bands to come on stage. The avid fans were easily distinguishable, as they came fully dressed in unusual attires that mimicked the bands wardrobes.

Mudvayne headlined the event, but throughout the show every band went to great lengths to show that each was of equal importance. There was a feeling of the underground music scene to the show, despite the fact that each of the bands has made recording studios. All of the bands were there to put on a show for the fans and do something they love.

The first to perform that evening was Bobaflex, who opened the show admirably, displaying animated antics that accented their heavy music. The band describes themselves on their Web site as “an odd beast, a bracing mix of heavy riffage, hip-hop-inspired beats and alternately growling and soaring vocals.” Unlike the other bands, Bobaflex also alternated its primary vocalist depending on the song, giving variety to their performance. Their song, “Better Than Me,” was one of their many highlights and was impressive to see performed.

Following was the Knoxville, Tenn., band 10 Years. Giving the audience a chance to breathe after Bobaflex’s pounding performance, 10 Years performed slower, thoughtful songs like “Wasteland” and “Half Life.” Vocalist Jesse Hasek appeared almost in a trance while belting out the lyrics, and, coupled with his unusual appearance, added a surreal quality to his performance.

The third group to perform was Sevendust, which garnered thunderous cheers and applause from the audience. They appeared to be experienced stage performers, acting extremely relaxed and at ease. They were the least-animated group, however, focusing more on delivering an overwhelming sense of sound. They did this almost too successfully. The only complaint with their performance was that the band often overpowered vocalist Lejon Witherspoon with its music, drowning his voice. However, they still managed to drive the crowd into a fervor with their songs “Enemy” and “Pieces,” the latter of which is from the “Saw II” soundtrack.

Mudvayne was the last performance of the evening. Hailing from Peoria, Ill., the band literally flew right into their first song, sending the crowd surging. Their stage costumes were outlandish, but their music was pure business.

Chad Gray’s vocals were all over the spectrum, impressing the audience with his talent and sheer vocal endurance. Greg Tribbet’s fingers flew over his guitar as he played through complex chords with ease. On the bass was Ryan Martinie, sporting a newly-shaved head but no loss of talent. His complex rhythms and effective use of slap bass were impressive to see performed live and with apparent ease. Drummer Matt McDonough was also impressive, sporting an awe-inspiring drum set-up that was put to good use.

But talent in music is not something Mudvayne brags about.

“We don’t set out to write in weird time signatures or make music that is trying to be smart,” McDonough said in an interview before the show. “We just do what we do.”

But the music was noteworthy for its complexities, particularly in “Happy?” and “World So Cold.” Their love for music was evident through their performance.

“I think we’re in a really good spot, just enjoying what we’re doing,” McDonough said.

The more recent music the band performed marked a difference from its previous work. The change was an unintentional one, though. Mudvayne does not try to fit into any particular label.

“We’ve always tried to not really see ourselves in terms of genres and movements,” McDonough said. “We’ve always tried to be as honest and sincere with the music we want to make. We’ve never really tried to meet any expectations, including our own, just to satisfy our own drive.”

Mudvayne was the highlight of the evening, even with the other strong bands present. However, the band remained humble throughout its performance, thanking fans on many occasions and also giving credit to those in the armed forces for their efforts. They also promoted the other bands, expressing gratitude to be able to perform together.

Mudvayne, along with the other bands, can be found as it continues the “Masters of Horror” tour. For a rocking experience of something different, plan for a road trip during the upcoming break.