Live Review: Mushroomhead - The Asylum, Birmingham
18th June 2022
Support: Skarlett Riot, Sickret
Words & Photos: Damain John
I'm used to walking into venues and seeing the headline bands gear and backdrop all covered up with the poor opening act pushed to the very front with no room to play. Well, this gig is no different, however I am immediately in awe of their backdrop for Swiss nu metallers Sickret, which spans the entire length of the stage. Aesthetics aside Sickret do a good job warming up the crowd, despite lacking the space to really stretch their legs and exert some energy they sound tight, and frontman Timmy Michels puts in good effort to keep us entertained. Sonically there's a lot of Limp Bizkit going on, even to the point where vocalist Timmy Michels often sounds like he's copying some of Fred Durst's vocal inflections. Nu metal inspiration aside, I think Sickret really come into their own when they go all out heavy metal, their second to last song is a great example of what they can achieve when they don’t show their inspirations so clearly.
Skarlett Riot are always a welcome addition to any lineup. Chloe “Skarlett” Drinkwater’s vocals are on point as ever as she plays with the steadily growing Birmingham crowd. Guitarist Danny Oglesby and the amazing bassist filling in for Tim Chambers are - no fault of their own - often obscured behind Mushroomhead’s drums located right at the front of the stage. This doesn't dampen their performance however as they effectively use the size of the stage to their advantage, and come out to give the crowd some love. As expected, their second to last song ‘Warrior’ is a real highlight of their set showcasing what they're all about: catchy choruses and straight up heavy rock. Skarlett's vocals shine throughout their final track ‘Human’, showcasing how delicate her voice can be before she soars through the chorus. A quick photo to end their set and now we wait for our headliners 'Mushroomhead' to take the stage.
Bathed in red light, a masked figure walks out of the shadows, horns curled pointing to the roof, showcasing Mushroomhead's iconic headwear. Finally we get to see the drums, which have spent the entire evening covered. I also notice that the speakers to the side have been covered to make them waterproof...I think we’re about to get wet.
Opening with ‘A Requiem for Tomorrow’ it becomes immediately apparent just how good their stage presence is, with members malevolently stalking the stage. As a vocalist leaps into the crowd, provoking a pit, his band handles business up on stage. Oh, and that waterproofing, absolutely necessary, as the drums were pummeled, water flew up into the air landing squarely on myself and the front row. Which truthfully is welcome considering how warm and packed it is up front.
Mushroomhead are a visual spectacle, standing near the back I can get the full scope of what their stage show is all about. When the drums get going there's a beautiful symmetry to the stage, with the water lit up from below catching the falling water drops.
Briefly breaking into Black Sabbaths 'War Pigs' they know exactly how to get a Brummie crowd going, not that they'd struggled before. Their entire set has been a masterclass of crowd control and how to get an audience riled up, which is incredible considering neither vocalist really talks to the audience much - other than to thank the support acts. Ending with ‘Born of Desire’ bodies start flying in the pit, leading to a bit of confusion as to whether there is to be an encore. The stage lights are on, the music is playing and there seems to be an air that something is about to go off. Unfortunately however the house lights come on and engulf the venue, a bit of an anticlimactic end. Confusion aside I can see why Mushroomhead are held in such high regard and have such a loyal fan base, there aren't many bands who do what they do, especially to such a high calibre, combining so many different genres and styles whilst ignoring the obvious comparison. Truly a memorable show from the masked Ohio nu-metallers.