Last night marked the final stop on Cradle Of Filth’s latest North American tour. Taking place in Manhattan at Webster Hall, support was provided by Ne Obliviscaras and Butcher Babies.
The opening slot on this tour saw Ne Obliviscaras, a six piece death metal band hailing from Melbourne, Australia, touring North American for the first time and as their set drew to a close you could clearly see from the smiles on their faces that they were impressed with the reception they received. While I missed the first half (which, in hindsight, was a mistake), the portion that I did catch showed a very creative band clearly determined to do something different in their chosen genre. The playing is very tight and at times insanely technical, which contrasts nicely with the growled vocals of front man Xenoyr and the more melodic vocals from Tim Charles, who also plays violin. Matt Klavins and Benjamin Barrett handle guitar duties, Brenden Brown plays bass and Daniel Presland fills out the roster behind the drums.
This was my first exposure to the band but it’s probably safe to say that I was far from the only one won over by these guys. There was a lot of talent on the stage during this set.
Butcher Babies were up next and to be honest, this band is not my thing at all. Now having said that, there’s no way you can watch them play live and not be entertained. Fronted by the lovely Heidi Shepherd and the equally lovely Carla Harvey and named after a Plasmatics song, the band is fleshed out by guitarist Henry Flury, bass player Jason Klein and drummer Chris Warner. Their set is, in a word, manic. They come out on stage and, if last night was anything to go by, they give one hundred percent. There was a ridiculous amount of energy coming off of the stage during their set, with Shepherd and Harvey encouraging circle pits, collecting high-fives from crowd surfers (they world always needs more high fives) and really just bouncing off of the stage and the risers the entire time. They didn’t slow down for a second and the crowd absolutely ate it up. Their set finished with both ladies in the middle of the pit, really feeding off of the energy that the crowd was giving back to them en masse. They’re heavy, they’re loud, they’re abrasive and even intentionally obnoxious but they do their own thing and they do it really well.
Headliners Cradle Of Filth finished off the set. Some of the band’s past tours have seen a lot more theatrics and stage based lunacy than we got last night, but even if there weren’t any crawling gargoyles there was still plenty of over the top theatrics from Danni Filth and company. Daniel Firth was a whirling mass of hair while handling bass and both Richard Shaw and Ashok handled guitar duties with plenty of flair. Lindsay Schoolcraft on back vocals and keyboards was stuck towards the back of the stage when it might have been more interesting if she were closer to the front, but there’s only so much space. Martin Skaroupka was pretty much obscured behind his kit but he played really well.
In fact, last night, touring for their recent Hammer Of The Witches LP, Cradle Of Filth sounded ridiculously tight. The set list for Cradle Of Filth’s performance was:
Humana Inspired To Nightmare / Heaven Torn Asunder / Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids / Blackest Magick In Practice / Lord Abortion / Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych / Malice Through The Looking Glass / Gilded Cunt / Born In A Burial Gown / Walpurgis Eve / Yours Immortally… / Nymphetamine / Her Ghost In The Fog / From The Cradle To Enslave / The Principal Of Evil Mad Flesh / Blooding The Hounds Of Hell
So lots of emphasis on the new album there, but still plenty of tracks from their pretty extensive back catalogue. At this point in the game, these guys have got it nailed down to a science. Filth’s stage banter is often clever and always done ‘in character’ with the other members of the band all completely in tune with one another. They’ve always been a fun live band, and thankfully twenty-five years later that doesn’t seem to have changed much.
Cradle Of Filth appear to be heading back to their native England for a few dates, taking a month or two off and then hitting the road once again, this time heading to Russia – details are here.