Celebrating the release of their first new studio album in 13 years, Superjoint (formerly Superjoint Ritual) played their first and only show of 2016 to a woefully undersold crowd at Gas Monkey Live. In comparison to the last show we reviewed there (Slayer on 10/7/16), the crowd was about a quarter of the size. That said, the crowd was in a great mood and adored Warbeast and Superjoint as they should. The bill also included Tombs, Wolvhammer, Protest and Driven Below, but I only caught the Warbeast, Tombs, and Superjoint sets.
I arrived about 9:15pm, shortly before Warbeast’s set and mingled about and caught up with some familiar faces and friends. Before Warbeast went on, Superjoint debuted the music video for the title track of their new album, Caught Up in the Gears of Application. Then it sounded like Warbeast did a near full-blown sound check. The sound at Gas Monkey is terrible, so I was fine that they were trying to get it right; but still confused why this was happening now. Soon enough, Warbeast took the stage and their strong Dallas fan base, led by the Pit Bull’s, was out in full force. Classic Warbeast tracks, like “Nightmares in the Sky,” set the pit churning and it didn’t stop once during their set. Also filming a music video for a new song, “The Hitchhiker,” the Warbeast faithful didn’t let the band down. Singer Bruce Corbitt, as always, exemplified the qualities of a great front man, while guitarist Scott Shelby shredded away on his guitar like he was mad it. A short set, Warbeast also ran through a few more new tracks from their recently recorded third album that was produced by Superjoint’s Phil Anselmo. Due out sometime early next year, the new Warbeast songs are hot and have many of us anxiously awaiting its release.
Tombs came on after Warbeast and played a pretty solid set. I was unfamiliar with the band, but was overall impressed. I wasn’t the only one unfamiliar with the band, as evidenced by the crowds mild reaction to their performance. Where Warbeast had a pit that went non-stop, first song to last, the crowd was docile in comparison; perhaps saving their energy for Superjoint. When I saw Slayer at Gas Monkey just a few weeks ago, on a Friday night, the show was over before midnight. Tonight, Superjoint doesn’t even take the stage until a little after 11:30pm. At this point, no one was lingering at the bar. Rather, the crowd had filed toward the stage and some folks were already walking in a slow, yet determined, circular pattern.
When Superjoint took the stage the crowd was ready to explode. The band, featuring guitarists Jimmy Bower (Down, Eyehategod) and Kevin Bond (Christ Inversion), was also showing off their new rhythm section of Joey Gonzalez (Warbeast) and Stephen Taylor (Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals). When Phil Anselmo joined the band onstage, the crowd let out a huge applause and the often perceived tough-guy smiled gleefully and raised his arms in appreciation. After that, Anselmo and his band were all business as they fired their way through their set of hardcore metal/punk. Only pausing to encourage pit-action, Anselmo and his band were in a great mood, even if their songs are pure piss and vinegar.
Playing 5 songs from their new album and a selection of tracks from their first two full-length releases, Superjoint didn’t sound like a band who was playing their first gig of the year. They sounded like they had been out on the road this whole time. The band was tight, in a take-no-prisoners mode, and played a truly ferocious set. New tracks, like “Ruin You,” and the title track from the new album, sounded both fresh and like they could’ve been on any previous Superjoint release. And the fans responded positively to all the newly debuted tracks. Perhaps a more violent pit than Warbeast, but no less relentless, the crowd responded to the band as if this was their last performance ever, not the kick-off to a new phase of their career.
Superjoint is currently plotting their 2017 tour. If last night was any indication, they have a great live show that can’t be missed if you’re a fan of the band or the genre. Superjoint is a band of veteran musicians and performers who know exactly what their audience wants and how to deliver it. They did on this night and I’m looking forward to seeing them live again. Recommended.
– J. Kevin Lynch
POSTSCRIPT: To learn more about the new Superjoint album, Caught Up in the Gears of Application, check out this interview I did with guitarist Jimmy Bower for the fine folks at PureGrainAudio.