Butcher Babies bring headline show to the Altar Oct14

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Butcher Babies bring headline show to the Altar

Ever since they exploded out of Los Angeles in 2010 the Butcher Babies have worked and slaved to carve their own niche and to prove once and for all, that they are so much more than just another pretty face.

They have proven themselves to be remorseless road dogs, having played some of metals biggest festivals and touring with legendary industry heavyweights like Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Down and Black Label Society, over the last four years.

The band has paid their dues. They are cashing in on all the hard work and the success of their debut full-length album Goliath, by finally headlining their very own tour. They are on the road through the month of October for the aptly titled No One Can Hear You Scream Tour, with heavy southern rockers Anti Mortem.

When the tour hit Pittsburgh on lead singer Carla Harvey’s Birthday October 3rd, the dedicated fans at the Altar Bar were treated to a full hour and a half set, by one of the most visually intense bands in modern heavy metal.

Two of Pittsburgh’s finest, Through These Walls and Fight Machine had landed the opening slots. Both bands made Pittsburgh proud that night by making the very most of their 30 minute sets.

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Through These Walls were burdened with the task of going first that night, but handled the task at hand like seasoned veterans. They delivered a high energy set and tracks like “Suicide Dolls,” “Into Dawn” and closer “These Walls” were well received by the crowd.

The band had incredible stage presence and the place filled out nicely while they played. Their set was bolstered by an excellent sound mix and a solid batch of catchy songs. They did an excellent job of getting the fans worked up and fellow Pittsburgh natives Fight Machine were ready to take it to the next level.

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They quietly and unassumingly took the stage before exploding into a full blown metal melee of killer melodic hardcore with massive breakdowns. They owned every inch of the stage and tracks like “Rage Racer,” “Bloodletting” and “Angel In Handcuffs” garnered a huge audience response.

At one point lead singer Jimmy S. called out the now manic fans by saying, “It’s called a circle pit. Let’s get this shit going. Let me see you move Pittsburgh.” Everyone continued to move until he told them to “Save some energy for the Butcher Babies.” Their powerhouse set closed with everyone chanting, “Throw your horns up!” until the house lights did.

While Anti Mortem’s choice to use the title track from the musical Oklahoma as their intro music may seem a rather odd way to start a metal show, but it didn’t stop the crazed fans from losing their minds. In fact, at no point during their unhinged set of killer melodic heavy southern rock, could the stage contain the band or the raw energy that was flowing from every member like electricity.

Lead singer Larado Romo had an excellent command of the crowd. His impressive performance found him in the pit and on the barricades. He even wore a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt and led the crowd in a chant of, “Fuck the Dallas Cowboys.”

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At the same time, his guitarist brother Nevada worshiped at the altar of Dimebag and Faith No Mores’ Jim Martin, his scorching solos paying homage to both. Tracks like “100% Pure American Hate,” “Hellfire Gasoline” and closer “Truck Stop Special” drove the crowd into frenzy as pits raged out of control.

As the skies over Pittsburgh unleashed hell, so did the Butcher Babies. Their 16 song set pulled from all three releases and the band was in rare form. They are one of the most overlooked and underrated bands out there. Which is a shame, because they are also one of the best and for being just a trio. They make a hell of a lot of noise.

As good as they are, as always it is next to impossible to take your eyes off of charismatic singers Carla Harvey and Heidi Sheppard. Their command of the crowd and larger than life stage personas are rarely seen in a band so young.

The two lovely front women used the entire stage and from the opening notes of their S.O.D. cover “Pussy Whipped” the floor parted like the Red Sea. A barrage of non-stop crowd surfers and mosh pits broke out and security had their hands full with the ensuing bedlam.

Heidi handled the lion’s share of the talking and was frequently down in the photo pit and straddling the barricades to get up close and personal with the fans. She did a little crowd surfing of her own and at one point even walked out on the bar top and demanded a bigger mosh pit, she got it.

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Shepherd stopped after their cover of the ZZ Top classic “Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers” to say, “This is our first headlining tour, so we can do whatever the fuck we want to” and paused again before “Mr. Slow Death” to say, “We are all family now, so I want to see all my brothers and sisters with their horns in the air.”

At it’s epic conclusion it was finally time for the rest of the band, consisting of guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Klein and drummer Chrissy Warner to flex their creative muscles and their drum solo/instrumental jam was one of the best and heaviest moments of the night.

The lights temporarily go down after closer “Axewound” long enough for the chants of “We want more” to resonate throughout the Altar Bar before they return to the stage, clad in S&M masks for the encores of “They’re Coming To Take Me Away” and “Magnolia Blvd.” That final chance to mosh was not lost on the crowd, who took full advantage of the opportunity.

Their amazing set drew to a close with everyone singing “Happy Birthday” to Harvey, who invited everyone to stay after the show to do some shots and to celebrate with them. Many in attendance did.

If you have not yet had the distinct pleasure of seeing them live, you are missing out on one of metal’s best and brightest hopes to carry the torch for the next generation and into the future.

-Eric Hunker