Live Review: Municipal Waste at the Hawthorne Theater

Aaron Sharpsteen / June 18, 2012
Municipal Waste at Hawthorne Theater by Aaron Sharpsteen

Before Municipal Waste left the stage for the first time, they got the crowd involved in a raucous cheer of “Municipal Waste is gonna F**K YOU UP!” It was just that kind of night for the band, who seemed to tap right into a testosterone fueled energy source with their combination of blazing fast thrash metal and somewhat hilarious and awesome lyrics. It is really hard to argue with a bunch of dudes rocking out on stage to songs with titles like “Headbanger Face Rip” and “Beer Pressure” (like peer pressure…eh eh?). The crowd was more than willing to participate in the fun, with the proceedings evolving into a circus of moshing, crowd-surfing, and stage-diving. The band even took it upon themselves to give some of the stage-divers ratings, as if they were judges in some kind of twisted, beer-soaked Olympics. And perhaps that is exactly what their set was. The gold-medalist was undoubtedly a crazy concert-goer who took multiple dives on almost every song and could not have been a day over 14. Highlights included the aforementioned songs, as well as “Mind Eraser,” “Bangover,” “The Thrashin’ of the Christ” and “Unleash the Bastards.” Municipal Waste truly did f*ck Portland up.

3 Inches of Blood at the Hawthorne Theater by Aaron Sharpsteen

Opening up for a band known for shows with legendary energy levels has got to be a high pressure situation. 3 Inches of Blood knew exactly what they were doing, however, getting the crowd ready to thrash by pummeling them with a memorable power metal assault that got the pit rolling and the crowd roaring. They deployed a twin guitar attack and devastating falsettos for maximum effect. In the midst of all this, they found time to display that legendary Canadian politeness, with lead vocalist Cam Pipes explaining during an intermission, “We are 3 Inches of Blood, for those of you who don’t know, we are from Vancouver, B.C, Canada. We play heavy f*cking metal…and that’s what we’re going to do some more,” in the nicest way possible, even though he had to deal with multiple crowd surfers being dumped right onto his monitors. Highlights included “Deadly Sinners” and “Metal Woman.”

Black Tusk at the Hawthorne Theater by Aaron Sharpsteen

A power trio from Savannah, Georgia, Black Tusk were the only band of the night that relied on a somewhat sludgier approach to the whole affair. That was perfectly acceptable, however, as the crowd took a break from vigorously thrashing to stomp it out a bit. They also seemed to genuinely be having fun, with both string players meeting each other in the middle of the stage and hoisting their guitars up into the air on several occasions. The more open-minded thrash and power metal fans in attendance surely had a good time.

Gladius at the Hawthorne Theater by Aaron Sharpsteen

There can’t be any denying it: local power-metal heroes Gladius were a revelation. They brought a decent-sized crowd, they got the pit and the crowd-surfing started early, and the lead singer Nick Courtney even got some accolades from Municipal Waste. The praise was completely deserved; Courtney’s vocal range is a force to be reckoned with. The razor sharp guitars weren’t exactly a detriment either. Perhaps Gladius can lead the power/thrash scene of Portland, so often relegated to the underground, into some daylight, by way of the depths of hell.

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