Headlines were made across the metal blogosphere last month when Ryan McKenney, the human tornado at the helm of crust/grind armada Trap Them, broke both of his feet onstage after a perilous jump from a high speaker at Bloodshedfest in the Netherlands.
To the admiration of pretty much everyone aware, McKenney not only continued that show but soldiered through a Euro/UK tour with fellow Riot Nerd favorites Venom Prison, refusing to cancel a single date that the band had scheduled in support of its monstrous recent release “Crown Feral”. First stop on the US arm of the campaign? Philly, where TT hadn’t played in over 2 1/2 years. A hero’s welcome was deserved and received on Thursday night at Kung Fu Necktie.
Philly natives Ten Ton Hammer opened with a crunchy, breakdown laden hardcore assault, getting the crowd enthusiastic and energetic surprisingly early on in the night.
Fellow Philadelphians Die Choking were up next offering a deafening slab of their signature blackened grind. I was a big fan of DC’s last LP but this was my first time catching up with them live. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed in the least.
Direct support was handled by Nashville, TN’s Yaujta. The trio traded grizzled vocal duties over a swirling, math-y sludge/grind stew of complex guitar parts and oddly timed, jazz influenced drumming. The crowd stood in quiet awe of the impressive technical display. I had never heard of Yaujta before but I’m going to be hearing a lot more in the future.
As the din of “Crown Feral” opener “Kindred Dirt” rose out of the speakers Ryan McKenny rose from the stage with it on heavily padded knees. Launching into “Hellionaires” the charismatic frontman’s deadly rasp was no less venomous through his considerable injuries.
Despite the setbacks McKenney still found time to make jokes between songs, “For those of you who’ve seen us before, do you notice anything different?” while guitarist Brian Izzi’s inventive and esoteric playing, bassist Galen Baudhuin’s apocalyptic low end and Brad Fickeisen’s gymnastic drum work plowed incredibly tightly and deftly through a set dominated by “Crown Feral” cuts though peppered with a few favorites from 2011’s “Darker Handcraft”.
I’ve been a huge fan of Trap Them for years and years but they just don’t make it to Philly that often. Finally witnessing their violent prowess live has only strengthened my devotion, and hopefully they’ll make it back here soon as their legend spreads on the back of their fantastic live show and the masterful “Crown Feral”.