C.O.C. Delivers At Venue Nightclub
Written by Gregory Nott
Corrosion of Conformity, the southern metal act from North Carolina, performed sonic masterpieces from their heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s at Venue Nightclub on Friday night to an absolutely packed house of faithful onlookers. And they delivered a premium set of favorites that served notice to enthusiastic fans that Pepper is back and C.O.C. is still kickin’ it.
This night was as much a testament to Tony Iommi, legendary guitarist from Black Sabbath, as it was a performance of the band’s own flavor of sludge. Both lead guitarist Woody Weatherman and guitarist/ vocalist Pepper Keenan played various Gibson SG models exclusively. This was and still is the guitar that Iommi used in creating so many classic Sabbath riffs. When this particular model of guitar is tuned down to a lower pitch and amplified to extremes it emits a primal growl like no other. The tone catches you in the chest and gets caught in your throat, begging for release. You really have no choice but to howl along with the songs and allow it to escape. It is truly an art form to be able to create this type of mid-tempo energy and C.O.C. are a gifted group of individuals who mesh wonderfully to harness their aggressive energy and approach. Friday night was a solid and gritty hour of riff after riff, sparkled with lead guitar bursts from both Weatherman and Keenan, and powerful, driving rhythms from bassist Mike Dean and drummer Reid Mullin.
Any great riff in rock needs a strong vocal hook to appeal to the masses and Keenan has a flair for finding this within himself as both a writer and performer. His vocal stylings are well-suited for the material that the band creates, at times being subdued and seductive, but ultimately escalating into a forceful, in-your-face brutality. All the while, the hooks are very appealing and befitting of the music. Keenan seems to be on the edge of control but at no time does he actually lose it. He is an inspiring vocalist and writer and has earned the respect of heavy metal fans en masse.
The band offered a tip of the hat to all five studio albums that Pepper Keenan appeared on as part of their 12 song, 2 encore performance. Far and away, though, it was obvious that they know where their bread is buttered as they included no less than 6 songs from the 1994 album, ‘Deliverance’. For me, and I’m sure countless other fans, this is the band’s premier achievement in both album sales and songwriting accomplishment. The final encore, ‘Clean My Wounds’, is at the top of the list in terms of commercial success but is matched closely in fan popularity by choice album cuts such as ‘Albatross’, ‘Seven Days’, ‘Heaven’s Not Overflowing’, ‘Señor Limpio’ and ‘Broken Man’.
Rounding out the set list was ‘These Shrouded Temples’… and ‘Vote With A Bullet’ from 1991’s ‘Blind, LongWhip/ Big America’ and the title track from 1996’s ‘Wiseblood, Who’s Got The Fire’ and ’13 Angels’ from 2000’s ‘America’s Volume Dealer’ and ‘Stonebreaker’ and ‘Paranoid Opioid’ from 2005’s ‘In The Arms Of God’. Overall, a fine representation of the band’s creative time together.
For any and all of the fans who made the journey to downtown Vancouver’s Venue Nightclub the reward was well worth the effort required. C.O.C. embodies a journeyman work ethic and a no BS attitude and they sounded as good as they ever have in their performance of these finely-selected songs.
Two words describe the show for me:
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written by Gregory Nott