The masked Mushroomhead drum water at The Hub

The masked Mushroomhead drum water at The Hub…


Mushroomhead is a band I didn’t know a great deal about but when their tour with American Head Charge was announced I made sure to get a ticket. I had been looking forward to catching American Head Charge a year or so ago but at short notice they had pulled out of their UK tour with Coal Chamber and for unknown reasons the same thing happened this time. This left a big void in the lineup leaving the promoters with a big headache. They solved the problem by moving opening act Sanguine up to main support and adding local bands to open each show.

Opening at the Hub in Plymouth were Idiom who made the short trip from Exeter to play for the packed crowd. They seemed to be a good choice and after a troublesome soundcheck started the night.


They’re labeled as alternative metal but don’t let this put you off. Their live set was full of energy although I would have liked to have seen them get to use more of the stage. Unfortunately Mushroomhead had set up their double water drums each side of the stage so anyone standing at the front probably didn’t see anyone but Idiom’s frontman Matt Sharland. Considering the sound-check trouble everything sounded good to me and Matt’s screaming vocals stood out well amidst the dirty riffs and pounding bass. Their sound for an opening act was impressive and shows why these guys are on the up and I’m sure they would have gained a few more followers from their last minute addition to the bill. It would have been nice to have seen them get more than the thirty minutes they got but I guess that’s quite a long set nowadays for an opening act.

SANGUINE (43)They had warmed up the crowd nicely for fellow Exeter heavy hitters Sanguine and after a quick changeover we were off once more


Sanguine hadn’t had the luxury of a soundcheck but their vast experience and talent shone through as they made slight tweaks during the first couple of songs. Again vocalist Tarin was the only fully visible one as she stood center stage.


Just in sight were guitarist Nick and bassist Ross whilst drummer Matt could not be seen unless you were well over six foot tall due to him being tucked away to the left of the stage behind the water drums. Again I was left disappointed by the fact that I couldn’t fully see the band and I am sure Mushroomhead could put these drums in place after the opening band’s had played hence giving everyone a chance to perform in full.


The fact I couldn’t see much of the band didn’t stop me enjoying their set. Tarin’s voice is immense and she is easily one of the best of the new wave of female metal and rock vocalist in the UK. If you add in Nick’s soaring riffs mixed with some low end grunt you’ve got one hell of a sound.


If you consider that guitarist Nick had a late change of guitar after his beloved Gibson suffered a neck break and his new Mason guitar was now his main guitar rather than backup the band’s sound was even more impressive. I had been lucky enough to catch Sanguine several years ago and they were good then but now they are a true force in British metal. I can only see good things in the future for them as they continue to rise and they were well worthy of their position of main support. Again for some reason they only got a thirty minute slot which left me wanting more but it was not to be on this occasion and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wanted more. After leaving the stage they met with excited fans and posed for photos with said fans who had obviously enjoyed their set as much as me. This is good to see and in my opinion more band’s should do this.


As I moved back into the stage area of the venue the stage was now being set the main attraction and even though Mushroomhead had sound checked and set up everything it still took too long as far as I am concerned. At the last minute black covers were removed from the the two water drums that had blocked everyone’s vision of the previous band’s as well as covers from the drum kit and the band’s logo banners at each side of the stage. With this done the venue lights were dimmed in anticipation and they stayed down for some time as there seemed to be some trouble, but then a sole spotlight hit the stage and the band members of Mushroomhead made their way onto the stage one at a time where they stood and milked the applause before the next member appeared.


Eventually we were off and it was soon obvious why so many “Slippery When Wet” signs had been placed around the venue. As soon as the band started the water drums sprayed the crowd who were stood touching the stage as well as several rows behind them.


These extra drums were played by the guitarist and the bass player so I don’t know how they managed to keep up their sound whilst these guys were the extra drums. It did however make for a visual treat and I haven’t even mentioned the vast array of masks yet.


Just like Slipknot these guys identity is kept a secret by their interesting selection of masks which adds a little extra to their show. Add to that the UV lighting during parts of the set and this gives their masks and stage attire yet another look. The band were also joined on stage for several songs by vocalist Jackie LaPonza from Ohio rockers UnSaid Fate and her performance added yet another visual treat but made the packed stage even more crowded.


These things may be gimmicks but they work well and perhaps take your mind off the music a little. I loved the look and performance, especially the water drums but considering the time they had taken to set up and considerable sound-check I don’t think they sounded as good as either of the support band’s. This may be harsh and as most had come to see Mushroomhead they would probably disagree with me but as a completely neutral that’s what I thought. Sure they sounded OK but even when they did a couple of covers at the end of their set it was still difficult to pick out what these songs were.


At the same time I would like to thank them for bringing their strange yet interesting show and look to the Hub. I enjoyed what I saw just not what I heard. Perhaps they could also give some consideration to the band’s that support them in the future as they deserve to be seen as well as heard.


See full gallery here.

Catch them on tour:

Date Venue Location Tickets
Mar 29 The Globe Cardiff, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP Share
Mar 30 Electric Ballroom London, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP Share
Mar 31 Concorde 2 Brighton, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP Share
Apr 01 Southampton Engine Rooms Southampton, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP Share
Apr 02 Waterfront Norwich, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP Share
Apr 03 Sub89 Reading, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP Share
Apr 30 The Odeon Concert Club Cleveland, OH Tickets RSVP Share








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