Live Report: Eyehategod at Saint Vitus Bar, 11/14/2013

“Eyehategod”

On August 23rd of this year, Joey LeCaze, the drummer and founding member of NOLA sludge lords Eyehategod, passed away from respiratory failure. The band had just finished a tour of the UK and Europe, and had scheduled a tour of the United States in the fall. Initially, the future of the band was unknown. Dale Crover of The Melvins filled in on drums for the band’s appearance at Phil Ansolmo’s Housecore Horror Festival in October. Then Eyehategod announced their new permanent drummer, Aaron Hill of NOLA’s Mountain of Wizard, a few days after that. Immediately after the announcement of their new drummer, Eyehategod embarked on a brief tour of the United States. This past Thursday (11/14/2013), the band rolled into Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus, supported by The Communion and Mutilation Rites.

Long Island’s The Communion opened the night with a brief set of blackened hardcore sludge and were followed by Brooklyn’s own black metal horde, Mutilation Rites. Both bands performed admirably, but the focus of the evening was on Eyehategod. Once Mike IX and company took the stage, any doubt about the band’s performance was immediately dispelled. Aaron Hill’s drumming fits with the band perfectly, and the everyone played incredibly tightly considering this was only their sixth performance with a new drummer. In between songs Mike IX addressed the audience, and at one point officially introduced Aaron Hill and said a few words about his fallen friend, Joey LeCaze. But, in true Eyehategod fashion, most of the evening was spent whipping the adoring crowd into a substance-fueled frenzy.

Eyehategod have been around for 25 years this year. They’ve made it through drug addiction, jail time, and now the death of one of the band’s founding members, but they keep going. Watching Eyehategod perform is a reminder that rock and roll can still be frightening and exhilarating. The band is able to come off as potentially dangerous lunatics and old friends at the same time, but you never get the sense that they’re going to fly completely off the rails. As a band, Eyehategod is a hurricane in a bottle. Age and adversity haven’t tamed them, and with any luck it never will.

— Words by Shayne Mathis
— Photos by Caroline Harrison

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