Words and photos by Blair Hopkins
Words and photos by Blair Hopkins

Discharge made their long-awaited return to NYC last Friday, taking over the Marlin Room at Webster Hall after Visa issues forced them to delay their spring tour. The show, originally scheduled in May, featured Eyehategod as direct support. NOLA’s own have had their own set of setbacks recently; Frontman Mike Williams’ health struggles had led the band to cancel some shows and use surrogates for others, including two shows over the summer where Phil Anselmo stood in, and this current tour, where Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe took over the helm for twelve shows.

For less-beloved acts, massive changes in schedule and lineup might run a tour into the ground. For these powerhouses, though, the uncertainties served only to build anticipation and it showed in attendance as well as enthusiasm. Despite it being an early show, the venue was well-packed by the middle of the first set, NYC locals Disassociate. It was at-or-near capacity when Toxic Holocaust took the stage around 7:30pm, opening with “War is Hell” They kept it old-school, playing mostly from An Overdose of Death (“The Lord of the Wasteland”, “Wild Dogs”, “In The Name of Science”, “Gravelord”).

Eyehategod’s setlist hasn’t changed much in the last couple years. “New Orleans is the New Vietnam”, “Agitation! Propaganda!”, and “Sisterfucker” (parts one and two) can almost always be expected, with the addition of “Medicine Noose” after the release of the band’s 2014 self-titled album. There could be any number of reasons for this lack of variety from a band with such an extensive catalogue, but no one’s complaining; their intensely loyal fan base is always fully-engaged when they’re on stage, anticipating each introduction with unfettered glee and Friday was no exception.

Randy Blythe, a monstrous vocalist, was an excellent decision as a substitute for Mike Williams. He is accustomed to larger venues, having played countless major festivals with Lamb of God, and he brought the same volume of energy to the 600-capacity Marlin Room. He was funny and viscously spiteful. After paying tribute to William’s and leading attendees in wishing a speedy recovery for the infirmed singer, he impugned the crowd’s commitment to nihilism, asking them if they’d come from Williamsburg and encouraging them to “do something stupid: Do drugs, get naked, lose your fucking minds [sic]… Fuck your neighbor… Without a condom.” On the intro to “Sisterfucker”, he asked concert-goes: “Aren’t you ashamed that Donald Trump is from New York? …Who’s voting for him? Probably a bunch of Staten Island sibling fucking rednecks…” Blythe’s hateful delivery of every word, groan, and scream breathed new, magnificently uncomfortable life into the music.

Discharge released their seventh album, End of Days, in April. The album has been well-received, ranking at #10 on UK rock charts upon it’s release, not that Discharge played more than the singles from it. The accompanying tour was hotly-anticipated and fans were amped to see them finally take the stage after months of postponement. Their enthusiasm was not wrong-headed. Three songs in, Discharge launched into “Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing”, throwing the full force of decades of experience into their performance. The hour-long set facilitated one of the most rambunctious pits the Marlin Room has likely seen in quite some time.


Toxic Holocaust

Eyehategod with Randy Blythe