WORDS BY: GIANCARLO CORTEZ
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: RACHEL MACDONALD
On May 12 I had the privilege to cover Louisiana’s Down. I had a blast.
Down is a band with a rough past. They survived Hurricane Katrina, which devastated Louisiana in August 2005 and incapacitated the band for months. Also lead singer Phil Anselmo was in agonizing pain from a serious back injury for years. Furthermore, the death of the late Pantera/DamagePlan guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott left his head spinning. However the rage and frustration from those events filtered into heavy surging rhythms.
I got to the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto’s traditionally Greek neighborhood just in time to see doom metallers Sons of Otis, a band that didn’t really connect with the crowd. I heard not really good things about them after their set.
Minutes later Down came on blasted the absolute shit out of the place with their doom-laden slabs of sludge loaded with southern rock twist.
The band focused on their debut album NOLA – an acronym for New Orleans, Louisiana. Hard hitting classic “Lifer” is as exhilarating as ever, and the irresistible “Ghost Along the Mississippi” had us damaging our vocal chords as well as the neck muscles as we screamed along while headbanging.
While Anselmo lacked that energy in his vocals I was hoping for the twin guitar assault, heard on “Stone the Crow” and “Witchtripper”, justified the comparison. Although they lost two core members, founding guitarist Kirk Weinstein and longtime bassist Rex Brown, Down proved they still have the hunger that packed them in across the world. Long time Down stage manager and Honky founding member Bobby Landgraft keeps Kirk Windstein’s fire glowing on stage. Ex-Crowbar bassist Patrick Bruders doesn’t suck either.
I can never understand half the stuff Phil says, but the funniest thing he said was when he called the people in the crowd using their cell phones to take pictures a bunch of pussys. Haha! Great show!