Butcher Babies at The Machine Shop in Flint, MI

Butcher Babies enthrall fans at The Machine Shop on their Vs. Goliath Tour with support from Infected Rain and Kaleido.

Detroit based rockers Kaleido get the evening off to roaring start led by dynamo lead singer Christina Chriss. She immediately engages the crowd and never stands still as she struts across the stage, kicks her legs in the air, and whips her hair around. Her energy is contagious and has the fans amped up as they kick off with “Pretending” and follow it up with “Eating Me Alive,” both from their 2019 EP NO RLY…IM FINE. Backed by Joey Fava on drums, Cody Morales on bass, and Drew Johnston on guitar, they play a mix of alternative, rock, and punk. Christina gets the crowd to chant “play a solo for me Joey Fava” and he obliges. That leads into “Dead to Me,” a newer song from 2020 that starts slow and picks up momentum with Drew bouncing about the stage. It closes with a heavy and screaming chorus of “all my friends are dead, dead, dead to me.” By the end it has the crowd singing along.

Kaleido is one of the hardest working bands in the Detroit area since they formed back in 2011, having headlined their own tours, opened for the likes of Rob Zombie and Pop Evil, and played on the Warped Tour. They have a loyal following in Michigan, but through their heavy touring they continue to expand their audience. After “My Enemy,” they play the slow but heavy song “Blood!” that has Christina letting out some blood-curdling screams. The crowd loves it. She takes some time to get the crowd fired up and asks that they “don’t be afraid to be a little rowdy.” They close out their set with “Panic in a Pandemic,” a song that pretty much sums up 2020 and 2021. Be sure to catch them when they come to a venue near you. They will be on a 30+ date tour opening for Sebastian Bach starting October 1 in Grapevine, TX.

The next band, Infected Rain, is probably not known by many in attendance tonight being they are from Moldova. However, that will change quickly as the enigmatic Lena Scissorhands hits the stage with her colorful locks, heavily tattooed body, and powerful vocals that include growls, screams, and clean passages. Their music is best described as metalcore but includes elements of other metal genres too. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. They get things off to a solid start with “Pendulum” from their 2019 album Endorphin. The riffs are heavy from the twin guitar attack of Vadim Ojog and Serghei Babici, and driven by the powerful drumming of Eugen Voluta and bass of Vladimir Babici. The sound is dialed in tight and you can feel the drums and bass pulse through your body.

Their set tonight is heavy on songs from Endorphin including “Black Gold,” “Passerby,” and the aggressive “The Earth Mantra” that at times is almost orchestral. During “Black Gold,” Lena lets her locks fly as she whips her dreads around for a solid 15 seconds, and then lurches forward within inches of fans in the front row. She lets the crowd know early on how great it is to be playing the world famous The Machine Shop and continuously gets up close to the fans, leaning out to them from the stage. Their set also includes several songs from their 2017 release 86 including ”Mold,” “Freaky Carnival,” “Fool the Gravity,” and the epic and anthemic “Orphan Soul” that showcases Lena’s soaring vocals and has her dropping to her knees at the end. They close out their set with “Sweet, Sweet Lies” from their 2014 release Embrace Eternity. Judging from the crowds reaction tonight, they are sure to gain many fans on this their first United States tour. Lena even takes time after their set to pose for pictures with fans at their merchandise table.

It has been over three years since Butcher Babies last played a show in Michigan with one of those last shows being at this same venue back in August 2018. Fans are ready to rock and they erupt with loud cheers when the lights go down and vocalists Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey hit the stage. They waste no time as they launch into the lead off song “I Smell a Massacre” and then “The Mirror Never Lies,” both from Goliath. This tour is a celebration of that debut release and the majority of the songs tonight are from it. The fans show their love with huge cheers and throwing their horns in the air.

Continuing the mania, they play “Monsters Ball” and then three more songs from Goliath, “Gasoline,” “Grim Sleeper,” and “In Denial.” They slow things down a bit with a new song “Bottom of a Bottle” that has a bit slower pace and cleaner vocals, but make no mistake, it still rocks. After this song, Heidi takes some time to get the crowd involved in a game of “Green Light, Red Light” in which the crowd should mosh on “Green Light” and stop on “Red Light.” It does not take long for a mosh pit to open in the middle of the floor. They keep it going during the song “The Deathsurround” and follow it up with two more songs from Goliath, “Dead Poet” and “Axe Wound.”

New band members Chase Brickenden on drums and Ricky Bonazza propel the blistering pace of the songs. Ricky seems to be fitting in well as he joins Carla many times throughout the set and is highly active about the stage. The whole band along with the singers are constantly on the move from side to side, up on the risers, and jumping about. Guitarist Henry Flury reels off notes at a rapid-fire pace, but yet seems totally at ease, but still is always on the move. They wind down the main portion of their set with two more new songs, “It’s Killing Time, Baby!” and “Yorktown” that has Heidi flying high into the air with her knees tucked.

Returning to the stage, they play “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” and that gets the fans fired up again. Heidi takes some time to ask “did you have fun too” and to get some cheers for openers Kaleido and Infected Rain. Then she does a shot with Carla in honor of Michigan being her birth state and has many family members in attendance. They close out the evening with “Magnolia Blvd.” that has tons of smoke and leaves the fans wanting more as they leave the stage. It is a awesome night of rock and metal and great to see women getting the recognition they have long deserved.

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About Gary Pahlow 62 Articles
Gary is located in Rochester Hills, MI and has been officially photographing and writing concert reviews since early 2016. His main music interests are metal and hard rock, but he is also a fan of most genres including alternative, indie, jazz, and even some pop and country. When not covering or attending concerts, you can find him traveling with his wife or watching the Detroit Red Wings.