By Ben Coffman
Opening with “Primitive,” the title track of its third album, the Soulfly tribe pounded its savage metal into the consciousness of a sold-out crowd at the Ranch Bowl Friday.
Special guests Five Pointe O and Narcotic Self opened the festivities. Five Pointe O, Soulfly’s label mate on Roadrunner Records, thrilled the eager-to-rock Omaha crowd with tracks off its first album, *Untitled. The six-piece group passed on the bells-and-whistles stage show and instead chose to rock balls. Hailing from “up by Chicago,” the band brought a tight set that moved the crowd.
However, 18-year-old singer Daniel Struble’s requests for a circle pit were met with a collective Omahan “Huh?” by the Omaha High School Mosh Pit Virgin Squad, which was in full attendance that evening. Some moshers even donned protective mouthpieces, a wussy precaution I had never seen before. Ah, the times are a-changing.
Five Pointe O utilized samples, heavy guitars and a full range of melody, pseudo-rap and screaming from the lead singer. The band’s overall sound was hard to place because the musicians so beautifully melded the melodic with the hardcore.
Next up was Omaha’s own Narcotic Self, a metal three-piece that slowed down the pace of the evening by sludging its way through a set that was both sonically shabby and at times (the first song) oddly out of place. In the end, it was hard to tell who should be blamed for the muddiness of Narcotic Self’s sound. Both parties, on stage and behind the mixing board, probably shared equal blame.
The crowd seemed not to discriminate in sound quality or chops, as Narcotic Self was received as well as Five Pointe O. Narcotic Self definitely fell in line with the evening’s dictated fashion requirements of camouflage and funny face-making. The bass player mugged so much he should have had a handle on the side of his head. All in all, Narcotic Self rocked like rip-off crack.
Soulfly was able to drag the evening out of the ditch with the 75-minute set that brought the band’s tribal heaviness to quaking volume levels, despite even more sound problems at the Ranch Bowl. Featuring Max Cavalera on vocals and guitar, Mikey Doling on guitar, Roy Mayorga on drums and Marcello D. Rap on bass, the camouflage-covered quartet pounded through four old songs before launching into tracks off the new album.
On a few occasions, the entire right side of the Ranch Bowl’s P.A. system completely shut down, giving the show a weird mono feel. Nobody seemed to notice or care; the audience was so intent on rocking out.
Literally merging the old with the new, tribal rhythms with heavy metal, Soulfly also merged old and new with a cover of Sepultura’s (Cavalera’s previous band of 15 years) “Arise.” The band was well-received by the anxious crowd and put on a tight show that was devoid of any gimmicky tricks.