No Context: Exodus and Goatwhore at BB Kings


No Context

Exodus + Goatwhore
BB King Blues Club and Grill
February 4

About the still mystifying phenomenon of metal shows at New York’s BB King Blues Club and Grill: Is it that King is so old, so pre-rock-n-roll that there is absolutely no difference in his mind between hosting a weekly Beatles Brunch featuring Strawberry Fields and a death metal band from Thibodaux, Louisiana called Goatwhore? Or are we looking at a Southern Hospitality type situation, wherein King plays the proverbial Mashantucket Pequot to some old white wizard of Oz with a dream by the name of Foxwoods? Because one wonders what might cross King’s mind were he to see Exodus perform in his own Times Square establishment.

Exodus are the band Kirk Hammett left in 1983 in order to join Metallica, and they’ve since had the exact sort of luck their origin story might suggest. As the rearguard member of the so-called thrash metal “Big Four,” Exodus had the privilege of carrying water not just for Metallica but for Slayer and Megadeth as well. Faddish popularity, Nirvana, and the Judgement Night soundtrack helped torpedo their genre’s lasting chances right around the day they signed a major label deal. They were left behind in a subculture of their own devising: 1989’s Fabulous Disaster contained the tune “Toxic Waltz,” on which then brand-new replacement vocalist Steve Souza heralded the “violent fun” of the mosh-pit, thus giving birth to a thousand terrifying guys like Exodus’ own current singer, Rob Dukes. “Back in ’89,” says Dukes from the stage on Monday night, “I was doing a lot of fucking drugs and alcohol, and I was a…FABULOUS…DISASTER!” He was also in high school at the time.

Dukes’ contribution to The Atrocity Exhibition, the otherwise not-too-bad record the band released last year, was “Children of a Worthless God,” god there being Allah. “For those extremist motherfuckers who fly planes into buildings,” warned Dukes on Monday: “I’ve got nothing but death for them.” This because they’re all children of a worthless god, a point he reprised by asking us to “fuck the Middle East.” Later the sentiment returned as “fuck New England” in tribute to Giants fans in the crowd.

Goatwhore were the openers, and to my left some dude had mashed-up the two bands, sporting corpse-paint a la Goatwhore’s armor, an Exodus T-shirt, and combat boots, the common thread being, I guess, that both bands encourage you to think about killing somebody. “How many of you douchebags downloaded Atrocity Exhibition for free?” asked Dukes, finally speaking my language. As the cheers went up, he held up his middle finger: “I knew it you motherfuckers.”