Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
The wall of sound directly inside the entrance to Revolution should have been a keen indicator of what was in store for the hordes of people who showed up for a healthy dose of staggering industrial jams, delivered by some of the most highly regarded veterans of the post-grunge, hard rock/metal genre. They got their money's worth.
Opening act God Fires Man, an energetic four-piece from New York City, played a high-octane set of aggressive hard rock that went over extremely well. Donning everything black minus tattoos, the lead singer was quick to announce its bassist was born in Little Rock; he posed for pictures with fans on the sidewalk long after their set ended. For a crew resembling Vivian from “The Young Ones,” credit their business acumen for announcing that by dropping one dollar in a bucket and signing an e-mail list, listeners would receive a link for a free download of their debut album “A Billion Balconies Under The Sun.” Needless to say, the jar passed quickly. They tuned up the crowd nicely for the evening's headliner.
For a band that's released only four albums in 15 years, Filter still carries enough weight to draw an audience and put on one hell of a performance.
Flanked by a bulletproof ensemble consisting of guitarist Mitchell Marlow, bassist John Spiker and drummer Mika Fineo, lead singer and occasional guitarist Robert Patrick eased into top form, sporting mirrored tear-drop sunglasses, eerily similar to those worn by actor-brother Robert (the bounty-hunting cyborg cop in “Terminator 2”), while navigating the stage like a lion familiarizing himself with new territory.
As expected, Filter had the crowd in its hands from the opening number. The show's momentum, fueled by the band's intensity and an adoring packed house, steadily progressed like a finely tuned engine with each passing song.
The band even took on-the-spot requests. “If that's what you wanna hear, then that's what we'll play,” Patrick reiterated on more than one occasion.
Filter is known both for kicking out heavy industrial jams laden with chainsaw intensity and softer and slower melodic tunes as well. This diversity surfaced strategically after a few consecutive jawbreakers, allowing Patrick to splash the jammed stage front with bottled Willie Nelson water.
Enough can't be said about the band's musicians. Spiker switched to guitar at least twice, almost going unnoticed, but grinning as if he'd been caught looking down someone's shirt. Fineo made his three-piece sub-compact Spaun drum kit sound like a marching ensemble, and gave himself enough elbow room to swing for the fences while repeatedly giving his sticks a backhand twirl with the precision of a ninja. Marlow's guitar attack was subversive, as was his stage persona. Eyeglasses, short crewed hair and arms completely sleeved with ink, he often stood perched high atop the stage monitors while fans below him nodded along with him with utter synchronicity.
Revolution's sound quality was superb, and the touch of echo effect on Patrick's vocals added just the right amount of depth to his banshee screams and softer melodic vocal deliveries. Way to go, Mitch Hale. Glad you're still with us.
The instrumental tease leading up to Filter's signature number was accompanied by Patrick's inquiry to the crowd about guns and strangers and fragile mentalities. “Hey Man, Nice Shot” allowed full audience participation and proved fans can recall lyrics verbatim. This is where the show peaked, with the band firing on all cylinders and Patrick frozen in time, fists wrenched, eyes shut tight, reaching for the sky, delivering a primal scream that's probably still echoing within the Revolution walls.
But fans demanded more and the four-song extended encore concluded with “Cancer,” dedicated to “Mother Earth, because she's a cool mom who's trying to take care of us.”
Patrick's showmanship is well-crafted and his audience interaction and dialogue genuine. At the end of the show, he thanked the crowd repeatedly, saying, “People, I could just keep doing this all night.”