Fuck the Facts, Magrudergrind, Defeatist, Attake - August 7th - Cake Shop, NYC

I've only heard complaints about Cake Shop as a venue, but my first visit turned out to be a raging good time. In the pantheon of basement venues around New York City, the joint is fairly well decked out. It has an actual stage (albeit only several inches tall), a soundboard and a decent PA system. Sure, the floor slopes strangely down towards the stage. And yes, it's nearly impossible to see the band unless you're in the front. And of course it was a blazing inferno, but what do you expect? I think Cake Shop is what you make of it. I made cake.

My wife made a rare metal-show appearance on this night, if only to surveil the wares in the upstairs café (she's a baker by profession). I descended into the music space as Attake went on, and I quickly realized I'd have to get sneaky if I wanted to see the band (or take any pictures). Attake were quite entertaining, benefiting from a better sound mix than they had at Europa, where I saw them last. The band's meat and potatoes metal assault is great for limbering up the neck. If you were still feeling squeamish at this point, a good spray of sweat from Chloe Puke's hair should have got you in the metal mood.

I snuck underneath the PA system as Attake finished, trying to grab a decent spot for Defeatist. I've been wanting to see these guys for a good while. I couldn't repress giddy fanboy glee as Joel Stallings set up his drums. Even thought I missed the boat on Anodyne, I did feel a certain privilege in being able to witness their rhythm section in action. This was the second week in a row I'd seen Josh Scott play, and his bass rig was still set on 11.


Defeatist ripped through tracks off their new album, Sixth Extinction, as well as an assortment from the various splits and EPs that made up Sharp Blades Sink Deep Into Dull Minds. Aaron Nichols belched out vocals with a genuinely pained expression while slamming out rapid fire riffs from his drop-tuned guitar. Joel Stallings stole the show. The drum sound was incredible, approaching the pulverizing perfection that came though on the bands' early recordings. The Sixth Extinction tracks benefited from the bright snare attack they lacked in the studio. I would have loved to have shot some video, but my position was precarious as the crowd seesawed across the room in sweaty waves. People kept screaming requests for the the band to play faster, but that seemed an absurd proposition.


After a series of unfortunate events, this would be my first time seeing Magrudergrind live. I scooted over to the other side of the stage in between sets, grabbing a spot in front of a pole guarded by familiar faces. This pole proved to be a live-saver in the madness that would ensue.


I totally dig Magrudergrind's self titled LP from last year, and we got a good helping of those tunes. People pretty much went ape-shit bonkers for the band. Tracks like “Bridge Burners,” “Excommunicated” and “Heretics” got a rabid response. Folks somehow managed to crowd surf over the top of the audience without getting killed. Cake Shop's basement was now filled with the parboiled stench of punk sweat. My neck got an excellent workout, but I was saved from the worst of the pit by the aforementioned pole.


The mix for Magrudergrind wasn't quite as articulate as it was for Defeatist, and the guitar sound was a lot more blunt than on the recorded tracks. That Sunlight Studio vibe was mostly absent, but it didn't stop these songs from crushing. Avi Kulawy regaled us with frightening tales of over the top crowd participation at their last Cake Shop show (which I sadly missed). Only once during this set did I see a crowd member tear the microphone from Avi's hand to scream along. Good times.


I only got into Fuck the Facts quite recently. I've checked out their music before, but was never pulled in. The band released a short, free compilation album for Saint-Jean-Baptiste day this year, and that is what eventually hooked me. I started working back from there and finally discovered the glory of Disgorge Mexico. With all of that fresh in my mind, I was particularly excited for this performance.

The band took quite a while to get it together. As far as grind bands go, Topon Das has an almost unreasonably complicated guitar set-up. But then again, Fuck the Facts aren't your average grind band. As they started their set, I was surprised at the excellent sound. The band is absurdly proficient at punctuating raging blastbeats with melodic interludes, and that dichotomy was perfectly articulate in person.


The packed crowd was every bit as wild as it was for Magrudergrind, if only a tad more sparse. Mel Mongeon let loose her maniacal vocals on us while managing to stay deftly disentangled from the crowd. By this point I had no choice but to surrender to the stifling heat and the metal, letting my head bang with abandon. Technical difficulties only slightly marred the end of the set, but otherwise this was a tightly wound and potent performance. This night was a perfect end to a long streak of excellent shows for me.

Now bring on the Wormrot.


There are some excellent pictures of the show (including some appearances of myself) over here and here.

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