Cancer Bats – Exalt – Gozu – Rozamov: Live at The Middle East Upstairs

cancer bats headline tour poster

It’s Friday, you’re out of work, and everyone’s either at the bar or out on a date. What’s a girl to do? Make her way down to Cambridge, MA to catch a show at the Middle East Upstairs with her friends, obviously.

Homegrown trio Rozamov took the stage first. I was familiar with them in name, but not in sound. I’m sure fans of doom would have enjoyed them but things require a little more energy and variety to keep my short attention span engaged. It wasn’t until the final song in their set that I started to get into things. I don’t remember what it was called but I believed the band mentioned that it was going to be featured on an upcoming split so keep an eye out for that.

Gozu, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

Also hailing from Boston, MA were my favorite surprise of the evening; Gozu. Again, I was familiar with their name but not their music. I can’t say enough great things about this band and I’m actually listening to their album Locust Season (Small Stone Records) as I write this. It’s some dirty, stoner rock that makes you want to knock back a few beers and maybe one of your friends. In my case, the evening involved a lot of shaking my friends due to my excitement and an inability to shut up about their bassist. So, business as usual, really.

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Exault, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

Exalt brought their brand of metalcore to the stage next. I have never been much of a metalcore fan and as such, there were bits and pieces of songs that I enjoyed but nothing that I could really get into overall. It may prove to be a different story for fans of the genre. They were interesting to watch if anything and I can appreciate the hard work put into their performance even if it wasn’t really my thing.

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Cancer Bats, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

Headlining this little shindig in the tiny show space were the one and only Cancer Bats. I had seen them three times before, as they have a habit of playing with bands I love, but this was my first time having the chance to see the boys headline their own tour in the US. Anyone who has had the chance to see the Bats live before knows that they always bring a lot of energy to their performances. Vocalist Liam Cormier is like a fire cracker in tight pants bouncing around the stage and it’s impossible to avoid getting swept along with him. The set list for the evening primarily revolved around songs in support of their latest release, Searching for Zero (Metal Blade Records). They play some of my favorites off of the album including ‘True Zero’, ‘Arsenic in the Year of the Snake’, ‘Beezlebub’, and ‘Buds’. I would have liked to have heard ‘Cursed with a Conscience’ as well, maybe next time. The set also included fan favorites such as ‘Bricks and Mortar’, ‘Hail Destroyer’, and everyone’s favorite Beastie Boys cover; ‘Sabotage’. I ran into a few bohabs during the course of the evening and even more made themselves known once the band’s tribute to Dave Brockie a.k.a. Oderus Urungus of GWAR, ‘All Hail’, began.

Cancer Bats, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

Cancer Bats, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

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Cancer Bats, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

All in all, it was a great show. My main complaint was that Cancer Bats’ set seemed unusually short for a headlining band. I would have liked to have gotten at least another half hour out of them. The sound for the show in general was quieter than I would have expected as well but that may have been because there was another show going on downstairs at the same time. Apart from that, I’d say it was a job well done and now I get to go back to complaining about them needing to tour again until the next one!

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Cancer Bats – Searching for Zero


One of my favorite acts to come out of Canada, Cancer Bats, return with their fifth studio album Searching for Zero (Metal Blade Records) hitting shelves this week. I’ve been looking forward to hearing new material and I’m pretty pleased with the result.

‘Satellites’ starts things off at moderate clip and is a decent enough song on its own but it’s missing that extra oomph that I’m used to. It isn’t until ‘True Zero’ kicks in that the Cancer Bats vibe really starts to kick in. I’m not surprised that this is a single, it’s just so catchy and makes you want to sing right along with Liam Cormier.

If I have to choose a favorite track, it’d be ‘Beelzebub’ if simply for how it stands out from the other songs around it and hits you in the gut from the very beginning. It takes things down a few notches and feels longer than it actually is. Those stoner-y riffs are like candy to me.

I can’t just go without saying something with regards to ‘All Hail’. Regular readers of my ramblings, if you exist, should be very familiar with the giant soft spot in my heart for GWAR and former front man Dave Brockie. Maybe I’m a sap but I think it’s touching to see members of the community band together and show their support. The first time I ever saw Cancer Bats, they were opening for GWAR. I had no idea who they were but I fell in love in that night. I ran into Liam while he was working the merch booth at GWAR-B-QUE 2014. It was late in the afternoon and he was exhausted but he also seemed at peace. I don’t know when this tribute to our favorite monster was first penned, but I would like to believe that he would be content at seeing a common chant put to music.

This album is full of energy and it’s contagious. I was sick as a dog while writing this and I still the urge to just tear apart the living room. I don’t know what it is about these guys but they always get to me and put a smile on my face. Pick up the album and make sure to catch them on their current US tour through the end of March. I’ll see you at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA on the 27th.