They eased into their set with the smooth synth-driven, reggae-flavored “I’m Leaving, and the crowd was immediately swaying along to the music. But, by the end of the following song, the feverishly paced “The Pit,” they were raucously bouncing across the packed floor screaming “Fuck You.” This was my first Supervillains show and ten minutes into the set, I quickly realized that I was in for a hell of a ride.
Let’s face it Wes Scantlin, the force behind PUDDLE OF MUDD, is a volatile dude. He suffered an epic meltdown on stage in Dallas earlier this year and has been accused of lip syncing, Needless to say, we weren’t sure what to expect when we attended the November 8th concert at Pub 44 in New Smyrna Beach.
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On this night it was evident that Scantlin and his band were on top of their game. They performed on an outside stage with a thousand fans in attendance. The set-up was decent and the sound better than anticipated for an outdoor venue.
Scantlin wowed us with his first song “Control,” adding a tantalizing snippet of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” which sounded as good as Ozzy’s original and actually left me thirsting for more.
Scantlin was backed by a very talented trio of musicians, Matt Fuller on lead guitar and backing vocals dished out some killer solos and seemed to be having an absolute blast on stage. Bare-chested Michael Grajewski on bass was steady all night and punctuated a few songs with nice riffs, and drummer Dave Moreno worked his ass off, driving the beat and was an aggressive mass of sweat by show’s end.
But this band is, and always has been, about the performance of Wes Scantlin. And on this night, his performance was just about flawless. Throughout the set his gritty voice sounded pristine and his guitar work was excellent.
He didn’t interact much with the crowd but sang passionately; at times seemingly strained by the emotional turmoil in the lyrics. Other highlights from the 70 minute set included a scorching version of “Drift and Die,” featuring an excellent solo by Fuller. “Already Gone” had a great instrumental break where Grajewski stole the spotlight. “Psycho,” and set closer “She Hates Me,” were predictably huge crowd favorites.
The quartet closed the night with a fantastic encore featuring a passionate version of “Blurry.” It was one of those rare occasions where the lead singer was able to emote all of the pain felt in the lyrics. It was reminiscent of Kurt Cobain at his finest, and a great way to end an excellent show!
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