Teenage Time Killers’ Reed Mullin commanded the stage whenever he took over lead vocals. (Evan Solano/LOL-LA)
Well after piecing myself back together from the beer festival I had to attend earlier in the day, I found myself gunning it to Hollywood to catch the metal/hardcore hydra that is Teenage Time Killers, the (for lack of a better word) “supergroup” (ugh) that is the brainchild of Corrosion of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl.
Nestled in the heart of Hollywood, the Fonda Theater was already swarmed with fans that were going to be in for a musical marathon of heaviness from more than 20 artists and a rotating house band. The core musicians consisted of Mullin on drums, My Ruin guitarist Mick Murphy on guitar and Unwritten Law bassist Derik Envy. The evening’s host was KXLU DJ Pat “Adam Bomb” Hoed, who would rile the crowd up in anticipation as he introduced each singer.
The band kicked off their set with middle-school-student singer Trenton Rogers from Chaotic Justice, who was perhaps the only person on that stage all evening who fit the “teenage” part of the band’s name. There was virtually zero downtime between singers, with one song ending and another vocalist soon appearing to take the stage. Next was Articles of Faith vocalist Vic Bondi singing his TTK song, “Bleeding To Death,” from the band’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1, as well as covering some Articles originals.
At one point in the evening Mullin jumped from behind the drums and took to the mic to sing the album’s opening track, “Exploder,” and “The Dead Hand.” Mullin, for not being a singer per se, commanded the stage and looked completely natural behind a mic and controlling the crowd.
Other notable performances were Neil Fallon from Clutch coming out to sing the sludgy, stoner metal TTK track, “Crowned by the Light of the Sun,” as well as few Clutch songs before jumping into a charged up rendition of the MC5 classic “Kick out the Jams.”
Municipal Waste frontman Tony Foresta had one of the most charged up sets, starting with his TTK contribution “Ignorant People,” as well as covering both “Raining Blood” by Slayer and “Time To Die” by D.C. hardcore band Void. Foresta had the crowd worked into a frenzied circle pit during his lightning fast set, which was a great set up for the next batch of singers who were to follow.
Balancing out the youthful energy of young Rogers was 65-year-old Lee Ving, the singer of L.A. punk pioneers Fear, who can still work a crowd as he ripped through a set of classic Fear tracks like “Let’s Have a War,” “Beef Bologna” and “New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones,” with the audience screaming every word back at him. Ving’s trademark growl still had the piss and vinegar that made Fear such a powerhouse in the emerging ‘80s punk scene.
The final two performances from Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor were not surprisingly the most energetic and heaviest of the evening. Blythe’s whiplash TTK track “Hung Out to Dry” translated effortlessly live and had the crowd moshing and slamming into one another with no regard. Blythe’s performance was as high octane as his work with Lamb of God is known for, as he jumped off risers and moved across stage like a man possessed. He launched into a scathing rendition of the Black Flag classic “My War,” and when he screamed, “You’re one of them,” you felt every biting word he said.
Taylor closed out the nearly three-hour performance starting off with his TTK song, “Egobomb,” a slower hard-hitting track that builds to a total 180 and kicks into a faster grove reminiscent of later-day Anthrax. Among his set, Taylor sang the Misfits’ classic “Where Eagles Dare” and Black Flag’s anthemic “Rise Above,” which featured all the singers returning to the stage to provide backing vocals.
It was a night of killer music and an ode to an often-overlooked style of music that blended metal, hardcore and punk into a sublime mix that could only have been crafted in the melting pot of Los Angeles.
Noticeably absent from the evening was Grohl, who is currently on tour with the Foo Fighters, but somehow I feel from the camaraderie and energy that was shared on stage by the musicians, the singers and the audience, that it won’t be long until we perhaps see another form of TTK live with Grohl and others in tow.