Beasto Blanco Closes Out 'We Are' Tour With Show at Nashville's Basement East
“After two months on the road... it's good to be home!” Those were the words Beasto Blanco frontman Chuck Garric said to a near capacity crowd at Nashville's Basement East on June 1 as the band closed out a short headlining tour in support of their recently released album 'We Are' after spending the past two months seriously building their profile in a support slot for Halestorm.
While three core members of Beasto Blanco, Garric, guitarist Brother Latham, and vocalist/performer Calico Cooper, hail from different parts of the country, Garric has been a Music City resident since 2013 and the band lists Nashville as home base on their social media pages. Local metal fans responded, but so did Beasto Blanco fans from as far away as Kentucky, Mississippi, and Illinois, as conversation in the line prior to the show revealed. Some of that came from the relatively few dates on the band's headlining tour, but fan buzz also seemed to indicate that something special was expected for their tour closer.
The band came out of the gate full bore, with a masked Garric leading the band through “Freak” before having his mask ripped off by Cooper. The remainder of the set pulled fairly evenly from all three of the band's albums, with fan favorites like “Machine Girl” and “Grind” mixed with new songs like the first single from 'We Are', “The Seeker” and “Solitary Rave.”
For those who have never seen Beasto Blanco, it is as much a theatrical experience as a musical one. While Garric and Latham, laid down the musical foundation, helped by touring drummer Seven Antonopoulos and local favorite Bryan Blumer, who was filling in for Jan LeGrow on bass, Cooper provided not only co-lead vocals but an element of performance art that took the show from a normal concert to a multimedia extravaganza.
All of the band's members were electric and it was obvious they were having a blast, but the night truly belonged to Cooper, who proved that you don't have to have massive production values to provide a theatrical rock show. With just some face paint, a few props like spiked baseball bats, a bridal veil, and some creepy mannequins, Cooper owned the stage throughout, strutting around the stage with an authority that demanded all eyes were on her. One brilliant element Cooper brings to the show is that, rather than taking the tack of some other rockers who complain about cell phones at shows, she uses them as props, mugging for pictures in a way that made the audience paparazzi for her demonic diva personality.
Garric got his own theatrical moment near the end of the show, on the new track “Down.” With Cooper peering from behind a mannequin at the back of the stage and Latham toning down his wildman antics, Garric was lit by a floor spotlight while the rest of the stage was dark. It gave the ballad an added level of emotional weight.
For those fans who traveled expecting something extra, they were not disappointing. After closing out their regular set with their sexually charged duet of Alice Cooper's “Feed My Frankenstein” and standard show closer “Breakdown”, with its convenient “Beast-O! Blanc-O!” chant, Garric introduced Halestorm vocalist Lzzy Hale, who joined the band for a rendition of The Beastie Boys' “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” that had the entire audience bouncing and singing along. Bear hugs all around to close out the set showed that Hale was truly as excited to be there as the band was to have her.
Beasto Blanco tapped two Nashville artists to provide support for this show and their performances showed just how diverse Music City's heavy rock scene is. Openers Voodoo Prophet were a non-stop onslaught of musical aggression, with driving riffs and screaming vocals, including a showstopper cover of Pantera's “Cowboys From Hell.”
Second opener from the night was at the other end of the heavy rock spectrum. Where Voodoo Prophet was unrestrained aggression, Voltagehawk was all about the fun. Focused more on clean vocals and guitar gymnastics, Voltagehawk melded elements of metal with garage rock and just a little bit of the '80s for a sing-along good time.
Overall, the entire show satisfied and proved that Nashville might be known for its country music, but it has a thriving metal community. From here, Garric gets a short rest before rejoining Alice Cooper's band for the shock rock legend's co-headlining tour with Halestorm. You can also get 'We Are' now from Amazon or your favorite local record shop.