TVD Live: Mudvayne, Coal Chamber, Gwar, Nonpoint, and Butcher Babies at FivePoint Amphitheatre, 8/17

FivePoint Amphitheatre was ablaze with energy as five of rock’s heavy hitters—Mudvayne, Coal Chamber, Gwar, Nonpoint, and Butcher Babies—descended upon the venue for a night that promised to be nothing short of sheer insanity. The anticipation for the night’s festivities was palpable, the crowd buzzing with excitement, and was ready to be engulfed in a wave of high-decibel metal mayhem that was sure to please even the most discerning of fans in attendance. Welcome to the 2023 Psychotherapy Sessions.

The evening kicked off with Butcher Babies, who set the tone for the night with their relentless energy and raw power. Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd’s ferocious vocals resonated throughout the venue, while Henry Flury’s blistering guitar riffs and Chase Brickenden’s thunderous drumming elevated the performance to new heights. “Best Friend” and “Magnolia Blvd.” were two of my favorites and a definite highlight of their set, leaving the ever-growing crowd cheering for more.

Next up was Nonpoint, who brought their distinctive fusion of nu metal and alternative rock to the stage. This band has always been one of my favorites and didn’t disappoint on this steamy Friday night. Frontman Elias Soriano commanded the stage with his charismatic presence, while the band’s tight musicianship was on full display throughout their 8-song set. Their performance of “What a Day, “Chaos and Earthquakes,” and “Bullet With A Name” was particularly memorable to longtime fans. My only gripe with this set was that it was not long enough. I’m looking forward to seeing Nonpoint back in California in the not-too-distant future.

The eccentricity and theatrics of Gwar then took center stage. Known for their elaborate costumes and outrageous stage antics, GWAR delivered a visually stunning and sonically powerful performance that was both shocking and entertaining. The band’s unique brand of humor and irreverence shone through, adding an element of unpredictability to the night. While I thought I might escape GWAR’s inevitable shower of blood and guts, I unfortunately did not. Turning my head for just a moment, I returned to a shower of red from an unfortunate on-stage saw accident. The rest was history. I walked out of the pit, camera in hand, looking like I had been attacked by an axe-wielding maniac. I guess I was (in a manner of speaking).

Coal Chamber upped the ante with their dark, brooding brand of nu metal. Dez Fafara’s gritty vocals combined with Miguel “Meegs” Rascón’s heavy guitar riffs created a dense, atmospheric soundscape that captivated the audience. Their performance of “Loco” and “Sway” were bookends to an incredible set. Both songs showcased the band’s ability to create hard-hitting yet catchy tunes. This 11-song set was as solid as they come, and I definitely want to see more of this band down the road.

Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for finally arrived. Mudvayne took to the stage amidst roaring cheers from the crowd. Chad Gray’s powerful vocal delivery, Greg Tribbett’s innovative guitar work, and the rhythm section’s solid backbone made for a performance that was both technically impressive and emotionally charged. What I found most interesting was Gray’s fascination and love for his fans. As soon as the set fired up, he was off the stage and fully engaged as he jumped up and over the top of the security barrier, handlers in tow. The pit was packed, and they lost their minds as Chad reached over to grab as many fans hands as he could while singing his heart out to songs like “Not Falling” and World So Cold.” Their performance of “Happy?” was arguably the highlight of the night, sending the crowd into a final frenzy that shook FivePoint to its core. This was metal at it’s best.

The 2023 Psychotherapy Sessions was a testament to the enduring appeal of these bands and the power of live music. From Butcher Babies’ raw intensity to Nonpoint’s dynamic performance, GWAR’s theatricality, Coal Chamber’s brooding melodies, and Mudvayne’s technical mastery, the night was a celebration of diverse musical styles united by a common thread—a love for hard-hitting, high-energy rock music. It was an insane performance that will undoubtedly be etched in the memories of those lucky enough to witness it—and I was lucky enough to be one of them.






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