|Suffocation – European Tour 2017
|Pit Club, Bellinzona (Switzerland)
|Crypt Of Fear
Behind me the chatting is fading. It's one AM, and I'm walking. Alone. Now silence, no, my ears are ringing. My shirt is drenched in sweat, as it came out from the washing machine. My hand hurts for Terence Hobbs' handshake, I thanked him for twenty-five years of passion and fun. Statistically speaking, not many happy couples succeed at this goal and above all not in this way.
Let's start where you should, so from the beginning.
The essential in brief:
Suffocation came to Bellinzona for their first live in Ticino. Why? Because of the new album "…Of The Dark Light"
The audience taught Muller some local swearing: «Porco Dio» (the most common blasphemy in Italy, ndT) goes to America.
Do you want to know the paradox? The musicians of the ticinese formation called Despising Age were children when "Effigy Of The Forgotten" came out. They are excited to be the opening act for Suffocation, and they are making their dream come true.
The show appears to be very intimate: the four-piece, apart from the drummer Alessandro who sits above, is well-equipped with a lot of stuff and instruments. The audience likes this situation, but not the sound engeneer, forced to exploit it at best. This is a home game for the guys, and they are supported by a dedicated audience.
Only one demo and two EPs released by the band, but they have a lot of experience under the spotlights. This allows them to show themselves confident. The room is lively since the beginning of "Final Heritage" opening the Despising Age show, so after a few minutes it's all friendly (and violent) fun. The first hotheads are good to go, headbanging and making some noise, as is expected on these occasions. This stimulates the band even more, and now they are really giving their all. They move inside the few square meters of the stage, they laugh, they joke with the people and strike some pose just to entertain an audience surely ready for the next level of brutality: Suffocation. A new unreleased track closes an intense performance and it foreshadows a future work.
The last note is echoing again among the walls and the club became empty as quickly as it became full. Understandable: it's hot and many people want to take a breath of fresh air.
Flashback: 1992. The Pit (known as Peter Pan at the time) opens. It's the first Ticinese bar really dedicated to hard and heavy music, with a jukebox full of great albums.
The manager flew regularly to the United States to look for the coolest releases. At that time I saw Suffocation in Zurich. I remember it well. The sound was messy, but hey, I knew "Effigy Of The Forgotten" by heart and I burned to listen to it live! How could I then imagine seeing them a quarter of a century later in the bar where I was partying regularly at? Even less I would have expected that, despite their success, they would remain with their feet well on the ground. Tonight they mixed quietly under the patrons, as regulars or local emerging musicians. Fast and professional, the band from NY prepared the instruments and performed the soundcheck. Charlie Errigo's staggering stride, victim of a bottle of red wine, seems at the same time worried and funny for his partners. The small hall is again packed and the massacre begins.
Suffocation do not waste any time to explain us the words «brutal» and «heavy». The proclamations between the songs are succinct, warm thanks to the public and the organization are many. The tracklist covers the main stages of their career. New tracks such as "Clarity Through Deprivation" exalt viewers as much as the classics from "Effigy of the Forgotten". Between us in the front row and the stage there is not only a flow of energy. There is also a more concrete one of beers that are offered to the musicians tormented by the heat, but still incredibly precise in the execution of the songs (do you remember the bottle of red wine?). The scarce space available does not prevent us from following the invitation to start a Circle pit, while more or less long hair headbang wildly, spraying sweat on the neighbors and on the stage, where it mixes with that of the also dripping five piece. We exult when Muller, now more sure in his pronunce, grunts: «Porco Diooooooh!». Will he keep this memory of local slang gifted to him by the Bellinzonese first row?
The night comes to an end, «Last song for tonight». We respond with one voice «One more song, one more song!». Confronted with such fervour, Suffocation surrender and perform one, two, three more songs (or maybe four?) for a perfect encore. Everyone, the musicians and us, is exhausted, yes, but happy. Both sides enjoyed the familiar atmosphere and the simplicity that only a small club can offer.
The following day, while walking, I mentally lived again the events of this historical August 16 and, with goosebumps on my forearms, I said: «Fuck, what a night!».
Note: as for Hammercult, well… Exchanging some words with people before the event started, I recorded little regret for this absence.