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(hed) pe & Powerman 5000

(hed) PE/Powerman 5000

The Cove in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio

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Coming together for an extended summer tour are two bands that are drastically different in sound; however, they are extremely similar in attitude.

The first band is (hed) pe; basically, (higher education) planet earth. Call them what you want, but these guys have been hitting the pavement since the mid 1990s. Consisting of a bizarre blend of rapcore, hard rock, first wave post-hardcore, early punk, and whatever subgenre you can think of, (hed) pe is still going strong. They’ve attended the Gathering every year since 2009, and has recorded with acts such as Kottonmouth Kings, Sevendust, Twiztid, and a lot more. Athough Jahred and Mawk are the only remaining original members, the lineup is still solid and delivers a punch.

The next band is the consistent electronica industrial funk metal outfit, Powerman 5000. They attended the Gathering in 2005, and has had contributions to so many soundtracks it’ll make a head spin. Although Spyder (whom is Rob Zombie’s brother) is the only original member left in the band, Powerman 5000 has always been a revolving door of members. On the bright side, it keeps things fresh and the act still doesn’t sound dull whatsoever.

Both bands have recently released new albums. (hed) pe’s Evolution made waves in the underground charts and is embraced by many. Powerman 5000’s Builders of the Future made a huge surprise and is an overall comeback for the band, with the lead single hitting the Billboard charts, the first time in eleven years. It should also be noted that this was the very last show of the tour, and to say it turned out interesting is an understatement.

First and foremost, a little background on the location. This show was held in the village of Geneva-on-the-Lake (GOTL). If you’re familiar with Ohio’s Lake Erie scene, then you’ve surely heard of GOTL. At its core is roughly a one mile road with numerous locations on both sides. There is a plethora of gift shops, ranging from antique items to clothing to sports memorabilia to minerals and more; however, if you’re a broke ninja like myself, then shopping might not be the most appealing thing. Luckily, there’s more than just shops. A few arcades are present throughout the area. Although most don’t have the hi-tech entertainment, it’s still a decent nostalgia trip back in time. Also existing are other certain places, such as a headshop (although the pieces were extremely overpriced), a shop dedicated to beef jerky and hot sauce (it tends to close earlier than usual), a tattoo parlor, a random water tubing slide, and more. Other larger places are present as well, such as a few mini golf courses, a winery, a ferris wheel, and a section for the weekend flea market. Not to mention there are dozens of food places, whether you’re craving donuts or pizza or funnel cakes or homemade stir fry (the rice is bomb), it exists. Then there’s the numerous bars to visit. This is all alongside The Cove venue. You legit have to walk every part to get a full rundown of what’s there.

Even if you come to GOTL with little to no money, it’s still a treat to see everything in action. In terms of age diversity in Ohio, this is probably one of the best examples to give. You can take a baby, girlfriend, grandparent, or all of the above. There are places that are family oriented, and places that are strictly for you and your buddies to kick it at. Seeing the numerous lights bright up the strip at night gives off a great vibe, since a lot of places don’t close until midnight (although between 5PM and 9PM is when the smaller stores start closing). Of course, the best part is the fact that it’s all next to Lake Erie. Although the beaches have taken a toll over the past several years, just seeing the water is always a refreshing view, and merely minutes away is the nicer and more comfortable Geneva State Park if looking for a clean beach is the question.

Finally getting back on topic is The Cove. I’ve visited GOTL since I was a wee lad, and I stopped probably around my preteen years. I didn’t revisit GOTL until a few years ago, when the wifey Mary and I both realized we went when younger; however, I never went inside The Cove until now. The venue itself is extremely old, unsure of the date built. The inside is a tad dark, but at first glance, looks like a normal bar. The smoking area wall has mural paintings of the various famous acts that have came thru, mainly jazz musicians and classic rock artists. There are two stages, one near the front bar, and the other main stage near the back bar (we’ll get to that shortly). As soon as the first band finishes playing the front stage, the next act starts playing the main stage within seconds.

Although the idea of quick back-and-forth action seems okay, it gets hectic. During this show, there were between 14 to 18 opening bands. If you don’t call that overbooked, then I don’t know what the hell to think anymore. Not only was it unfair to the bands playing because of the inability to soak in an act, but it was odd since the vast majority (at least of what I heard) were mainly metalcore bands and didn’t gel with the headliners too much (although there were a decent amount of people purely there for their friends in certain opening acts). I didn’t take the time to review any of the openers, since the list was so long, and there was a lot to do around GOTL itself until the headliners came on. From what I was told, within minutes of the doors opening, the first band played, not giving a chance for anybody to show up yet. After (hed) pe and Powerman 5000 played, there were still a handful of openers booked to play (so now they’re known as closers). After Powerman 5000 left the stage, one of them immediately started playing at the other stage. Since most people came for the main acts (and were burned out since it was past 1AM at that point), nobody paid attention. I personally left as soon as Powerman 5000 finished up. The booking was just chaotic as a whole, and didn’t make too much sense. If you’re from Cleveland and remember Peabody’s overbooking, think of that chaos and multiply it. There ya go.

As previously mentioned, there were two stages. The front stage was obviously built for small crowds. It was across from the main bar, and could’ve fit maybe four rows of people in front of it. The crowd basically was smack in the middle of the venue, and blocked the passage to the other stage, bathroom, and half of the bar. The stage itself is just in a horrid place. The main stage also has problems of its own. The venue is small enough as is, so you’d think they would try to fit as many people to the main stage as possible, but nope. Towards the middle of the crowd and slightly to the right is yet another bar, about half the size of the main bar. Why in the hell would there be a bar built at a main stage? It was extremely in the way! Nobody ordered drinks there, because not only was it surrounded by eager fans waiting for the band already, but because it was just insanely useless. The only real use were security guards standing on top of the bar itself, watching over the fans like a hawk, and kicking out anyone smoking weed (funny story on that later) or getting into a fight.

The first act I caught were (hed) pe. I’ve only seen them live once (I was passed out at the Gathering when they played this year, and I was vomiting like a mad man last year when they opened for Twiztid in Columbus), so this was going to be exciting. The only perk of a small venue is the intimate and up-close vibe of an artist when you see them live, and the crowd for sure made that known. During (hed) pe’s heavier punk songs, people were moshing harder than any of the other opening typical metalcore bands of the night. Some people got a little out of line, and acted like they never moshed before, with no regards if someone fell or got slightly hurt. But that tends to happen on random occasions at any show, and there were still a handful of people that gave a fuck.

Jahred loves to interact with the fans, and addressed the crowd numerous times. He’s without a doubt a very vocal frontman, and he makes it known. It was interesting when he touched upon his early career, where he stated that he would only focus on “meth, vicodin, and strippers”, while the crowd roared in applause. Come on now, Cleveland isn’t that trashy! Jahred’s range of vocal skills is also surprising. On one song he could be doing a quick rap, another song he could be screaming his guts out, and on another he can be getting into a reggae vibe and start a groove. On one of the later songs, he brought up weed, and mentioned there was a lack of smoke going on. Sure enough, someone had to light one up. Within ten seconds, the eagle security team standing on the bar rushed that lone poor guy, and dragged him out of the venue without hesitation. Whoops.

On a personal note, I don’t know a whole lot of (hed) pe, so I can’t go into extreme details about their music; however, I did enjoy what I heard. Whether it was the older punk songs (which sounded like mid-1990s to me) or the newer rapcore tracks, (hed) pe changed up the setlist with ease, and kept entertaining the fans with a wide variety of selections. Certain singles such as “Bartender” were obviously played as well. All in all, (hed) pe gives off a memorable act for a memorable fanbase.

Powerman 5000 played soon after, and they exploded onto the stage. I’ve never seen these boys before, but was a tad more familiar with their music than (hed) pe. Powerman 5000’s blend of industrial rock and groove metal creates a great live atmosphere. Although their style hasn’t had a drastic change since the late 1990s (they were more over funk and punk before that time period), it’s sometimes good to keep it a certain pace.

They played numerous singles that any typical rock fan would know. “Bombshell” being one of the singles featured a member of (hed) pe coming on stage to do backup vocals. Other singles such as “When Worlds Collide” (obviously being the closer) were played as well. A few tracks off their hit album Tonight the Stars Revolt! was a mainstay in the setlist.

One of the standout tracks were “How to Be a Human”, which is the latest single off their new album. This song reached the Billboard Rock Chart, which is Powerman 5000’s first time on the chart since 2003. It’s heartwarming to see Powerman 5000 have a comeback in the musical world, considering all the effort and backtracks the band has endured. Spyder also made a few comments and jokes during the set, obviously showing his love for the fans that stuck around after 14+ openers and nearing 1AM on the clock.

At the end of the day, the show went off well. The headliners had a good turnout, and both bands played off the hinge. Although there were too many openers to count, and the layout of The Cove itself is extremely odd in some parts, Powerman 5000 and (hed) pe was worth the hassle, and easily stole the show. Other memorable moments include meeting Insane E (whom will be opening for Blaze here in Cleveland soon), Jahred from (hed) pe playing an odd custom mouth-powered keyboard (I don’t even know what it was), Mary finding a huge random frog hopping around the smoking area (she made me take a picture), meeting the hatchet homie Chris (hope things turn out better for ya), and overall experiencing Geneva-on-the-Lake. Although The Cove may usually not be the ideal place to visit in this small Lake Erie village, it was still fun finally being able see two enjoyable bands at the venue, all while enjoying the numerous attractions in the meantime.

Also note that the pictures came out quite horrible. My lens recently cracked and I didn’t realize how bad it was until I was in a dark environment. The annoying lone blue light at the main stage also ruined nearly every picture (and my vision at times, so useless).

Gallery:

Location:

  • The Cove
  • Ohio
  • United States

Tour:

  • Summer Meltdown

Record Label:

  • Independent/T-Boy Records

Reviewer:

Review Date:

  • 08/24/2014

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