Suicidal Tendencies at Summit, 4/14/13

Categories: Concert Reviews

Brandon Marshall
Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies on stage at the Summit Music Hall in Denver last night. Slide show: Suicidal Tendencies at the Summit


In a fairly gutsy move, two songs into its set, Suicidal Tendencies performed its classic song, "Institutionalized," a tune of paranoia, societal oppression and mental illness. It was a different from the version on the album. The music was a little more jazzed up, and the lyrics were delivered in only a slightly different cadence to match the songs. With a rhythm section that includes Eric Moore on drums and the impressively skilled Tim Williams on bass, the pace and the dynamics seemed especially free-flowing. By playing its most iconic song early, Suicidal cracked that egg and got on with things.

See also:
- Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies on how the band ended up on Miami Vice
- Slide show: Suicidal Tendencies at the Summit
- The ten best metal shows in Denver this April

Brandon Marshall
Slide show: Suicidal Tendencies at the Summit

The show got off the ground with the scathing anti-censorship song, "You Can't Bring Me Down." Right away, it was immediately apparent how well these guys play together and off one another. Sure, the punk and metal sounds and tightness were there, but the underlying sense that these guys jammed a lot together shined through.

Nico Santora kept the melody rhythm going, while Dean Pleasants ripped through leads that would make any guitar wizard proud, and even at one point, toward the end of "Possessed to Skate," he teased "Eruption" a bit as a solo, as well as a classical song or two. Frontman Mike Muir ran around the stage in typical fashion throughout the show as though he had a motor powering his palpable enthusiasm for the music.

Brandon Marshall
Slide show: Suicidal Tendencies at the Summit

With a set list that drew from most of the band's recorded output, the group was clearly having fun, and the audience made no bones about its own enthusiasm for every song -- including cuts from the latest record, 13, with the particularly ferocious delivery of "Smash It!" and "Slam City."

One of the most interesting aspects of the show, though, was Muir's connective bits of rhetoric, poetry and spoken word performances that came between songs or at the beginning of songs. It was like he was a particularly poetic preacher and punk rock motivational speaker but filled with a moving sincerity.

Brandon Marshall
Slide show: Suicidal Tendencies at the Summit

Sure, he's said these words often in one form or another, but it still felt like it added another dimension to the show that transformed the meaning of the music from something that might be misinterpreted as nihilistic expressions of existential crisis into a distillation of life's bottom end intended as a signpost and an inspiration to alter one's perspective in a more productive direction.

The set ended with "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow," a song people had been clamoring for throughout the set. As that marked the thirteenth song in the set, it seemed unlikely that an encore would happen, but the band came back out and we were treated to what sounded like a moment of improv with Muir freestyling that had the feel of a well-executed, impromptu moment.

Brandon Marshall
Slide show: Suicidal Tendencies at the Summit

Keep reading for more on the opening acts, the setlist and a Critic's Notebook.

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