Also performing next week on the West Coast in front of a boisterous crowd will be Lawrence's most promising death-metal export, Origin. The latest area band to make a crushing dent in the national scene, Origin recently set out on its first major tour with such Relapse Records labelmates as Exhumed and Cephalic Carnage. The quintet has played metal fests before, from the November to Dismember to the March Metal Meltdown, but this summer marked the band's first opportunity to showcase its skills at the Milwaukee Metal Fest, the biggest and baddest of them all.
"Milwaukee was great," reports guitarist Paul Ryan. "There was a great crowd, and we played a fairly full-size room. We also got eight songs in, which is pretty much unheard of in Milwaukee." Because of the quantity of bands at the fest, acts are usually shuffled in and out after bite-size sets. Ryan says John Longsreth (drums, formerly of Angel Corpse) and Doug Williams (bass, late of Cephalic Carnage) have played the event before with their previous bands, but it was Ryan's first time.
Origin has now heard positive feedback from fans in such cities as Mobile, Alabama; Tallahassee, Florida; and El Paso, Texas. "It was like an autograph session," Ryan says of the last stop. "Lots of people there already had the CD, and lots of people have been buying them at every stop. There's a lot of curiosity about what we're all about."
Some of this curiosity focuses on Origin's hometown, which, unfortunately, is perceived as being less than hip by some coastal scenesters. However, having seen what the rest of the nation has to offer, Ryan says he's confident that Lawrence stacks up well. "It's a really good scene, and it all comes from Mean Dean, with his radio show and his constant promotion about the shows. Props to him. It's also getting a lot better. I think that the early '90s scene was really great, but then the Outhouse stopped having death metal shows, people had to go to Wichita, and finally there was nothing. Now it's on the increase again. A hundred heads a night is not bad anywhere, but we're getting more than that in Lawrence, so that's pretty darn good."
Ryan says he'd eventually like to "get on a tour with some big-name death metal bands and kick ass every night," but for now the ass-kicking is confined to smaller venues with co-headliners of approximately equal stature. However, Origin can count on a big-concert atmosphere when it makes its triumphant return to Lawrence on August 22 at The Bottleneck.Hunt Is On
Lest anyone think Origin played in front of the most intimidating crowd a local act has faced this year, it's worth noting that Kelley Hunt recently performed her rootsy piano stylings in front of hundreds of thousands of boisterous bikers in Sturgis, South Dakota. On August 5, her birthday, Hunt warmed up the massive crowd for Cheap Trick, and although she confesses her fear of being "eaten alive," the bikers ended up demonstrating their support in a suitably noisy fashion.