TEMPE, Ariz. — Butcher Babies wouldn’t have been an easy act for anyone to follow Monday night. The heavy metal band from Los Angeles was the final opener for Lacuna Coil, taking the stage right after 9Electric at the Marquee Theatre. And if synchronized hair tossing and head banging were an Olympic sport, frontwomen Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey would have taken the gold.
Butcher Babies’ set was short but memorable, especially when, at one point, Shepherd decided that security would help them play a game with concert-goers. “You ready to catch some bodies?” she asked before announcing that during the next song she wanted to see how many high-fives they could collect from fans crowd-surfing to the front of the stage. And they received a lot more high-fives than one might expect from the modest number of concert-goers that attended the show.
Watching Butcher Babies play to a crowd is akin to watching parents dropping their kids off with two favorite aunts who then spend the weekend spoiling their nieces and nephews—deliberately getting them wound up and hyped full of sugar before letting them return home to terrorize their parents. By the time they demanded concert-goers start a circle pit in front of the stage, the audience was already wild with adrenaline and excitement.
The band itself was a sight to behold on the stage. They brought an immense amount of energy and enthusiasm to the show, every member dancing and head banging in time with the music. Harvey was even seen cartwheeling mid-song. And crowd participation wasn’t just an option, it was a requirement.
“We absolutely will not start this song without you… I want them to hear us in Utah!” Shepherd shouted. “Let me hear you scream!” she roared as they launched into “Magnolia Blvd.” from their self-titled album.
Toward the end of their set, while singing, Shepherd made her way down from the stage into the center of the circle pit with a member of the security staff shining a flashlight on her as a makeshift spotlight. She then finished the song from the center of the pit while the moshers flung themselves about recklessly around her. Lacuna Coil couldn’t have asked for a better opening act.
Butcher Babies will play with Painted Wives, 9Electric, and label-mate Lacuna Coil during the first leg of their North American tour to promote Lacuna Coil’s upcoming album, “Delirium”, which hits record stores on May 27.
Photography: Katherine Amy Vega