By: Chance Johnson
L.A. horror punk group, Murderland, polished off the last leg of their tour at the Surfside 7 Café on September 5. Playing every night in a different city starting on August 24, the tour wrapped up in Flagstaff, AZ on September 8.
The stage was set when the band unintentionally brought L.A. with them. Immediately before taking the stage, five police officers outside the venue had guns drawn on a passenger-less Ford Focus. Like a scene straight out of Compton, front man Mike Kinchella, aka Mike Murder, started off by declaring “Murderland comes to town and the whole Fort Collins Police shows up!”
Right out of the gate, the venue was awakened with ballads of jack o’ lanterns and hacksaw romances. The set was extremely tight and well rehearsed, not what one might expect from a live punk rock band.
Murderland was successful where many other punk bands fail: their ability to jump around on stage while still maintaining musical proficiency. This puts them above and beyond one of their biggest influences: The Misfits. The group’s musical chops are a big departure from your typical Misfits influenced band. Take away the campy horror themed lyrics about creating monsters, and one might hear seasoned musicianship on the same level as hardcore band As I Lay Dying.
“Originally we were super Misfits inspired, but over the years our sound has shifted to sound more like Teenage Bottlerocket,” said Kinchella. “We love metal too. Our lyrics are influenced a lot by metal more than horror punk, and written around a pop punk sound.”
Kinchella was certainly not shy about interacting with the crowd that night. Spending more time in the audience than he did on stage, the lead singer likely greeted everyone in the club while belting out blood soaked lyrics.
Getting up close and personal with the audience is a gamble. The crowd, in most cases, will either react to it very positively, or look at you like “what the hell are you doing?” The smaller the venue, as the case with the Surfside, the riskier it becomes. If you’re lucky and the audience responds well, the energy fed from the crowd is extremely valuable.
“We’ve had both reactions,” said guitarist Patrick Solem, “But the more they hate us, the more we do it. The goal of a show is getting people involved.”
In between songs, the band represented their generation by quoting lines from Adam Sandler albums. “We listen to a lot of comedy albums on the road,” said Solem when asked about what gets them through touring for weeks on end, “We also take side trips to keep it interesting.”
“We Came to Party,” was not only Murderland’s answer as to why they were touring, but also the name of their soon-to-be-released album. “We try to get out once a year,” said Kinchella, “The tour was supposed to be in promotion of the new album. Right now we’re looking at it coming out hopefully by Halloween.” This will be a follow up to their 2011 release “Prelude to a Kill,” and 2007’s “Lights Out.” The band was also featured on two Vans Warped Tour compilations in 2009 and 2012.
On why the band chose to come to Fort Collins, Solem said “We played Fort Collins once before. I think it has a good scene, and is a well known spot, especially because of the Blasting Room. There were people at the show who we met here a few years ago. One of the best things about coming back is people remembering you from the last time.”
All in all, not too bad for a Wednesday night.