Photos and Review by: Ally Arens
Lineup: Butcher Babies, Kissing Candice, It Kills You
Venue: Beer City Music Hall, Oklahoma City, OK
Date: July 16, 2023
The metal mavens known as Butcher Babies are in the midst of an extensive summer trek as support for Mudvayne at amphitheaters across the U.S. Leading up to this run were two headlining shows in Oklahoma City, OK and San Antonio, TX, which will end up being the band’s only US headlining shows for the entirety of 2023. Manor 208 had the immense pleasure of being able to catch the first of the two shows, an appearance at Oklahoma City’s Beer City Music Hall on July 16th, where concertgoers were treated to a night full of headbanging and mayhem.
First to take the stage were local OKC metalcore act It Kills You, a newer act that first formed in late 2021. Though I was unfamiliar with their material prior to this set, they had a very raw and edgy sound that kicked the night off nicely as they played a set that included singles such as “Unseen”, “Succubus”, and their most recent track “Leeches”, which was released only a week prior on July 10th. I look forward to watching them grow in my local scene, and if you’re looking for some new metalcore, give It Kills You a listen.
Next up, and dialing the thrash levels up several notches, were Kissing Candice. They were one of the most theatrical acts I’ve had the pleasure of photographing thus far – every member was masked as they played through their brief setlist of tracks to craft a set full of punchy riffs, aggressive vocals, and fog machines galore, with the crowd headbanging along every step of the way.
Finally, around 9 p.m., it was time for Butcher Babies to hit the stage, and they came out firing on all cylinders as they launched into “Red Thunder”, one of the singles from their recent double album Eye for an Eye…’Till the World’s Blind released on July 7th. The track is everything that makes Butcher Babies great, combining both melodic and more aggressive vocals from singers Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd with well constructed instrumentals, and served as an excellent show opener.
Next, they shook things up by performing their rendition of Saweetie and Doja Cat’s hit “Best Friend”, which may seem like an unconventional set choice, but as a fan, I could tell that Carla and Heidi have a blast performing it, and it represents how close they are as a frontwoman duo. It also reminded me of the “Punk Goes Pop” days where it was quite common for heavier acts to tackle pop covers (which doesn’t not happen anymore, but it seems to be less frequent overall), and I love that it injected some extra fun into the setlist. Third came a throwback with 2015’s “Monster’s Ball”, at which point most of the crowd, especially those in the front row, collectively lost their minds and went wild along with the band.
The remainder of the 13 song setlist was largely made up of more recent releases, but they did throw in a couple of tracks from 2017’s Lillith, and they closed with their 2013 breakout single “Magnolia Blvd.” As a longtime fan of Butcher Babies who had not yet had the fortune of catching a live set, I was reminded of what drew me to them in the first place – seeing Carla and Heidi scream, sing, and headbang like the pair of total badasses they are alongside their bandmates was really special to me. They’re extremely talented, and also not afraid to have fun and let loose while performing, and their energy transferred to the crowd such that it became difficult to see anyone not at least nodding along, if not headbanging, jumping and/or moshing.
Tickets for all upcoming Butcher Babies shows, including their US run with Mudvayne and their fall European run with Fear Factory, can be found on their website. Eye for an Eye…’Till the World’s Blind is out now on all major streaming services, with CDs, Vinyl, and other merch items available in the band’s online store.