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Photos/Review: The Psychotherapy Sessions took over Jones Beach on 7/28/23 w/ Mudvayne, Coal Chamber, GWAR, Nonpoint & Butcher Babies

Posted by on August 7, 2023

Photo Credit: Andrew Fiero

 

The doctors are in, and it’s time to headbang your problems away. Welcome to The Psychotherapy Sessions Tour. On the surface, five metal bands have teamed up to make for what was sure to be a hell of a good time. Deeper down, each act represents something different, creating a tour that was even bigger than the sum of its parts. Whether it be a duo bringing attention to women in metal, a criminally underrated act still cranking out new hits over 25 years after their inception, an over-the-top shock rock bloodbath, a return to form for a classic nu-metal band, or a headliner reclaiming the top of the mountain, there was something for every type of metal fan. 

The tour kicked off on July 20th in West Palm Beach before tearing up the East Coast like a category-five hurricane. Eight days later, the tour found itself in New York. With a heat advisory in effect, the Psychotherapy Sessions Tour rolled into Long Island, New York, at the Jones Beach Theater early into the tour. The hot and humid weather didn’t stop fans from rolling into the parking lots for some early tailgating. Various metal classics could be heard blasting through the lot while fans enjoyed some choice of beverages before the show. 

With five bands on the card, the show got off to an early start for the venue, with Butcher Babies hitting the stage at 5:30 PM. The Los Angeles metal group consisting of dual vocalists Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey at the helm wasted no time kicking the show into high gear with 

“Red Thunder” before thrashing right into “Monsters Ball.” Each track had the duo seamlessly interweaving vocals as the rest of the band kept the pace at a fever pitch. Their set had fans banging heads all the way through to “Magnolia Blvd.” Butcher Babies provide the perfect spark to start the fire that is a show on the Psychotherapy Sessions Tour.

Butcher Babies

Photo Credit: Andrew Fiero

There wasn’t much of a break between Butcher Babies and the next act, Fort Lauderdale’s Nonpoint. No complaints there, as fans were ready for their next session. With ten studio albums in their quarter-century in existence, Nonpoint shows no signs of slowing down, having released their most recent single, “A Million Watts,” mere weeks ago in mid-July. The track off their upcoming EP Heartless, expected out November 17th, was one of a few on display for the Long Island crowd during a short, but nonetheless fantastic, set that culminated with fan-favorite “Bullet With A Name.”

Nonpoint

Photo Credit: Andrew Fiero

Virginia’s Shock Rock act GWAR was up third. The band clad in barbaric costumes joined the stage, ready to cool off fans in their own special way, drenching the masses in enough stage blood to have any movie earn a hard R rating. Starting off with the opening track “Hail, Genocide!” the sci-fi-infused metal band put on quite the show. Two tracks later, for “Mother Fucking Liar,” the band brought out a representation of Vladimir Putin, who put up a fight but was ultimately and literally ripped apart in front of the Long Island crowd. A more fitting cover doesn’t exist than when GWAR closed out their set with AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” while dousing the crowd one final time in the process. GWAR should be considered a bucket list band for any and every metal fan. Having your clothes and hands dyed red from the blood of their enemies for a night is a rite of passage you just need to experience at least once.

GWAR

Photo Credit: Andrew FIero

Three bands down, and only the headliners remained. It’s not surprising to see Nu-Metal making a comeback as of late. In this sometimes watered-down, overprotective world we live in, it’s no surprise that some are once again turning to the unapologetic and defying nature of the genre. Coal Chamber’s return couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, as a whole new generation of fans is being exposed to nu-metal classics. The band performed their first show since 2016 earlier this year at Sick New World before being announced for this tour and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Rock Festival later in September of this year. All long-time members with Mike Cox (Drums), Miguel Rasc√≥n (Guitar), Nadja Peulen (Bass), and Dez Fafara (Vocals) reunited to bring Nu-Metal to a new generation. Of all things, Fafara attributes the reunion to a near-death experience due to Covid. The illness led to the former bandmates reaching out to each other for months until the simple thought of “Why are we not playing shows?” became the narrative. 

The foursome surprisingly opened up with arguably their biggest hit in “Loco,” perhaps trying to draw in fans as quickly as possible. Other fan favorites, “Fiend” and “Big Truck,” rounded out the first three songs, providing fans a refresher course on why Coal Chamber was so beloved in the first place. After covering Flood’s “Rowboat,” a couple of songs later, Dez began chatting with the crowd between tracks, having fun with fans and getting them hyped up for more tracks. The full set included a good variety, only leaving songs from 1999’s Chamber Music off the setlist. “Sway” would provide a satisfying closing to Coal Chamber’s time on stage. Sometimes life can throw a major curveball your way. For Dez and Coal Chamber, this reunion stemming from a medical emergency turned that curveball into an absolute home run for the band and their fans.

Coal Chamber

Photo Credit: Andrew Fiero

 

With four of the five act’s out of the way, Mudvayne’s large banner was draped over the front of the stage while the crew set up for the headlining act. The tour marks Mudvayne’s first headlining tour in nearly a decade and a half, not counting a shared headlining tour with Rob Zombie last year. This year, the band takes the reigns alone. As fans became antsy for the band, the lights went dark, and the band kicked off their performance with “Not Falling” as the banner dropped to reveal the band; Frontman Chad Gray, guitarist Greg Tribbett, rhythm guitarist Marcus Rafferty, and bassist Ryan Martinie in full-faced horror-style makeup. Gray spent much of the performance as close as possible to the crowd, often perched on one of the front speakers, praising the crowd with “New York, you’re fucking incredible.” 

Four songs into an already fantastic set, the banner behind the band was swapped out for one with a conjoined skeleton of an angel and devil against a black canvas during “World So Cold.” Cuts of “A New Game” and “Severed” followed as Gray and the band gave it all on stage, giving quite an emotional performance. “Death Blooms” was next as the band dove into the second half of the set. “Dull Boy” would lead to another change in banners, this one simply having “Mudvayne” against a black background. When the mosh pit worked together to quickly help a downed fan, Gray quickly urged them on, stating how he loved how metal fans knew how to pick up their own when they were down and out. 

With that near miss out of the way, the band worked up the crowd again with “Nothing to Gein” before closing out with a one-two punch of “Dig” and “Happy?” as fans matched the band in intensity and enthusiasm. Sadly, there was no encore, despite the dozen songs Mudvayne had chosen checked every box for fans. Mudvayne’s live show is equal parts intensity and emotion. You can practically feel the energy and sometimes pain coming from Gray’s raw vocals. Hopefully, fans can keep on the lookout for new Mudvayne music, as Gray has heavily hinted at new songs in Mudvayne’s future.

Rest assured, the Psychotherapy Sessions Tour is exactly what the doctor ordered and will continue to treat fans through its last date in Englewood, Colorado, on August 26th. 

Mudvayne

Photo Credit: Andrew Fiero

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