Corrosion of Conformity returned to Philadelphia’s Electric Factory this past Saturday night. They were opening for headliners Black Label Society; a band that receives much love in Philly. The house was packed and the fans were beyond pumped. In fact, openers Red Fang found themselves performing in front of a capacity crowd right at the get-go. While there was barely room to walk around, it wasn’t oversold. COC was touring in support of their phenomenal new record, No Cross No Crown which we reviewed here a number of weeks back. As mentioned when I first reviewed the record, this is a must buy for any fan of the band and those who like to listen to stoner and heavier southern rock.
The band took the stage with their traditional melancholy opener “Bottom Feeder (El Que Como Abajo)” that showcases bassist Mike Dean. Dean, who is generally on top of his game to begin with, was clearly taking it up a notch for this performance. Might have been the pumped up house who were already excited given the state of the Philadelphia Eagles. I’ve seen COC many times and this was likely one of Dean’s top bass performances I’ve heard in recent years.
Noticeably absent from the show was drummer Reed Mullin, who, unfortunately hurt his knee very seriously. Mullin’s drum tech, John Green, was filling in for the performance and will continue drumming on the tour. Green was quite good. Of course, COC fans are well aware that Mullin has a very unique sound – especially live – and we all hope Reed is back on the road very soon and healed.
It amazes me how artists like Pepper Keenan can get such a great sound from what appears to be an instrument that has been through hell and back. Pepper brought his classic ESP Custom Viper along on this tour, with the top pickup missing of course, and that set the stage for some classics. The band tore through old favorites like “Vote With a Bullet,” “Albatross,” “Broken Man,” and “Clean My Wounds,” likely appealing to the Black Label audience who might not be completely familiar with COC’s deeper cuts. The band did, however, play “The Luddite,” which is one of the many really well-written new tracks from No Cross, No Crown. Personally I would have loved to have heard a few other new tracks like “Little Man,” “A Quest to Believe,” and “Wolf Named Crow” but I guess I’ll have to wait for a headlining tour to hear those.
All in all, Corrosion of Conformity is always a great ticket. I’ve been attending COC shows since 1991 and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed. As a four piece, the band is really firing on all cylinders and its clear they’re having a great time playing live and creating new music. If the BLS tour is coming through your town, be sure to check them out.