Mitch Lucker was the frontman for Suicide Silence, but he was also a father, a son and a husband. The moving video tribute that opened the Mitch Lucker Memorial Benefit Concert at Pomona, California's Fox Theatre Friday night drove those points home with equal moments of tearful sentiment and triumphant metal. The benefit show, organized by the surviving Suicide Silence members, raised money for Lucker's young daughter, Kenadee.
Vocalists from across the metal/metalcore spectrum assembled to sing Suicide Silence songs in loving tribute to the fallen frontman, each taking turns in rapid-fire succession as each frontman handed the mic to the one coming up behind him through song after song. Not only did this show serve as a reminder of the vastness of this community, it also displayed the impressive catalog Suicide Silence have laid down in 10 years.
The evening was more celebratory than somber, as everyone onstage continuously reminded the audience to "Live Life Hard," as Lucker often commanded. That theme was introduced early, during the video tribute which included plenty of hijinx (Lucker getting duct-taped to the ceiling of the tour bus by his band and guys from As I Lay Dying, or having birthday candles strategically placed on his person) and multiple declarations about how much the fans meant to him. The video included interviews with the singer's parents, his young sister, wife, friends and of course, the remaining members of his band. Large cameras swooped overhead throughout the night for a planned DVD, no doubt catching the many fans wearing Lucker tribute t-shirts, as well.
Sirius/XM radio host Jose Mangin was the emcee for the evening, telling vivid standup-comedy-style stories about the time Lucker introduced him to Four Loko on Warped Tour and about how he'd tease the singer about his trademark "crane kicks." After Mangin's introduction, the stage curtain opened to reveal the Suicide Silence lineup that recorded 2005's self-titled EP. Drummer Josh Goddard wore a mask and a t-shirt that said simply "1993," which he later explained was the year he met Lucker when they were both eight years old. Jonny Davy (Job For A Cowboy) handled the night's first song, followed by Greg Wilburn (The Devastated) and Brooke Reeves (Impending Doom), who both hail from Suicide Silence's hometown of Riverside, California. Reeves tackled "Ending Is The Beginning," noting afterward that he truly believed Lucker was watching the show from the afterlife. Following the 2005 era songs, the curtain closed and each singer assembled onstage to share a memory about Mitch, which continued for each section of the show as it went on.
The Cleansing era lineup were next, with Ricky Hoover (ex-Suffocate), Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel), Myke Terry (ex-Bury Your Dead), Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria) and Jonathan "Johnny Plague" Cooke (Winds Of Plague) all stepping up to bat in quick succession. Winds Of Plague and Suicide Silence have enjoyed a long and storied relationship. Plague lost a shoe diving into the crowd, but it was quickly returned, underscoring the friendly community vibe of the night.
No Time to Bleed (2009) and The Black Crown (2011) were given their due, as well. Hernan "Eddie" Hermida (All Shall Perish) tackled "Slaves To Substance" from the group's most recent release. Other vocalists included the muscular Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying) on "Wake Up," as well as Anthony Notarmaso (After The Burial), Cameron "Big Chocolate" Argon (Disfiguring The Goddess), Austin Carlile (Of Mice & Men) and Chad Grey (Hellyeah, Mudvayne), who sang "Fuck Everything."
At one point, the band played along to a recorded vocal track of Lucker singing Deftones' "Engine No. 9." It wasn't the night's only cover: Robb Flynn (Machine Head) led an acoustic version of the Black Sabbath song, "Die Young." (According to Mangin, it was a Machine Head cassette given to Mitch by his dad that helped set him on his metal path.) Machine Head toured with Suicide Silence five times, starting with the Rockstar Mayhem tour in 2008. In one of the night's biggest moments, Soulfly's Max Cavalera came onstage for a massive version of "Roots," which had the entire crowd bouncing along to the unforgettable refrain of "Roots! Bloody Roots!"
Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God closed out the night with Suicide Silence, leading the crowd in the "Live Life Hard" mantra, backed by Machine Head's Flynn, as he tumbled over the barricade into the audience. Blythe's appearance garnered the biggest reaction of an already electric evening, as the entire crowd screamed along to "You Only Live Once." "Tonight, we are alive, motherfuckers," Blythe declared at the end of the song. "Rest in peace, Mitch. We miss you, brother."
Fans wishing to contribute to the Mitch Lucker memorial fund, which will provide assistance to his family, may do so HERE: http://suicidesilence.
"Destruction of a Statue" with Jonny Davy (Job For A Cowboy)
"Distorted Thought of Addiction" with Greg Wilburn (The Devastated)
"Ending is the Beginning" with Brook Reeves (Impending Doom)
"Bludgeoned to Death" with Ricky Hoover (Ex-Suffokate)
"Unanswered" with Phil Bozeman (White Chapel)
"Girl of Glass" with Myke Terry (Ex-Bury Your Dead)
"Price of Beauty" with Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria)
"No Pity For A Coward" with Johnny Plague (Winds of Plague)
"Disengage" with Cameron Argon (AKA: Big Chocolate)
"Intro / No Time To Bleed" with Burke VanRaalte (Ex-With Dead Hands Rising)
"Smoke" with Anthony Notarmaso (After The Burial)
"Intro / Wake Up" with Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying)
"Slaves to Substance" with Eddie Hermida (All Shall Perish)
"OCD" with Austin Carlile (Of Mice & Men)
"Fuck Everything" with Chad Gray (Hellyeah / Mudvayne)
"Die Young" - Robb Flynn (Machine Head)
"Roots" with Max Cavalera (Sepultura)
"Engine #9" with Mitch Through PA
"YOLO" with Randy Blythe (Lamb of God)