Mushroomhead, Fleischkrieg, Kurt Deimer, and Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow – Warrendale, PA – 10/24/2023

Jergel’s hosted a unique ensemble of bands on Tuesday evening in support of Cleveland-born Mushroomhead, an alternative metal band known for their stunningly theatrical live show and artsy masks.  It was no surprise that the band’s support would offer some theatric elements as well. As we watched the evening unfold, the lyrics from the D.A.D. song “Rim of Hell” kept floating through my head, because as the song goes, ‘they throw the best damn parties at the rim of hell…’. and this was quite the hellish party.

The evening began with an explosion of strobe lights and bouncing mohawks as Fleischkrieg introduced themselves. (Sadly we missed a few song due to a heavy back-up on the interstate, and a line out the front door at the venue).  We knew in advance that industrial fans would want to keep Fleischkrieg on their radar, but visuals only added to the fun. The group, currently based in Los Angeles note influences that include Rammstein, DK-Zero, Die Krupps, and Lord of the Lost, results in a genre described as ‘Brutalwave’ which blends new wave, metal guitars, and crushing industrial dance beats behind their lyrics.

Fleischkrieg features Richard Cranor on vocals, Thomas Crawford on guitar, Eric Bergen, and the “Living Dead Drummer” Nick Mason handling percussion duties, and began following a chance meeting between Richard and Thomas.

Those who got there in time, witnessed a heavy metal dance party with fierce guitars and the crushing drums we’ve come to expect from Nick Mason. The set focused on their debut album Herzblut and included a fun take on the syth-pop “Relax” from the British band Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

If it weren’t for that fact that Kurt Deimer is another Ohio-bred act, one would have found them a bit out of place surrounded by such intense oddities and theatrics given the band’s positive messages and uplifting anthems like “Hero.”  That was until a trailer from Kurt Deimer’s film introduced the band, and he told other “horror” stories that were met with cheers of acknowledgement from from the crowd.

Having recorded more than two dozen songs of straight ahead rock ‘n roll with producer Chris Lord-Alge, who is best know for his work with Green Day, James Brown, and The Rolling Stones, and fueled by a management team includes Tesla’s Brian Wheat who discovered him while supporting the band on the road, Kurt Deimer shows no signs of stopping the momentum behind his message to Work Hard, Rock Hard (as his EP title suggests) . In fact, his creativity goes beyond the stage with other projects like his aforementioned Hellbilly Hollow feature film and franchise.

Having just seen Kurt Deimer performing in support of Buckcherry and Skid Row last month in Cleveland, it was a treat to catch the band again.  His band includes Brandon Paul and Sammy Boller on guitar,  Brendan Hengel on bass, and Dango Empire on drums, who were given opportunities to showcase their soloing talents while Kurt greeted his fans.

Taking a break from bands, the Hellzapoppin Rock N Roll Circus entered with a spectacle of the bizarre that has been named after a 1930s Broadway musical, which was later adapted into a film.  They could be found in direct support of Mushroomhead as they anticipate their own ‘Holiday Hullabaloo’ with headlining shows planned across the US this holiday season. Thrill seekers were invited to witness the wild show as ringleader and producer, Bryce “the Govna” Graves introduced magic, feats of strength, and other oddities that left the crowd gasping and cringing as onlookers enjoyed an up-close view or stood back to catch the act on strategically placed video screens.

In its 15 years of touring which began in support of Marilyn Manson back in 2009, Hellzapoppin has performed well over 3000 shows throughout 16 countries.  Interestingly, Hellzapoppin has recently opened their own merchandising company, Hellzapoppin Trading Co, which specializes in screen printing merchandise for touring artists.  In fact, we were told it is a great way to support the circus performers with a sign held by a convincing blonde beauty named Willow Lauren as she swallowed razor blades that evening.

Headliners Mushroomhead are known for pushing the envelope and bringing an element of art into their stage show. They are also known for throwing and splashing water. As a photographer, I’ve been watching the captures from this tour and looking forward to the opportunity to capture some of the visual elements that brought the band into the spotlight following their inception in the early 90s.  Surprisingly, this was our first time checking out Mushroomhead who hails from nearby Cleveland despite making many college road trips during the time the and was formed.  

For those who missed the antics, the hellish ensemble will be rolling through Ohio this week in anticipation of a sold-out Halloween bash on Saturday at Cleveland’s Agora. Congratulations to the band, who are celebrating a 30-year anniversary!

Upcoming shows:

Oct. 26 The King Of Clubs – Columbus, OH
Oct. 27 Bogarts – Cincinnati, OH
Oct. 28 Agora Theater – Cleveland, OH (SOLD OUT)

Check out the bands on social for more details on their respective tour plans, and check out more captures of Kurt Deimer on social @ThePureRockShop and follow us for more news, as well local and regional show coverage and captures, festival highlights, and more including the Marvelous 3 reunion later this month and Mac Sabbath in November.

Live Photos by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen for The Pure Rock Shop.  Posted on 10/26/2023.