THE ACACIA STRAIN
with Fit for an Autopsy, Full of Hell, and Primitive Man
The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA
LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY JULIE ANN SHAW
You know that a show is going to be amazing when the fans are lined up outside even with the threat of rain and umbrellas not permitted in the venue. Once inside the venue, the insanely packed house had fans all around completely hyped up for this powerhouse of a lineup.
The first band of the night was doom metal band Primitive Man, with Ethan Lee McCarthy (vocals, guitar), Jonathan Campos (bass), and Joe Linden (drums). Their short set consisted of “My Will,” “Victim,” and “The Lifer.” Their sound will haunt your dreams for years to come in the absolute best way. Once they finished, Primitive Man cleared the stage for their friends and co-collaborators on the album Suffocating Hallucination, Full of Hell.
Grindcore band, Full of Hell, made up of Dylan Walker (vocals, electronics), Spencer Hazard (guitar), Sam DiGristine (bass), and Dave Bland (drums) did not disappoint their fans this night. They played some of their most popular songs, including “Crawling Back to God,” “Vessel Deserted,” “Eroding Shell,” and “Reeking Tunnels.”
The penultimate band of the night was none other than deathcore metal band Fit for an Autopsy, with Joe Badolato (vocals), Pat Sheridan (guitar), Will Putney (guitar), Tim Howley (guitar), Peter “Blue” Spinazola (bass), Josean Orta (drums). Fit for an Autopsy, who has a dedicated and hardcore fan base all their own, opened with “A Higher Level of Hate” and the crowd went berserk. They continued with fan favorites, including “The Sea of Tragic Beasts” and “War.” Fit for an Autopsy closed the night with two songs from their latest album, Oh What the Future Holds, “Pandora” and “Far from Heaven.”
The crew started to switch the equipment on stage to get ready for the headlining act. Drums were switched out, lights were tested, and their banner was raised. Upside down. The crew was quick to realize what happened, and as they rectified the situation, the crowd demanded that the banner remain as it was. Only moments after the banner was corrected, The Acacia Strain—Vincet Benner (vocals), Mike Mulholland (rhythm guitar), Devin Shidaker (lead guitar), Griffin Landa (bass), and Kevin Boutot (drums)—walked out on stage.
The Acacia Strain opened with “Beast,” and the crowd immediately became so enthralled that they started to crowd surf, jump the barrier, and jump on the stage. By the time the second song, “Ramirez,” was finished, an endless number of people had jumped the barrier. The steady stream of fans trying to reach the stage did not stop throughout the rest of the set, “The Hills Have Eyes,” “Holy Walls Of The Vatican,” “Send Help,” “Chhinnamasta,” “Dr. Doom,” “Whoa! Shut It Down,” and “4×4.” They followed with two songs from their 2023 album, Step into the Light, “Untended Graves” and “Fresh Bones,” with “Seeing God” in between. They closed the night with “Crippling Poison” from their 2020 album, Slow Decay and “Carbomb” from their 2004 album, 3750.