Concert Review: DOPE/Flaw/Motograter

A Triple Metal Feast
BANGS! Music & Entertainment
Phoenix, Arizona
By: Song River

Artist: Edsel Dope Photo Credit: CowGirlZen 

It was to be a long late night, one that many had waited to be a part of again. This was a recent Thursday evening where fans came knowing that in  just a few days the new long awaited album, Blood Money Part I, by the band DOPE would be dropping. It was this night and on this tour that the perfect edgy mix of DOPE, Motograter and Flaw would set the tone for fans who came to a typical dark  club somewhere in the depths of Phoenix, Arizona. It would be here that the dark metal night skies would give way as they split open to an evening of thirsty concert yearnings being satiated at Joe's Grotto.

Eager buffs stumbled in, as the place filled and dedicated fans from yesteryear coerced their rowdy frustrations along with first the band Motograter. Still donning their tribal body paint, [think Lord of the Rings scenes of the powerful new breed of trolls], this powerful lineup of Dustin “Skunk” Anderson and percussionist/sampler Joey Vice, bassist Mylon Guy, guitarist Jesse Stamper, drummer Noah “Shark” Robertson, and vocalist James Legion garner a presence that not only takes over the stage but takes complete control over the entire moshing, slamming, headbanging entourage of fans. Bringing in their tunes “Down,” “Wrong,” “Suffocate,” and the new single, “Parasite” it was the pulse watch set that many of the venue fans needed. Motograter is still kicking it.


Hitting the stage next as the hours approached the stroke of midnight, and hailing from the state of Kentucky, came the band Flaw. Flaw was another band that was a huge part of those Ozzfest years and had shared the stage with DOPE more than once. Flaw took its fully reformed, actually almost the entire original lineup, to the limit as they careened their rock drive and lead the venue in the direction of the metal spectral hour it was made to be.  

Vocalist Chris Volz along with bassist Ryan Jurhs, guitarist Jason Daunt and drummer/newcomer Corey Sturgill seemed to almost be this tour stops highlighted band. Observing the crowd reaction this was the band most seemed to be there for. As the waves were in full amp mode and the band played many of their hits, “Get Up Again,” and “Only the Strong” it was the interaction of the audience that created this nuance of voices echoing in unison to “One the Strong” that made it almost eerily goose bumping bone chilling. It was pretty cool when Voltz dedicated it all to the police force, military personnel and even to the EMS members- fist bumps of approval went through the audience- Flaw knows what their fan base is about.  

Their set contained many of their new songs off their most recent album, Divided We Fall, and that title certainly is a reflection of the songwriting heart of Flaw. Their alternative metal sound satiated the crowd's desires as they ended their set with their first single, “Payback.” Flaw as always kept it real.


After a longer than usual set change, the crowd seemed to grow a bit impatient for Edsel and his DOPE heads to lit the venue floor. The crowd was obviously restless and you could overhear the fans talk about how it had been at least six years since DOPE dropped new music, the fans were ready, they needed their fix.  As the Illinois formed rockers, DOPE took the stage, lead vocalist Edsel Dope, bassist Acey Slade, lead guitarist Virus, and drummer Racci Shay, all cracked the vial and the sounds of DOPE smoked a crowded room. Opening with “Violence” and striking all the high notes with “Debonaire,” “Everything Sucks,” “Motivation,” they pumped the throttle and sank the bit. This room was under DOPE control. 

DOPE's high energy of jumping, playing, kicking, spinning were all superlatively matched by their audience as the bodies smashed and the heads banged a nastier grungier cover mixes of “Spin Me Around” (Dead or Alive), “Rebel Yell” (Billy Idol) and “Fuck Tha Police” (N.W.A.).  Surrounding the band on either side were their LED light panels that totally screwed with the eye, photographers, and videographers but imparted such an atmospheric feast with their label flashing signs and wicked backdrops that the show wouldn't have seemed as DOPE without them.  DOPE was happy to be back on the stage and that fervor pulsated back and forth between their audience and them.  This is what DOPE was meant to do- play. 

More often than not any time a band plays new tunes off of a yet to be released, [it had not been released by this venues date yet], the album is met with little interest however this was not the case as the DOPE fans welcomed their new material “Blood Money,” “1999” and “Shoulda Known Better” as the pop they needed. Everyone in the room was drenched in sweat and fist pumping in the air as if DOPE was performing one of their tried and true older tunes. This crowd was a DOPE crowd through and through as observed from the back of the venue where you could see the fans silhouettes in constant motion- dancing, jumping, horns locked in the air, Edsel demands audience participation, and he gets it.

DOPE fans may have had a long wait, but by evening's end looking at the fans as they exited the venue they were all dop'ified and ready to own Blood Money Part I


Photography is the property of ©CowGirlZen Entertainment.

Concert Review is the property of ©CowGirlZen Entertainment and ©BANGS! Music & Entertainment 2016 To use any or part or facsimile of CowGirlZen Entertainment is by permission only.