Creatio Benifit Show
Just because we’re not blood doesn’t mean we’re not family.
By: Cindy McBride and Tanya Malinovsky
Family. The mention of that one word can bring a warm feeling to your heart, or make you roll your eyes in frustration. The old saying “blood is thicker than water” had no business showing its face at The Somewhere Else Tavern on Friday night as numerous individuals proved you don’t have to be related to be family. Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, The Somewhere Else Tavern has held numerous benefit shows in support of local and regional bands alike. This show was no different.
On September 6th, While returning home from the DID WE MAKE IT tour, which covered the southeastern United States, Creatio from Winston Salem had the worst thing imaginable happened to them. The brakes gave out on their truck, resulting in a head on collision with a tree. All three members suffered injuries due to the wreck. Drummer John Michael of Kernersville suffered a cracked collarbone and multiple facial lacerations while vocalist Stephen Mabe received a fractured wrist. However, the worst was yet to come. Mark Connelly, the third member of Creatio who switches between bass and guitar is currently paralyzed from the chest down. The devastation of the wreck not only took a toll on the members of the group, but on their gear as well.
“Literally when I heard of the wreck, I wound up on the bedroom floor worrying about my best friend and his band mates. It was a nightmare not knowing what the outcome was going to be,” Malinovsky started when we caught her setting up at the venue.
These strong thoughts and emotions were exactly what got the ball rolling on the benefit show to help not only her friends get back on their feet, but to help a local band as well. The porch of SWET held a few eager fans standing under its eve when the doors for the venue opened at 6pm. Malinovsky, along with the staff of SWET, were quickly setting up the metalist bake sale and hot dog station this side of Winston as the first band of the evening began to set up.
Written in Gray from Westfield, North Carolina opened the night up. These guys had a very Bullet For My Valentine vibe to them which I really enjoyed. Their second track of the evening entitled “Rest in Pieces” had the ever growing crowd head banging and even one guy hardcore dancing. One of my favorite fans of the evening came in sporting a onesie from the movie Ted, along with a hat that can only be described as furry and unique. “Your Chariot Awaits” was the third track of the evening, and also when the lighting technician at SWET brought the lasers behind the band to life allowing for some pretty awesome photos. Written in Gray concluded their set with a track entitled “Corrode” which fans loved to rock out too.
The second act of the evening traveled from Raleigh to be apart of this wonderful show for a great cause. The Stayhomes, although a three piece act, put on an enthusiastic set. At the end of their third track, guitarist and vocalist Romeo Schneider broke a guitar string. Thinking quickly he asked if anyone in the audience knew any jokes. Ted-onesie-guy said he didn’t have any jokes, but he did have a little something for the crowd. Getting on stage, and taking the mic, he began to recite Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” and I’m not talking about just bits and pieces. He recited a great portion of the classic children’s book before Schneider returned with a new string to play two more songs before yet another string bit the dust. The Stayhomes concluded their set one track shy or the original setlist, but still in high spirits along with the rest of the venue.
The third performance was one that might have not been expected to someone who didn’t really know what the benefit show was for. Remember Stephen Mabe that I mentioned earlier, who was in the accident down in Florida? Stephen was not only at the show last night, but played an acoustic set to help benefit his bandmates. Grabbing a barstool, Mabe took a seat center stage in front of the crowd which had undoubtedly doubled since doors opened at six. The mood of comradery that had been floating around the venue throughout the night, gathered around that stage. Mabe opened his set with “Triage” followed by “Surreal.” After finishing up the second song Mabe commented that it was weird being on stage without his bandmates beside him.
From the start of the set Malinovsky was on her phone. Now this may seem like a big no-no when you’re standing in front of any performer, but what she was doing was making the night of one special guy. Mark Connelly, who is currently still hospitalized with paralysis, was able to watch his bandmates entire set thanks to Facebook Messenger Calling. Numerous friends and show goers jumped in from time to time to tell Connelly they were thinking about him, wishing him well, and even blowing a few kisses toward him. The set continued with “The Side Effects May Include” after which Mabe quickly changed the tuning on his guitar before taking a second to thank Malinovsky who put the show together in just under three weeks. After Mabe’s set, Malinovsky took the stage to thank everyone for coming out, and explaining how near and dear the members of Creatio are to her heart.
Following Mabe’s outstanding acoustic set, October took the stage to deliver an explosive and spectacularly high energy set. Opening with “All The Rage,” it became easy to see why October has been one of the bands receiving the most buzz from this show. With a balance of intensity and charisma, each member carefully crafted lines that blended together to create a heavy yet delicately structured brand of metal that is hard pressed to be found. The pace didn’t slow for anyone, and October rolled on, creating an atmosphere that left the audience craving more even as they closed with “Heathen Sight” and “Tears and Vomit.” When asked why they chose to do the show, Brian Dunlap told us “When our brothers in the scene are down or in need, it’s our duty to rally. We take that duty very seriously.” We echo that sentiment.
After October left the stage, it was time for the second big hitter of the night: Mechabull, hailing from the Triangle region of North Carolina. Opening with “Empty Words,” the energy in the room was still pulsing from October’s set but got turned up to a solid ‘11’ when Mechabull took the stage. With a wildman like Brianitis fronting the band, it was hard to not find yourself headbanging and rocking along to the soaring guitars and soul shaking drumlines. Not once during the entire set did the energy dip. It is worth noting that the looks of physical exhaustion on each band member’s faces after the set speaks volumes to the effort and energy they put into giving the audience exactly what they came for: a RAWK show (as Brianitis deemed the Phoenix Festival).
“Pigs Feast” came towards the end of the set and much like the video depicts, harkened back to a medieval barbarian feast which made it a favorite amongst the moshers in the crowd. But the highlight of the set came when they played “Time for Action” which can only be dubbed a raucous, mosh-fest. Or a pool-noodle fight-fest. Brianitis tossed out noodle segments into the crowd, instructing them to fight until the end and if you stopped, we were to sit down. It was impossible not to want to join in on the fun, and the majority of the crowd did so. Beware of flying pool noodles! They closed with “Look Out Below” and left the entire crowd both energized and exhausted at the same time. I’d say that’s an accomplishment for any band to be able to do. When asked why Mechabull did the show, Brianitis (in true smartass fashion) responded with “The show ain’t full without some Mechabull!” I think I can get behind that statement.
It is worth noting that the hardcore action wasn’t reserved for the stage, and it wouldn’t be rock and roll without some level of fists and/or feet flying. One concertgoer initiated a confrontation with Mabe, and it spiraled into several patrons, bandmembers, and venue staff becoming involved. The Greensboro Police Department were dispatched to the venue and began searching for the individual responsible, but as it is said in theatres and at concerts, the show must go on! And it did. Oh. It did.
We welcome the second acoustic set of the night coming from The Minority which was added to the bill at the request of venue owner Burley Hayes. The acoustic duo packed a solid punch in their artistry and upon speaking with Jordan Gates, he disclosed that the acoustics are here to stay, even with the addition of drums and bass in the coming future. But the warm fuzzies that The Minority didn’t last long, with The Cult Classics following behind them.
The Cult Classics were another band added to the bill at the request of Burley Hayes. Remember Mr. Ted-onesie-guy from before? Well, he also goes by the name of Preston Jones, frontman for The Cult Classics. Props to Preston for being not just an energetic frontman, but a hell of a crowd entertainer during The Stayhomes set. It was definitely a change of pace to see Jones shed his Ted-fur and take the stage in a t-shirt and shorts. However, much to my shock at least, the entire band went shirtless! But hey, with the grooves and the undeniable air of carefree fun that The Cult Classics produced, it was just another aspect of an energetic, fun, and awesome set. They were definitely a way to set up a good lead in to the last band of the night.
The Phoenix Festival came to an end with Winston-Salem’s Headripper. The three-piece delivered yet another high energy, loud, face melting performance that kept in time with the pace of the night. Riffs and drum lines kept the pace high, they closed off the night on a literal high note and brought the first Phoenix Festival to a close.
The Phoenix Festival started as a brief thought, and piece by piece came to life with the help of a number of people. It showed clearly that the North Carolina music scene is family, and it doesn’t matter if you share DNA at all. Music is like the bonds that hold a DNA strand together; it’s strong and withstands amazing tests. Our blood is made up of notes and clefs, and our heart is a speaker which knows no volume limits. At the end of the day, so many people came out to support Creatio and shows without a doubt, that they will be a phoenix, and rise from the circumstances to play again. Until then, we wait. We are #CreatioStrong.
If you couldn’t make the show but still would like to help, you can donate to one of these funding campaigns: