Madness and Mayhem Tour: Mushroomhead, Hellzapoppin, VentanA 02/19/2019

Madness and Mayhem Tour
February 19th, 2019
Mushroomhead, Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow, VentanA
The Waiting Room Lounge
Omaha, Nebraska

This is what a metal show should be all about. It didn’t matter that there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground, or that it was a Tuesday night. Omaha was ready to rock.
I’d not seen Mushroomhead since they played the 2nd stage of Ozzfest 2002, so they were the band that I was the most hyped to see. What I was not expecting was how brutal and energetic VentanA were. The band has very little official social media presence, but their fans are rabid. It didn’t matter that very few people knew who the band were before they took the stage, everyone knew their name by the time they were done.
Tonight would be my 3rd time seeing a Hellsapoppin performance, and they haven’t lost an ounce of their brilliance and shock value. The traveling circus side show isn’t your usual band of merry freaks. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into much detail. Their’s is definitely a performance you need to see though. The feats of endurance. The skills required to successfully pull off these stunts is super-human. I applaud these men for sharing their fire eating, sword swallowing, stigmata puncturing, yo-yo acrobatic juggling with the world.
Keep in mind that I’m not incredibly fanatic when it comes to Mushroomhead. I own the albums. I listen to them occasionally. I’ve not really kept up with the band politics, line-up changes, or their masks various states of evolution though. like I said, its been seventeen years since the last time I’d seen the band on stage. I was expecting an incredibly loud, metal concert, but I was not prepared for how much unbridled energy the band was going to push into the crowd. Back in the day, MRH concerts scared me. As psychotic as the band was on stage, the moshpit terrified. Those fuckers were out for blood. Fast forward to 2019, and the blood thirsty pit bosses haven’t aged well, but the band is just as ludicrous as ever. These men seem to have gotten even more chaotic with time.
Seeing them on stage again after so long was surreal. I had to remind myself several times during their set that this wasn’t fiction. I was actually there. The addition of vocalist Jackie Laponza was breathtakingly haunting and was completely unexpected. Definitely not a night that I will forget, and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long in between seeing Mushroomhead live.

Mushroomhead setlist:
43 / Kill Tomorrow
Sun Doesn’t Rise
We Are The Truth (with Jackie Laponza)
The Wrist
These Filthy Hands
One More Day (with Jackie Laponza)
Out of My Mind
Becoming Cold (216)
The Dream Is Over
Empty Spaces / Born of Desire