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Otep - Generation Doom Tour
Written by Doctor T.   
Sunday, 05 June 2016

Otep - Generation Doom Tour
Q & Z Expo Center
Ringle, Wisconsin
April 23, 2016


Otep - Generation Doom Tour

It’s not often that you get a really solid metal tour hitting Wisconsin. Especially one that features a number of Femme Metal Acts. When I first heard about it, I have to admit,I didn’t know much, if anything, about Otep; my focus is generally on other geographic parts of the globe. And when I saw that it was being held in Ringle, Wisconsin, I had serious concerns about how solid a show this would be. You see, I’d never heard of Ringle, Wisconsin, and neither had anyone else I know in Wisconsin. Which is understandable; Ringle is outside Wausau in the northern part of the state. It’s essentially a cow pasture. But, there was once a school there, out in a cow pasture, which has, for some unknown reason, become a concert venue of sorts, complete with black boards and a cafeteria (now serving beer). But, we did some planning and agreed that Deb Freytag would shoot the show the previous evening in Minnesota. . . she’s a much better photographer than I am. . . and I would cover it the next night and write the article.

So, Saturday afternoon I piled into the car and headed out to the largely bovine inhabited wilds of north central Wisconsin. Good thing I had navigation because people in Wausau had never heard of the place either. But, I finally found the secret hideaway and got in to talk to the PR guy from Otep. Although I wasn’t shooting still shots, I had my video camera along with the intention of shooting some motion video. Should have those up shortly somewhere.

I was somewhat surprised at the size of the crowd. I had anticipated maybe 50 people and a few dozen wandering cows but the cows didn’t show. . . .and about 350, or more, people did. I didn’t think there were that many people in Wisconsin who could find Ringle. They were treated to some fine metal. The main tour typically consists of Otep, September Mourning, Doll Skin and the male fronted band Through Fire. Another regular performer on the tour, Lacey Sturm, ex Flyleaf singer, didn’t perform in Ringle, she probably couldn’t find the place.

Otep - Generation Doom Tour

 

In addition to the regular tour performers, the venue had added several additional acts for the evening; Breech from somewhere down in Southern Wisconsin, and My Memory Remains from Eau Claire, in Northeastern Wisconsin. The Eau Claire band featured a femme vox that was more than a little entertaining, and these two opened the show. Although I caught much of these two performances, I found myself spending time in the second grade classroom where the merch folks were gathered. It was also close to the bar, er. . , cafeteria. But, I got to meet a number of the performers and, in the case of Doll Skin, the mother of the lead vocalist. Since the Dolls range in age from 16 to 19, their mothers feel it might be a good idea to include one mother at all times as a chaperon, or maybe body guard would be a better title.

Otep - Generation Doom Tour

 

I had some time to talk to the Doll Skin vocalist, under the watchful eye of her mother, so I was somewhat prepared for their set. She talked to me about their lyrics and how they arranged the music, and, when they hit the stage, they put on a powerful performance, especially for teenagers. It’s nice to know we’re doing a good job of preparing the next generation of femme metal musicians in this country. We need all the talent we can find. The Dolls covered several of their current songs from their recent release and were rewarded by a solid reaction from the crowd.

Otep - Generation Doom Tour

 

Through Fire was next and they put on a pretty good performance. But, the next femme metal act was September Mourning. Again, no background with me although I did meet one of their guitar players in second grade, I mean the merch classroom. And, they had pictures of their lead singer; she seems to be the face, well, the entire body in this case, of the band. And, given these pictures, I was wondering what to expect; she was pretty dramatic visually in those pictures. Well, when they hit the stage, damned if she didn’t look exactly like she did in the pictures, white on white, with touches of black for dramatic effect. The band was all black, clothing and paint.

Otep - Generation Doom Tour

 

And damned if they didn’t put on a solid show, I mean a really solid show. I spent some time with the White Witch both in second grade and later in a more casual environment outside the cow field so I got to know her a little. Wouldn’t tell me her name but I understand they have a CD release upcoming and I sure hope I get a chance to review it. Their music was every bit as good as their look. And, again, the crowd, who probably knew no more about them than I did, gave them a solid response. You could argue that this was a stage band, Ms. September, as she calls herself, was at least as capable in physical performance as she was vocally, and she had a solid band to work off of.

Otep - Generation Doom Tour

 

Then it was time for the headliners. I had a little research to acquaint me with the band, I read C’s CD review of their latest and Robin Stryker’s interview with Otep, one of the finest and most revealing interviews I’ve ever seen. This woman is far more than just a vocalist; she is a poet, a thinker, a person of substance. And, she puts up with NO shit. She pretty much got in the face of the audience right from the get go and indicated that she had things to say and that they better listen, and she did it with a single finger salute. Then, she let it rip. She had a solid band behind her, one of the guitar players looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger with a Trojan war helmet covering his face. She also had a giant body guard behind her ready for any problems. Otep’s music is sometimes a bit controversial and she doesn’t back down from speaking her mind, probably the reason for the body guard; I sure wasn’t going to say anything negative but then I’m pretty much in agreement with everything she believes in anyway so no problem there.

Otep - Generation Doom Tour

 

Otep covered a lot of her newer material, Lords of War, In Cold Blood, and others from the Generation Doom release. And, she had some interesting things to talk about. This was right after the death of Prince and she seems to have had a professional relationship with him. She was clearly moved by the death of the artist and relayed a bit of how he had influenced her art, a moving tribute.

Otep - Generation Doom Tour

 

But maybe the highlight of the performance was Equal Rights, Equal Lefts. Otep came on stage with a baseball hat with the initials LSBN on the front and launched into a truly angry song about hate. This one is covered in depth in the Stryker interview so I won’t go into details other than to say it wasn’t the kind of thing typically covered in rural Wisconsin and I was really interested to see what would happen, would we need the giant body guard. And, to make matters even more interesting, she concluded the song by looking at the audience and screaming, “Oh, by the way, your governor is an ASSHOLE”, sentiments I agree with but not the kind of thing you’d expect to be warmly received in extremely conservative rural Wisconsin. But, to my surprise, it brought on a wildly positive response, this was clearly not a Tea Party group in attendance.

Well, the party continued, I kept the bar tenders busy, and eventually, Otep wound down. But not before doing one final curtain call. After that they headed off to second grade for pictures and autographs and I headed out to the car for a return to civilization, with a short break to discuss all things musical with Ms. September on the way. All in all a very satisfying evening, one I will remember. The cows around Ringle may not have provided much milk the following day, but I suspect a lot of metal heads had a smile. And I’m looking forward to that September Mourning CD.

Otep - Generation Doom Tour

 

With appreciation to Jon Freeman of Freeman Promotions.

T out.

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