OTEP Has Fun With Audience At Buffalo Venue

BUFFALO – What could cap off a weekend better than a night of hard rock and new-sounding metal at The Iron Works?

On July 22, OTEP came into the venue with a vengeance. Lights flashing, guitar crunching and drums beating. Otep Shamaya, the band’s vocalist, came in ready for battle.

The venue was ready for the mix of pristinely clean vocals and growling vocals Shamaya is known for. Yes, the songs carried the politically charged sounds and the activist lyrics that grow on the pages of her notebooks of poetry, but Shamaya was more than ready to have some fun.

Shamaya was not the only one at the microphone. Her guitarist and backing vocalist, Ari Mihalopoulos, belted out the riffs on guitar and offered the vocals when needed, on songs like “Menocide” with his mask, shirtless, showing off his former bodybuilder physique.

I arrived at the venue before doors opened. I happened to not only catch Shamaya hopping a fence to grab a small sheet of plywood to place over a mud hole just off the tour bus door, but to see her and Mihalopoulos pulling weight plates and a bench bar out of one of the storage compartments in the bottom of the bus, set it up and work out in the parking garage. This band members take their workouts seriously.

The show was not one to disappoint. The band, as a whole, was on with every note and seemed to know just what the small audience was looking for to make the night what it expected.

As a music fan that likes to listen to not only the notes, the beats, but the words, especially the words between the songs, one thing has really struck me about OTEP, and it is something that has been developing for quite some time. As you listen to the lyrics, Shamaya’s poetry will not only shock the first-time listener, but it will make you think. The words that are matched with the music are designed to elicit an emotional reaction. While so much of the music, and a large portion of the lyrics, are dark, the emotions, though raw, are something that will beg that you think, that may have you challenge your own beliefs.

Before OTEP took the stage, Dropout Kings brought a blend of hip hop and new metal to the stage that was just as much a high energy show as Shamaya brought. And to begin the night, Kore Rozznik took the stage.