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9:30 Club; Washington, DC; 08/02/02

Reviewed by Alicia Downs

What has happened to Coal Chamber? I sat there thinking that exact thing as I watched a band - a band that had all the potential in the musical world six years ago - apparently disintegrate before my eyes on the last night of their headlining tour in support of their junior release "Dark Days."

I had seen Coal Chamber perform along this Spring's Jager Tour alongside headliners Drowning Pool and, while not on top of their game, they still seemed more solid than on this summer night. Be it the rumors of constant feuding between lead singer Dez and guitar player Meegs, or perhaps just a band well past its prime (before it ever really got rolling) Coal Chamber, as a band, seemed to be no more. Instead, it seemed as though there were four distinct players up on stage just going through the motions playing to a far from packed house.

They went through their usual selections of songs including heavy hitters from their platinum selling self-titled release "Loco," "Sway" and "Big Truck." They tried to keep things fresh playing bits "Fiend" and "Row Boat" off their new album "Dark Days."  But just the same they seemed so bored and disenchanted onstage I could not help but yawn and look at my watch on several occasions.

The simultaneous bounces between guitar player Meegs and bassist Nadja were just too calculated. Nadja's stage presence seemed 'created' with the help of a fan blowing that gorgeous hair while she just stood there. Dez appeared to be the only member even attempting to work the crowd (as a lead singer should) but he was so far off from his band members that it seemed like two separate shows were going on. Drummer Mikey just stared out into oblivion playing with that 'are we done yet?' flair.  It was almost painful to watch.

Now, before anyone goes hating me, let me tell you that I am quite the fan of Coal Chamber's music. I thought their debut was fresh and their live show, then, seemed to energetic. I thought they were solid all the way around. "Chamber Music" never really rubbed me the right way but I had full expectations of seeing them bounce back with "Dark Days" which ended up being a better effort. Unfortunately, that CD was issued by a band with so much inner turmoil oozing out onstage it is hard to believe any of them really want to be there. So why should I? How can you support a band who does not even seem to believe in themselves anymore?

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:17 -0400.