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Heavy metal acts moved off Disney properties

September 15, 2007|Greg Burk | Special to The Times

Metal detectors may soon be irrelevant at House of Blues clubs, at least any sitting on property owned by the Walt Disney Co. Five heavy-metal concerts scheduled on Disney property in Anaheim and Orlando have been hastily shifted to other venues or canceled recently, according to House of Blues website calendars.

A Sept. 7 show featuring Machine Head, Arch Enemy, Throwdown and Sanctity, booked two months earlier, was moved on two days' notice from the House of Blues in Anaheim's Downtown Disney entertainment complex to the Glass House in Pomona. Thursday's concert with Cannibal Corpse, the Black Dahlia Murder, the Red Chord and the Absence, originally slated for the Anaheim House of Blues, was moved to the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana. A Sept. 26 Anaheim House of Blues concert featuring Obituary, Alabama Thunderpussy, Full Blown Chaos and Hemlock has been canceled outright.

At the House of Blues in Orlando, Fla., on Disney World property, a Sept. 17 concert of the Machine Head lineup has been moved to Club Firestone in downtown Orlando. The same action has been taken with the Oct. 11 Cannibal Corpse package.

Asked about the scheduling changes, John Vlautin, vice president of communications for Live Nation (formerly Clear Channel), the concert-promotion organization that owns the nationwide House of Blues chain, issued a statement Thursday that said only: "House of Blues offers a range of entertainment to match the audience at our venues. It was determined that the mix of entertainment at our two Disney locations should be different from our other venues."

Vlautin declined to comment on why metal bands have been singled out after years of similar bookings or whether other metal events already scheduled, including Suffocation, Edguy and Static X, will be affected.

Rob Doughty, communications vice president for Disneyland Resorts, declined to comment, referring inquiries to Vlautin. Paul McGuigan, concert promoter at the Anaheim House of Blues, also declined to comment through a club spokeswoman.

The Walt Disney Co., through Vlautin, issued a short statement Thursday that included no specifics about the shifts of the metal concerts: "In consultation with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the House of Blues will provide a mix of entertainment for guests visiting Disney Resorts."

Rob Flynn, vocalist and guitarist of Machine Head, expressed surprise about the venue change, saying in a phone interview that the group had played both clubs several times without incident. He said he had been told that Disney pressured House of Blues to evict metal on the grounds that it attracted an "undesirable" element; he also said he suspects that "one of the main issues of contention Disney had with Machine Head was our antiwar and anti-administration lyrics."

A sample lyric from the Bay Area quartet's current recording, "The Blackening," goes, "Murder us, silence us, / Divide and conquer us."

The veteran Cannibal Corpse, which headlines the touring Metal Blade Records bill that was removed from the Anaheim and Orlando House of Blues calendars, is known for its extreme album-cover artwork and death-obsessed lyrics such as "Pray to our God / With blood we praise his epic acts of hate," from last year's "Kill" collection. Many modern metal bands express an antiwar, anti-authority and/or anti-religion message.

John Halperin, talent booker for the Glass House, said Friday that the Machine Head show transferred to his venue came off to the satisfaction of bands and fans, despite the fact that it is an all-ages club where no alcohol is sold.

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