One performance that I was most looking forward to at this year’s M3 Music Festival was Slaughter. I’ve always been a huge fan of the band dating all the way back to Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum’s Vinnie Vincent Invasion days. I was the first kid on my block to own All Systems Go and I was one of the first to own Slaughter’s debut, Stick It To Ya.
I had not seen Slaughter in a live setting since 2000, so I was overly excited about their appearance. I even determined that I would skip Hurtsmile’s set so that I could enjoy every moment of Slaughter. There was even a part of me that desperately wanted to believe the band was going to slip in a performance of “Love Kills” from the aforementioned Vinnie Vincent Invasion days. I knew that was highly unlikely, but I was still hopeful.
When Slaughter took the stage, I was giddy as a school girl with a crush. I couldn’t wait to start singing along with the band and reliving the glory days of my youth. Then the music started. At first I could not recognize what song was being performed. I thought that the band needed a moment to adjust the soundboard. Then Mark Slaughter started to sing. It was all downhill from there.
Mark Slaughter had no voice. That was apparent from the very beginning of their set. And how did Slaughter try to make up for that fact? They raised the volume on their guitars to a level of distortion that destroyed their music. It wasn’t until the chorus when I realized that the opening song was “The Wild Life.”
I’m not saying that I expected Slaughter circa 2011 to sound like Slaughter circa 1990 or even Slaughter circa 2000, but at some point as a band you have to ask if you are delivering a product worth charging the public. Mark Slaughter looked heavy and had no voice. It’s not that he just couldn’t hit the high notes, he couldn’t hit any notes. He could barely be heard.
As a band, Slaughter owes it to their fans to determine if they are able to perform or not. I’m not sure how the band could give a performance like they did at M3 and honestly think that they are ready to go on the road (Slaughter will be doing select festivals and a couple of shows with Whitesnake this summer). Sometimes it’s best to examine your band and ask if you are truly able to continue on.
Every proud athlete and entertainer comes to this point in their career and they all want to labor on. Some even believe that they can. Then they get out onstage and are unable to produce. Unfortunately, that is the position Slaughter is in. While the music still sounded decent, it was far from great. And it was painfully obvious how Mark Slaughter was straining behind the microphone. Perhaps it’s time for the band to say goodbye and hang it up. Perhaps it’s best for the past to be left in the past and remembered for nostalgic purposes only.
I will still listen to my Slaughter (and Vinnie Vincent Invasion) albums with fondness, but I don’t think I could ever see the band live again. Their set was so disappointing, that I was almost upset with myself for sitting through the whole thing. I wanted to believe that it was going to change and that Mark’s voice was going to kick in strong at any moment. Perhaps he was saving it for “Fly To The Angels.” He wasn’t. Unfortunately, there was no voice left. This is something that Slaughter should consider and examine before they take the stage again later this year. Sometimes you have to hang it up and move on.