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Mudvayne // Live @ Ruoff Music Center // 8.8.23

Article & Photos by: Linda Carlson

Indianapolis, IN – Mudvayne’s Psychotherapy Sessions 2023 Tour is stacked with five heavy metal bands that bring metal magic to fans seeking release.  To accommodate the impressive lineup, the first band hit the stage at 5:30PM.

California’s female fronted Butcher Babies started the evening, featuring Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey on vocals, along with Henry Flury (guitar), Ricky Bonazza (bass) and Chase Brickenden (drums). These emphatic women powerfully strut across the stage like caged animals, but adding smiles to their fierce guttural vocals.

Butcher Babies

From Florida, Nonpoint was next.  Founded in 1997 by Elias Soriano (vocals) and Robb Rivera (drums), the current lineup is rounded out by Rasheed Thomas (rhythm guitar), Adam Woloszyn (bass) and Jaysin Zeilstra (lead guitar).


How to describe Gwar?  A Gwar performance is part music, part theater, and (a large) part… bodily fluids.  The band is thematically based on brutal intergalactic warriors with elaborate costuming, and the stage show includes meandering characters whose body parts are systematically hacked off, spewing red “blood” onto the crowd.  Without getting too graphic, the bodily fluids of various colors that are rained on the fans run the complete gamut of “origin.”  ‘Nuff said.  The crowd was well-prepared for the onslaught, with some donning plastic ponchos in preparation, and others embracing the experience without protection.  There’s a price to be paid for being up front.


After mopping up the floors and removing the plastic sheeting covering speakers and other stage gear, Coal Chamber took to the stage.  This band, formed in 1993, has had a number of break-ups and reboots over the years, with the band currently headed by founders Dez Farfara (vocals) and Miguel Rascón (guitar), and long-timer Mike Cox (drums) and Nadja Peulen (bass).

Coal Chamber

At this point, with four strong metal bands under their collective belt, everyone was primed for Mudvayne.  This Illinois band swept the metal world when it hit the scene in 1996, with “Dig,” and its psychedelic rapid-fire video, resonating with the metal community.

After a hiatus from 2010 until 2021, the band boasts original members Chad Gray (vocals), Greg Tribbett (guitar) and Matthew McDonough (drums), along with long-time member Ryan Martinie (bass), who joined the band nearly at its inception, in 1997.  Touring with the band as well is Marcus Rafferty (guitar).


The set was expertly performed by all musicians.  Gray, with frighteningly chilling face paint and prosthetics that included a bullet wound to the forehead, is a powerful showman with grueling vocals, and led the band and the audience through a pounding 13-song set.  He spent a good deal of time at the guardrails, where he could physically interact with fans, who in turn extended their hands toward him, both for physical touch, and in homage.  He seems to draw a power, an energy, indeed a sense of solace as well, from the fans and he spoke to them directly several times.


Gray described the genesis and meaning of the Psychotherapy Sessions Tour, explaining that so many people these days spend insane amounts of money to go to therapists to work through their pain, week after week, while for the price of a concert ticket, metal fans get a psychotherapy session amongst a community that understands them, and supports them.  Gray has a genuine appreciation for his fans, his “metal family,” that is felt throughout his performance.

Tribbett, with a spiky red headdress, and Martinie, prowling the stage shirtless with silver face paint, and McDonough on the drum kit, were full of fire.  Lighting and staging were spectacular, with bursts of smoke interjected at all the right times.


The full set:

Not Falling
Under My Skin
Internal Primates Forever
World So Cold
A New Game
Death Blooms
Fish Out of Water
Dull Boy
Nothing to Gein

At the conclusion of the show, as Gray was quietly walking along the front of the stage, he peeled off one iconic black squiggly prosthetic from his right cheek and handed it to a fan.  Not exactly the classic guitar pick memento, but likely highly treasured, for sure.


The Psychotherapy Sessions 2023 Tour continues!  Check out the schedule and plan a trip for a full night of metal immersion.

And be sure to check out the photo gallery below for more images from the night’s performances!

Linda Carlson
Linda has been photographing people since she was ten. Forever intrigued by the complex beauty of the human form, she brings the eye of a portraitist to the unpredictability and spectacle of the concert scene.