OTEP brings FoCo nu-metalheads out to Hodi’s Half Note

Erik Petrovich

OTEP's Otep Shamaya and Ari Mihapoulos on stage at Hodi's Half Note ( Erik Petrovich / Collegian)
OTEP’s Otep Shamaya and Ari Mihapoulos on stage at Hodi’s Half Note ( Erik Petrovich / Collegian)

On Thursday night, OTEP, a 16-year-old nu metal band turned Hodi’s Half Note red, adorned it in spikes and black leather and filled its three halls with the roars of an angry woman and the growls of equally vicious fans.

If you were looking for a calm, safe space to listen to your favorite local jams Thursday night, you were sure to stay far, far away from Hodi’s Half Note, where OTEP was playing.

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Denver-based hardcore bands No 1. Left Standing and Fallen and Forgotten, as well as Scarlet Canary, opened for OTEP. No 1. Left Standing took the stage at 7 p.m., while OTEP came out just after 10 p.m.

Before they took the stage, though, an announcer told the crowd that he had personally prepared the upcoming in-between-bands playlist, and said he knew that the audience would love his choices. He wasn’t wrong – the metalhead audience enthusiastically sung along to hardcore classics such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive.”

OTEP has been around the block a few times, but never quite made it mainstream, although they’ve come close many times. Their most recent and seventh release “Generation Doom” charted at number 7 on the Billboard Rock chart and number 10 on the independent chart. Their 2009 album “Smash the Control Machine” debuted at number 47 on the Billboard top 200 chart.

Otep Shamaya, the front woman for the band she lends her first name to, probably doesn’t care about that though. Success for her comes from her messages being heard and her fans screaming along with her – she does not relent in her personality on stage. Showing no quarter for correctness, at one point Shamaya swung a spiked mace on stage like a medieval weapon.

Her lead guitarist Ari Mihalopoulos wore a black leather mask in the style of a Spartan warrior, and when paired with his bodybuilder’s figure, resembled a brutalized version of Batman’s Bane.

As an accomplished slam poet, Shamaya had an appearance on HBO’s “Def Poetry” – she spoke on the oppression of women and her troubled life, subjects that transferred well to her band’s style, which she describes as “artcore.” She remains the only member of the band’s original lineup.

OTEP plans to travel to Portland on July 23, Seattle on July 24, and will end up in California after performing in the Midwest and east coast. The full tour schedule can be found online on OTEP’s website.

Collegian Executive Editor Erik Petrovich can be reached at editor@collegian.com or on Twitter @EAPetrovich.