On Saturday the 10th of July, 2010 I headed down to Fredericksburg to a gathering of bands from Washington DC and Northern Virginia. This was the first Blood And Fire Festival and was held at KC’s Music Alley. The doors opened at 2pm but there was no way I was going to get down to Fredericksburg that early. I got there a little after 6pm and found the parking lot packed. I’d never been to KC’s before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I hadn’t counted on the lot being completely full. I did find a spot eventually, and made my way inside. Orgy Of The Damned was on the stage when I went inside. I had met their drummer back in May at Maryland Deathfest and I’m glad I got there in time to check them out. They were a group of pretty young guys with a lot of youthful excitement and seemed to really be enjoying themselves on the stage. They had some technical difficulties (an unfortunate theme for the night really) and someone mentioned to me that their vocalist had been sick, but they made the best of it. During one of the breaks to fix equipment they played an impromptu cover of Napalm Death‘s one second song You Suffer, that was pretty entertaining. I thought it was kind of funny when the singer got a member of the audience to sing into the mic “I’m a fieces fiend”, haha. They also played a cover of Belphegor‘s ridiculously titled song Bondage Goat Zombie when they were told they had time for one more song.
The next band I saw was a black metal band from Leesburg, Virginia called Immortal Decay. Their bass player was in full corpse paint, and they had some deer antlers on the mic stand. Their singer had a lot of fun poses to watch, and the band had a lot of energy on stage. It was during their set I realized just how shitty the sound set up was at this venue. For most of their set I was standing in the middle very close to the front of the stage. From there you couldn’t hear the vocals at all. I didn’t shoot any video of these guys because I thought the mic was just out and didn’t want to make a shitty recording. At the end of their set I moved around a bit and realized that if you moved to the sides of the stage near the speakers you could hear the microphones much better. By the time I figured that out their set was almost over. I did enjoy their set though, and even if I couldn’t hear the vocalist he was putting on a good show. While most bands would try to get the audience moshing by spinning their hand or just telling the crowd to, this guy actually jumped off the stage and ran into the mosh pit, mid song! Now that is getting the audience into the show, haha! One of their guitarists, who was rather tall, was also helping with the showmanship. Between him and the vocalist it was hard to keep your eyes away from the stage. Their sound was certainly black metal, heavily distorted guitars making a wall of sound with rather aggressive riffs and fast paced drumming. They were pretty entertaining and I wouldn’t mind having some of their mp3s on my iPod. UPDATE: Immortal Decay posted a video of them playing the song Rotting Altar at the Blood And Fire Festival on their YouTube page here.
After they finished playing I went to the bar area for a bit. The entire venue is divided down the middle, one side with the stage area and the other had the bar and pool tables, as well as a foosball table and a lonely Tekken Tag arcade game. This created a bit of a problem, since you really couldn’t drink while watching the bands. I asked the bartender about this, and she said that apparently the guy checking the door was just looking to see if people were over 18 and not if they were over 21, so they didn’t have a way of knowing if people underage were drinking or not if they allowed people to bring their alcohol into the stage area. They had pretty cheap beer, I’d forgotten how cheap it is to drink the farther away you get from the city. They had $1.50 PBR drafts, and $2 Corona bottles, can’t find that anywhere inside the belt loop. Since I wanted to eat, drink, and talk to people a bit, I had to miss a few of the bands because of the set up though.
Anyways, the next band I watched was Apothys. They’re probably the most popular death metal band in Northern Virginia these days, and for good reason. They put on a good show and play some cool tunes too. I certainly got into the show when they played their song Venomcrest. They moved around on stage quite a bit, and kept the audience excited with their guitar solos and general stage presence. They had the largest size crowd of the night, partly because they’re fun to watch, but also because when their set ended, everyone under 18 was kicked out of the venue. I don’t know if Fredericksburg has a curfew or if the Virginia ABC has a law about it or maybe it was just the venue’s decision. Regardless, the bands who played after certainly had a smaller crowd to play for, and since the place was divided, this meant just as many people were left hanging out in the bar area, including me! I found myself talking to various locals, fans, band members, girlfriends, and pretty much anyone in my vicinity. I got the bartender to put one of my bumper stickers on the edge of the shelf holding up the TVs over the bar, which was pretty cool, and I handed out a bunch more of my stickers to people. It’s always cool when people recognize me from the site too, especially since you can’t really see my face on there since I’ve got corpse paint on. After a couple more bands played it was time to check out the final act of the night, Hatred.
Hatred has been playing the DC area since the early 90s. They’re a sort of old school thrashy death metal band. They were pretty fun to watch, as usual. Most of the people in the bar area moved out to see them play too, which was cool. It was nice to see people had stuck around to watch them. They played songs from most of their back catalog, not just stuff from their 2009 album Burning Paradise. At one point during the set they switched bass players, I’m not sure what happened there but that was kind of strange. The second guy sure had a lot more stage presence, as evidenced in the videos I posted below. They played a rather long set and the people there were chanting for them to come back after the last song was played. I don’t know if it was scheduled or not, the set list didn’t mention it, but they came back to play a final song that ended around 1am. That wrapped up the first Blood & Fire Festival, which I have to say was a pretty fun experience. I don’t know if anyone ever claimed the ticket raffle prizes (the winning ticket numbers were 55 and 57) and I didn’t even know there was a raffle until Apothys announced they were picking the winners on stage. They did have some of the coolest concert tickets I’ve ever seen, much nicer than the generic blue & white from Ticketmaster. They were black and red with flames and shit, pretty metal. There were certainly sound problems throughout the event, and the curfew thing was strange, but in all it was nice to see a bunch of local bands take some initiative and get together like this. I know Apothys had a big hand in organizing it, I’m hoping they put another one together in the future, just maybe not as far away as Fredericksburg next time. With that, I leave you with the videos I shot at the concert, the first is Orgy Of The Damned, the next two are Apothys and the rest are Hatred. Enjoy!