Review of Loculus gig at Jaxx

Ashburn, Virginia based Loculus headlined a local metal night with openers Above The Altar and Apothys at Jaxx on Saturday the 20th of November 2010 and it was pretty damn awesome. This was the release party show for Loculus’ new EP, Sinew, which they were giving away copies of for free to everyone in attendance. Not only that, but it was a great showing of the local death metal community. There was a great turn out for such a late show with no national headliner and hell, I’ve been to Jaxx plenty of times to see touring bands with far less people in attendance. I’d never been to one of these “late” shows at Jaxx before, where they have one concert going on earlier in the afternoon/evening and another later that night, and this one seemed a bit disorganized, though that was no fault of the bands involved. Apparently the earlier show got out late, and while the first band of the late show was supposed to go on at 10:30, they didn’t hit the stage until 11:30. I talked to a few members of the bands playing after I got there and they not only had no idea when their sets would start, they didn’t even know how long they would be allowed to play if at all! Though once the bands did start playing, the show really was worth the wait.

By the time Apothys hit the stage you could tell the crowd was starting to get restless. Originally the band Shotgun Surgery was supposed to play, but they had to cancel and were replaced on the bill by Apothys a week or two before the concert. Apothys always seems to put on a good show live and this time was no exception. They kept the crowd fired up the entire set and the band looked like they were having as much fun up there as anyone in attendance. I noticed that they didn’t play Of Writhing Eyes, a killer song which they have been closing shows with the last couple of times I have seen them. I wonder if that was due to time constraints because the show was running so late. I had just seen them the previous Monday at So Addictive (my review of that concert is here) and while that show was kind of cool for it’s lack of a stage so the band really mingled with the audience, it was nice to see them up on a proper stage with decent lighting again. Sadly the camera I shoot video with had its SD card take a shit and the video I took of them playing Terminus at this show has some error that makes the file unplayable. I didn’t know this until I got home that night and the card also lost one of the videos I shot of the headliner, Loculus. Sucks but what can ya do?

The next band to play, Above The Altar, is a death metal band from Loudon with a lot of thrashy elements and even a few breakdowns giving them a sort of ‘core element to their sound. I had never seen them play before, but they were a good addition to the night’s line up, putting a bit of variation (but not too much) between the two other more standard death metal bands in the line up. Their songs were pretty well put together though they didn’t really grab me too much. Maybe if I was familiar with some of their material beforehand I’d have been a bit more into it. Their lead singer, Toby Gomez, was pretty entertaining with his banter between songs and he helped to keep the mood light between the heavy songs. By the time they ended their set it was getting late though and I was wondering how much time the headliner would have to play.

The next band to hit the stage was Loclus and it was already after 1am when they started playing! They had a big, professional banner with their logo and some artwork up behind the stage that must have cost a bit of money to have made. It was pretty cool looking though. Their guitarist, Steve Miller, had given me their demo a few months back that I really enjoyed, but I still hadn’t had a chance to catch them live yet. I’m glad I made it to this one as they were really on fire. You can tell they had put a lot of work into getting this show together and when they hit the stage it really paid off! They took the stage and really played a no-nonsense very tight set. This was some fast, brutal death metal and Loculus really killed it on the stage here. They were well practiced and they executed their material very well (from what I could tell at least). The drums were pummeling, the guitars were furious and the vocals were out of control. They didn’t talk much between songs, I’d guess that was partially due to the fact that time was becoming an issue this night. However, they did pause at one point to tell everyone to pick up a free copy of the four song EP they were releasing. The mosh pit was going strong the whole set and I think everyone in the room could feel the intensity of their performance. The worst part was that it was so short, they only played five songs, though I think if it was any longer they’d have run out of time for the venue to be open.

It was a great show, and while it wasn’t the first for Loculus it had a sort of debut feeling to it. If you were there and didn’t get a copy of Sinew for some reason, the band has said you can bring your ticket stub to their next concert (date and venue still to be determined as of this post’s writing) and they’ll give you a copy. It was great to see so many people come crawling out of the woodwork to a late gig for local death metal acts. It sort of reminded me of that first State Theatre metal show (my review of that is here) back in August where it was also cool to see how many people came out in support. These kinds of concerts, plus the Blood & Fire Fest, various weekly and monthly metal gigs starting at venues around the area, and the willingness of more and more local venues to host metal concerts are showing this scene really start to come together! I’m glad so many people came out, and glad Loculus not only set this show up, but really killed it Saturday night when everyone was watching to show people this isn’t all just hype. Metal in the greater DC area is on the rise! Now check out the videos from the night that my SD card didn’t corrupt below, and be sure to check back later in the week for my review of Sunday night’s Dying Fetus and Cannibal Corpse as well as the re-opening (finally) of the Downloads page on the site that will have free mp3 downloads of over 20 different local metal bands of various sub-genres.

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