Recap of King Giant gig at the State Theatre

Saturday the 29th of January 2011 was a big night for metal at the State Theatre. On that night they hosted their first metal show that wasn’t part of the Mandatory Metal series. King Giant headlined the show and it was pretty awesome. The band was joined by The Crimson Electric from Virginia Beach, Throwdown Syndicate from DC and Death Penalty from Falls Church. There was a good sized audience and even a few special appearances on the stage by some noteworthy members of the area’s metal scene. I’ve been to all the metal shows at the State Theatre and this was probably the most fun for me, though really I have enjoyed them all. Here’s my recap of what went down that night, band by band, with some of my photographs throughout as well as all my videos of the night embedded at the bottom of this post.

The first band to play was Death Penalty. They’re a thrash band with a big 80’s era influence, which was pretty obvious when they did covers of Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden. Apparently they don’t usually cover so many songs, but they’ve had line up issues of late that necessitated them for this show. Matt Aub, the singer/guitarist from Timelord came out on stage and sang with them for The Trooper. I’ve got video of that below but for some reason my camera cut it off about 3 and a half minutes in. They played a few original songs too, and their thrashing energy made for a good opener to get the audience into a metal show. Death Penalty has posted the audio from this show on their Facebook page here (it’s in the column on the left in the “music player” section).

The next band up was Washington DC’s Throwdown Syndicate. They are a three piece band that describes themselves as “ghetto metal” and vocally has a lot of rap and hip hop elements. Now before you start thinking of those 90s era rap metal bands, they weren’t like that. More like a hard core metal band with a street style rap and vocal patterns. I’m really not knowledgeable enough of that genre to get more descriptive than that though. Rap has never really been my thing but I can see there being an audience for this. I could see them sharing a bill with Magrudergrind, another DC metal band who uses hip hop influences. I think people in the audience were a bit mixed, probably reflecting their like or dislike of rap more than of the band itself. Still, they did have a heavy sound and I could hear a bit of that Bad Brains style DC hardcore sound in there.

The Crimson Electric was the next band to hit the stage. They came up from Virginia Beach and had played a show with King Giant the night before in Richmond. I’d never seen them before and didn’t really know much about them other than they were a stoner band of some sort. They put on a good show and I really enjoyed them. The singer wandered around on the stage a bit, but always seemed to hold my attention. The band seemed very laid back and relaxed on stage, almost like you were catching them at a normal band practice except they were on the State’s big stage with great lighting and all these people watching them. Though the singing is much less coarse, the band is really a great pairing of stoner/doom to go along with the headliner, King Giant. They also have posted a bunch of their music for free download here. Go get some of that, it’s definitely worth it!

By the time King Giant hit the stage the venue was getting pretty full. They’re always a fun band to see live, and while they didn’t play Burning Regrets at all (a personal favorite of mine) they did play a new song to start the show off. They played another great set of their southern doom metal and the audience response seemed to be great, they got lots of applause and cheers after every song. On stage they mentioned Jon, the contest winner from, as they introduced their final song of the night. He asked them to play Needle And The Spoon, a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover that is a bonus track on their full length album. They surprised me and just about everyone in attendance when they brought out Victor Griffin of Pentagram to play a third guitar for that song (I’ve got video of that below, must see!) and even had him play a solo too. That song was by far the highlight of the night, and a great way to cap an excellent performance and dammit, that was just a great DC metal moment. If you haven’t seen these guy play live yet, you really need to get off your ass and check them out.

As always you can find more of my concert photography on my Flickr page with shots from this and tons of other metal concerts. And I don’t know if the turn out for this concert was the reason why or not, but the State Theatre put up on their Twitter page that they will in fact NOT be canceling their local metal shows. You can see that post here. I’ll keep you all posted as to any future events for that of course, and hopefully will have some more contests too. For now, check out the videos I shot at this awesome show:

King Giant Contest

Sadly, the Mandatory Metal shows at the State Theatre have ended, but in their wake comes the first heavy metal show that wasn’t part of the Mandatory series to be booked at the historic venue in Falls Church, Virginia. That’s right, on Saturday the 29th of January 2011 Arlington’s southern stoner metal band King Giant will be headlining a killer line up at the State Theatre. Also playing at this concert will be stoner rock band The Crimson Electric coming up from Virginia Beach, as well as DC’s ghetto metal act Throwdown Syndicate and Falls Church’s own thrash band Death Penalty.

To celebrate this milestone for metal at the State Theatre, King Giant, Death Penalty and have teamed up to give one lucky fan an awesome prize pack. The winner will get a copy of both of King Giant’s CDs, a Death Penalty men’s XL t-shirt (or girlie shirt in different size if preferred) and a free pair of tickets to the concert. All you have to do is pick one song you want to hear King Giant play during their set at the concert. Just leave a comment below with a single song title before Saturday the 22nd of January at noon EST, which is when the contest will end. Be sure to use a valid email that you check regularly when you post your comment as that is what I will use to contact the winner (you don’t have to put your email in the comment itself though, and I promise I won’t spam anyone). The guys in King Giant will pick a song to play from those in the comments below and the person who picked it will win the prize package! If multiple people pick the winning song, one of them will be selected at random to win the prize. Multiple entries will be disqualified, so don’t be a jerk and enter multiple times. Since this concert is ages 18+ only, you must be 18 to win the prize. If for some reason you don’t know any of King Giant’s songs, check them out on Bandcamp (here) to download and/or stream their latest album, Southern Darkness, and come back to pick your favorite song in the comments below. If you’d just like to go ahead and buy tickets, you can get them online from the State Theatre here for $10 each. Good luck everyone, I can’t wait to see which song the band picks. And in case you haven’t seen it yet, check out the awesome video for King Giant’s song 13 To 1 below.

UPDATE: The band has spoken and has decided to play commenter Jon’s song choice, Needle And The Spoon, a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover that is a bonus track off their album Southern Darkness. Jon wins the prize pack and in addition to having his choice of song played at the show on Saturday, he has won a pair of tickets to the show, a copy of both King Giant CDs, Southern Darkness and Identity, and the Death Penalty shirt as well. Congrats Jon, I’ll see you Saturday at the show! And for those of you who didn’t win, you can still get tickets at the State Theatre box office or online here (just $10 before the day of the show). Thanks everyone and keep checking back for more contests here on, including ticket give aways for Darkest Hour as well as Apocalyptica that will be posted on the site soon!

Notes from Metal Monday

This isn’t a full review of the Metal Monday show on 10 January 2011, but a quick recap of the night.

The show was supposed to start at 8 but didn’t start til after 9pm. Lunar Frost dropped off the bill and was replaced by Akris. The BCS football championship was on the TVs that night too, Auburn beat Oregon.

The first band up was a black metal band from Chantilly named Dragon Wing Begonia. They weren’t bad, though some of their songs were a bit too long. I did enjoy them though. No bass player, but they had a stuffed purple dragon on the mic stand, wtf? They were giving away copies of their demo and I should have those posted to the Downloads section soon.

The next band was Croatoan, who I’d seen at the State Theatre back in August. I enjoyed this set a lot more. Their State show seemed a bit too eclectic of a mix of styles, they seemed more focused this time around. They said they’d be recording their first demo in February, and I’m looking forward to that.

Putrid Servant played after them, a black metal band from Baltimore with ex-members of Corporeal. I’d been meaning to catch them for a while and they were the main reason I came out this night. They didn’t disappoint, I really enjoyed their dissonant set and was happy to finally see them. I’d have bought a shirt or something afterwards but they didn’t have any merch with them.

Wolfnuke is a blackened thrash band from Gaithersburg, Maryland. They brought out some big stacks of amps and really wowed the crowd with their relentless energy and shredding riffage. I’d never heard of them before but I hope they play around here again soon, they were really fun live and impressed everyone in attendance. I definitely recommend see them if you get a chance.

Akris was the final band, but they didn’t start setting up until well after midnight and I was already yawning looking at a 45 minute drive home. I should have stayed though because 495 was shut down for construction and I sat in park for 30 minutes there, so annoying. Really wished I had stayed for Akris after that. Hopefully they’ll play again soon because I’d like to see them.

A fun night for $5 and it’s always nice seeing some of the random people from the local metal scene who show up at So Addictive for Metal Mondays there. I shot some video, all of which is horribly dark, but should give you a chance to at least hear three of the above mentioned bands.

Review of Ilsa gig at Hole In The Sky

Sunday night, the 9th of January, I got to see my first metal show of 2011. The show was local death/doom band Ilsa playing with the lo-fi doom duo Olde Growth from Boston. There was another opening act, a new local band named Spirals but I didn’t get there in time to see them. I’d never been to this DIY venue in DC, Hole In The Sky, which just started hosting concerts in June of 2010. They seem to get more shows that are punk and hardcore, but they do get some metal too. Ilsa is a band that seems to bring metal to people who aren’t really the typical metal head. The audience was different than what you’d see at a typical Jaxx show, but a fan of metal is a friend of mine. The set up was interesting, you have to walk down an alley to find the front door which is rather nondescript, a small wooden sign above it lets you know you’ve found the right place. You go up a dark flight of stairs and open another door and you’re in what is basically the large common area of an apartment. Instead of a lot of furniture, they’ve got a nice open space set up in the corner for bands to play. The walls are covered in spray paint and other designs, and there’s a corner with a place to hang bicycles. They also have an outdoor rooftop that people can smoke on, but I didn’t spend a lot of time out there cause it was cold as shit. It’s probably much nicer in the summer though. There were a couple of the local neighborhood kids who had wandered in and were running around underfoot for a bit, even playing with some of the instruments between bands. A small table with merch was set up too. Someone came around asking for $5 donations to the show, but the exchange was very friendly. The place was pretty welcoming really, and while I didn’t really know anyone there, I did find a few people to strike up conversations with.

The first band to play was named Spirals, but as I said before they had finished playing by the time I got there. Olde Growth was setting up when I walked in, and I didn’t really know anything about them. Usually at these DIY shows there’s at least one touring band, and a couple local acts to help draw people to the show. Most of the money collected goes to the touring bands, even though the local acts tend to get the better draw. This might seem unfair, but ideally they are trying to help pay for those bands to tour, so people can see bands they wouldn’t normally get to, and ideally the local bands will be able to use the same network when they want to play in other cities. This show was no different, and since I didn’t know anything about Olde Growth other than what the flyer stated I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wouldn’t call them the best band I’ve ever seen but they were worth getting there early enough to watch. They are a very bassy doom duo. Their songs weren’t overly complex, but they did have a sort of epic feel to them. They really brought the tempo down to a crawl but still managed to bring things back up. The set seemed really short though, maybe the songs were long so it seemed that way, but I think they only played about four songs total. Still, it was a pretty entertaining set and they were a good act to play with Ilsa.

Ilsa was playing last, and they were the main reason I was there, and you could tell by the size of the audience that I wasn’t the only one with that sentiment. I’d been meaning to catch them for a while, glad I finally got a chance to. They’re called a death/doom metal band, but I think they’re more on the doom side of that with some sludge in there too. Whatever they are, they’re really heavy. They’ve made a name for themselves in the local DC scene, though they seem to be known more in the world of local hardcore fans than the typical metal circles. I think that’s starting to change as their latest album, Tutti il Colori del Buio, is starting to get noticed, and for good reason. The show was a bit different than their studio work. The songs are a bit dirtier sounding, and a bit more energetic live. The cleaner studio production gives way to a more raw vibe, and honestly I thought it was great. Plus really feeling that heavy distortion shake through you is just something ya don’t get from a recording. I enjoyed the songs that I recognized as well as the older material from their first album, which I don’t know. And while half the band had their backs to the audience most of the show, the crowd seemed pretty mesmerized by the performance. Really it’s not so much about the band’s stage presence as the sheer crushing sound they produce. Ilsa finished their set but they were talked into playing another song before calling it a night, which was pretty cool of them. It was a good show and I’m glad I made it out to see them play. They’re a great local metal act and I can’t wait to see them again, it was a hell of a lot of fun. If you haven’t seen them yet you should, they’re quickly becoming one of DC’s must see acts. I did get a few videos, posted below, one of Olde Growth and three of Ilsa, but they’re all pretty dark. The audio is decent, but Charred Resistors should have the audio from the entire show posted soon. I’ve got more pics on my Flickr page too. It was a great way to start off my year of metal concerts, a cool local act I’ve been meaning to check out in a venue I’ve never been to before. Lets hope the rest of 2011 is as fun.