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 DCHeavyMetal.com, 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: