It’s been a little while since I wrote a proper concert review but last weekend I saw a great, mostly local, metal show at the Velvet Lounge. The Velvet Lounge is located in the heart of DC U Street corridor, just around the corner from the 9:30 Club. It’s a much smaller venue though, catering to mostly DIY shows in its tiny, upstairs stage area. Unfortunately the bar upstairs was serving as the merch booth this night so if you wanted a drink you had to awkwardly find your way to the downstairs bar through a maze of buzzed DC socialites grinding on each other to some of the most mind numbing techno music I’ve ever heard. Back upstairs were piles of gear covering a good portion of the floor space. I’ve been to the Velvet Lounge many times but I’ve never seen so much gear squeezed in the upstairs level before, not to mention all the amps stacked on stage. Marshall, Orange, Sunn, you could tell this was going to be a loud night the second you looked at the stage. Anyone can be loud but were the bands any good?
The first band to play was Thrain, a new black metal three piece featuring two guitar players and no bass guitar. The guys in the band are friends of mine so I’ve tried to catch most of their shows. That said, I thought this was their best performance to date. New bands can take some time to gel and find their direction and while I don’t think they’ve completely finished that process, they’re definitely headed in the right direction. Plus they just have some damn cool riffs in those songs. Thrain is definitely a band to keep an eye on.
The second band of the night was Hush from Albany, New York. They’re a sludgy doom metal band with harsh vocals that sounded more hardcore than metal. The band was pretty good overall though the vocals became a bit monotonous after a while, they didn’t have a lot of variation to them. Also, some members of the band, including the vocalist, faced backwards the entire show. I’m not sure who enjoys it when bands do this, it makes the show seem more like a practice than a performance. Still, their sound was thunderous and crushing and I really enjoyed the instrumentation of the band.
The next band up was Fortress, a band that has become a local favorite of mine, if you consider Hagerstown, Maryland local at least. They are probably the loudest band in the area but they back it up with incredibly heavy doom riffs. When these guys play you take notice! The three piece performed some new songs at this show that fit right in with the material from their demo (download it for free here). The maniacal stares from vocalist/guitarist Chaz Campbell only add to a performance that will leave you feeling like you just lived through an earthquake. This was definitely my favorite set of the night.
The final band of the night is Northern Virginia based doom metal band The Osedax. They weren’t as loud as the previous band, and the addition of keyboards makes them sound a bit different than most doom bands. They are quite atmospheric in fact and you can get caught up in their hypnotizing longer songs. The band does a great job of building up and releasing tension. Out of all the great bands this night The Osedax were probably the best at working as a unit, each member knows their role and they trade off with each other seamlessly.
In all it was a great show, four excellent bands for just $8 is a hard deal to beat, especially in the expensive U Street area of DC. This show was my pick for Metal Show Of The Week last week and it lived up to it. Be sure to check out the photos of each of the bands below. Thanks for reading everyone and remember, get out to see some metal bands and support the scene you’re a part of!
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