Metal and Beer collide!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but lately the worlds of craft beer and heavy metal have really been colliding, even more than they usually do. Last week the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) was held in DC. It’s a multi-day conference that is held in a different city each year and this year DC hosted it at the convention center. Craft brewers from around the country attend to take seminars and learn about new techniques and equipment they can brew with, as well as learn about how to better market their beer and other things like that. That’s great if you’re a brewer but for the rest of us CBC coming to town means a ton of side-events at bars and breweries in the area as our city hosts all these out of town brewers. Many breweries brought beers that normally aren’t distributed in our area but thanks to DC’s awesome beer distribution laws they can be sold in DC during the festival. That’s why so many bars had tap take overs from out of area breweries last week and so many of the specialty beer stores had beers from breweries that we never usually see around here.

Aside from exotic beers at Churchkey, Meridian Pint, Jack Rose and other places with CBC related events, there were a couple of metal shows during CBC week as well. DC Brau’s 6th anniversary happened to be during CBC week so they put together a one off show with Baroness at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, April 12th. The band put on a great performance and played many old songs since 2017 is the 10th anniversary of their first album. I had a photo pass and got to take a few shots right up front and you can see them below. Click here to see the full set on Flickr. I even made a couple into animated gifs!

John Baizley of Baroness at the 9:30 Club

John Baizley of Baroness at the 9:30 Club

Pete Adams of Baroness at the 9:30 Club

Baroness at the 9:30 Club

John Baizley of Baroness at the 9:30 Club

The following night, Thursday the 13th of April, I put on another metal night with my partner in crime Brewer Will over at Atlas Brew Works. We had live metal bands, concert ticket give aways, a lot of great beer and a ton of fellow metal heads in attendance. The Denver based black metal themed brewery Trve had three guest beers on tap and Atlas had some of their most “metal” brews pouring as well including The Emprosator, a doppelbock named for a Russian Circles album, HaSaWoDo, a saison named after the Bongripper album Hail Satan Worship Doom, and their collaboration with Champion Brewing made for Decibel Magazine, the Decibeer DIPA. Lots of brewers from outside the area (in town for CBC of course) stopped by including the gang from Metal Monkey Brewing in Chicago and Jester King in Austin. Lord, Cavern and headliner King Giant all put on excellent performances and you can catch a bit of each of their sets, and hear the guys in Lord and King Giant talk about their gear and rigs, in the below video that Guitar Guru Network posted on YouTube, shot entirely at the event. If you just want to see to the parts of the video with the bands performing live then skip to when Lord starts at 16:20, Cavern at 24:11 and King Giant at 46:25.

When CBC ended the beer and metal collision continued! On Monday, April 17th, another metal show came to Atlas Brew Works. Canadian black metal band Thantifaxath headlined the venue with local support by Myopic and Sickdeer. After talking to one of the mysterious and anonymous members of the band, I came to find out that he was also a beer brewer by trade! It was a really good turn out for a Monday night and Thantifaxath put on a hell of a show too. Below is a short clip I shot of them at the show.

Had to get some footage of Thantifaxath playing The Bright White Nothing at the End of the Tunnel.

A post shared by Metal Chris (@dcmetalchris) on

However the biggest beer and metal event ever held is going to be in Philadelphia this weekend when Decibel Magazine holds their first ever Metal & Beer Fest! This isn’t just a fest with some metal bands and some random breweries, Decibel has done a really good job of finding metal bands with ties to beer and breweries with ties to metal for this festival. For instance you’ll notice Khemmis is on the bill. Their drummer, Zach Coleman, is a brewer at Trve, which also happens to be a brewery pouring at the fest. Then there’s Panopticon on the bill, a band that masterfully blends black metal with bluegrass and has only ever played live once before. The band’s sole member, Austin Lunn, is also a brewer at Hammerheart Brewing in Minnesota, which is named after the classic 1990 album by Bathory. Municipal Waste is also on the bill and their drummer, Dave Witte, while not a brewer does find employment at the Ardent Craft Ales brewery in Richmond. Cigar City Brewing will be at the fest pouring their beer Divine Blasphemer, a smoked porter named after a Municipal Waste song.

There will be plenty of other beers with tie ins to metal at this festival as well. DC’s own Atlas is bringing HaSaWoDo, the aforementioned Bongripper tied in beer. Three Floyds, a brewery that has made official beers for many metal bands including Amon Amarth, Municipal Waste, Cannibal Corpse and Obituary, will be bringing their Permanent Funeral pale ale, named for a song by Pig Destroyer. Burnt Hickory Brewery will have their beer Charred Walls Of The Damned with them, named after the metal super group of the same name. Mikkeller, a brewery from Denmark, will have their Mother Puncher beer with them, named after a song by Mastodon. Trve is bringing their Nazareth IPA, named after the lyric from the Sleep song “Jerusalem.” Dave Mustaine of Megadeth will be at the fest on Saturday pouring his A Tout Le Monde beer from Unibroue (specifically from 5pm to 6:30 and 8:45 to 10). As you’ll notice some of these bands, like Sleep, Municipal Waste and Pig Destroyer, are actually playing the fest! Along with the bands like Khemmis and Panopticon that actually have brewers in them, this fest really is something special. It’s not a metal fest with lots of beer. It’s not a craft beer fest with some bands playing. It truly is a beer AND metal fest. To say I’m excited is an understatement, this is a festival for my two favorite things! I’ll be attending the fest with a press pass so check back for my coverage after I recover from what I can only imagine will be the bangover of a lifetime. This is all thanks to Adem Tepedelen, the guy who writes the excellent column Brewtal Truth in Decibel that covers the intersection of beer and metal. He is one of the first to focus on the relationship between beer and heavy metal music and without him this fest would probably never have been conceived in the first place.

If you can’t make the fest don’t worry! There’s still a lot of metal and beer tie ins to come. DC Brau has announced that they’ll be brewing another batch of their Savor The Swill beer, brewed with the guys in local band Darkest Hour (and named after the DH song “Savor The Kill”) that will be re-released this summer, including at the Darkest Hour concert at the Rock & Roll Hotel on July 14th (details here). Also, Thou and Cloud Rat are playing a show at Atlas Brew Works on June 26th (details here). I’m not sure what else is to come but as the worlds of metal and beer become more intertwined you can bet on one thing: metal heads that are craft beer lovers have a lot of good things to look forward to!

Baroness ticket give away

Baroness at the 9:30 Club

DC Brau is turning 6 this month and to celebrate they’re bringing Baroness to the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, April 12th! Not only is DC Brau one of my favorite local breweries but they’ve also got great taste when it comes to music! To help them celebrate we’re going give away not one but TWO pairs of tickets to this show to the readers of DCHM. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Baroness song is (you can see their discography here if you need help). Then this Thursday, April 6th, at 5pm EST two winners will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. Each winner will receive a pair of tickets to this awesome show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for $30 here.

Baroness is a band that puts out chromatically themed albums that are consistently full of great riffs. In 2012 they suffered a terrible bus crash while on tour in Europe and several of the band members were injured. Despite this the band has continued on and still puts out great music, not to mention their killer live performances. They were even nominated for a Grammy in the best metal performance category this year. This is a one off show that is not part of a tour and Baroness has no other shows this Spring. Openers Trans Am are a DC based band formed in the early 90s. They’ve changed styles many times over the years, once harDCore, once synth based, sometimes instrumental, but they’ve always kept things fresh with a high level of experimentation. Now check out these videos below and leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Baroness song is!

Baroness – Shock Me

Trans Am – Anthropocene

Sunn O))) ticket give away

Sunn O))) at the 9:30 Club

Sunn O))) (pronounced “sun”) is coming to the 9:30 Club on Sunday, March 12th, 2017 and we’re so excited to see the kings of drone metal play there that we’re giving away a pair of tickets to this very show! The band is named after the Sunn brand of guitar amps and as you might expect their live shows are very loud. So to enter this contest leave a comment on this post telling me what the loudest concert you’ve ever been to was. Just the band name and venue with at least an estimate of the date is ok, I don’t need the exact date if you don’t remember it. At 5pm EST this Friday, March 3rd, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the pair of tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for $35 here.

One of the things I’ve always loved about metal is how much diversity there is in the genre. People often think of ultra fast blast beats and masterfully technical guitar solos as defining aspects of heavy metal but Sunn O))) is on quite the other end of the spectrum. The band is known for playing incredibly slow, so slow it’s hard to say there are even any riffs in their music at all. The slow tempo combined with a very loud sound will literally let you feel the music and it will crush you in a completely different kind of way than those blazingly fast bands do. Be sure to bring and wear ear plugs, I witnessed a bottle of liquor vibrate off the shelf behind the bar and shatter when they played at the Black Cat in 2012. Continuing with the confusing band name punctuation theme is the opening act Big ‡ Brave. They’re a post-rock band from Montreal who are also on the Southern Lord record label. Now check out these videos below and let me know what the loudest concert you’ve ever been to was!

Sunn O))) – Kannon 1 Ones

Big ‡ Brave – Look At How The World Has Made A Change

Gwar ticket give away

Gwar at the 9:30 Club

Is there anything more in the Halloween spirit than witnessing those Antarctic alien scumdogs known as Gwar lay waste to the legendary 9:30 Club? This Sunday on Halloween Eve (that’s Sunday, October 30th), Gwar will be performing at the 9:30 Club and to get you all in the spirit of the season we’re giving away a pair of tickets to this very show! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Halloween and/or horror movie is. At 5pm EST this Friday, October 28th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for $25 here.

Gwar is always a fun show to see live and there’s no better way to cap off your Halloween weekend than being recruited into Gwar’s slave pit! But they’re not the only band on this bill; local melo death legends Darkest Hour will be playing this hometown show as well and you know they always go a bit extra hard when they play in DC. Opening the show is a band known as Mutoid Man which features members of Cave In, Converge, All Pigs Must Die and Bröhammer. Now check out these videos of the bands playing and let me know what movies I should watch this weekend, errr I mean, what your favorite Halloween and/or horror flick is!

Gwar – Let Us Slay

Darkest Hour – Convalescence

Mutoid Man – Bridgeburner

Sleep ticket give away

Sleep at the 9:30 Club

We promised two great contests this week and now here’s the second one! The masters of stoner metal riffage, Sleep, are going to be making a rare appearance in Washington DC on Sunday, June 26th at the 9:30 Club and you don’t want to miss it! We’re going to give one of you lucky DCHM readers the chance to win a free pair of tickets to this sure to sell out show. To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite stoner band of all time is. At 5pm EST on Monday, April 4th, 2016, the contest will end I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for just $30 here.

Sleep is known for their incredible ability to summon a very Black Sabbath vibe through some of the fuzziest stoner riffs out there! Guitarist Matt Pike spends most of his time in High On Fire these days and this Sleep “tour” only includes 7 North American dates, so getting to see Sleep in DC is a rare thing indeed, something that hasn’t happened in a decade. The the opener for this show is a perfect choice! Richmond based Windhand play some of the catchiest slow riffs in the modern doom metal world which blend perfectly with vocalist Dorthia Cottrell’s haunting voice. Now check out these videos of the bands below while you tell me in the comments what your favorite stoner band is!

Sleep – Dragonaut

Windhand – Orchard

Napalm Death and Melvins ticket give away

Napalm Death and the Melvins at the 9:30 Club

Since we had so many entries in our DC Brau 5th Anniversary concert contest last week, and we really wanted everyone to win, this week we’re doubling down on ticket give aways. First up we’ve got tickets to see Napalm Death and the Melvins at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, April 12th, 2016! If you want tickets to this epic show (and I know you do) then you need to enter by leaving a comment on this post telling me which band on the bill you’re the most excited to see (and don’t forget Melt-Banana is playing too!). At 5pm EST on Monday, April 4th, 2016, the contest will end I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for just $30 here.

Napalm Death is one of the fathers of grind but what is most amazing about their career is that they keep putting out incredible records after 30+ years! Seriously, try to think of another band that has putting out that high quality of material after that much time, it’s not easy! Oh wait, I just thought of one, the Melvins! The genre defying masters of the bizarre and experimental seem to be able to change their style at will while still keeping that “Melvins” sound. Melt-Banana is an experimental Japanese band that rides the line somewhere between grind, noise, rock, electronica and pop. Every band on this bill is truly unique and it should make for a night to remember! Plus, when the hell else are you going to see Napalm Death play on a stage that is as big (and sounds as good) as at the 9:30 Club? Now check out these videos by all three bands on the bill and tell me in the comments which one you want to see the most!

Napalm Death – How The Years Condemn

Melvins – Honey Bucket

Melt-Banana – The Hive

Graveyard ticket give away

Graveyard at 9:30 Club

On Friday, February 12th, the 9:30 Club is going to be invaded by Swedish rockers Graveyard. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, we’re going to give away a pair of tickets to the show to one of you lucky DCHM readers to get your Valentine’s Day weekend started off right! To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me what the best show you’ve ever seen at the 9:30 Club is! Please include details, I’m going to enjoy these. If you haven’t ever been to the 9:30 Club you can just say that you hope Graveyard will be the best! At 5pm EST on Friday, February 5th, 2016, the contest will end I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. Please note that this is an early show, doors open at 6pm, so if you can’t get there in time please don’t enter. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for just $25 here.

Graveyard plays a very catchy blues influenced style of hard rock than any fan of the heavy can enjoy. If you haven’t checked out their modern classic album Hisingen Blues I highly suggest it as a great starting point for getting into the band. Their latest album, Innocence & Decadence is pretty damn good too. And while Graveyard has played in Washington DC before, never have they played in the District on a stage with the size and sound set up like the 9:30 Club’s. The opening act is Spiders, a rock band also from Gothenburg, Sweden, that was formed as a side project of Graveyard drummer Axel Sjöberg though they have now come into their own. Now check out these great videos by the bands below and let me know what was your favorite show ever at the 9:30 Club!

Graveyard – Hisingen Blues

Graveyard – The Apple And The Tree

Spiders – Mad Dog