Venue Changes Around The Area

There’s been a lot going on at several concert venues in the area recently. The biggest story is probably that the Fillmore will be opening on September 15th in Silver Spring, Maryland. The original Fillmore is in San Francisco and during the 60’s helped spawn many of the era’s biggest hippy bands, such as the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. Now there are several Fillmores around the country and it’s the DC area’s turn to get one. The Silver Spring location is a two level 2,000 person capacity venue. For comparison the 9:30 Club holds around 1,200. The first concert there is Mary J. Blige on September 15th, but the first metal show will be on Friday, September 23rd with Bring Me The Horizon. There are more metal shows coming as well, including Yngwie Malmsteen and Between The Buried And Me with Animals As Leaders. The venue is located inside what used to be a JC Penny and is run by Live Nation (who have merged with Ticketmaster) who also runs Jiffy Lube Live. I am excited to check out this brand new venue in the suburbs of DC and hopefully they’ll get even more metal concerts in the future.

Another big change happening in the area is the management of Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, Virginia. The venue has been run by Jay Nedry since June 1994 but he has decided to sell Jaxx to Jason Malhoyt and Jeff Cohen of Outerloop. They will run the day to day operations of the venue starting on January 1st of 2012 though Jay will still book several shows a month for them, mostly the glam/hair bands, death metal acts and various European black and power metal bands. You can read Jay’s statement about the sale here. You can already see some changes at the venue though, the new website design is an obvious one. Unfortunately the calendar is awful to navigate and opening local bands are often not listed on it either. The new logo and site layout does look nice though. Outerloop has also recently taken over Alley Katz in Richmond, Virginia and renamed it Kingdom. It is still closed right now, but it will be opening for the first time under the new management on October 8th when Periphery plays there. Both Jaxx and Alley Katz/Kingdom appear to be switching their ticket sales to a company called Amped & Alive, which also seems to have ties to Outerloop, though I’m not 100% sure what they are exactly.

Up in Baltimore you’ll see that Bourbon Street hasn’t been booking any more shows. The venue is apparently closing down, though the people running it appear to be moving to a new Baltimore venue named the Baltimore Soundstage. This new venue is in the inner harbor area and will hold 1,000 people. However, on select nights they’ll have seated shows that will hold 500 people. I think this is going to be a table setting similar to what you’d find at the State Theatre or the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse. There will also be a full menu with things like crab cakes as well as a full bar with wine, beer and liquor. The venue will open on Saturday, September 3rd when Milkman plays there, though the first metal show will be Devin Townsend and Anathema on Wednesday 12 October. The venue is going to sell its tickets through Ticket Fly, the same company that handles ticketing for the 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Aside from Bourbon Street, there have been a few venue closings and other problems of late with area venues. The Hexagon, a DIY space in Baltimore, closed on May 20th. Really it was more of an eviction and you can read their post about that here. So Addictive Lounge in Herndon, Virginia had long been holding Metal Monday local metal band spotlight shows every week before they decided they’d convert to being a gay bar seven days a week. However, the Metal Mondays are not entirely dead as the people behind them have been hosting various metal shows at the Old Firestation #3 (aka Firehouse Grill) in Fairfax City. Now you can see local talent as well as touring bands play there, and it’s still just $5 to get in. Hole In The Sky, a DIY venue in Northeast Washington DC, was shut down by police in the middle of a concert on February 16th. They’ve since done things like build a fire escape staircase to get up to code and have reopened, though they don’t seem to be hosting concerts very often and certainly not metal shows. Silver Spring, Maryland’s DIY space dubbed the Corpse Fortress has been condemned after 5 years of awesome shows. Everyone has to be out by October 1st but there will still be a final show there on September 24th. More info on why it is being shut down is here. This is a huge blow to the area’s DIY scene, metal or otherwise. It had just recently gotten a kick ass paint job in the basement where bands perform, which you can see here.

All is not lost though! There’s the Palace Of Wonders and The Red & The Black which have merged to form the Red Palace on H Street in Northeast DC. They get occasional metal shows, including a special free performance by Clutch that’s coming up on Monday the 29th of August. And while Sonar had a big problem with liquor licenses and almost shut down temporarily back in May (more on that here), it seems it was just a hiccup and they are back to running things as usual again now (although the lot across the street from venue is now metered and thus no longer free to park in). The Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring, Maryland seems to be getting more metal shows as well (Auroboros will be performing there this Sunday, the 28th of August for a matinee show at 2pm) and I’d expect to see more metal gigs get shifted there once Corpse Fortress is gone. There’s also a new DIY house venue that’s starting to host a few metal shows in Annandale, Virginia that is called the Cellar Door.

So there is a lot changing in the area’s venues and hopefully this article will help encourage some of you to get out to an extra concert or two that you might not have before. Remember, if you’re looking for info on any of these venues’ upcoming metal shows be sure to check out the DC Heavy Metal upcoming concert calendar here. If you want to know more about any of these venues, including their addresses, links to their website, Facebook page or Twitter, or even on how to book a show there check out the Venue page here.

Metal Marathon – The First 3 Days

Well it’s Tuesday the 8th as I write this, and I’ve been to four metal shows in the last three days. I saw two metal fests in Richmond on Saturday, the Virginia Extreme Metal Festival at the Canal Club and A Rockin Massacre at Alley Katz, both are just blocks away and I walked back and forth between them all day. Sunday I headed up to Bourbon Street to see Cradle Of Filth and Monday night I was at the Metal Mondays/La Noche De Metal weekly metal spotlight at So Addictive Lounge in Herndon, Virginia. With seven more concerts in the next six days (starting tonight!), I just don’t have the time now to do full reviews of these shows, but here’s some highlights of my metal adventures the past three days.

As I mentioned in my last post, my car is not sounding good and Monday morning I brought it to the mechanic for what is going to be at least a few days worth of work (ugh!). Because it has been sounding bad, I got myself a ride down to Richmond on Saturday with the very cool Clinton Eickelberg, the bass player of local thrash act Death Penalty. His band was playing the Rockin Massacre at Alley Katz that afternoon so we left early to get there in time for the bands to load in. Everyone seemed to get there a bit late due to traffic but I think everything started pretty much to schedule at Alley Katz at least. The first band of the day I wanted to see was Loculus. They’re a pretty sick death metal band from Northern Virginia and they were playing second at the Canal Club. Their drummer is the new drummer for the legendary Pentagram, and their bass player will be touring with Wretched this spring, but that’s not what makes them cool. Their brutal death metal assault on the ears is! They played a tight but short set and when they finished I found myself headed up the street to catch Death Penalty who were just starting. Their set was pretty much the same as when they played at the State Theatre with King Giant in January (my review of that is here), though this time when they played a cover of Iron Maiden‘s The Trooper they had Nina Osegueda of A Sound Of Thunder doing vocals with them. After they played I headed back down to the Canal Club and talked with a few people and watched a few random bands. The schedule for the Virginia Extreme Metal Fest was not the same order as they had posted, so it was a bit crazy catching the bands I wanted to see. I ended up missing Ethereal Genocide, who I wanted to see, but I got to check out Hatred again at least. Then I saw a band called Blood Tribe which was a sort of metalcore band I didn’t have much interest in. I headed back up to Alley Katz after that and watched the last few bands there, A Sound Of Thunder, Chopper Trike Rebels and Division. A Sound Of Thunder vocalist Nina had recently been in a car wreck and she did a pretty good job of hiding how sore she was, though it you’ve seen them before you could probably tell she was a bit less crazy on stage than usual. Their set wasn’t bad though I noticed they had to cut off a few songs from their setlist to keep the show on schedule. That kinda sucked cause I wanted to see them play My Name Is Doom but that song was axed. I ended up bumming a ride back to NoVA from their guitarist, Josh Schwartz, at the end of the night so a big thanks goes out to him on trusting that I wasn’t a serial killer. Yes, I went down to Richmond not knowing how I’d get back, haha. The Chopper Trike Rebels were up next and while their guitarist had some pretty cool custom guitars on display through their set, the sound mix was pretty shitty and you couldn’t hear them that well. They had a LOT of fog on stage, and their singer ran around and had good stage presence but unfortunately the mix was too poor for me to fairly judge their sound at all. The final band of the night was Division who actually had a pretty good mix. They really killed it and while a lot of people had gone home by the time they played, it was worth sticking around to catch them. They’re a great local band and Catherine Lewis of the Washington Post named their latest album one of the top five local metal releases of 2010 (link here). In all it was a great day for two metal fests, I just wish the promoters/venues had worked together to make everything more cohesive. After Josh gave me a ride back up to the area I was really tired, that was a long day and I still had 8 more days of metal shows ahead!

Sunday I again needed help getting a ride out of town to a show, this time to Bourbon Street in Baltimore to catch Cradle Of Filth. One of my followers on Twitter, Sarah aka @murrainofswains, decided that I probably wasn’t a crazy murderer and gave me a lift up to the show with her. Really awesome of her and she had some cool stories about seeing music festivals in other countries and working with Iraqis. Neither of us had been to this venue before, but it was pretty nice. More deep than wide, they had a great lighting system set up and the stage was really high too. When I got there the venue couldn’t find my photo pass until luckily someone I’d contacted weeks ago came into the will call booth and got me set up. He told me they were only allowing the photographers to shoot from the photo pit for the first two songs, but after the band’s opening song, Heaven Torn Asunder, they kicked us all out! Not sure what happened there, I think perhaps the bouncers didn’t know the band’s material at all and since Cradle has long songs, they assumed when the first ended it was actually two songs. The lighting wasn’t great for shooting though and I felt kind of rushed since I got up front just as the band was heading on stage. After watching a couple songs from the side of the stage I figured I’d shoot some video for you guys and headed back into the crowd a bit. Their set was really great, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Cradle Of Filth show these days. I am not really a fan of their more recent releases and I kind of expected them to play a lot of their newer material. I was pleasantly wrong though as they played a nice mix of tunes from all eras of the band, even a couple from the first album. I saw them last about ten years ago at the 9:30 Club and that show was really over the top, contortionists on stage and some girl doing acrobatics from these rings hanging over the stage. The whole thing was sort of a goth circus. This show they turned down the ridiculous a lot. No goofy side show shit on stage but they did have their normal uh, costumes on and corpse paint and such. Dani Filth has a short hair cut, which while not really metal, it’s better than fucking neon blue dreads and crap like that. His voice isn’t holding up and he couldn’t scream like he used to though. He isn’t able to sustain for as long that high pitched scream he’s known for, but that’s bound to happen with age. He did still scream a lot though and the show was really entertaining, especially because of their great set list.

Monday the 7th of March was day three of my nine day Metal Marathon and I found myself getting a ride out to So Addictive Lounge in Herndon, Virginia for the weekly local metal showcase there called La Noche De Metal. I got there a bit late and missed the first band, Wolventhrone, apparently a black metal act. Next up was the band I came out to see, Wolfnuke, who are a pretty kick ass blackened thrash act that just doesn’t slow down on the energy level. Check these guys out if you haven’t already, great stuff and even better live. They probably should have played last though as they seemed to have the largest audience of the night and the longest set too. After they played another black metal act was up, Xeukatre. They’re a very raw black metal band obviously drawing from the Darkthrone school of keeping it “trve”. Their show was VERY dark, only a strobing set of colored lights on stage lit the room, which they also filled with smoke. I took a few shots but nothing too great due to those conditions. I think they were wearing corpse paint, and their drummer may have been a woman, but it was so dark you couldn’t really tell any of that. They’re so kvlt that their lighting is so dark that you can’t see their theatrics, haha! The last band of the night was Palkoski. They were the only band not from Maryland this evening and they’re a pretty good grind act. They were formerly a band called The Seventh Gate but they have since changed their format to a grindcore concept band where the lead singer plays the persona of his alter ego, a fictitious serial killer named Frank Palkoski and their live show is supposed to be a sonic representation of that. While some grind can get pretty damn stale by the end of a set these guys always keep it entertaining and mix things up a bit throughout the set. They aren’t the kind of band that’s going to stage dive and have lots of breakdowns, they’re going to basically shred your face off in raging bursts of aggression. They also set up a table with free stuff for anyone to take, and I got what appears to be a previously used flask with a bumper sticker on it with a bunch of nekkid dudes bound in duct tape on it, haha! It was another great Metal Monday at So Addictive and I’m glad I got to see such great metal for just $5!

It’s been a crazy first three days and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this adventure goes. My car is totally MIA right now but I’m doing my damnedest to keep this metal marathon alive! If anyone wants to give me a ride to Baltimore on Thursday to see Atheist at Sonar that would be awesome, please don’t rob/kill me and I promise the same in return (and I don’t mind chipping in for gas or whatever). If you’d like to help me buy beer/gas/fix my car feel free to kick a couple bucks my way via Paypal here. I’ve made a set of pictures on Flickr of all the shots I’m taking during my Metal Marathon and you can see those here, more will be added as I go to more shows. I’ve posted one video by each band I’ve seen so far on my Metal Marathon below but you can see the rest on my YouTube page here, I particularly recommend checking out the Cradle Of Filth videos as I think they came out rather well. So it’s three days down, six more to go!

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 Metal Monday at So Addictive

So Addictive Lounge is a small venue out in Herndon, Virginia that’s been having a weekly Metal Monday showcasing mostly local metal bands. As such, I’ve heard a lot about this place since most of the local bands I try to follow seem to play there sooner or later. This evening, Monday the 15th of November 2010, they were having a free show so I figured I’d head out and catch the bands playing and finally get to check out the venue. So Addictive isn’t a very large venue, it’s really more of a bar with a small stage set up. The stage wasn’t large enough for anything besides the drum kits, so for all the bands playing everyone but the drummer was on the floor with the audience. It’s kind of cool because the audience is right there with the band while they play. The room got very dark, but that wasn’t bad considering the bands playing this night. The beer selection wasn’t good for a bar though, they had nothing on tap and their bottles were almost all yellow beers (they did have Guiness and Yeungling, but when I ordered one of the latter, it tasted so skunky I didn’t bother getting another). Also, this was the night the Washington Redskins were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football to the tune of 59 to 28, so the metal was a good way to become distracted from that disaster on the TVs in the bar.

The first band up was a band called Frank Palkoski, or Palkoski, or the Seventh Gate (or all of those?). I’m not really sure what they prefer to go by really but that’s not a big deal. I thought they were going to be a black metal band judging by their logo on the flyer and the other bands playing, but they were actually a three piece grind band more similar in sound to Pig Destroyer than any of the other bands playing that night. They cranked the fog machine up and really let loose with the intensity. They started the show off like a blaring alarm clock on a morning you don’t want to wake up, if that alarm clock was an air raid siren. Their sporadic bursts of raw energy were broken up by some cool guitar riffs and drum beats, often suddenly interrupted with screams of anger. It was entertaining and a good way to start off the show. They had some burned CDs of their material they were giving out in clear plastic Ziploc bags they’d placed on the floor in front of the mic stands and I made sure to pick one up. They also threw a couple of shirts to random people in the audience, which was cool.

The next band up was Archael, who I’d also never seen before. They are a standard black metal band heavily influenced by the early 90s Norwegian scene and they had some catchy riffs. The singer got a bit rowdy and jumped in the crowd a bit to mosh I guess, which was fine until he came over to the side and pushed me holding my camera. I put the camera away and grabbed a beer after that, I’m not trying to damage my gear. Regardless, they did have a lot of energy and the lead guitarist was getting people as excited about the music as the vocalist was. They’ve got their sound down pretty well, though they could use a bit more variation in the songs. They were good songs, but you can tell they are still growing as a band and I think once they change up the formula a bit they’ll have a really interesting set to play. I’d like to see which direction these guys go as they stray more from their influences and form a more distinct sound for themselves in the future, as they really do know how play some fast and brutal black metal.

The next band to play, Apothys, I’ve seen a few times now, and I will see them play again next weekend at Jaxx. That’s not a bad thing at all since they’re really fun to watch live. I won’t get too into the details here as I’ll probably cover them more in the next review (and I’ve already reviewed their set at the Blood & Fire Festival here). This set was pretty fun though, it was cool to see the band interact with the audience due to the lack of a proper stage. I mean just look at this shot of guitarist Eddie Misery leading the crowd members at headbanging, while standing in the audience and playing guitar! They played their own style of blackened death metal very well and the crowd really got into the show. Their final song, Of Writhing Eyes, seemed to really get everyone going nuts. It was another great performance by the leaders of Northern Virginia’s death metal scene.

The final band of the night was Immortal Decay, another band I’ve seen a few times now. By this point it was getting pretty late and there weren’t as many people there. That’s a shame because these guys are really starting to come into their own as a band. The room was very dark when they played, and the band didn’t screw around talking between songs too much. They played a cover of Satyricon‘s classic Mother North which everyone seemed to enjoy (how can you like black metal and not?). Their vocalist, Viktor Osorio, kept it interesting, even rolling around on the ground a bit (careful with those spikes!). The set seemed short though and sort of abruptly ended, maybe due to time constraints at the venue as it was well after 1am by the time they finished. They were fun as usual, and you can catch them opening for Watain at Sonar in Baltimore on Nov 30th (more details on my upcoming concerts calendar page) if you want to see them in action. If you can, buy a ticket from the band members as they have them for sale without service fees.

In all the show was a lot of fun. Not a bad way to spend a rainy night in Northern Virginia, even though Herndon is a bit of a drive for me. It’s nice to see more of these local metal nights popping up around the area, and I hope to attend more in the future, just wish I could bring my own beer to this venue! I’ve got videos posted below, but since it was so dark for most of the sets, and my camera doesn’t adjust to low lighting well, they’re mostly just good for getting a chance to listen to the bands yourself. Enjoy!