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 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:

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 DCHeavyMetal.com 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 DCHeavyMetal.com, including ticket give aways for Darkest Hour as well as Apocalyptica that will be posted on the site soon!

Recap of Mandatory Metal 3 at the State Theatre

Mandatory Metal 3 was the third local metal night at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia held on 16 December 2010. This was the first Mandatory Metal to take place on a Thursday night, instead of a Friday, and that combined with the fact that it snowed a couple inches that day unfortunately kept the turn out rather low. For those who did make it out though, it was a really entertaining show. As usual there were four local bands who played and this time they were Scream/Ruin, A Sound Of Thunder, Iris Divine and Division. While the previous Mandatory Metal show had been more death and black metal based, this one was more melodic and most of the bands used clean vocals (aka non-growling/screaming) at least some of the time. Now if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that’s not usually my preference, but of course there are exceptions and this show was a great way to stay out of the cold.

The first band of the night was Scream/Ruin, a hardcore band with some thrashy elements based in Loudoun, Virginia. They had a lot of heavy breakdowns and some nice shredding in parts. The vocals were mostly somewhere between shouting and screaming. One thing that sort of set them apart from your typical hardcore metal band is they had atmospheric keyboards in parts of some songs. I’m generally not a huge fan of most hardcore, but these guys were entertaining. The drummer seemed to come from the Lars Ulrich school of drumming, not really too fast but high drama most of the time. I really enjoyed the parts of their songs that had the faster drum beats most, but that might just be my bias for extreme metal talking. Their stage lighting was very dark, with a couple of flood lights on stage that blinked on and off throughout the set. I was right up front most of their set but I’m not sure how well people farther back could see the stage. The video I shot of them is pretty dark too, but the audio is still decent. They were a good opening act and started the show off with a lot of energy.

The next band to play was A Sound Of Thunder. Their lead singer is a very charismatic woman named Nina Osegueda. While they may have a female lead singer, they don’t really sound anything like other local bands that also do, like say Todesbonden, This Means You or Rain Fell Within. This band is more in the vein of traditional and power metal stylistically. While Nina sings very cleanly, it’s not in that operatic style but more of a female rock or metal style. The band itself was more talented than the bulk of the metal bands that have a woman up front just as more of a gimmick. The guitarist had a cool solo with the spotlight on him for a bit at one point, and you could tell the band was really in tune with each other on stage. While they did rock out a lot they had some slower and more melodic parts too, showing some range in their songs. The stage was still fairly dark for them, and since my camera sucks in dark lighting you don’t really get as good of an idea of how they looked on stage, but the audio is listenable enough. They were certainly fun, and while I wish I’d gotten to record their song Walls, probably my favorite song of their set, I did get their closing song Wings Of Steel at least.

The next band to play was Iris Divine from Alexandria, Virginia. They’re a more progressive style band, though that genre label has always seemed a bit vague to me. They reminded me a lot of Maryland’s Periphery, though I wouldn’t call them a djent band. They do have some complex song structures that are also catchy, not a lot of bands seem to be able to do both. The songs have lots of rhythm changes, and the vocals alternate from a rough yelling to singing. Their keyboard player, Farhad Hossain, would step away from the keys to play guitar in some parts, as well as share the singing with their other guitarist, Navid Rashid. Probably the biggest issue I had with their set was that sometimes they had problems harmonizing their voices on the parts where they were both singing together. Either one by himself sounded fine though. Really that’s a minor issue as this band is one that you focus more on the musicianship anyways. The clean vocals as well as the programming and keyboards did seem to fill their sound out with some atmosphere, and there were some more heavy and energetic parts too. You could definitely tell they had put a lot of thought into all these songs. In all I was impressed by them, as this was the band that I knew the least about going in to this show.

Next up was the fourth and final band of the night, Division from Woodbridge, Virginia. I met some of the band members at the first Mandatory Metal show back in August and they had given me a copy of their latest CD, Control Issues (buy it here). It’s definitely grown on me and I was glad I knew some of their material by the time I got to see them live. They opened with their song Hunt, which is probably my favorite song of theirs. Their setlist wasn’t only songs from the new album, but also songs I didn’t recognize from older albums. Both were fun to watch live though. They really put on a show, members of the band were constantly shifting position on stage and their showmanship certainly made it easy to watch them as they walked around on the stage like they owned it. The thrashy and heavy riffs were fun to listen to as well. The two guitarists seemed to be playing dueling solos at points too. I guess you could call them power metal, but vocalist Nick Kelly doesn’t overdo it in that annoying way that reminds me of 80s hair bands like plenty of power metal bands do. He has a good voice and knows when to sustain and when not to, the latter being noticeably rare in the world of heavy metal. They were my favorite band of the night, and they were a great headlining act. The highlight of the entire night was definitely their closing song, a cover of Metallica‘s Disposable Heroes. They really had the audience participation going, and also had Alan Margazano (the guy who organizes the Mandatory Metal shows) of Death Penalty singing back up vocals on that. Those of you who missed the show or left early are lucky that I shot video of it and have posted it below. They really put on a great show, my only gripe was that they didn’t play their song Short Attention Span Society, which is another tune I really like of theirs. But that’s ok, gives me something to look forward to the next time I see them.

In all it was another great night of local metal at the State Theatre. I enjoyed all four bands, none of which I had seen live before. I just wish more people had shown up, the bands really deserved it. I suppose nobody can control the weather, but people really should have come out, it wasn’t THAT bad out. Alan told me there were a lot of people who had bought presale tickets and didn’t even show up! If you missed out though, you can check out three of the bands that played, Scream/Ruin, A Sound Of Thunder and Division, who all have free mp3s you can download on my Download’s page here. You can also see A Sound Of Thunder, Iris Divine and Division play with a few other bands in Richmond at Alley Katz on March 5th, 2011. There will also be another metal show coming to the State Theatre, though not a Mandatory Metal (the next one will be in February). In late January King Giant and Death Penalty are playing a gig, the State Theatre’s first non-Mandatory Metal concert. Details are on the calendar of upcoming concerts. AND don’t forget I’m giving away a pair of tickets to see Gwar on 29 December 2010 at the 9:30 Club, you can enter here for free. You can check out the rest of my pics from Mandatory Metal 3 on my Flickr account here, and as usual I’ve posted all the videos I shot at the show below. Enjoy!