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. 18th Street 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

Baroness ticket give away

Baroness at Howard Theatre

Baroness is coming to the historic Howard Theatre on Friday, August 12th, 2016! They’re touring with the excellent doom metal band Pallbearer. and it is sure to be a killer show! We’re so excited about this show that we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky DCHM readers. In keeping with the chromatic theme Baroness uses to name their albums, to enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite band or album with a color in the name is. At 5pm EST this Tuesday, August 9th, 2016, the contest will close and 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 Ticketmaster for $25 here.

Baroness is one of those bands that has some pretty good records but gawdamm they’re great live. Despite half of the band departing after their tour bus crashed in 2012 (thankfully nobody died), founder John Baizley has managed to keep the band not only together but in top form live. Baroness released Purple in December of 2015 but they’ve yet to play any of it in Washington DC, that is until this show. And let’s not forget the mega heavy Pallbearer who are also playing this show. The band’s sound is just like what the name would suggest, bleak, slow and heavy. This is sure to be a great show that you won’t want to miss, on a Friday night no less! So let me know what your favorite band or album with a color in the name is (my choice is Black Sabbath, both the band and album!) in the comments below and check out these videos of Baroness and Pallbearer.

Baroness – Shock Me

Baroness – Take My Bones Away

Pallbearer – Watcher In The Dark

Meshuggah/Baroness and Opeth/Mastodon ticket give aways!

The new Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland, hasn’t had a metal show since Anthrax and Testament played there in November, but they’ve just announced two killer metal concerts coming there in May. The Heritage Hunter tour with Opeth, Mastodon and Ghost on May 9th and the Ophidian Trek tour with Meshuggah, Baroness and Decapitated on May 22nd. Here at DCHeavyMetal.com we couldn’t pick which concert to give tickets away to, so we’re giving a pair of tickets away to both shows! All you’ve got to do to enter is make a comment at the bottom of this post saying which of these killer metal shows you’d like to enter to win tickets to. You can enter to win both if you’d like, but each concert will have a different winner. The winners will be picked at 4pm EST on Friday the 10th of February. One winner will be chosen at random with Random.org for each concert and they’ll win a pair of tickets to the show of their choice! Be sure you use a real email address you check regularly when you enter so I can contact you when you win, though your email doesn’t have to be in the comment itself. And don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or sell your info to anyone, I hate that crap too. Now, here’s a bit more info on these concerts.

The Heritage Hunter tour has quite a line up! Opeth is Sweden’s premiere progressive metal band and while their last trip through the area saw them playing mostly softer material with a focus on their new album, Heritage, word has it this tour will feature a more “best of” style set list. I suppose we won’t know for sure until they’re actually playing it though. Opeth sold out their last area appearance on November 1st at Rams Head Live in Baltimore. Mastodon is probably the most famous band out of that big Georgia metal scene. Their latest album, The Hunter, looks to make them an even bigger name in the world of metal and you can bet they’ll be playing material from it as well. They also sold out their last area appearance which was at the 9:30 Club on November 27th. The opening act on this tour is Sweden’s mysterious Ghost. The members of the band all cover their faces and hide their identities and so the rumors have swirled around them about who might actually be in the band and what other bands those people are members of. Regardless, their debut album, Opus Eponymous, has won over critics and metal fans alike with their clean vocals and simple but catchy songs, all in the name of Satan of course. And you probably guessed it, but they also sold out their most recent area appearance when they headlined the Rock & Roll Hotel on January 19th. That’s right, this tour is made up of three bands who all sold out their most recent area appearances. If you missed any of them before now is your chance to see them live! If you want to be sure you get tickets before it sells out (which it seems likely to do considering the line up) you can buy tickets online now for $29.50 here.

The other metal show coming to the Fillmore in May is the Ophidian Trek tour with Sweden’s popular tech metal band Meshuggah headlining in support of their new album Koloss. Everyone knows these guys can shred and this will be the area’s first chance to hear any of their new material played live. If that wasn’t good enough for you they’ve also brought along another one of the premiere bands from the Georgia metal scene, Baroness! Baroness should have a new album out this year, hopefully in time for this tour, but even if they don’t the material on their first two albums is fantastic live. I saw them play the Rock & Roll Hotel back in November of 2009 and while that show was excellent, it will be great to see them on a bigger stage. The opening act is Decapitated, a Polish technical death metal band that has reformed with a new line up after a tragic bus accident in 2007 left the drummer dead and the vocalist in a coma. And you know what Meshuggah and Decapitated on the same bill means, you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear both Bleed and Spheres Of Madness played live at the same concert, hell yeah! If you want to get tickets to this show now and not have to worry about it selling out (you know, on the off chance you don’t win this contest) you can go ahead and buy your tickets online for $25 each by going here.

Well, those are your two choices. Check out these classic videos by the headliners and enter to win below!

Review of Baroness gig at Rock And Roll Hotel

On Wednesday the 18th of November 2009 I got off my ass and headed up to the Rock And Roll Hotel in the Atlas Theatre district of North East Washington, DC to go see Baroness play. I’d been to the Rock & Roll Hotel before, but not to see a band play. The venue wasn’t great, not very wide but deep, which must have been a bitch for the people in the back trying to see. The stage lighting was pretty poor and they don’t allow flash photography and since I can’t afford a $3k camera my pics aren’t the greatest. They did allow you to shoot video, but again since the lighting was so bad it all came out pretty dark (though the audio isn’t too bad) which you can see for yourself at the bottom of this post. It was $4.50 for a Miller Lite bottle which I guess is pretty standard for DC. The bar was crammed on one of the side walls to the back of the room, and the merch stand was crammed into the other side in front of the mixing console. Apparently they don’t allow moshing of any kind because a couple songs in when some guy started pushing people a bit the security came right up and put an end to that. The shift actually helped me get a little closer to the stage. Even though I’m usually holding a camera up front, I really don’t mind moshing at concerts (hate crowd surfers tho). If you don’t want people moshing at your venue, maybe you shouldn’t book metal bands at let them play somewhere more fun instead. Anyways, on to the band’s performance…

This was the first show of the tour supporting Baroness’ new album, Blue Record. I’m not certain but I’m betting this was the first time those songs were being played live. On the stage they had a cool looking fabric backdrop of the cover art from the new album. Their show started off a bit disorganized, they had some intro song playing, then it stopped, then after several minutes of silence they walked onto the stage and started playing. I noticed the lead guitarist had changed from a St. Vitus shirt to a Dark Castle shirt in this time, for some reason. I really like the energy of a lot of their songs on their new album. I’ve listened to their first one, Red Album, a few times but it has never gripped me as much as these newer songs do. The one thing I don’t like about the new album is all the intros and instrumentals, there’s a lot of them. Unfortunately for me, they play them live too. I guess that’s cool for people who enjoy them, but it’s really just a pause in the energy to me and honestly I don’t find theirs particularly interesting. Their show was pretty loud for a club this size, which is never a bad thing to me. The kick drum was really pounding, though the microphones didn’t seem to work well for the live show. They seemed to be very tight uni-directional microphones, which means if you’re not directly in front of them, you might as well be in the next room. This made the vocals just disappear completely from the mix a few times when the band members were particularly excited on stage. This was especially a problem for the lead guitarist and bass player, who were helping with backing vocals from time to time, since their mics were not as loud in the mix to begin with. The show was pretty good for the most part, they played most of the songs I really wanted to hear. The stage was pretty cramped but they still did a few theatrics to make things interesting. I thought it was kinda cool when the drummer poured water on his cymbals before a big entrance in a song, spraying the water everywhere in a cool visual effect. At the end of the show they did the typical encore thing where they walked off stage and waited a couple minutes to come back and play their final song of the night. I don’t understand why every headliner band seems to feel the need to do this, regardless of genre. It’s not an encore if it’s scripted! Anyways, they did play for almost an hour and a half, which might be a bit long for them. I mean I do enjoy their music, but since they’ve only got 2 full length albums out, they started running out of material to play that’s of the same caliber. This made the show start to drag on a bit for me. I really think these guys are a great up and coming band and I think with some better exposure they would be playing much larger venues. On the other hand, watching concerts at the 9:30 Club has become quite a drag, so I hope they don’t get too big too quick! It was a really fun show and for $12 it was well worth attending.

One more thing, if you’re planning on buying the Blue Record on vinyl at the concert, try to do it early. They ran out of copies to sell at this show. They said they were getting more the next day, but who knows how long those will last. I spoke to the bass player, Summer Welch, after the show, and the band seemed to think the vinyl was available on their record label’s website, Relapse.com. I had checked earlier that day and knew it wasn’t, so that means this vinyl is going to sell more than they’re expecting since people can’t buy it anywhere. They were selling all vinyl for $20, all t-shirts for $15 and CDs for $12, cash only of course.