Darkest Hour benefit for the Black Cat

When the COVID-19 pandemic came to town in March it shut down all of the area’s live shows, including metal shows. However at 7pm this Saturday, September 26th, Darkest Hour will be streaming a performance that was just recorded at the Black Cat! The show itself won’t be live because there are many guest performers involved who had to be recorded playing from their own locations since it isn’t safe to fly them in right now. However there will be a live chat during the stream where fans can interact with the band and guest musicians in real time as everyone watches the stream. The audio has also been professionally mixed and mastered so the sound quality will be closer in quality to a live album than a regular livestream. On top of all that, everyone that buys a ticket will get an invite to the virtual afterparty on Zoom with Darkest Hour members and some of special guests after the performance ends!

Tickets to watch the stream (which includes access to the Zoom afterparty) are available from Veeps.com (here) for $10 or at the same link you can buy a bundle that comes with an exclusive shirt (shown below) made just for this performance for $35.

I spoke with Darkest Hour guitarist and founding member Mike Schleibaum and he told me that this event ties in with the band’s 25th anniversary (which was on Wednesday, 9/23). Along with some of the band’s most popular songs, the setlist will include some of their oldest songs performed with guest appearances by former band members. Other performing guests include Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves, God Forbid), Mark Heylmun (Suicide Silence), Buz McGrath (Unearth), Fella Di Cicco (Dreamshade) and more! Mike Schleibaum went on to say, “all of the Darkest Hour parts were shot on the Black Cat stage with multiple cameras.” When pressed about exactly how much of the ticket price went to the venue, Mike said, “100% of ticket sales go to the Black Cat. So when you buy a $10 ticket they get all of the $10. There’s also going to be a donation feature while the performance is streaming so people watching can also donate that way.”

This isn’t a live stream but it sounds like they’ve really upped the production value for this using multiple cameras, top notch sound quality and out of area guest musicians to make this closer to something you’d see on a band’s live DVD release. And while I’ve watch several band live streams they do kind of all seem like you’re just watching a rehearsal with poor sound quality. This event sounds like a great way to do something bigger for the fans, celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary, and donate to one of Washington DC’s live music institutions. If you can’t watch it when it starts or you just want to replay the show, a ticket purchase will grant you access to it for 24 hours. You can check the event’s Facebook page here for info and once again you can get tickets here.

The Veeps stream layout with the chat shown on the right

Here’s some videos Darkest Hour put out that you can get even more info from:

Napalm Death ticket give away

Napalm Death at the Black Cat

Napalm Death are one of the fathers of grindcore and they’ll be returning to Washington DC when they play the Black Cat on Sunday, May 3rd, 2020! We’re so excited for this show that we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to one of our lucky readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me which of Napalm Death’s 15 albums is your favorite (if you need help remembering them all you can see their discography here). The contest will close at 5pm Eastern this Friday, February 7th. At that time the winner will be selected from all valid entries using Random.org to receive the pair of tickets to the Napalm Death show at the Black Cat. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly when you enter 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 the selected winner hasn’t written me back within 24 hours another winner will be selected. 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 Eventbrite here.

Napalm Death formed in the early 80’s in Birmingham, England, and helped create the genre of grindcore with their 1987 debut album Scum. Usually older bands in extreme metal have trouble keeping up as they age but not Napalm Death. They still defy expectations by releasing solid studio albums and putting on killer high energy live shows as well. Also playing will be the Belgian death metal band Aborted and Brooklyn based hardcore infused post-metal band Tombs. Do not sleep on South Carolina based death/grind band Wvrm, these guys shred and will be opening the show. Now check out these tunes below by all of the bands on the bill and leave a comment telling me which is your favorite Napalm Death album!

Napalm Death – Smash A Single Digit

Aborted – Deep Red

Tombs – The Dark Rift

Wvrm – My Fucking Dixie (The New South)

Torche ticket give away

Torche at Black Cat

Miami’s thunder pop rockers Torche are returning to DC for a night of fun at the Black Cat on Wednesday, July 31st! Also on the tour is Wear Your Wounds, a band formed by Converge front man Jacob Bannon. The local opener for this date is Unring The Bell who are presumably named after the Gov’t Mule song.

We’re long time fans of Torche here at DCHM so we are excited to be giving away a free pair of tickets to this show and as a bonus we’re throwing in a free poster signed by the members of Torche! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Torche song (see their discography here if you need help). Then this Friday, July 26th at 5pm the contest will close and the winner will be selected from all valid entries using Random.org. The winner will receive both a free pair of tickets to the Torche show at the Black Cat and the signed poster! 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 the selected winner hasn’t written me back within 24 hours another winner will be selected. Please don’t enter if you know you can’t make it to the show. 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 here.

In case you’re out of the loop, Torche just released their fifth studio album, Admission, on July 12th on Relapse Records (listen to it here). It’s their first album in 4 years and has quickly proven to be worth the wait as it is one of their best releases so far. Now check out these videos of the bands and leave a comment for your chance to win free admission to Torche’s local stop on the Admission tour!

Torche – Admission

Wear Your Wounds – Shrinking Violet

Unring The Bell live at the Black Cat

Review of The Obsessed at the Black Cat

Last night, Friday the 13th of May 2016, the old school local stoner band The Obsessed “reformed” at the Black Cat to kick off their comeback headlining tour. This isn’t the same line up of The Obsessed that performed at Maryland Deathfest XI in 2013, only Wino remains from that line up. In fact until recently this version of The Obsessed had been the latest incarnation of Spirit Caravan. Dave Sherman stuck around on bass and shared vocal duties in this version of The Obsessed (he had only played with Wino in Spirit Caravan before) however this was drummer Brian Costantino’s first show with the band under either name. The Obsessed might more aptly be called Spirit Obsessed or some other similar mash up as their set list consisted of both Spirit Caravan and The Obsessed classics.

The opener for the show is a personal favorite of mine, Karma To Burn. They’re from the hills of West Virginia and play a very catchy style of rock/metal somewhere between desert rock and stoner with a big helping of that mountain folk twang added. They are almost exclusively an instrumental band and their songs are simply titled numerically in the order they are written. I’ve seen them several times and despite line up changes they were as tight as ever with those catchy hooks and riffs that go up and down all night. They were a great band to start this show off.

Karma To Burn

Karma To Burn

The next band was Atomic Bitchwax, a more traditional stoner band from New Jersey. People seem to go crazy for this band but I’ve got to say they were my least favorite of the night. They had some cool riffs and grooves throughout but the bass was really muddy and the songwriting didn’t put all those cool parts together as well as some bands do. Stoner metal isn’t the hardest music in the world to play so songwriting ability really sets the top tier bands apart, unfortunately these guys just aren’t there. They weren’t terrible though, they definitely had some energy on stage, but by the time they were done I was ready for something else.

Atomic Bitchwax

Atomic Bitchwax

That something else came in the form of this new version of The Obsessed. I had seen Wino and Dave Sherman perform as Spirit Caravan at Hardywood Brewery in Richmond, Virginia back in October of 2015. While I had a great time at the show they played for two hours plus and by the end it was just too much Spirit Caravan for anyone but the most die hard of fans. However at the Black Cat the newly dubbed The Obsessed played a much tighter set with more cohesion. The mix of songs by both bands was a cool change up and the set was about 1 hour and 10 minutes or so, keeping it from going on too long.

The Obsessed

Wino with The Obsessed

The Obsessed songs have a bit more energy than Spirit Caravan, some of the drum beats are almost punk rock in nature and many of the songs are upbeat. This makes sense considering The Obsessed was originally playing around the area during the rise of the DC punk scene. In fact it was Ian MacKaye that introduced Wino to the guys in Saint Vitus years ago. Anyways, The Obsessed played an excellent set that kept the audience hooked all night. I even got video footage of a brand new song, “Be The Night,” that Wino said would be on an upcoming album. Apparently the band has played this song as Spirit Caravan before but I guess it is one of The Obsessed’s songs now. I hadn’t planned on writing a review of this show but it was just too damn good to ignore. This was the start of a long tour for them, it was fitting that it kicked off here in DC. I left super pumped and I can’t wait to see them again.

The Obsessed

The Obsessed

I’ve posted a few videos below of The Obsessed (including the new song “Be The Night”) and at the end a photo of their set list.

The Obsessed – Be The Night

The Obsessed – Freedom

The Obsessed – Sacred (Spirit Caravan)

The Obsessed – Skybone

The Obsessed Set List

The Obsessed Set List 5-13-16

Something new planned on DCHM

I’m always looking for ways to use new forms of social media on DCHeavyMetal.com and this weekend I’ll be doing my first live streaming video interview on Periscope, a free video streaming app for both iOS and Android. On Saturday, May 13th (that’s tomorrow!) some time around 7:30 or 8pm I’ll be at DC Brau with Richard Johnson of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Drugs Of Faith talking about the upcoming ANb show at the Black Cat on May 21st, beer, music and anything else that comes to mind. I’ll also have a free pair of tickets to give to the person with the best question for Richard!

Periscope is owned by Twitter so if you have a Twitter account you’ve already got a Periscope account. The cool thing about Periscope is that it will let people watching ask their own questions that we can answer in real time. And on Saturday I’ll have a pair of tickets to give away to whoever has the best question for Richard. All you need to watch or join in is a smart phone (with the Periscope app) or a computer with a browser and the link to my account conveniently posted right here: www.periscope.tv/metalchris

If you can’t watch live don’t worry, I plan on saving the stream and posting it to YouTube and on the main site for people to watch later. If this goes well then I hope to do more interviews with metal musicians at local breweries and bars around town in the future. I hope you enjoy the first in a series of interviews I’d like to call “Have A Beer With…” so join us Saturday evening and have a beer with Richard Johnson of Agoraphobic Nosebleed!

Agoraphobic Nosebleed at the Black Cat

Voivod ticket give away

Voivod at the Black Cat

This Saturday, February 13th, thrash fans are in for something special when Voivod and Vektor take over the main stage of the Black Cat. After that awesome Exodus show at the Black Cat in November you know this one is gonna be a rager too! In fact, we’re so excited about this show that we’re giving away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky DCHM readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite sci-fi themed band or album is. It doesn’t have to be metal, anything from Ziggy Stardust to Fear Factory to John Williams’ scores for Star Wars are fair game. At 5pm EST on Thursday, February 11th, 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 $20 here.

Voivod is thrash band that formed in 1981 in Quebec, Canada. They made a name for themselves by combining a more technical style of playing with thrash metal and have continued to innovate throughout their career. Vektor is a modern trash band from Philly that also dabbles with science fiction themes and some pretty technical guitar playing. You may remember that they headlined the DCHM 4th Anniversary Show at the Fillmore a few years back. Anyways, they always put on a great show and they should be a perfect support band for Voivod. Opening act Eight Bells is an experimental metal band from Portland. The band features three women and combines many different metal elements to create a unique atmosphere with their music. Now check out these songs below by each of the bands playing and let me know what your favorite sci-fi themed music is!

Voivod – We Are Connected

Vektor – Ultimate Artificer

Eight Bells – Hold My Breath