Heritage Hunter Tour At The Fillmore Silver Spring Concert Review

Wednesday the 9th of May 2012 was a rainy day in the Washington, DC area, perfect weather for a mid-week, indoor concert. The Heritage Hunter Heritage Hunter TourTour brought the impressive line up of Opeth, Mastodon and Ghost to the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland, that night and I finally got a chance to check out this venue. The venue itself has some pretty cool art and design on the walls, the collage of upcoming (and past) concert posters around the main floor’s elevator was pretty cool looking, and the paintings in the stairways were trippy to say the least. The venue is laid out similar to the 9:30 Club with a second floor that is cut out so you can view the stage from that level. This was my biggest problem with the venue however, as the lines of sight on the second floor were not good at all unless you were on the rail, and even then they weren’t great. They had some concrete ledge/steps sort of like at the 9:30 Club, however they are so far back that you cannot watch the show from there at all, and I’m over six feet tall so it isn’t like I’m just too short. This was one of the few poor design choices I found at the venue and luckily this show wasn’t sold out because that would leave a lot of people wishing they could see. There is a VIP section with seats and tables on the second floor as well, and these ring the second floor’s edge, though they certainly block the view for regular ticket holders. I guess that’s an option if you Fillmore Artwant to be sure you get a good view, however something seems just wrong to me about paying extra so you can sit down to watch a metal show. They had several working bars around the place, even the basement bathrooms and coat check, with no view of the stage upstairs, had a fully stocked bar. The venue’s sound wasn’t bad at all and the stage lights were really great, particularly during the first two sets. They have a food menu (see it here) which even has multiple vegetarian options. The bar’s prices aren’t any better than at the 9:30 Club. Alcohol prices weren’t posted anywhere, I’d assume to get people to not realize how much they’re spending until they get the bill at the end of the night. To give you an idea of their prices, I saw a bottle of Heineken poured into a cup for $7 before tip. Anyways, enough about the venue, let’s get to the bands.

The mysterious band Ghost was the opening act for the night. Their last stop in the area was a sold out show at the Rock & Roll Hotel on January 19th and the lead vocalist, Papa Emeritus, sounded very poor then and Papa Emeritus of Ghostcouldn’t hit his high notes. This wasn’t a problem at the Fillmore show at all and the band performed very well. Ghost is a very dramatic band on stage with Papa Emeritus making all kinds of poses that, as a photographer, are totally fun to shoot. Ghost’s theatrics also made them well suited to the bigger stage and the excellent lighting rig the Fillmore provides. Ghost really put on a great show and the 30 minute set seemed to fit them well as they played most of Opus Eponymous, their debut album and only release, in that time.

The second band to play that night was Mastodon, who is probably the biggest band from Georgia centralized sludge metal scene. They were Troy Sanders of Mastodonco-headlining this tour with Opeth, apparently alternating which band headlined each night and this night we had Opeth playing last. I’ll be honest with you here and admit I’ve never been a huge fan of Mastodon, though on this night it seemed like their set’s focus on their latest album, The Hunter, didn’t go over that great with most of the audience either. They played the 9:30 Club back on November 27th to promote this album already, so you’d think they could have changed up their set list a bit by now. Midway through their set it just seemed like more of the same and you could tell people were waiting to hear the classic songs that made them fall in love with the band. When they finally started playing some of their older material the crowd really got into the show, but by then they were wrapping up their set. Kind of a downer to end that way but at least they weren’t the last band playing that night.

The final band to perform was the Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. Well, they are certainly starting to lean further away from being a true “metal” band though they do still put on a good show. Their set list wasn’t much Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opethdifferent from the one they played at Rams Head Live in Baltimore back on November 1st, although this time there was no legendary Bloodbath performance to end the night. They did play a shorter set this time as well, only about an hour and fifteen minutes long, though honestly that was probably a good amount. Opeth’s set list also weighed heavy on their latest album, Heritage, which is a bit controversial among fans because it only has clean vocal singing with no guttural growling. This takes an element away from their songs, and thus the live show, as one of Opeth’s strengths has always been the seamless weaving of the lighter and heavier aspects of progressive metal. In fact, I’d say their manipulation of dynamic contrast is a large part of the band’s overall appeal and one of the things that makes their sound unique. Even so, Opeth writes very good songs and it’s not like they simply suck now, it just seems like something is missing. This was really notable when they played Demon Of The Fall, one of the few older songs they performed, which I thought was their best song of the night. That was the Opeth I wanted to see. Those days seem to be coming to a close and at the end of their set I still just wanted to hear them play Bleak.

In all the show was a lot of fun for me. I thought all the bands were relying too heavily on their latest output (I suppose Ghost can get a pass since they only have one release) especially considering they had all played the area to promote those albums. I’m not saying the bands shouldn’t play new material, but throw your fans a few bones here! At the end of the show I saw a curious thing, the staff at the Fillmore was handing out tickets, for free, to see the Saints & Sinners Tour with Emmure as well as tickets to see Meshuggah, Baroness and Decapitated, both of which will be at the Fillmore later this month. Perhaps they aren’t selling that well, I don’t know, but that was kind of cool. During Opeth’s last song I headed outside to hand out flyers for DCHeavyMetal.com. Several people tried to speak to me but in the flood of people walking by, and with my hands full of flyers, I simply didn’t have time to to talk. I didn’t want to come off as “too cool” or something and usually I love chatting with fans of the site so the next time you see me be sure to say hi.A Nameless Ghoul of Ghost Also, if you like the photos I shot in this review you can see the rest of my photos from this show, including shots of the set lists, on my Flickr page here (some of my photos were also used in a review of the show written by Catherine Lewis for DCist here). Until next time, stay metal everyone and support the scene you’re a part of!

Marilyn Manson ticket give away

Marilyn Manson at the Fillmore in Silver Spring

The king of goth shock rock, Marilyn Manson, is coming to the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland on Tuesday the 1st of May! Support on this show will be by The Pretty Reckless. DCHeavyMetal.com is giving away a free pair of tickets to one lucky reader and all you’ve got to do is post a comment below telling me which song you’d like to hear Marilyn Manson play the most. I’ll pick one lucky winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries at 5pm EST on Friday 2 March 2012. Be sure that when you post you use a valid email you check regularly because I’ll need to contact you if you win. And don’t worry, I won’t add you to any annoying email lists or sell your address info or anything annoying like that. I hate spam too! You can only enter once, multiple entries will be disqualified. However, you can get your friends to all enter and have them bring you along if they win.

This will be Marilyn Manson’s first tour to support his upcoming album, Born Villain, which is coming out in May. So I’d imagine you’ll be able to hear some of those songs before the album is even out, pretty sweet! The album is a concept album and Marilyn Manson himself described it as a “suicide death metal” style of music, whatever that means. The opening act is The Pretty Reckless, a goth band fronted by Taylor Momsen who you may recognize as having played Jenny Humphrey on the TV show Gossip Girls. The band has been getting decent reviews and now they’re opening for the entire Marilyn Manson tour as well. If the contest is over when you read this, or you just can’t wait to get tickets, you can buy them online for $58.50 from Live Nation here. Check out this latest Marilyn Manson video, directed by Shia LaBeouf (the guy from the Transformers movies) of all people, below. It’s a trailer for a documentary about the making of the album that Shia shot, but it does have music in it too. Under that is a music video by The Pretty Reckless. And under that, leave a comment to enter!

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!

Anthrax ticket give away

Anthrax at the Fillmore in Silver Spring

Legendary 80’s thrashers Anthrax are coming to the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland this Sunday, the 6th of November! Support on this show will be by not one, but two, awesome Bay area metal bands, Testament and Death Angel. I’m giving away a free pair of tickets to one lucky DCHeavyMetal.com reader and all you’ve got to do is post a comment below telling me which of these bands you’re most excited to see play. I’ll pick one lucky winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries at 6pm EST on Saturday 5 November 2011. Be sure that when you post you use a valid email you check even on Saturdays because I’ll need to contact you if you win. You can only enter once, multiple entries will be disqualified. However, you can get your friends to all enter and have them bring you along if they win.

Anthrax has been playing with the Big Four a lot lately, but since they were playing first at those mega shows they’ve been playing shorter sets. If you’d like to see them play a full headlining set, this show is for you! Of course Testament is going to kick ass as well and if you haven’t seen the opening act, Death Angel, play live before you should, they’re pretty damn awesome. That’s three thrash bands that will leave you will one hell of a bangover on Monday morning. If you can’t wait to get tickets, or you just end up not winning the contest, you can buy them online for $30 each here.

Yngwie Malmsteen ticket give away

Yngwie at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Yngwie Malmsteen is coming to the brand new Fillmore Silver Spring on Saturday 15 October 2011 and DCHeavyMetal.com has tickets to give away. All you have to do to enter to win is post in the comments below why you’re a fan of Yngwie and/or why you’d like to go to this show. On Friday the 14th of October 2011 at 6pm EST I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all the valid entries below to win the pair of tickets to this show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you when you win. And I won’t add you to any email lists or anything either, I hate spam as much as you do.

Yngwie Malmsteen is a neo-classical heavy metal guitar player known for his incredible skill and technique. The guy can solo and shred to an extreme level and is one of the best guitar players in the world. The guitar virtuoso will be playing a Saturday night show at the brand new Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland this weekend. Fans of technical guitar playing will not want to miss this. This tour is to support he most recent album, Relentless, which was released last year. Opening for Yngwie will be Washington DC’s own The Jones, a bluesy rock band. If you simply can’t wait to get tickets you can pick them up from Live Nation here for $25. The doors open at 7pm and should be a great night of shred in Silver Spring.

After you’ve entered the contest check out this promotional video Yngwie put out for this tour, it should give you an idea of what to expect.

Three ticket give aways!

That’s right, in celebration of DCHeavyMetal.com entering its third year of existence, I’ve decided to hold a mega contest giving away a pair of tickets to three different upcoming metal shows! There will be three different winners, not one person getting all three. Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me which of the three concerts you’d like to go to and I’ll use Random.org to pick three winners, one for each concert, on Monday the 19th of September 2011 at 6pm EST to win tickets. You can only win for one concert but you can enter to win for all three or whichever ones you’d like. Be sure to use a valid email address when you enter so I can tell you that you have won, though it doesn’t have to be visible in the post itself. Don’t worry I won’t add you to any email lists or anything annoying like that. Read below to see what the three metal concerts are, and choose wisely!

Choice One

On Wednesday the 21st of September the West Virginia based Karma To Burn is coming to the Rock & Roll Hotel. Karma To Burn is an excellent sludgy stoner band and they play a lot of instrumental songs, though some have vocals. To make this show even better, DC’s own Borracho will be opening. They are an excellent stoner act that you should be sure to check out if you haven’t already. Borracho recently put out their first LP titled Splitting Sky and this show would be a great chance to save on shipping and pick it up after seeing them play live. Local act King Giant was supposed to play this show but due to an injury to one of the band members they have had to cancel their appearance at this concert. If you don’t win or you just can’t wait, you can get tickets to this show here for $10.

Choice Two

On Friday the 23rd of September the brand new 2,000 person capacity Fillmore in Silver Spring will host its first ever metal concert! British metalcore band Bring Me The Horizon headlines a night of some of the best core bands coming from the UK and Australia such as Parkway Drive, Architects, While She Sleeps and Deez Nuts. And come on, if you win you can spend all week telling people you won tickets to see Deez Nuts. The Fillmore will have just opened on September 15th so this will be the first chance to destroy the place with some insane mosh pits! If you don’t win or you just can’t wait, you can get tickets to this show here for $23.

Choice Three

Kyuss Lives! is the name of the reformed version of legendary stoner band Kyuss featuring all the original members of the band except Josh Homme (he’s busy playing with super group Them Crooked Vultures these days). So now the band has Bruno Fevery on guitar but what’s really exciting is that they have been working on a new album and, assuming they play some of that on this tour, this show will be the first chance this area is going to have to hear new Kyuss material in over 15 years! To make things even better Texas based doom masters The Sword and Atlanta’s Monstro are opening. This show is on Saturday the 24th of September at the 9:30 Club and you know it’s going to be awesome. If you don’t win or you just can’t wait, you can get tickets to this show here for $30.

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.