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

Three ticket give aways!

That’s right, in celebration of 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 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.

Review of The Sword gig at the 9:30 Club

Monday the 6th of December 2010 was a damn cold night, but not cold enough to keep me from going to see The Sword play at the 9:30 Club. It is Washington DC’s most well known non-seated music venue, and also the largest. They don’t get a whole lot of metal bands there, so when they do I usually try to get to the show. This concert was different than any I’d been to before at the 9:30 Club because I had been given a photo pass by the band. This meant I could get up in front of the audience and shoot pics with my “pro” camera, so I really spent a lot of the show focused on that. That’s not to say I wasn’t paying attention to the band, but I just wanted to get that out there as it changed my perspective of the concert a bit, and I generally try to write these reviews from the point of view of the average person in the audience, not some guy with special access or whatever. The show was a lot of fun, and it was cool getting a chance to test out a lot of the settings on my camera. I think I got some really great pictures, and while I see lots of room for improvement, I’m still proud of how some of them came out. Anyways, on to how the show went…

I missed the opening band Mount Carmel though I heard they were a bluesy band. When I walked in Karma To Burn was playing their first song. These guys are from West Virginia and I’ve heard a few of their albums. Mostly instrumental metal, and that’s great to me because I’m a fan of instrumental metal bands. They’re a very groove based sort of doomy or stoner band, and I’d say they are pretty similar in sound to Pelican. They did play several songs with lyrics, though I’m not familiar enough with the band to give you a set list or song titles. They put on a good show with some fun songs, they were a really good choice for a support act, really helped warm up the crowd. I shot a few pics of them from the second level, but apparently my photo pass didn’t allow me to shoot any video and I was told to stop after having captured just one song. This also means I have no video of the headliner, a first on this blog, sorry! I await the day that all bands stop telling their paying fans they can’t make their own pics or videos at concerts. People aren’t bootlegging/stealing from you, we’re trying to have something to remember the experience with, and share them with our friends. Hell, I’m trying to use them for the purposes of a review, which is promotion at best and fair use at worst. Well, before this turns into a rant, I’ll start talking about the Sword.

The Sword is a doom metal band from Austin, Texas. Their sound is almost 70’s rock-ish with fantasy, and on their latest album, science fiction themed lyrics. You’d almost think this band spawned straight from a Frank Frazetta painting. They have caused a bit of a stir among music critics, some praising their classic style of metal with it’s epic heavy riffs and crushing grooves, while others say they’re basically reinventing the wheel and haven’t really done anything to deserve all the attention. I’d never seen them live before, and while I like their music, and their latest album, Warp Riders, has really grown on me, I wouldn’t say I absolutely love their studio work. That said, I really enjoyed their live show, much more than the studio material. Maybe it’s just the studio producer they’ve got, but the songs really came alive on stage in comparison. You could tell the band was glad to be playing and having a blast up on stage, and the songs just seemed to have an extra energy that seemed to be lacking in the studio. While I was there to take pics, sometimes I just had to put the camera down and headbang to some of those tunes. The setlist was very heavy on Warp Riders material, they played eight of the ten songs on it, though they didn’t play the song “Lawless Lands.” I find that odd since they just released a music video for that song (see it at the bottom of this post). I really liked how the song “Night City” sounded live, and their encore performance of “Winter’s Wolves” was fantastic, a perfect way to end the show. The new drummer, Kevin Fender, did a great job executing, especially considering how short he’s been playing with the band. In case you didn’t know, this concert was supposed to happen back in October but the old drummer abruptly quit and the tour had to be rescheduled. Also, this was the first concert I held a ticket give away for on the site (here), and I hope the winner Matt had a blast! It did so well I’ll be holding another contest with free tickets for the Gwar concert coming up on December 29th, also at the 9:30 Club. I’ll have a post with details about that up soon, so check back in a few days. Now, here’s the one Karma To Burn video I managed to get before I was told to stop shooting video, followed by the Sword’s official video for “Lawless Lands.” If that’s not enough you can check out some more of my pics of the Sword on Flickr here. Enjoy!

The Sword ticket give away

The fantasy themed doom metal band The Sword is coming to the 9:30 Club on Monday, the 6th of December (yes, that’s this coming Monday). The folks at the 9:30 Club have awesomely decided to let me give away a pair of tickets to this concert to one lucky fan! Will it be you? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post below that tells me what your favorite metal concert at the 9:30 Club was and why. If you haven’t been to a metal gig at the 9:30 Club before, then tell me why you’re excited to see the Sword there. 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).

I’ll pick one lucky winner at random from all the valid entries at 11:59pm on Friday night (Dec 3rd) to win the pair of tickets. Multiple entries will be disqualified, so don’t be a dick. I’ll know if you’re using multiple email accounts! If I haven’t gotten a response back from the winner within 24 hours, I will pick another winner Saturday night at 11:59pm. Note that this concert is at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC so if you cannot make it to the show there Monday night please don’t enter. Also of note, I will not add your email address to any mailing list or sell it to junk mail spammers or anything annoying like that. I hate that shit too. I just need it to get in contact with the winner.

The Sword at the 9:30 ClubThis concert was originally scheduled for Oct 20th as part of the tour supporting their new album, Warp Riders. The tour was abruptly halted when their drummer suddenly quit the band, but a new drummer, Kevin Fender, has joined the Sword and the tour has been rescheduled. Tickets from the previous date will still be honored. Also appearing is West Virginia instrumental metal band Karma To Burn and openers Mount Carmel from Ohio. Tickets are available from Ticket Fly here for $20 ($28.75 after fees) and the doors will open at 7pm. Please help spread the word about this contest, I’d like to give as many people as possible a chance to win. Now check out this video the Sword just released for their song Lawless Lands:

UPDATE: Congratulations to 7th commenter Matt! I used the website to generate a random winner from the 17 commenters below, and he was the lucky winner. I have already contacted him and he has responded with his info so there will be no Saturday night drawing. Don’t worry though, you can still get tickets to this show here. And keep reading because I’ll be holding another contest soon that will be giving away a pair of tickets to see Gwar at the 9:30 Club on December 29th. It was a blast reading all the great stories you guys have of metal shows at the 9:30 Club, thanks to everyone who shared one!