Gwar ticket give away

Gwar, Richmond’s masters of insane on stage antics, land their spaceship in Washington DC on Thursday the 29th of December 2010 at the 9:30 Club. If you’ve never seen them then you just don’t know what you’re missing. And you don’t have to take my word for it, even the very non-metal Moby said Gwar is the best live band ever (here) just last year. They are certainly entertaining and offensive. I mean, at what other concert this holiday season are you going to see Sarah Palin murdered on stage? I know you want to see that. This, the Bloody Pit Of Horror Tour, also brings along opening acts The Casualties, Infernaeon and Mobile Deathcamp.

And luckily the 9:30 Club is again letting me hold a contest to give a pair of tickets away to one lucky reader of I held a similar contest for the Sword a couple weeks ago and it went really well. This time to enter all you have to do is tell me which celebrity you’d like to see get the Gwar treatment on stage in the comments below. Keep it civil though, I don’t need to get sued for hosting threats to people’s lives on here. On Christmas day, December 25th, at noon EST I’ll pick one of the commenters below at random to win the free pair of tickets as the most metal gift you’ll get this year. 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).

Gwar at the 9:30 ClubMultiple entries will be disqualified, so don’t be a dick and enter more than once. 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 Sunday the 26th at noon. Note that this concert is at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC so if you cannot make it to the show there on a Thursday 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. If you just can’t wait to get tickets, or if the contest is over when you read this, you can purchase tickets via TicketFly here for $22. And while I can’t enter my own contest, I’d like to say Michael Vick gets my vote. Please note that I, Metal Chris, am not an actual celebrity so I cannot be entered below, though if ya gotta go dying by the hands of Gwar is a pretty metal way to do it. Now check out this funny Xmas video where Gwar goes Christmas caroling.

UPDATE: There were 27 entries into the contest, and I used to generate a number, each commentor given the number their comment appears in. The lucky winner is #2 Metal Dave! Don’t worry though, you can still get tickets to the show through Ticket Fly for $22 here. Also, it looks like Justin Beiber was the run away winner in votes for who you all want to see mangled by Gwar. Happy holidays, festivus, necro-Kwanzaa or whatever it is you feel like celebrating/drinking to.

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!

Review of King Giant gig at the 9:30 Club

On Saturday the 31st of July 2010 I went to the 9:30 Club for my second metal concert of the weekend. While I went to the Black Cat the night before to check out a few touring black metal bands (you read that review here) this concert was not very similar at all, for several reasons. There were three local bands playing, though I only saw the headliner, King Giant. That’s right, a local metal act was headlining the 9:30 Club, a rare event indeed. These guys are a sort of southern sounding sludge band, I guess. It’s hard to explain their sound perfectly, though I could easily see them opening a tour with bands like Baroness or Down.

Before I even stepped into the venue you could see a row of motorcycles outside, as well as a very strong police presence. I’m not sure if there was a problem there before I arrived, but it was a bit offsetting. Once inside I saw there was a pretty good turn out for a show of local acts. The place wasn’t full by any means, the upper level had only a handful of people, but the floor level was mostly full. I got there about 10 minutes before the show started and easily walked right up to the front of the stage. I’d asked what the camera policy for the night was at the door and they said there wasn’t one, video and pics were all ok. Perfect! I ended up getting what I’d call my best pictures ever at the 9:30 Club. This was a good thing as these guys were very memorable and fun to watch on stage. I can’t remember the last time I saw a band live that had members wearing cowboy hats, but it was a vastly different audience than had been at the Black Cat the night before! They didn’t have much else on stage besides their instruments and amps, tho they did have a bottle of Jack up there as well as some rather randomly placed taxidermy of small woodland creatures. The band’s lead singer, Dave Hammerly, was very engaging on the stage, throwing his hands up in the air, pumping his fists, occasionally headbanging a bit and just generally walking around on the stage like he owned the place. He did a great job of keeping the audience engaged between songs. For example, this concert was on the birthday of their bass player, Floyd Walters, and at one point in the set they poured him a shot on stage and instructed everyone to take a birthday toast with him. Dave even went so far as to apologize to the women and children in attendance before playing the song Mississippi River. This song was the song I had wanted to see them play the most live, and I certainly wasn’t the only one as it got a great reaction from the audience, to which Dave quipped that it was funny how the songs about killing people get the best responses. But this is a band that has quite a few good songs, which is really saying something considering they only have one full length album out. Their music isn’t super complex, but it’s very well polished, especially for a local act, both in the studio and live. The lyrics tend to be very dark and sometimes quite personal, often dealing with personal and inner struggles. I enjoyed the entire set though the songs Burning Regrets and Solace, as well as the above mentioned Mississippi River, really stood out to me in the live setting.

I really didn’t find a single song they played all night to be boring at all, it was really entertaining the entire way through and I could see these guys getting noticed outside of the area. They’ve got some music for download at this location (some is free, some you have to pay for) if you’d like to check them out. The pictures I shot of King Giant that night can be seen here, and below I’ve posted the videos I shot. The volume of the vocals isn’t great on the ones I shot close to the stage, though the Mississippi River song has much better sound since I shot it from the upper level. Unfortunately it has the worst visuals as the lighting didn’t show up as well up there. After all this if you want to see these guys play live (and you really should), you’ve got a great chance coming up on Friday 20 August 2010. King Giant is one of the bands playing at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia for their first ever metal night. I’ve got more info on that, including how to buy tickets, posted here. It should be a great night of metal, and if it’s half as good of a show as this was, it’ll be worth the price of admission. Now here’s the videos, enjoy!

Review of Isis gig at 9:30 Club

Well, last night, Wednesday 16 June 2010, I headed over to the 9:30 Club in Washington DC to check out the Melvins and Isis. I was a bit torn as a band some of my friends are in, the Chance, were playing the Rock & Roll Hotel the same night, but since this was the farewell tour for Isis, I figured I’d better see them while I had um, the chance. They announced on their blog (here) in May that after this tour the band was going to break up. They didn’t really give a real answer as to why they are breaking up, sticking to the standard “artistic integrity” statement. I’d imagine there’s more to it than that though, probably starting to have families and don’t like touring, or maybe they feel their music is starting to get stagnant and they’re out of new ideas and feel it’s getting boring. Regardless, I have a feeling they’ll be back for a reunion tour in 5-15 years, after they realize real jobs suck and/or their new musical projects aren’t making near the amount of money they did in Isis. Who knows though, and for now this show will be known as their last in Washington DC.

I got off of work and headed straight to the venue, but since I work late the Melvins were starting their set when I walked in. That means I totally missed the Totimoshi band, but I don’t really know who they are anyways so I wasn’t that upset. Plus everyone I talked to said they had a shitty mix and that the venue didn’t really do them justice because of it. Anyways, the Melvins came on and played a long set. This was their first DC show since October 2007 at the Black Cat, though they’ve played Baltimore a few times more recently. I’d never seen the Melvins live before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it was an interesting show. They had two drummers on stage, which I’m not sure if that was really necessary or just more of a gimmick. They didn’t do anything that was too crazy that it really needed two drummers, though they did some cool little seamless switch offs where they’d both suddenly switch and start playing the other drummer’s part and if you weren’t watching them you probably wouldn’t even notice. There were some parts that were very percussion heavy that sorta reminded me of that old Sepultura song Kaiowas. Their songs went through a variety of paces, from very slow to more rocking mid tempo stuff. There were some moments of dissonance and the distortion on the guitars added a rough, unpolished feel to the mix. They of course had some strange and even abrupt time changes, and a few tricks for the audience, like suddenly switching to a strange Caribbean sounding beat to throw off the people in the mosh pit. Buzz Osbourne was waving his famous mop of hair around, and Jared Warren was wearing some goofy fake armor outfit with a sparkling cape. Sort of looked like a kid who dressed himself up in some sort of half assed gladiator costume or something. It was a fun set to watch but seemed to drag on after a bit. I noticed they played longer than was expected, though I think this was because they were originally intended to be the headliners on this tour, before Isis made their aforementioned announcement that this was their final set of shows.

When the lights came on after their set I could see the place wasn’t totally full, which is nice. The last few shows I’ve been to at the 9:30 Club have been sell outs and that is not really fun seeing a band like that. It’s hard to find a good view in those situations and if you do get a good spot you better not want to smoke, drink or go to the restroom at any point cause it’ll be gone in seconds. The 9:30 Club isn’t really a venue I enjoy too much in general, but I do find myself there fairly often to see bands with larger followings than most of what I enjoy. Their beer is very overpriced so I don’t even bother drinking there any more, and they are totally nazis about camera policies, which change from concert to concert. It is nice that they have 3 levels to view the show from, helps to find a spot with a decent view. I think I’ll be back again in early August to catch Boris and Russian Circles. You can find more info on that on my upcoming concerts page. Anyways, after talking to some friends during the set up for Isis, the lights dimmed and the headliner was on.

Isis came out and didn’t say a word. Atfter a short intro, they just started into their first song, I think it was Threshold Of Transformation. I shot a few pics during this song, but they must have said something to the lighting guy after that song, because it was DARK in there for the rest of the set. This resulted in me not getting any great pics since flash photography had been banned by “artist request”. Of course nobody said anything to the guys in the Melvins who I saw shooting pics with their flashes on during Isis’ set from the backstage balcony. The video I shot of Holy Tears at the concert (see below) is pretty damn dark too. Not the end of the world, as I had to really hide that I was shooting a video since they’re always hard core about that there so it’s not centered that well on the band anyways. The audio is decent in it though. Isis didn’t really address the audience at all, I suppose just letting their music do the talking. They did say a few words before the final song of the regular set (aka before the encore) and dedicated a song to the Melvins as well as thanking the opening act. They were a lot of fun to watch, though I’ve got to say the second half of their show was the most exciting to me. They seemed to really be on and you could see the crowd was reacting more too. Well, half the audience at least. Looking down at the people on the floor you could see that those standing on the right side of the stage were having a blast, moshing, clapping their hands over their heads and even occasionally crowd surfing. The people to the left of the stage down there seemed like the typical DC zombie audience stereotype. It was really weird seeing such a division of the audience like this, right down the middle. At some points in the set, keyboard player Bryant Clifford Meyer played a 3rd guitar, which wasn’t something I expected. After playing So Did We, Isis left the stage briefly for the pre-planned encore that I always find so tacky, but the songs they came back to play were a lot of fun to watch. They seemed to have more intensity and energy, even in the slower parts, than the rest of the show. By the end of the final song, The Beginning And The End, the bass player, Jeff Caxide, was laying on the floor and singer/guitarist, Aaron Turner, was playing on his knees. They got up and Aaron said goodbye into the microphone and they all left the stage for the final time of the night. The crowd seemed pretty thin by the end of their set, maybe more people were there to see the Melvins and left? Sucks for them cause the best part was the second half! It was a good show and I’m glad I decided to go, especially since this was likely the final Isis show in DC.