Review of Carcass at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Sunday the 13th of April 2014 marked the final night of the 2014 Decibel Magazine Tour and it was at the Fillmore Silver Spring. The headliner was Carcass, making their first DC appearance since reuniting in 2008, though they have played Baltimore twice since then. Each stop on the tour had a local opener and for this show it was Coke Bust, a straight edge hardcore band. I got there in time to see them but there was a problem with my photo pass at the box office and I didn’t get the pass in hand until Coke Bust had finished their set. A shame since I’ve seen them before but never on such a big stage. The second band to play was Noisem, a band of very young guys from Baltimore. I don’t think any of them are even old enough to drink yet. Noisem wasn’t another local opener though, they were on the entire tour, and as such they’ve certainly been getting a lot of exposure outside the area as well. They play a rather catchy style of death/thrash that’s a throwback to the 90s. Their vocalist Tyler Carnes was pretty high energy on stage, at least when he wasn’t fighting with the mic chord that was wrapped around the stage monitors. He jumped down into the photo pit area several times during his set, you may have seen me trying to avoid running into him while photographing him down there, and he ran up to people and would scream lyrics at them. This must have been pretty cool to people close up but for anyone not right in front, well, they probably had no idea what he was doing. Their set was good though and the band looked good on the Fillmore’s nice, big stage. A cover of Terrorizer‘s “Fear Of Napalm” with guest bass by Alejandro Corredor of Nausea was fun and gave Noisem’s regular bass player the opportunity to stage dive.

The next band to play was technical death metal band Gorguts. The Canadian band only has one member from its pre-reunion days, guitarist/vocalist Luc Lemay, but the band was always really his to begin with. For some reason he was off to the left of the stage most of the time, an odd place for a lead vocalist even if he was also playing guitar. Two members of the techy instrumental band Dysrhythmia, a personal favorite band of mine, are in Gorguts so I’m definitely a fan of the current line up. They were absolutely crushing on Sunday at the Fillmore. They are probably the most brutal band to ever play there and while Gorguts only played five songs, each one was performed expertly. They closed out their set with their classic song “Obscura” which was punishing. This is the band I was most excited to see at this show and they did not disappoint! Luc Lemay was manning the band’s merch table most of the night and was very friendly with fans, shaking hands and taking photos with them. If you missed their incredible set don’t worry, they’re playing the final day of Maryland Deathfest this year, Sunday, May 25th, and they’re playing on one of the big outdoor stages so tickets won’t sell out.

The next band to play was The Black Dahlia Murder, a melodic death metal band from Michigan that, I’ll admit, I’ve never really been a fan of. I’ve seen them several times over the years since they tend to play with bands I like but I’m not really familiar with their music. A lot of people seemed to really dig their performance but I just wasn’t one of them so this part of the show was, for me, used to talk to various people I knew that were there. This isn’t to say that their set was particularly bad, though I could have done without the “big titties” comment from vocalist Trevor Strnad, it just wasn’t my kind of music and it wouldn’t really be fair of me to judge their overall performance.

The next band to play was the headliner, Carcass. They played Maryland Deathfest last May as one of the headliners, but that was before they released their new album, last year’s Surgical Steel. Sunday night’s set list (see it here) was fairly similar to the one they played at Maryland Deathfest, except a few older songs had been removed to make room for several new songs. While Surgical Steel seems to have been well received by most fans, I didn’t like it at all so the loss of older songs in the set list for newer ones was a bummer for me. Overall the audience didn’t seem to mind and I suppose if you’re really into the new material this was your first chance to hear it live. The new song “Captive Bolt Pistol” certainly got a bigger mosh pit than “Exhume To Consume” did, and only hearing three songs from Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious was a bummer to me, but overall I got what I expected, mostly songs from Heartwork and Surgical Steel. I thought Carcass’ performance was much better here than at Maryland Deathfest where they seemed a bit rusty. Part of this might be due to the band having played so many more shows recently. Bill Steer and Mike Amott replacement not Bill Steer Ben Ash traded solos seamlessly and the band just seemed tighter overall this time. Jeff Walker sure talked a lot between songs and speaking with people after the show there seemed to be two sets of thought on this: some people loved it and found it very entertaining while others found it rambling and annoying. Sometimes he had some interesting or funny things to say about the band’s origins or the Chicken Man, but sometimes he said things that had me wondering why he was still talking. Like when he made a comment about how being vegetarian or vegan is a choice like being gay is (what?) and how the last time the band was in DC his only memory was of how confused he was by an overweight, black, lesbian Neo-Nazi at the 9:30 Club (again, what?). It didn’t take away from the show too much I guess but I certainly don’t remember him talking that much the last couple times I’ve seen them live. Anyways, even if this Carcass show wasn’t my ideal show, they did play material from every era of the band to at least have something in there for every Carcass fan. Plus a show like this brings out a lot of people and it’s always awesome running into so many familiar faces. Be sure to check out my photos and videos from the show below and feel free to leave a comment telling me about your experience at the biggest metal tour to come through our area this April.

Noisem:

Tyler Carnes of Noisem

Noisem at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Noisem at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Noisem at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Noisem at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Gorguts:

Luc Lemay of Gorguts

Luc Lemay of Gorguts

Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts

Colin Marston of Gorguts

Gorguts at the Fillmore Silver Spring

The Black Dahlia Murder:

Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

The Black Dahlia Murder at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Max Lavelle of The Black Dahlia Murder

Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

Carcass:

Jeff Walker of Carcass

Jeff Walker of Carcass

Bill Steer of Carcass

Jeff Walker of Carcass

Ben Ash of Carcass

Bill Steer of Carcass

Death ticket give away

Death To All at the Fillmore Silver Spring

“…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

–Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789

Today is April 15th, the dreaded day taxes are due and along with taxes comes the certainty of death. I’d like to make certain that one of you DCHeavyMetal.com readers gets the chance to experience Death when they come to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Friday, April 26th! This incarnation of the band will be playing songs from the first four Death albums, Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, Spiritual Healing and Human.
To enter this contest leave a comment on this post telling me which Death song from any of those four albums you want to hear them play the most at this show. You can click their names to see their track listings if you need a refresher. At 5pm EST on Friday, April 19th I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win a free pair of tickets to this show. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen. Be sure to enter with a valid email address you check regularly so I can contact you when you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. If the contest is over when you read this or you simply can’t wait to find out if you win the contest you can buy tickets from Live Nation for $28 here.

The Death To All Tour is a tribute to the the life and music of Chuck Schuldiner, lead guitarist and vocalist of the highly influential band Death. This version of the band is made up of former Death Human-era members Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert (both are members of Cynic) and Steve DiGiorgio (of Sadus and countless other bands). The vocals will be performed by Max Phelps of the Maryland based band Exist. There will probably be some surprise guests who come out for a song or two as well. They will be performing only material from the first four Death albums on this tour so this might be your last chance to ever hear some of those old classics from the early albums played live. In addition, part of the proceeds will be going to benefit Sweet Relief, which is a foundation that helps musicians that are struggling with health issues and their costs. The opening band is going to be Anciients, a new band from Vancouver who just put out their debut full length album, Heart Of Oak, this month. Now listen to some classic Death songs below, along with a new track from openers Anciients, as you decide which song you want to pick to enter the contest. Good luck and keep it heavy everyone!

Death – Zombie Ritual – 1987 from Scream Bloody Gore

Death – Pull The Plug – 1988 from Leprosy

Death – Suicide Machine – 1991 from Human

Anciients – Giants – 2013 from Heart Of Oak

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!

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.

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.