Review of Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Well all our year end posts have put me a bit behind on things but better late than never I suppose. On Sunday, December 27th I was at the 9:30 Club to see Clutch play along with Crobot and Valkyrie. There was a film crew there so it is very likely that this show, or at least parts of it, could wind up on a future Clutch video.

I got there early to make sure I could catch Valkyrie. The band is from Harrisonburg, Virginia, and is probably best known for sharing a guitarist with the band Baroness, Pete Adams. However it is Pete’s brother Jake Adams that is the driving force behind Valkyrie. The band’s sound is steeped in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with Jake’s vocals often pausing for several extended dueling guitar solos between the Adams brothers. Riffs abound and the chemistry between the brothers is as apparent as the fun they were having while performing on the 9:30 Club’s big stage. These guys have been something of a regional secret and it’s about time the word gets out about them. Hopefully this winter mini tour with Clutch will lead to bigger and better things for them.

The next band to play was Crobot from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. They’re a relatively new band, having formed in 2011, though they obviously see themselves as some sort of 70s throwback band. I’m generally ok with throwback bands but I’ve got to admit these guys just didn’t do it for me. I found their songs overly simple and the vocalist, Brandon Yeagley, was running around on stage striking poses like a coked up Steven Tyler. His voice was reminiscent of Geddy Lee, which is probably a good thing to some and bad thing to others, but honestly his stage presence was so annoying I quickly lost interest in not just him but the entire band.

Finally it was time for local favorites Clutch! This was the first time the Germantown, Maryland, based band would play to a local audience since the release of their latest album, Psychic Warfare, back in October. The album was well received and Clutch played the entire album throughout the course of the night, though not in order. A giant sized banner with the new album’s cover artwork hung behind Clutch while they performed their new songs with some older tunes thrown in throughout as well, and what a performance it was! The band hit the stage hot and seemed to fly through their set list without a whole lot of talking between songs. Clutch has really perfected their sound and live performance over the years and shows like this one make it obvious that they aren’t slowing down any time soon. Many bands at this stage of their careers start to lose a step or three but Clutch seems to only be getting better. It’s a rare quality that makes their energetic live shows special every time they play to their home crowd here in DC.

Below are my shots of the bands that night, you can click on any of them to see them full sized.

Valkyrie:

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Crobot:

Crobot at the 9:30 Club

Crobot at the 9:30 Club

Crobot at the 9:30 Club

Clutch:

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Stoner Playlist

Well it’s official, today, February 26th, they legalized the personal possession of marijuana (up to 2 ounces and 6 plants) in Washington DC by anyone age 21 or over. It’s still not legal on federal land, which includes all parks (including the zoo and the National Mall), Smithsonian museums, Congress, and even some roads like the Rock Creek Parkway, and you still can’t smoke it in public on the street or in a bar/restaurant, hell you’re not even allowed to buy it (it is legal to give it away to someone 21 or over though). But still, it’s now no longer a crime to possess or use pot in your own home in Washington DC. I think that makes, in Washington DC at least, 2-26 the new 4-20. So grab some munchies and check out this stoneriffic playlist of pot related metal songs I’ve thrown together to mark the occasion.

Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf 1971 Master Of Reality

I’d be an idiot if I didn’t start this playlist off “Sweet Leaf,” the opening track from the original stoner metal album Master Of Reality. Pretty much every song on this list was influenced by this song in one way or another.

Cannabis Corpse – Skull Full Of Bong Hits 2009 The Weeding

Richmond’s Cannabis Corpse have made a career out of making pot themed parodies of famous death metal songs, mostly from Cannibal Corpse. I’m assuming they got real high and had some Weird Al Yankovic and death metal on shuffle together. This song parodies the Cannibal Corpse classic “A Skull Full Of Maggots.”

Electric Wizard – Satanic Rites Of Drugula 2007 Witchcult Today

Have you ever been so high you felt like Nosferatu waking from an ancient, undead slumber? Judging by this song I can tell you Electric Wizard sure as hell has.

Death – Cosmic Sea 1991 Human

Back in 1991 Death’s line up included Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal (both of Cynic fame) and the Human album had some instant classic songs like “Suicide Machine” and “Flattening Of Emotions.” I remember when I first heard this instrumental track and thinking to myself “oh so the Death guys have been getting high as shit.” This song isn’t an ode to Mary Jane like most of the tracks on this list but compared to the rest of Death’s catalog it’s apparent that this is definitely their weed song.

Bongripper – Reefer Sutherland 2007 Hippie Killer

The Chicago based instrumental band Bongripper sure brings the heavy. They blew me away at Maryland Deathfest XVII and this hilariously titled song, “Reefer Sutherland,” is a great 16 minute long example of the band’s stoner doom metal sound.

Cephalic Carnage – Kill For Weed 2005 Anamolies

Cephalic Carnage is from Colorado and while that state already legalized pot that wasn’t the case when they wrote this brutal song back in 2005 about the need for legalizing pot.

Bongzilla – Amerijuanican 2005 Amerijuanican

Madison, Wisconsin’s Bongzilla’s namesake is pretty apt, they bring some big, heavy riffs with their sound that is as fuzzy as a smoke filled room.

Acid Witch – Stoned To The Grave 2010 Stoned

Acid Witch is one hell of a trippy band, they sound like they crawled out from some dank cave that they haven’t left since the 70s. This song recants the tale of how the Acid Witch met her untimely death.

Down – Hail The Leaf 1995 NOLA

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out exactly what leaf Phil Anselmo (of Pantera fame) is hailing in this track off the band’s debut album.

Kyuss – Gardenia 1994 Kyuss (Welcome To Sky Valley)

Back before Josh Homme went on to form a bunch of pop rock bands like Queens Of The Stone Age and Eagles Of Death Metal he was in a killer stoner band called Kyuss. These guys brought the riffs every time and Gardenia is a great track to showcase one of the greatest stoner bands that will probably never fully reunite.

Sleep – Dopesmoker 2003 Dopesmoker

A stoner metal playlist just isn’t complete without the legendary Dopesmoker, made famous for being an album consisting of just one song that clocks in at over an hour. There simply isn’t a better metal song to zone out to.

Live photos of Coliseum, Cloud Rat and Nervous Mothers

On Saturday, September 20th, 2014, I went to the Rock & Roll Hotel at about 5pm to catch a free show by the Kentucky punk rock band Coliseum. This was part of the H Street Festival’s festivities, which had the street shut down for the day. Standing in line just to have my ID checked I was a bit worried that the place would be really packed. The sidewalks outside all the bars had little temporary fences that were packed shoulder to shoulder with hipsters drinking cheap beer as they screamed in each others faces trying to talk over each other. I guess drinking on the sidewalk in a pen is really fucking exciting to some people, but I was here to see Coliseum, a great band I’d seen play a sold out DC9 show with Pelican last November. I had no problem making my way to the front as the main show room was almost empty, except for the people in line to talk to the bartenders. The place did fill up, somewhat, when they started playing. They played for about 45 minutes and their set included a few new songs. It was a lot of fun and you can’t complain about seeing a great band for free. There were several other bands playing that day but after Coliseum played I headed over to Little Miss Whiskey’s to talk to the DC Brau folks (always a fun time).

Coliseum:

Coliseum at the Rock & Roll Hotel

Kayhan Vaziri of Coliseum

Ryan Patterson of Coliseum

Coliseum at the Rock & Roll Hotel

Later the same night I grabbed dinner and then picked up a six pack (which turned into a 4 pack due to the cardboard handle breaking in the parking lot of the store I had just bought it at) and I went to another show. This was a house show at a place called the Dougout in Northeast DC. I’d never been there before but it was pretty nice for a house venue, especially one that was hosting grind bands. I missed local death/grind band Genocide Pact, which sucks cause they’re good, but I’m sure I’ll get the chance to see them again at least. The first band I did see was Nervous Mothers, a powerviolence band all the way from Belgium. I’m not sure how it’s financially possible to fly all the way over from Europe to play a bunch of gigs in basements but they actually were pretty good. However next up was the band I really came to see, Cloud Rat. The grind trio is from Michigan and they released Moksha, one of my favorite grind albums of 2013 (click the name to give it a listen). They combine brutal riffs and sheer intensity perfectly and their frontwoman, Madison Marshall, has a voice that just drips frustration. In all it was a really great show at a cool DIY venue, I hope they get some more brutal bands there in the future.

Nervous Mothers:

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Cloud Rat:

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Russian Circles ticket give away

Russian Circles at the R&R Hotel

The excellent instrumental band Russian Circles is coming to the Rock And Roll Hotel on Tuesday, February 18th and we’re really excited about this show here at DCHM. So excited that we’ll be giving away not one but two pairs of tickets to this show! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me who your favorite instrumental band is. Maybe it’s Pelican, Animals As Leaders, Blotted Science, Karma To Burn or another band entirely. At 5pm EST this Friday, January 17th, two winners will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries and each winner will receive two tickets to the show! 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 right now for $16.50 here.

Russian Circles gave us the moody album Memorial in late October and this will be their first area appearance since its release. That’s not all to look forward to at this show though, there’s also going to be support from KEN mode, a sick Canadian hardcore/noise band. The opening act is a personal favorite of mine, Richmond’s Inter Arma. These guys released an incredible album on Relapse in 2013, titled Sky Burial, and their live shows are even better. Get there early to see these guys, you’ll be glad you did! Now give a listen to some of my favorite songs by all three bands below and leave a comment telling me your favorite instrumental band!

Russian Circles – Geneva

Russian Circles – Burial

KEN mode – Extending Common Courtesy Throughout The Evening

Inter Arma – ‘sblood

Gwar ticket give away

Gwar at the 9:30 Club

It’s that time of year again, the weather is getting colder and you’re starting to hear holiday music when you venture out in public. This can only mean one thing: Gwar will be playing at the 9:30 Club soon! Sunday, November 17th to be precise (that’s this Sunday!). I’ve been commanded by my slave master Oderus Urungus to bring more lambs to the slaughter and so one of you (un)lucky DCHM readers will win a pair of tickets to attend this very massacre concert. To enter just leave a comment on this post letting me know which celebrity you’d like to see get the brutal Gwar treatment on stage at the show. At 5pm EST this Friday, November 15th, a winner will be chosen 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 $25 here.

If you’ve never seen Gwar live before then get ready for a truly religious experience! Our alien masters are known for putting on the goriest live show in the universe and you’ll be covered in blood, bile and worse by the time it’s over, a truly epic baptism by mosh pit. But before Gwar even dominates the 9:30 Club stage there will be sets by other bands as well. Iron Reagan is a crossover/punk band with Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste vocalist), Landphil Hall (Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse) and Ryan Parrish (ex-Darkest Hour drummer) and they’re going to shred your faces off! Starting off the festivities is the aptly named A Band Of Orcs. If you’ve ever wondered what it would sound like if monstrous orcs from Lord Of The Rings formed a metal band then get there early to find out. These guys are more Tolkien than Gorgoroth! Still not sure if you should go? Then check out these awesome music videos by the bands playing the show as you think up your entry!

Hush at the Velvet Lounge

It’s been a little while since I wrote a proper concert review but last weekend I saw a great, mostly local, metal show at the Velvet Lounge. The Velvet Lounge is located in the heart of DC U Street corridor, just around the corner from the 9:30 Club. It’s a much smaller venue though, catering to mostly DIY shows in its tiny, upstairs stage area. Unfortunately the bar upstairs was serving as the merch booth this night so if you wanted a drink you had to awkwardly find your way to the downstairs bar through a maze of buzzed DC socialites grinding on each other to some of the most mind numbing techno music I’ve ever heard. Back upstairs were piles of gear covering a good portion of the floor space. I’ve been to the Velvet Lounge many times but I’ve never seen so much gear squeezed in the upstairs level before, not to mention all the amps stacked on stage. Marshall, Orange, Sunn, you could tell this was going to be a loud night the second you looked at the stage. Anyone can be loud but were the bands any good?

The first band to play was Thrain, a new black metal three piece featuring two guitar players and no bass guitar. The guys in the band are friends of mine so I’ve tried to catch most of their shows. That said, I thought this was their best performance to date. New bands can take some time to gel and find their direction and while I don’t think they’ve completely finished that process, they’re definitely headed in the right direction. Plus they just have some damn cool riffs in those songs. Thrain is definitely a band to keep an eye on.

The second band of the night was Hush from Albany, New York. They’re a sludgy doom metal band with harsh vocals that sounded more hardcore than metal. The band was pretty good overall though the vocals became a bit monotonous after a while, they didn’t have a lot of variation to them. Also, some members of the band, including the vocalist, faced backwards the entire show. I’m not sure who enjoys it when bands do this, it makes the show seem more like a practice than a performance. Still, their sound was thunderous and crushing and I really enjoyed the instrumentation of the band.

The next band up was Fortress, a band that has become a local favorite of mine, if you consider Hagerstown, Maryland local at least. They are probably the loudest band in the area but they back it up with incredibly heavy doom riffs. When these guys play you take notice! The three piece performed some new songs at this show that fit right in with the material from their demo (download it for free here). The maniacal stares from vocalist/guitarist Chaz Campbell only add to a performance that will leave you feeling like you just lived through an earthquake. This was definitely my favorite set of the night.

The final band of the night is Northern Virginia based doom metal band The Osedax. They weren’t as loud as the previous band, and the addition of keyboards makes them sound a bit different than most doom bands. They are quite atmospheric in fact and you can get caught up in their hypnotizing longer songs. The band does a great job of building up and releasing tension. Out of all the great bands this night The Osedax were probably the best at working as a unit, each member knows their role and they trade off with each other seamlessly.

In all it was a great show, four excellent bands for just $8 is a hard deal to beat, especially in the expensive U Street area of DC. This show was my pick for Metal Show Of The Week last week and it lived up to it. Be sure to check out the photos of each of the bands below. Thanks for reading everyone and remember, get out to see some metal bands and support the scene you’re a part of!

Thrain:

Thrain at the Velvet Lounge

Thrain at the Velvet Lounge

Thrain at the Velvet Lounge

Hush:

Hush at the Velvet Lounge

Hush at the Velvet Lounge

Fortress:

Fortress at the Velvet Lounge

Fortress at the Velvet Lounge

The Osedax:

The Osedax at the Velvet Lounge

The Osedax at the Velvet Lounge

Deafheaven ticket give away

Deafheaven

San Francisco based atmospheric black metal band Deafheaven is touring this summer and they’ll be at the Rock And Roll Hotel this Sunday, June 30th and DCHeavyMetal.com is giving away a free pair of tickets to a lucky one of you readers. To enter leave a comment on this post telling me who your favorite black metal band from the US is. At 5pm EST this Friday, June 28th, a winner will be chosen 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 you can’t wait to see if you win then you can get tickets from Ticket Alternative right now for $12 here.

Deafheaven plays a rather hypnotic style of black metal that fans of Alcest, Wolves In The Throne Room and Krallice will enjoy, though they’ve put their own California style take on the sound. Their new album, Sunbather, takes the standard frozen wintery darkness commonly associated with black metal and does a full 180 with its imagery of summer heat, blinding sunlight and sunburnt skin. Give the album’s title track a listen on the YouTube video below. The song is 10 minutes long but it goes to a lot of different places in that time and is definitely worth the full listen. Also on this tour is Marriages. They’re based out of LA and not really a metal band but two of the members, Greg Burns and Emma Ruth Rundle, are both from Red Sparowes. The opener is a electonic/doom band from Baltimore named Curse. I’ve posted a song by each band below so give them a listen and tell me who your favorite USBM band is!