This Tuesday night thrash pizza party started at
party o clock 8:30. Spinebuster opened the show to much cajoling and hullabaloo. Spinebuster puts on a fun show. Their act is a heavy pv-tinged metal experience, sandwiched amidst shoutouts and brodowns, which in this case thematically recall life in Prince George’s County, Maryland, USA. At first I thought this might be a spoof of the manner in which hardcore fans from these parts rep Gaithersburg really hard, or the way New Jersey people are proud of being from that state, or just ignorance in general. But Jordo and his entourage are a solid band who keep it fresh in their burbs and have booked a good number of shows for touring bands over the years. I believe this was their second show playing with their newest line-up (their old guitarist Mike moved away, former bassist Sharad had to quit the band due to over-commitments between work/school/music, etc.) and to make things crazier, their second guitarist was out of commission on this particular night due to a stabbing (!).
Anyway, I always have a good time with these dudes. They also successfully manage to gross me out with their shirts, only bested by Artillery Breath in that department. I think Spinebuster effectively treads the line between letting the rage out and having a sense of humor. They were a good start to the night, because every band were a bunch of chill-ass party dudes. I don’t think anyone actually got laid, but there was plenty of bromance to go around. While like 3 people came (to the show!!), as Nicktape would say, if you’re doing shows for money, you won’t be doing shows for long!
Nicktape. Apparently he caught a parasite or a std or… a moment of clarity about his music career while on vacation, and hours before showtime had to cancel his much ballyhooed appearance with new-ish DC moshbros, Nicktape and the Black Rations. Fortunately, no one from his band came to the show to awkwardly pretend like they gave a shit about dropping off.
Barnburner was up second. Those guys are from Montreal. They know a thing or two about catchy riffs, so they’re on a label and go on tours. The PA was pretty low for this set, so we couldn’t hear the vocals very well. It was for this reason I assume that the lithe, toned Canadian bros played shirtless, much to the delight of the 3 or 4 squealing teenage girls in the audience — mostly made up of my friends and other bands. Barnburner is on Metal Blade, a label whose main contributions to music culture includes releasing King Diamond’s last good album, and deathcore/djent/Meshuggah-fans-in-tight-jeans bands who really love the DFH kit.
Musically, Barnburner plays catchy metal, like if you came out with up-tempo, heavy-as-fuck proto-metal from the 70s. Pretty cool, really. Fun stuff to listen to; catchy, agreeable dudes; marketably attractive. Really nothing to hate here! They had a good sense of humor — would book again. I hope they can put me in touch with Andy La Rocque.
Then came Locusta, the gem of the night (poss album title guys??). I have a feeling they will be getting good press from fellow Google-busting blogs soon enough. Locusta is one of the best underground metal bands out there right now; seriously one of the highest underground-to-quality-music ratios possible. They have had line-up issues periodically, and on this tour the amazing Alex Tomlin (Battlemaster emiritus, and former tour drummer for Arsis and others) is filling in on the kit. I really think these dudes are solid guys, but also play good music and I am so pumped that they came through on tour again. I mean, there is no money in music, and definitely not in honest, catchy, authentic extreme metal (at least not until you get to some huge level of notoriety like legendary metal lotharios, Midnight Eye), so these extended musical
poverty pleasure cruises are not exactly easy to keep rolling.
One of those really poetic things in music is when you see amazing, gifted bands playing through budget gear in a grimy basement in front of an audience mostly consisting of other bands and weirdos (i.e. everyone in punk/metal/hc). Really, as hilarious as I am in this post and many others, I am not kidding when I talk about how this band and a small handful like them on the circuit (Inter Arma, for instance), are gypsy magic. Totally real deal bad-ass performers, worth the money and time spent x1000. Their music had a pocket and everything, a really unheard-of magical thing in DC (or any modern) punk/rock/metal shows! One of the DIY performances of the year to come thru DC, on the reals. They also played a cover off of Death’s Symbolic (or maybe it was Individual Thought Patterns?). High five, dudes!
After a pizza break, the pie source being a certain TKPK chain whose manager tried to overcharge me repeatedly (dudes, I know how to haggle, I accidentally played in The Coits for a long time!), Ramming Speed took control of the Corpse Fortress Lounge and played their humorous upbeat party thrash. It’s worth mentioning that their drummer Jonah runs TDB Records up in Boston, which released Giant’s cool split with the since-defunct Philadelphia band, Tides. Giant (under their new moniker, Brave Young) played a show I threw last year at C Fort with Inter Arma and Bodycop *Sly beams with pride*.
Lyrically, Ramming Speed sings about toxic waste, partying, pizza, and how to get some from April O’Neal. These dudes have been touring it for several years now, while keeping the scene real for bands playing shows up in Boston. Their first album just got re-released by Candlelight and they recently did a rawkin’ European tour with the Richmond black metal legends, Municipal Waste.
Anyway, not a huge turnout, but actually a super-fun show. It was a totally (ch)ill collection of enthusiasts. In typical post-Slybro-show fashion, we partied/foosballed at my friends’ houses until like 4am on a weeknight, yet further straining what little social credibility I have left. Such is a metaphor of life in the 21st century USA – we laugh at the descending razor-sharp pendulum, ignoring its consequences, until all that can be heard is the gargling of our own blood. Considering the impending doom of the Corpse Fortress, the new volume/time curfew on parties/shows in DC proper, and the rising price of city living in this town, this may be one of the last few great metal hurrahs in this borough.
Special thanks to Orion and Chris (and their roommates!) for giving the bands a place to dream for the night. ❤ u guize!
Photos courtesy of DCHeavyMetal.com
-Salmon C. Firefly, Arts Desk