The Metal Files

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SxSW 2013 Recap

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Whew…It almost seemed like SxSW would not end for me this year.  This is the first year since 2009 that I didn’t live downtown but was still able to have free downtown parking access in my old apartment building thanks for my friend that still lives there.  I did have to be a bit sneaky about it and not be seen by the building mgmt.

3/12/13
Everything started for me Tuesday night after getting home from Houston with seeing my good friends Ancient VVisdom playing at The Jr (the old Emo’s inside stage).  From there I bounced over to Beerland to the “Sammi Curr  Trick x Treatwest” metalfest and caught The Blood Royale, Mutilation Rites, Gyspyhawk and Venomous Maximus.  Next up was seeing Broken Teeth.  Again, Jason McMaster is one of the best frontmen in rock.  No question. Final stop was on the Headhunters patio to see a few songs by Amplified Heat.

3/13/13
I got back to downtown on Wednesday around 2PM.  I was a little hungover from the night before, but was doing alright.  Lots of water, an early beer for the hair of the dog.  First band on tap was Vattnet Viskar, who were pretty unmemorable.  Royal Thunder was up next and to be honest, it was shit.  Enough said.  Pallbearer was up next and they were great as always.  I headed over to the Austin Convention Center to see the short film “Black Metal”.  It pissed me off.  It should up on YouTube gain soon, so please look for it and let me know your reaction.  Kat Candler can kiss my ass.  After the movie, I bounced around town through the 1000s of people.  Popping in and out of clubs and not really hearing much of anything I cared about.  I ended up at Texas Rockfest to see my friends from Ventura, CA called New Liberty.  They’re good kids and put on a good rock show.  The rest of that evening was spent just milling around until about midnight, then I went home.  I as still a little tired from the night before.

3/14/13
Are we there yet?  Got downtown around 10:30AM and was ready to rock out.  I grabbed a quick meal with my friends working at Chupacabra before the masses muddled in and headed back to Texas Rockfest to catch San Antonio’s Immortal Guardian at 12:50PM.  They were really good.  Total power metal and they do it pretty well.  Nice guys, too.   Later in the day, I returned to catch some of the band Hessler.  Let’s face facts, if the band didn’t have a scantily clad “hot” singer (not hot to me), no one would give a flying fuck about this band.  Other than the guitarist’s semi-rare Killer (brand) guitar, there were no redeeming qualities about this band.  NONE!  Didn’t really do much throughout that day but mill around.  That night I caught some songs by D-A-D.  I’ve never been a fan and I’m still not, but they played a solid set.  I finished the night out at Headhunters again and caught some songs by Suplecs.  They’re always a blast.  I was home by 1:30AM and worn out.  Lots of walking that day.

3/15/13
I’m feeling my age a little bit now.  Feet, legs and back starting to hurt, not to mention getting sunburned pretty well the day before.  I got back into town around 11AM and milled around until Brooklyn Vegan’s day party at The Jr.  First up was Vancouver, BC’s Baptists.  Holy shit.  They instantly became my favorite band of the whole week.  They were a crossover-ish hardcore band with a cool style about them.  Their drummer was fan-fucking-tastic.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch any of their other shows.  Look them up if you’re into that sort of thing.  Batillus (NY) came next and they were quite good.  Their bassist looked like a young Paul Di’Anno.  Next up was Richmond, VA’s Inter Arma.  They were also new to me but blew me away.  Damn fine stuff.  I skipped Royal Thunder and KEN Mode because I think they both suck, but also to go and charge my phone at my friend’s apartment.  I cam back a little later to catch Pallbearer again.  I missed Today is the Day.  The rest of the afternoon was spent pissing off, hanging with friends and just killing time until the night shows.  That eveing, my friend Pablo and I went to Bat Bar to see my friend Adriana for a quick drink.  Apparently it was a big hip hop party sponsored by WILL RAP 4 FOOD.  We went to the upstairs bar where my friend worked and apparently that was the VIP section.  We just walked right by the security guard who was stopping other people and making them wait in line.  We just acted like we were supposed to be there and no one said anything.  We had a lot of funny looks while up there as we were pretty much the only 2 white guys in the club.  After that I headed back to The Jr to catch sets by Cuba’s Agonizer and Ancestor.  It was decent thrash and black metal.  Attomica finished the night out there.  They’re a Brazilian band that formed the same year that Sepultura did.  They were ok (only 2 original members).  Ran into Immortal Guardian playing a set in the street too.  Good fun!

3/16/13
Worn out.  Tired.  Sore.  First plan of the day was to meet Hawkwind’s Nik Turner at End of an Ear Records at 3PM.  What a cool dude.  A legend!  Unfortunately I missed his show the night before.  After that I headed back downtown to fall into the madness again.  The order of the evening included great sets by Inter Arma, Howl and Power Trip.  Afterwards I ended up at Headhunters again to see The Evaporators featuring Andrew WK on keyboards.  Always a fun show.  Nardwuar is hilarious and The Evaporators are pretty much the happiest band on earth.  I’m pretty sure Nardwuar can be considered the original hipster, but in a good way.  In the street I saw Immortal Guardian…again!  On the way back to my car I went to Stubbs to catch up with my friend Leah.  Unfortunately Vampire Weekend was played.  COMPLETE SHIT.  It was about 1:30 and my body told me to go home…so I did.

Overall it was a great SxSW.  I didn’t get to see Prince like I had hoped (and everyone else hoped they could too!).  Not a lot of bigger metal bands this year.  Can’t wait until 2014!

Hawkwind’s Nik Turner

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While I’m not the biggest Hawkwind fan in the world, their albums Doremi Fasol Latido and Space Ritual are pretty massive records.  This years SxSW music festival brought Nik Turner in town to pay and he performed Space Ritual.  I wasn’t able to make the show but I did see him at the meet and greet the next day at End of An Ear Records.  He was a quite a nice and funny guy.  I had him sign The Book and snapped a few pictures.

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March 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm

On Meeting Tard, the Grumpy Cat

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Yes, SxSW (South by Southwest for those who don’t know) is upon Austin right now and the website Mashable brought in Tard for a public meet and greet for select hours March 8-10.

My love for cats runs deep and I’ve had them in my life since childhood.  When I saw that there was a chance to see and get a picture taken with this cat, I was all about it.  For many who know me, I abhor most things that are super popular, but this cat is the exception to the rule.

I picked up my friend around 9:30AM and we headed downtown to get in line.  When we got there, it seemed like about 100 people were ahead of us.  Ultimately we stood in line for 2 hours to get 10 seconds with the cat.  No petting.  She was asleep as I think that’s what she does most (more so than most cats methinks).  The line behind us was around the block, maybe farther.

If you’re not familiar with Tard, go to the website and take a look.  She’s apparently a runt and I think she’s mentally challenged.  They woke her up right after my picture was snapped and I think she looks like Jabba The Hut.

It was quite fun, though.  Met some fun people in line and we all agreed on the ridiculousness of standing in line for hours to to get a picture with a cat that no one will remember in a few years.  Hell, if a line for a restaurant is more than 30 minutes long, I get annoyed.  Kitties > food, right?

Here’s Tard and me in a meme that I created.  See other memes with this cat if you don’t get it.

She met me, she hated it.

And here’s my Shitty Kitty, who really is a grumpy cat.  I’ve had him for over 15 years now and he’ll be 16 this summer.  For as annoying and non-affectionate as he is, I love the little bastard.

Shitty Kitty

Shitty Kitty

Written by The Metal Files

March 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Holy Grail, Pallbearer, Hull, OFF!, Mutilation Rites – SxSW 2012

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Every year at SxSW I get exposed to some bands that I may have missed otherwise. This year I got to see Holy Grail, Hull and OFF!. I missed Pallbearer but have been listening to them since.

Check it:

Holy Grail – good retro US metal from San Fran. they kicked ass live

Pallbearer – tasteful doom, really loving this band

Hull – the vocals could be better, but i like their riffs

OFF! – featuring keith morris on vocals (black flag, circle jerks)

Mutilation Rites – i dislike most black metal beyond some classic bathory and such, but i enjoyed these guys live

Written by The Metal Files

March 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Rick Colaluca of Watchtower SxSW

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sean colaluca

w/Rick Colaluca of Watchtower fame. Not many things could make me happier right now.

Written by The Metal Files

March 17, 2012 at 1:19 am

Posted in 2012, sxsw, watchtower

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Lionel Richie Concert Review, Austin, TX 3/14/2012, SxSW

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Another concert review from the “Not So Metal Files”.  My musical tastes are pretty diverse and there’s no doubting that my favorite genre of music is metal.  It’s been in my life since the mid-70s and I live for it.  But through the years there are other genres and artists that have been on my radar.  One of them is Lionel Richie.

Like most, my introduction to his music was via The Commodores in the 70s.  While I’ll never be accused of being a fan of funk, I am a fan of a good ballad and The Commodores cornered that market in those days with songs like Easy, Three Times A Lady, Sail On and Still.  Lionel decided to go solo and continued the ballads in the 80s with great songs like Truly (my fave of his), Lady (used by Kenny Rogers), Endless Love, Stuck On You, Hello and a slew of others.

A little additional background into my love for Lionel’s music…in junior high (82-84) I was in the school choir.  I had quite a nice baritone back in those days, at least Ms. Matthews thought so.  In choir, we did a lot of Lionel’s ballads and I really grew quite fond of those tunes.

Enter 2012’s SxSW Music Festival.  Earlier this week we learned that Lionel was going to be playing the awesome Moody Theater for the Billboard Magazine showcase.  For those that don’t know, SxSW gives people the option to buy a badge or wristband to give you access to all of the official shows as space allows.  I’ve never bought one as I generally can get in to most of the shows I want to see.  But this one was different.  My pals and I got into freakout mode trying to figure out how the hell we could get into the show.  We assumed that since there’s an additional 100,000 people in town, the place would have the typical long lines of badgeholders to get in.

It was announced the day before the show that they would releases some tickets to the public the day of the show.  As soon as I got off work, I met up with my friend at the bar across the street from the venue.  Shockingly to me, there was no one in line at the badge area and only 10 folks in line to buy tickets.  WTF?  We sat in line from about 6:15PM to 8PM when they finally opened up the box office.  $30 a ticket.  That’s it!  For Lionel!  If would have paid $100 with no question.  We got our tix and went in.

Have of the balcony area was closed off and the mezzanine level was for special guests only.  There were 4 opening groups and we sat through them all.

The first was Wallpaper.  A dancy, hip-hop-ish sort of thing with 2 drummers.  Not my thing but they were solid and the co-singer/dancer girl was quite cute.  I thought I heard someone say she was Sly Stone’s daughter.  I don’t know.

Up next was Vintage Trouble.  Four dudes dressed 40’s style.  Guitar, bass, drums and vocals.  It wasn’t my thing but it wasn’t bad.  The singer was definitely influenced by James Brown in the way he dressed, moved and sang.  If JB was in a rock band, this would be it.

Poliça came on next.  Another group with 2 drummers.  My friend put it best…”Everything But the Girl mixed with Dido.”  That nailed it.

Terius “The-Dream” Nash was next.  Hip hop.  My switch was off.  I wanted to see Lionel.  I will say that The-Dream’s drummer was pretty incredible though.

They opened up the mezzanine area to everyone and we bolted down there from the balcony and got some decent seats.  The place was still lightly attended.  What a shock.  But it didn’t matter.  I was there, that’s what was important.

After a quick set change, Lionel comes on.  A pre-recorded dancy version of Hello opened the show then they went right into Running With The Night.  We were in freak out mode.  After 2 or three songs, Lionel tells his band to leave the stage as he wanted to do some songs without the band.  Lionel is 62 years old.  He looked young, he sounded young and I think he made all of us feel younger again.  During Dancing On The Ceiling they broke into a little bit of Van Halen’s Jump.  Half of the set was Commodores songs.

The show was just plain awesome.  The waves of emotion that hit me during certain songs, remembering that time and place when those songs first entered our lives.  It was quite special and surely an experience I will never forget.  He said there will be an upcoming tour and that he’d be back.  I’ll be there!

Kenny Rogers came out and did Lady with him.  That was cool.  I will say I was a bit disappointed not to hear Truly.  I adore that song.  He also didn’t do Endless Love or Three Times a Lady.  Maybe next time!

For some great pro shot pictures, click here.

Here’s the setlist as I remember it, but I know it’s not in the right order and I think I may be leaving out a song or two.

What a night!

Written by The Metal Files

March 16, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Serpent Throne

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White Summer*Black Winter

I like a lot of instrumental bands but I’ve always found it difficult to find quality instrumental rock bands that didn’t write their stuff to sound like they were writing around having a singer.  Philadelphia’s Serpent Throne satisfies my instrumental craving perfectly.

I met the two guitarists, Demian Fenton and Don Argott, at the premier for the movie Last Days Here during the SxSW 2011 Film and Music Festival.  You can read my review of their movie here.  They are the guys behind the production/direction of the movie and in talking with Demian after the flick, he mentioned that he was in a band and I had forgotten about it until a few days after seeing the movie as I was wrapped up in a lot of SxSW activities.

Since then I have been spinning their stuff practically non-stop.  Metal has a lot of sub-genres and these guys would typically be classified in the stoner rock and doom categories.  To call them Black Sabbath worship is too easy.  Pretty much all metal bands worship Sabbath whether they know it or not.  Serpent Throne take it to a bit of a different level in my opinion.  They use lots great dual guitar harmonies that are reminiscent of Thin Lizzy in places.  I hear hints of Trouble (S/T LP era) in there as well, intended or not.  There are some cool hints of 70s Scorpions as well as Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash.  Maybe some Cactus too.  It’s a nice blend of great rock and metal without sounding like they are just ripping off all of the classic bands.

I think it’s pretty tough for an instrumental band of this genre to continue to write stuff and keep it interesting and Serpent Throne has done that

The Battle of Old Crow

with all 3 of their albums: Ride Satan Ride (2007), The Battle of Old Crow (2009) and White Summer*Black Winter (2010).  I highly recommend picking up all of their stuff.  Battle of Old Crow and White Summer*Black Winter are available for download from Amazon and iTunes.  I had to buy the CD for Ride Satan Ride and convert it to MP3 myself as it’s not available for legal download.

Hopefully I’ll catch these guys live sometime, even if it means heading to Philly for it.  Would be cool to have them hit Austin for a show sometime.  I think they’d do well here, especially if they were in on a SxSW gig.  So, nice work, guys!  Hope all good things come out of Last Days Here as well.