All photos by Michael Darpino
Obviously, last week in DC’s music scene was all about Dismemberment Plan. Except for on Thursday night when a hundred or so dedicated metal fans packed the backstage at Black Cat, oblivious to any legendary reunions, for one of metal’s best new bands. Kylesa brought a set full of huge metal anthems that would’ve been large enough to entertain a festival-sized crowd.
Kylesa are one of the bands at the forefront of a new style of “sludge metal” that’s emerging from the South. Sludge metal takes elements from doom metal that were once too grim and frostbitten for the average listener, and adds the styling of psychedelic rock to create something more fun and exciting. You get dark, brooding riffs cranked up loud combined with bright melodies and screaming lyrics instead of demonic growls. Also, everything is played faster – fast enough that only the truly talented can crank out the riffs with such speed. Bands like Baroness, Black Tusk, and Mastodon have been doing this for awhile, but Kylesa has perfected the craft over their ten-year career.
As a huge metal fan, I’m always looking out for the rare “crossover” show that I know I’ll love, and will appeal to someone who’s not versed in metal will also enjoy. Tomorrow night, Kylesa are bringing their Southern blend of sludge metal to the Black Cat Backstage – a rare chance to see these guys in a small, intimate venue. Honestly, their sound is so huge that they need two drummers, so I don’t know how the Backstage is supposed to contain them.
“Sludge metal” lies somewhere on the spectrum between psychedelic rock and doom metal. This means on Thursday you can expect some huge, looping riffs played on fuzzy guitars combined with the kind of bass you can feel in your bones. The vocals are angry and loud, but not gothic or growly like most doom metal. If you’re a fan of any other Southern sludge metal groups like Baroness, Black Tusk, Torche, or (dare I say?) Mastodon, you probably already know that you belong at this show. For a taste of what’s in store, be sure to check out my favorite track “Running Red” on their myspace page.
Fellow Georgians Zoroaster and New Jersey’s Fight Amp round off the bill for what should be an epic show. Both these bands are really solid, so I’m looking forward to catching them. Don’t miss it!
w/ Fight Amp, Zoroaster
Black Cat Backstage
Thursday Jan 20th
Shake of that post-Holiday hang-over and warm up from this winter chill by catching the awe-inspiring Clutch perform at The National down in Richmond tonight. The boys from Germantown love them some winter touring and tonight kicks off the latest in their long tradition of short winter tours.
I have been a fan of Clutch for many years and have seen these blues-stoner-metal masters put on some truly spectacular shows. Most recently, I got a brief taste of their current live show at the 9:30 Club 30th Anniversary Concert. Needless to say but Clutch’s hurricane-force mini-set that day completely blew me away and showed off an epic quality of Clutch that has me thinking this already phenomenal band has reached the next level of performance. While I lament the fact that they are not playing their traditional Christmas-time show at the 9:30 Club this year, Clutch could not have picked a better venue than The National in Richmond as a substitute. I expect full force, psych-metal annihilation in that high-ceilinged theater tonight. Don’t miss it!
w/ Kylesa, Righteous Fool, Hex Machine
@ The National