For those who have ever attended or been to a show at Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, Virginia know that for the last 15 or so years it has been THE hot spot for heavy metal and rock in the Virginia, Maryland, and D.C areas. This is a place where ive seen Nile, Arch Enemy, Napalm Death, Strapping Young Lad, Lacuna Coil, Dimmu Borgir etc. But just as it showcases a lot of great underground bands it also can have pro's and con's for the bands that actually play there. Depending on the night you go you can either feel like a sardine in a can or feel like your the only guy there that the band is playing for.
Such was the case with Absu last night. Either it had to do with little promotion in the area or because the kiddies just got out of school and were on vacation with their parents or something i dont know. But the club was almost empty with easily less than 100 people including the bands themselves. Now, the bad thing obviously for the bands are that financially it doesnt do wonders for them and also if your an up and coming band you would like to have a packed house to play too. But, for the avid fan this is the best opportunity to get great pictures, meet the bands after the show, and have no problem with merchandise purchasing.
As bad as it is for the bands these are the moments for me as a metal fan that i love. A great example is when i saw Testament in 2000 when my friends band opened up for them. I got drunk and headbanged til my neck was virtually broken and slapped hands with Chuck Billy and Steve Digorgio. That was of the most memorable concerts i have ever been too even though the place was almost empty. Well, last night was a similiar situation where it just wasnt packed but it was without a doubt the price of
The first band on the bill was a local one from Richmond, Virginia called Croatoan. They seemed to have a mix of hardcore with a touch of metal in the vein of Down, Pantera, and Celtic Frost. Despite my liking of bands like Pantera and Celtic Frost i just wasnt feeling it from these guys although i think the bassist and guitarist were really too good to be in this band. And of course they brought along their fans who were young kids dressed like preppies and were totally out of their element. Its no shocker that neither the band nor their fans hung around for ANY of the other bands on the bill. Pretty fucking disrespectful if you ask me.
Anyhow, despite the advertising of the lineup of Rumplestilskin Grinder supposedly being the next band up it actually turned out to be Sothis from L.A, California. I mentioned these guys in another thread about how a couple of years ago while i was still Djing for Vertigo Radio that i interviewed both Drogoth and Dross via telephone. It was my first ever interview and i was completely thankful for their time and effort to do that despite some of the issues early on in that interview with the recording of the show (sucks i lost that interview when my computer crashed a month later). However, this Symphonic Black Metal band was the best band of the night for me both in their execution and their energy. There was essentially just 10 of us at the railing when these guys took the stage but that didnt stop them from tearing up the joint.
Opening up with "Sinister Nation" these were guys balls to the wall aggressive and musically tight as ever. The fact i was able to see these guys live sent chills up my spine. The chemistry is amazing with this band as they headbanged in unison almost non-stop. I was standing in front of bassist Keres and tried to keep up with the monster (and shit, i did pretty good as my neck once again feels like was stung by 50 hornets and is ready to fall off, lol) but the guy is relentless. Later i would talk with him and he said he considered it a honor and challenge for ANYONE to keep up with him. I was hoping the band would play "Defiance" off the new record but they had a set playlist they were following so alas, did not get to here my favorite tune. Never the less,they played some other great tracks like "Beneath a Black Boiling Sky" and "Hypocrisy" at the end for a great closer.
With the great guitar work of Nylock and Scathe, the pulse pounding bass of Keres, the atomspheric beauty of Asperia on the keys, the blast beat thunder of Dross, and the blood curdling vocals of Drogoth are something that should not be missed for any fan of heavy metal. But our night wasnt over with this band, oh no. But i will get to that a little later. Next up was Rumplestilskin Grinder from Pennsylvania. Although from the lounge they didnt sound bad the missus and i did not stay in the stage area to watch them as we wanted to get some air and of course some beers. Missy at this point was testing her mortality but ordering a long island ice tea. How she can drink as she does and get up 4 hours later for work is simply amazing. AND I LOVE THAT ABOUT HER!. lol
And finally, ABSU. Yes, they were good last night but not better than Sothis. Not that the music was poorly executed no. ABSU still was tight as ever but they just didnt have half the energy as Sothis on this night. Not too mention somehow someway the sound man was really fucking up their set as the one guitarist was getting some high pitched feedback and the drum monitors were not where they should of been. Never the less the boys from Texas forged ahead giving it their best. I jammed out and headbanged for about 6-7 songs and then went back to the lounge for more beer. It was at this point that i would get a chance to get to know Dross a little better which was awesome. As Missy and i were sitting there Dross pulled up a stool and began to shoot the shit with us for the remainder of ABSU's set. Even Asperia joined us for while and she was very cool and fun to talk to. In fact, everyone in that band was very humble and easy to talk to. I was able to also get them all to sign the live DVD i bought off their site a couple of years ago so overall the experience of meeting these guys (and gal) was a truly great time.
Eventually, they would both have to go and start packing up their gear as they had a long drive to North Carolina ahead of them so we bidded them farewell and good luck on the rest of the tour. Once Missy gets the pictures uploaded from last night i will post a couple of them up to go along with the review. Im telling you, if you ever get to see Sothis live do it!, they put on a spectacular show and are very cool cats to boot.