As I've mentioned time and again, I was a pretty seriously committed metalhead in my youth and young adulthood, and in an effort to be down I was willing to try really hard to get into all kinds of crap if it seemed trend-evil enough. But now that I've branched out musically and I'm entering early Cougardom, it's a bit harder to get my meat up about new metal, the local scene in particular, being all too familiar with the pay-to-play tactics of some local clubs, which falsely elevates those bands with the nicest friends or most indulgent parents. I know peeps who will just get drunk and headbang to any old crap, but they probably have IQs less than 100 and I just can't get down like that. And sorry, death metal, you may be "technical," but you are are terrible at any volume. Show me the catchy riffs or go home.
As you may have read here on CT Scenic, I've been pretty excited about CT stoner/metal band Treebeard ever since catching their first gig at then newly opened Elm Bar, and I thought they were just as great on a second viewing at the same venue. So when I saw that they were playing Cherry Street Station with scene vet and all-the-way-back-t0-high-school pal Ryan's two bands, Ipsissimus and enticingly named Nightbitch, I thought this show had promise.
And when I pulled up to the poorly marked club on a desolate industrial block by the train tracks in Wallingford, I knew I was in for a real treat. And when I observed the dirt cheap prices ($4 for Magic Hat!) and amazing back smoking yard, I mentally punished myself for never having been to this club before.
Bygones. I was probably right. Most of those shows I opted not to drive 45 minutes to probably were indeed awful. But not this one! Nightbitch got this party started right. The three piece has "the guy from Treebeard" (and like 10 other bands - Chris) on drums and vocals, which is wicked impressive just by itself, and Ryan delivered all those catchy guitar riffs I was just craving. Their music is seriously good and reminded me of Danzig, but their not-so-serious, over-the-top evil song titles and perverted between-song banter, explaining that this song is about masturbation and that song is about werewolves fucking and whatnot really hit the spot (my g-spot, duh).
Next up was De Omega, featuring the bass player from Nightbitch (the theme of this show was Nightbitch and all the guys' from Nightbitch's other bands). They were described as "tech metal." They're all instrumental, which is inherently a bit less entertaining than sex/party metal, but they had some really lovely, dark atmospheric bits (as I might have said if I were writing metal journalism) and the bassist and guitarist were like nonstop tapping, which was giving all the young dudes in the crowd hella wood.
I am automatically skeptical of new American black metal, because it sort of seems like a style that is maybe better left to a certain time and place (Norway, 80s/90s), but I'm gonna have to hand it to Ipsissimus as well. It pains me to dole out such unadulterated praise about one night, but here again we had Ryan's being awesome on guitar at the heart of things, and the vocalist had a pretty killer rasp, and he made the most complicated banter comment about Nightbitch's set: "That band just did what your genitals were..." And I was like "huh?" and then totally got that he meant "ROCK HARD!" and it was the best thing ever, and I will never make fun of American guys for having black metal alteregos again.**
I have to admit to being overcome by pumpkin syndrome and leaving around midnight, before Treebeard got around to playing. Sorry Treebeard! But I already knew I liked them, so 4/4 stars for this gig! Look out for Ipsissimus' brand new release, The Way of Descent, on Metal Blade Records. Treebeard will be playing a gig at Cafe Nine June 11, and Chris from Treebeard, who has perfected human cloning, will also be playing that same night with Garbage Barge, who list GWAR as a primary influence and thus win my immediate good will - also at Cherry Street Station with for "Garbage Barge's Birthday Masquerade." We'll keep you posted about upcoming gigs from any of these fine bands as we hear about them. Check the FB for more sexy pics.