Housecore Horror Live Shot: Dirty Dog Bar
Metal fest's first night opens with pianos, closes with a brawl
By Michael Toland, 12:05PM, Fri. Oct. 25
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Night one of Philip Anselmo’s festival celebrating all things horrific and metallic started out with culture and ended in chaos. The evening got off to a weird start, kicking off with the neoclassical piano stylings of Goatcraft.
Bald, bearded, and covered in blood, San Antonio composer and Goatcraft namesake Lonegoat pounded his Korg Triton for almost 40 minutes. Even when sucking down one of the Lone Stars carefully placed across the front of his keyboard, one hand was still tickling (molesting?) the ivories. With both volume and reverb ticked past eleven, Goatcraft’s melodies became nearly oppressive. An abundance of headbanging and guitar faces on Lonegoat’s part made this the most metal piano recital in recent memory.
Though the two acts had little in common, blackQueen still managed to keep Goatcraft’s technical wizardry thriving. The Seattle quartet boasted some impressive musicianship, particularly on the part of guitarist Pete Jay and bassist Ursula Stuart.
The band’s tunes mostly followed a pattern: synths and film samples crashing into churning riffs and blasting beats that charged through a musically complicated midsection that sometimes featured Jay and Stuart tapping in unison, exploding in the end. Jay’s mic technique ranged from starving vampire shrieks to a Tibetan monk basso sepulchro, but blackQueen is really all about the instrumentation. That the band could erect black metal webs that complicated without being impenetrable snarls volumes about not only its skill but its taste.
Later, Dallas’ Black Moriah essayed blackened death metal of a purely brutal sort, the lack of variety in its buzz-saw riffs and bombastic rhythms diluting its power with mind-numbing sameness. Brooklyn’s White Widows Pact fared little better: easily the most energetic band on the bill, it still couldn’t muster anything approaching a tune or even a memorable riff out of the furious deathcore and inchoate screaming.
That left Lord Dying to pick up the pieces. The Portland foursome distinguished itself from the rest of the Northwest doom pack with Flying V guitars firing on all cylinders. It brought to mind a sludge-ridden Motörhead. Alas, the Lords had to compete with not one but two fights in the crowd – the unfortunate consequence, one supposes, of being the only band to inspire a mosh pit. Leader E. Olson incorporated the line “Chill the fuck out” into a song in attempt to curb the chaos, but it took bouncers to break it all up.
Lord Dying responded to the newfound peace by breaking a bass string and ending the show abruptly. This is a metal fest, after all. Maybe shutting down before the otherwise inevitable “And then the cops came” is how it all should be.