Crosstalk: Golden Dawn Arkestra Records Live Album and Metal Breakouts the Sword Break Up

Austin music news headlines of the week

Golden Dawn Arkestra (Photo by Jackie Lee Young)

Golden Dawn Arkestra carried out an unusual move last Thursday: recording a live album consisting of material that they'd never played live. "Our last record, The Gold Album, was very produced, so we wanted to do the farthest thing from that," explained bandleader Topaz McGarrigle. The disco-Afrobeat-jazz-funk Ra worshippers – who, along with the audience, were dressed entirely in culty white garments – gave the packed Sahara Lounge 90 minutes of heady, mostly instrumental compositions spanning drone, worldbeat, experimental, and beat music (the latter thriving in a three-drummer setup). Adding to the 12 core performers, GDA invoked special guests, including Guinean percussionist Abou Sylla, Grupo Fantasma guitarist Beto Martinez, and Iranian vocalist Mohammad Firoozi, of Atash, who dedicated his song to "the women in Iran, who are dying in the streets because all they want is the freedom of expression," adding: "This song is for all the people of the world, because we have the work to do. What we want to do is turn hate into love."   Kevin Curtin

Six years ago Austin musicians Chris Porter and Mitchell Vandenburg were killed in a traffic accident. While passing through North Carolina on tour, their beloved Sally Ride (an airport shuttle-turned-tour bus) was hit by a semi at full speed while stopped in traffic. There has been an annual memorial show near the anniversary ever since, hosted by the sole survivor: drummer and multi-instrumentalist wiz Adam Nurre. This year, families and friends of the deceased traveled to the event from Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, New York, Kansas City, and Tacoma, Wash. Packed into the front stage at Sagebrush, the show climaxed when bard Ben Ballinger led the audience in a shouting, fist-pumping crescendo of Vandenburg original "Cities." "The cities I've loved weren't the shops or the squares/ But the people who built them and called their homes there."  Hank Erwin

The Sword, after almost two decades and six albums, have laid down their weapons for good. In somber words on social media, founder, singer, and guitarist JD Cronise said: "I find it my duty to inform you that … it's time to bring The Sword's long and storied career to a close." The Austin breakouts exploded onto the doom scene with 2006's Age of Winters, ushering in a resurgence of retro-styled, Sabbath-laden sounds and sparking interest in stoner rock/metal that would shape heavy music for the next decade. Sophomore offering Gods of the Earth would hold some of their most popular cuts, capped by latest compilation Conquest of Kingdoms. Cronise's post concluded: "It's been a helluva journey. Now it's time for the next chapter…"  Robert Penson

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Golden Dawn Arkestra, Chris Porter, Mitchell Vandenburg, The Sword, JD Cronise, Adam Nurre

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