Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ripple Road Trip: - On the road to Frederick, MD December 15 2012: Featuring Pale Divine, Nitroseed, Admiral Browning, Wrath Of Typhon,Trilogy, and Puricist

After a 10-hour drive "back home" to Maryland from Tennessee my wife Kesha and I got to spend a day and a half with some of our best friends especially Mamma D, Evil Fanny and Jaks before show time at Cafe 611 approached. Krug's used to be THE joint for doom shows in Maryland but was sadly shut down early in 2012 and Cafe 611 has taken over a lot of their business. It is a nice small venue very suitable for a gig like this although the Amy Winehouse wanna-be bartender messed up just about every drink. Oh well, at least the beer was $3 cheaper than down in Tennessee...the little things.

On to the actual show, which was held to celebrate our friend Dustin's birthday, with Puricist kicking things off. They play old school-sounding thrash with distinct hints of death metal and weren't bad at all. However, they were plagued by technical problems throughout their entire set which naturally frustrated them. Still they battled on and did good.

Next up was a fairly new Maryland trio, Trilogy, featuring Fez on bass guitar and this was the first of three bands he played with this evening, talk about a marathon runner! The band is rounded up by Jason Sheldon Barker - vocals & guitar and Tony Saunders - drums, and they got the groove going with a real nice bluesy heavy rock. And of course, the steadily increasing crowd loved it, yours truly included. Having just recorded their debut cd, which is being mixed as I write this, you could tell they wanted to play live and they simply crushed. By the way, record companies with any sense and an ear for great music should take notice and pick them up hear?!

Third band on the bill were four hooligans from York, PA, called Wrath Of Typhon and they brought the fury to Cafe 611 alright. No-holds-barred punk-infused metal is their forte and do they deliver. A still somewhat smallish crowd banged their heads to smithereens to this apocalyptic soundtrack as the band tore the place up. I have seen them live several times before and they never fail to bring the goods but after this display they show they have grown a lot and are so tight, heavy and good. No let me rephrase that....great!

The second trio of the night to take the stage, Admiral Browning, featured the second performance by bass maestro Fez. This is his main gig in many ways since he helped form the band with Tim Otis - drums and Matt LeGrow - guitars, effects and vocals back in 2002. Even though I'm not the greatest sea urchin in the world I do love this band of pirates and I have seen them countless times throughout the years. Once-instrumetal they do write vocal songs now which has expanded and pushed them forward. The focus is still on instrumental progressive metal/doom though and that excels live. Every time I see them they have tweaked the songs slightly making every show different and....amazing!

Fifth band to hit the stage were Nitroseed from Laurel, MD, and they feature ex-members of Earthride and Wooly Mammoth. Despite having a new album out in January 2013, their first since 2006, they probably played their last show ever on this night which is a shame if true. Mainly instrumental these guys absolutely crushes on stage. Stoner rock without vocals played this well is all I need on any given day but they went on like a bulldozer on a rampage and I'm amazed that Cafe 611 hadn't vanished when they were done.

Last band out and one of my all time favourite ever, Pale Divine. This was the first time I've seen them play since the release of their excellent album Painted Windows Black and the first time with the addition of Fez on bass guitar, so my anticitpation and excitement were running very high indeed. As always with The Pales though I shouldn't have worried at all because they were absolutely amazing. One of the best songs off of Painted Windows Black started their set, the fantastic Black Coven and to see them play with Fez, who made his third appearance of the night, is nothing short of brilliant. The focus was mainly on the new album and it was a joy to hear Angel of Mercy. However they did surprise us pretty good by playing two brand new songs, Curse The Shadows and Shades of Blue and an old previously unrecorded song, Chemical Decline. All three were great and but it was especially fun to hear the brand new tracks knowing they are working on new material. Yes, that's all I can say...yes!

Unfortunately an amazing evening and an amazing homecoming weekend had to come to an end. 10 hours on the road back to our new turf in the deep South loomed and it was with great sadness my wife and I left. We did have a great time watching some great bands and seeing great old friends and hopefully we'll be back up "home" soon. A big shout out goes to Jaks and Evil Fanny who let us crash at their places; to Mamma D, Fez and Shannon Diener for making the Sunday breakfast awesome; to Doug and Joe, two of my best friends!

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