Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Photos and video of Batillus, Kowloon Walled City and Machete!

I have to say, last week's Nachtmystium show put me in a bit of a funk. Not only did I not get much photo-wise, but I was just really disappointed that so few people saw the show. When several friends told me I simply had to see Kowloon Walled City and Batillus (above) on Tuesday at Dive Bar, I decided to check the show out and see if it put me in a better mood. I knew very little about both bands, but ended up loving them both. 

The show suffered a bit from competition with the Wormrot show over at Volume 11. Seriously, why is it that we can go weeks without a good metal show, then have two must-see touring shows on the same night? Regardless, the turnout was fairly respectable, for a Tuesday night, and I think everyone had a good time. 

Living up to my promise to do a little better in the photo department, I also got some advice from a real photographer, Greg Cristman, who got some nice shots of the Nachtmystium tour for Brooklyn Vegan. I was happy with the results. 

The singer from Kowloon Walled City threw me off when he came onstage and announced the band as Batillus (you hear that on the video). As I said, I wasn't terribly familiar with either band, so it was only halfway through the set that I realized they were playing some KWC songs I'd been listening to just that day. 

Kowloon Walled City from Mann's World on Vimeo.

During Batillus' set, there was a suddenly a strong odor of burning plastic, and several people rushed onstage to see what was up. Since I had to be at work early today, I thought that was a good time to make my exit. I guess everything turned out OK. I didn't see anything on WRAL about the club burning down. 

Batillus from Mann's World on Vimeo.


The best surprise of the evening was Charlotte doom duo Machete! I'm looking forward to seeing them again. 
Machete! from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well, I tried

Seriously, I did. Other than my own show at Hopscotch, I don't think I've ever spent this much time promoting a show, as I did last night's show at Kings with Nachtmystium (above), Zoroaster, Dark Castle and The Atlas Moth. All of these bands are amazing, with Nachtmystium, Zoroaster and The Atlas Moth releasing three of my favorite albums of the year. Why this show wasn't packed, I don't know. I've heard from two reputable sources that the metal community didn't know about it. Others speculated that people didn't want to try and figure out how to park and get to the club with all the Harley weekend festivities going on. Personally I would have thought having a metal show in the middle of a thousand bikers would be a sure hit, but evidently they were happier watching the Led Zeppelin tribute band on the street directly in front of the club. I didn't hear any of them, but I did look out and see that "Jimmy Page" was playing a gold top, which is just wrong. Any Led Zeppelin fan will tell you that.

Regardless, if any of the bands were upset over the crowd, they certainly didn't show it. All played well (though The Atlas Moth had some sound problems toward the end of their set), and all hung out and chatted with people and were very cool. Zoroaster in particular seem to have a whatever attitude and just had fun onstage. All of the bands are playing tonight with Buzzoven and Black Tusk in Charlotte, which should be a massive show.

The lighting for most of the bands was really dark and atmospheric, which worked with the music, but made taking photos difficult. In fact, the videos for The Atlas Moth and Nachtmystium were completely unusable. In the Zoroaster video, you can only see the drummer, Dan. Dark Castle, ironically enough given their name, were the only ones who had the lights up, and so that video and those photos are better. One of my goals for the year is to learn more about shooting in really low lighting. I don't claim to be a great photographer, but shooting in such conditions is way beyond my capabilities.

(Dark Castle)

Dark Castle from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Zoroaster - "Ancient Ones" from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5 Questions with Dan from Zoroaster!

I should have checked my e-mail before that last post. Turns out that my interview with Zoroaster, which I thought wasn't going to happen, was waiting for me after all. Thanks to drummer Dan Scanlan for answering the questions. 

1. It seems like you guys have a little more than your fair share of vehicle problems on tour (vans being stolen, breaking down, no AC). What are you riding in on this tour, and how’s it holding up?

We have the same van from the last tour but we got the a/c fixed before we left. Well, we thought we did anyway. It just went out again two days ago so that sucks but no one has stolen it again yet and we haven't had any accidents on this tour so far so it could be worse I suppose.

2. Tell us more about this new song, and the “badass metal compilation” it’s going on. (Note, I sent this question before finding out about the Adult Swim comp).

It's a song called "Witch's Hammer" which is part of a free Adult Swim/Scion compilation called 'Metal Swim'.

We were asked for an unreleased song and since we didn't have anything recorded we decided to do something new and wrote and recorded it in one week. We've been playing it on this tour so by the time we get back home it'll probably be a bit different so maybe we'll rerecord it for the next record.

3. Considering the band’s name, and trippy, almost mystical sound, do any of you have any interest in Eastern philosophy or religion?

Not really. We just like drugs and being nice people.

4. You guys always do something cool with your videos. What’s the next video from “Matador” going to be, and what will be the concept?

I'm thinking we might do one for "Black Hole" but we haven’t really discussed any concepts yet. Maybe we can come up with some kinda dance routine like a Michael Jackson video.

5. Is there a beloved, highly influential band (Beatles, Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, etc.) that you just can’t stand?

I used to really hate Led Zeppelin. I bought one of their records as a child and couldn't stand the vocals and the same for the Who but I eventually got passed it because the music is so cool.

This week's cool shows: Nachmystium, Zoroaster, Whatever Brains, MAKE and more!

If you're friends with me on Facebook, then you've had to endure me talking up this show for the last month or so. Kings even mentioned my excitement over the show on their Web site. But the truth of the matter is this: With the exception of the COC reunion, this is probably the biggest and best metal show to happen in this area all year. Seriously, if you love heavy music, you do not want to miss Friday night's show at Kings. It's going to be that good. 

Chicago's Nachtmystium is the headliner, and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing them, but the band I'm most excited about is Atlanta's Zoroaster (above), who I saw a year ago this week at Planet Caravan in Asheville. They put on an amazing early evening show of deep, spacey, psychedelic sludge-rock, and I've been dying to see them again ever since. Their early summer release, "Matador," might be my favorite release of the year (though USX's "Run Thick in the Night" could knock it out of the running). Zoroaster also has a song on an AWESOME new Adult Swim metal comp, which can be downloaded here

Also on this bill are The Atlas Moth (from Chicago), who released another of my favorite records of the past year, "A Glorified Piece of the Blue Sky." If you like Pink Floyd, I think you'll like The Atlas Moth too. Dark Castle, a duo from St. Augustine, Fla., is opening. I honestly don't know that much about them, but I've been checking them out since finding out about this tour, and I like what I hear. Get there early: Doors are at 7 and the show starts at 8. 

And if that's not enough for you, Kings has ANOTHER great show happening on Saturday night: Whatever Brains, who were amazing during Hopscotch (above, with their eagle friend) and Light Pines. Kind of an unexpected, but really exciting, line up. 

Other great shows this week include MAKE, who were amazing at my Hopscotch day party. They'll be with Gollum and Man Will Destroy Himself at Reservoir on Saturday. MWDH will also be at Slim's on Thursday with The Infamous Sugar (who is said to have some really nasty new stuff) and Torpor (Sean B and Flash's new band). And on Saturday Shit Horse, whose "They Shit Horses, Don't They?" certainly wins for album title of the year, will be tearing it up at the Cave. I did not have the stamina to see them during the all-night Ruby Red party, but I understand it was a magical experience. 

And finally, for the under-the-radar shows of the week,  Kowloon Walled City and Battilus will play two shows in the area next week: Tuesday at Dive Bar and Wednesday at The Cave. I'm not really down with the Tuesday night shows anymore, but I just might have to endure being exhausted at work the next day to see this one. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

5 Questions with Embarrassing Fruits!

Chapel Hill's Embarrassing Fruits write really fun songs about a lot of life's less fun moments - particularly those you might have experienced as a lazy 20-something with a crappy job, a dying relationship and a tendency to drink too much PRB. But even if you're a 40-something with a crappy job, a dying relationship and a tendency to drink too much PRB, you can still relate. Such well-crafted pop songs have garnered the band comparisons to Superchunk and Guided By Voices. They'll have a CD-release show this Friday (Sept. 17) at Duke Coffeehouse for their new Trekky Records release "Frontier Justice." Midtown Dickens and Lonnie Walker open. 

1. Of all the fruits, which is the most embarrassing and why? And why aren't there any embarrassing vegetables?

JOE NORKUS (guitar, vocals): Ah this question...The name comes from a work of art by David Shrigley. It's an immature inside joke that kinda stuck. Everyone seems to think the name sticks out, so I guess that's a good thing. That being said, I guess the most embarrassing fruit would be a combination of fruits, rather than any one, specific fruit (see attached).

2. In "Long Distance Breakup Summer," the protagonist deals the repercussions of various friends' breakups (the biggest of which being that he has "no body to party with tonight"). What is the best way to help a friend through a break up? And why do I get the impression that he's being a little overconfident at the end when he keeps singing "I'm so glad I got you"?

LEE SHAW (bass, vocals): I don't really know what the best way to help a friend through a breakup is. I feel like there isn't a lot you can do. That's kind of what the song's about. The Jersey Shore guys probably go to the gym together, drink jager bombs, and have guido gangbangs or whatever, but in real life it's different. Your friend gets mopey and doesn't want to do anything, and a lot of times his or her ex is a friend too--then it's a real pain in the ass. Other people's breakups are just a drag, and are to be avoided at all costs. And yeah, there's probably some irony in the last lines.
3. Your one-sheet states that "Frontier Justice" is the first "fully realized" album from the band. Why is that?

JOE NORKUS:  "Fully realized" is kinda just a marketing thing the label came up with - I like to think we're just starting to learn how to write better songs. I think we continue to realize what sounds good to us, and we try and capture that in song form. Also, Lee, who originally just contributed bass has been writing more and bringing in more material; as a result, the sound is broader than on previous records we've made. Some would maybe call it more of a "traditional" rock record at times. More blistering solos perhaps? It comes down to taking more influence from eachother, rather than one person just being the initial creative force behind the songs.

4. I like the fact that you guys are releasing this in a variety of formats (vinyl, CD and .mp3) to prove that "hard copy music is still important". How important IS hard copy music, and will the record be on colored vinyl?

JOE NORKUS: Hard copy music SHOULD BE important, and more and more I hope that it will turn out to be that way. Ripping music online is a good way to find out about new stuff, and see whether something is worth buying - I do it all the time. However, vinyl as an object is a lot more special to me than an artless mp3 that I get from megaupload. If I'm really into a band, I'll go ahead and pick up their vinyl record, because years from now I can go back and check out the art and the liner notes, while being able to listen to the jams. That seems more appealing than searching the hard drive of an old computer I have in my closet for a song I want to reconnect with. We're releasing the whole package for $12, and that's a friggin steal if you ask me, for all 3 formats. The record will be on classic black vinyl.

5. What's the worst job you've ever had, and have you ever written a song about it?

LEE SHAW: My worst job was delivering papers when I was 8 or 9. I've never written about it, and that's probably good. It sounds like a shitty song.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hopscotch Night 3!

In the Year of the Pig at Berkeley. Dave and Biz have similar expressions on their faces. After my party, a gang of us went to El Rodeo, then kept it fairly low key the rest of the evening. 

In the Year of the Pig from Mann's World on Vimeo.

I was VERY glad to see an actual full set from U.S. Christmas. They did not disappoint. 

Finally there was Dungen, which was the most packed show I attended all weekend (once again the VIP pass came in handy). Worked my way to the front, where unfortunately my camera's memory card AGAIN went out, so this is only a partial video. Originally I planned to go back to the Berkeley to see Kylessa or over to Slim's to see Pontiak, but I was just too drained after the weekend's festivities. I called it a night after Dungen.

Dungen from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Hopscotch Day Parties, Day 3: Mann's World Party and Local Time

Many thanks to everyone who came out to my day party yesterday at Kings! The bands sounded awesome, and we had a good crowd. Thanks to all the bands who played, thanks to Patrick from Death Came Down the Mountain who actually flew in from Portland for the show, thanks to Kings for letting me hold it at the club, and thanks to Kaci from Pabst Blue Ribbon who came out and gave out some cool goodies, including bike bells, T-shirts and headbands. We got started a little late, but we had fun. 

Hog was the first band. 

Before my show I caught Flute Flies at the Raleigh Times Local Time party.

The Flute Flies from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Hopscotch Night 2!

Monologue Bombs at Deep South from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Whatever Brains at the Berkeley. The eagle was apparently a salute to the Enloe Eagles. It was extra fun when he jumped into the pit during Harvey Milk. 

Whatever Brains at Berkeley Cafe from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Harvey Milk from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Bowerbirds at Pour House. VIP pass definitely came in handy AGAIN for this show.

Bowerbirds at Pour House from Mann's World on Vimeo.

F'ed Up at the Berkeley. For my money the best show of the entire night, and probably the second best (after Dungen) of the entire festival. There's a similar picture of me and singer Damian Abraham somewhere out there. The photographer got my e-mail address but so far hasn't sent it to me. If you know the folks in this photo, please pass this on to them.

Fucked Up at The Berkeley Cafe from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hopscotch Day Parties, Day 2!

Megafaun at the Pour House. New CD was for sale. Maybe they'll have it tonight at Kings too.

Megafaun from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Bellafea from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Filthybird from Mann's World on Vimeo.

The Pneurotics from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Pinche Gringo at Slim's. Last time I saw him, it was Pinche himself, and he was great. His female sidekick, and her awesome voice, made it even better. 

Pinche Gringo from Mann's World on Vimeo.

All Tiny Creatures at Pour House

All Tiny Creatures from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hopscotch Night 1: More videos!

Ear Pwr at the Berkeley

Ear Pwr from Mann's World on Vimeo.

John Howie Jr. and Rosewood Bluff from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Max Indian (last show) at Lincoln Theatre. Carter's outfit was very 1965 JV basketball coach. 

Max Indian from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Birds of Avalon at Pour House. First time seeing them since Craig's departure. I like the fact that they're all singing now and didn't hire another lead singer. 

Birds of Avalon from Mann's World on Vimeo.

And Best Coast at Pour House. Too crowded to get a good photo. Definitely the buzz band of the night. My VIP wristband came in handy!

Best Coast from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Hopscotch Night 1: Cannabis Corpse

The Mac is choking on having to upload seven videos at once, so I'm going to put up this one, head downtown for some day shows, then finish up this evening. Right now it's telling me that the Birds of Avalon video will take another seven hours to upload, so you may not see that one until tomorrow. 

Richmond's Cannabis Corpse at Slim's was my final stop of the night. I didn't know a whole lot about them, but I mostly trust Hank's opinion (he curated the show), and I had read this hilarious interview with singer Andy Horn on Invisible Oranges. They did not disappoint. I think I got a contact buzz just listening to them. Last show of the night, and the best in my opinion. Planning to download some of their stuff today, and will definitely check them out again.

 But wouldn't you know, my memory card ran out midway through recording their first song. Here's that partial video, plus some photos I got on my phone. These were ones I took just messing around with the Retro Camera app, and believe it or not, they came out better than the regular phone cam photos! 

Cannabis Corpse from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Quickie update from Wednesday's pre-Hopscotch party

Trying to get out the door for night one of Hopscotch (1st stop: the VIP party at Sheraton) but wanted to put up some videos and photos from last night. Here's the lowdown: Caught a good bit of Valient Thorr (had to work today) who were totally on it, thought Howl were amazing, and ended up liking Junius, even if they had to grow on me a bit. Will update these videos with details later. I like how I managed to only get Valient Himself in the above photo. Looks like he's rockin all by himself onstage. I was very glad for Junius' dramatic stage lighting because it made it easier to take photos of them.

Valient Thorr from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Junius at Kings from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Howl at Kings from Mann's World on Vimeo.

See more photos here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Covering the shows

OK, I'll be tweeting from the shows, starting tonight with Valient Thorr and Howl at Kings, then posting photos and video the next day. I haven't used the Incredible's video feature, so I might try it tonight. So far haven't been impressed with the camera, but I will try to post a few photos anyway. Follow me on Twitter here! See you out tonight!