Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not a top 10: Albums and shows that were important to me this year

Note: This post has taken a lot longer to complete than I planned. This was the first year that my mom came to visit me in Raleigh for Christmas, and it involved more work and more socializing than I anticipated! I imagine I'll be back at the beach next year!

Despite what I wrote in a contentious Facebook discussion on the subject, I am not going to make Liturgy's Aesthetica my album of the year, even though I can see how it would be totally warranted.   For one reason, I haven't even listened to the album, but their music is really beside the point to the discussions they've sparked about metal and who should make it.

I'm also not going to call this a top 10 or top whatever, even though the albums and shows I'm going to list are kind of loosely in order of meaningfulness to me. And that's really what this entry is: A list of albums and shows that I personally enjoyed and that meant something to me in 2011. Nothing more and nothing less. In the past year I made a conscious shift in my blog coverage away from local music in general toward heavier music. This is what is exciting me now, and it's what I prefer to cover. But that doesn't mean you won't find some local music, or music that's not heavy, on this list.

I also want to say that, contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, I don't know everything. Many times recently I've had friends try to talk to me about certain bands, only to be surprised that I don't know about them. If you know of a band you think I would like, please tell me about them. I always appreciate hearing about new music, especially heavy music.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Graveyard - Hisingen Blues
Upon hearing this album of well-crafted heavy blues back in March, I was convinced it would be my album of the year. This was definitely the album that got the most plays on my iPod. But then September came, and I heard an amazing number of releases  -- including Rwake's Rest, which was No. 1 in my mind for a while -- that seemed to shove this one aside. In contemplating this list I went back and listened to some of my favorites from earlier in the year, and concluded that none had the same emotional impact on me. Hear "No Good Mr. Holden."

Feist - Metals
Up until hearing Metals the only two songs guaranteed to make me cry on command were Imogene Heap's "Hide and Seek" and Lucinda Williams' "Sweet Old World." You can now add Feist's "Graveyard" to that list. This is truly a great album.

The Atlas Moth - An Ache for the Distance
I really liked The Atlas Moth's first release, A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky, but I honestly thought Stavros Giannopoulos' death metal vocals didn't really work well with Dave Kush's clean vocals. On Ache, the vocal interplay works much better and the album as a whole is musically more cohesive. The band also earns my vote for Song of the Year with "Holes in the Desert."

Rwake - Rest
"It Was Beautiful but Now It's Sour" will be the soundtrack when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come riding across the earth.

Orchid - Capricorn
I really struggled with putting this one on the list. Orchid is derivative to the point of almost being a tribute band. They're basically 99 percent Black Sabbath with 1 percent Deep Purple mixed in. But that mix works, and I played this album almost non-stop this year. Hear "Down into the Earth."

Yob - Atma
This one really took a while to grow on me. At first I found it repetitive and boring, but then I started appreciating its trance-inducing qualities. Hear "Adrift in the Ocean."

Warpaint - The Fool
Haunting, jangly girl rock from LA. Heard this the first time at Poole's Diner on the night of April 15, after going to see Neil Young at DPAC. The next day, it should be noted, was the Great Raleigh Tornado. All that day, while I was stuck waiting out the storm with a hundred other people in the basement of Dorton Arena and later at Slim's, which was operating with candles and warm beer, the song "Undertow" kept replaying in my mind. (Yes, I know this was released in 2010, but it came to my attention this year.)

Black Skies - On the Wings of Time
Crushing and heavy, and yet delicate and exotic. Black Skies outdid themselves with this release, and became the best band in this area's thriving heavy music community.  Hear "The Sleeping Prophet."

Royal Thunder - Royal Thunder
These guys were the best surprise of the Bull City Metal Fest, even though they sound more like a super heavy Fleetwood Mac than anything that could remotely be called metal. Hear "Low."

U.S. Christmas - The Valley Path
I listened to this album while ripping up a bunch of nasty carpet in a spare bedroom. Have you ever ripped up carpet? Pulling it up is the easy part. Yanking up hundreds of tiny nails and staples is the thankless part. But when I was done, I had a beautiful hardwood floor, that was almost pristine because it had been covered by that nasty carpet for nearly 40 years.  I'd wanted to refinish that floor since moving into my house almost 11 years ago, but I kept the carpet because my dog liked laying on it. As you probably know, my dog died  at 15 and 1/2 earlier this year, and his death was very hard on me. Listening to The Valley Path during that process summed up the psychological journey of loss, of throwing away, and of finding something beautiful underneath. U.S. Christmas Facebook page.

Honorable mentions
Saviours - Earthen Dagger
Opeth - Heritage
Skeletonwitch - Of Ash and Torment
Black Tusk - Set the Dial
Blood Ceremony - Living with the Ancients
Seidr - For Winter Fire


Inquisition at Six Forks Pub
I'm sure you  know some old timers who talk about that awesome COC show back in the day in the basement of St. Joseph's AME Church (now Hayti Heritage Center). 20 years from now middle aged Raleigh punks will be talking about that Inquisition show with the same reverence.

Agalloch at Kings
I wrote the following for the Indy: The memory that will stick with me from 2011 is the atmosphere, particularly the scent, of Agalloch’s show at Kings on a misty evening in March. Before playing, the band lit two little cauldrons of what looked like wood blocks, giving the air a dim, smoky feel and heady aroma. Recently I asked drummer Aesop Dekker on Facebook what the incense was, and he said it might have been actual agalloch wood. I felt like I had stumbled upon a pagan ritual in the middle of a burning maritime forest. Read original post.

Oxbow at Berkeley Cafe during Hopscotch
The menacing, tightly wound Eugene Robinson is probably the only man in the world who can out-David Yow David Yow. Read original post.

Scratch Acid at Cat's Cradle
... but I don't want to count the original out so quickly. I've seen The Jesus Lizard many times over the years, but I never saw the band that led me to that band. Just like with the Jesus Lizard reunion show a few years ago, Scratch Acid proved that they had lost nothing over the years. This show brought out the local old-timers, but sadly wasn't as full as I would have expected. I left my camera at home for this one, but Jodi Donkel posted some great shots on Facebook.

Shit Horse at Slim's during Hopscotch
Danny Mason is the consumate showman. When Shit Horse ran into technical difficulties before their insanely overpacked Hopscotch show at Slim's, Mason kept the crowd entertained by dancing, clapping and tossing a seemingly endless supply of beef jerky into the crowd. Then when the PA was fixed, the band tore it up with the best show of the entire weekend.  Read post. 

Bull City Metal Fest at Casbah
Steve Gardner of Casbah deserves major kudos for scheduling a two-day festival that celebrated a wide variety of heavy music, not just metal. The weekend included incredible performances by Horseback (which was the subject of a post on Invisible Oranges), Royal Thunder, Colossus (above) and Music Hates You. I'm seriously looking forward to next year's festival.
Post from night onePost from night two.

The Atlas Moth and Ken Mode (pictured) at Nightlight
The only other time I saw The Atlas Moth, the band suffered through sound problems and was hampered by a too-early time slot at Kings. I honestly think I was the only paying customer in the club when they went on. The Nighlight show sounded much better, featured a trippy light show, and was witnessed by a good-sized crowd. I knew almost nothing about Ken Mode before the show, but ended up being impressed with them too.
Read original post.

OCOAI at Dive Bar
By far the loudest show I saw all year. Crazy Appalachian space metal melting the walls of the Dive Bar on a really hot summer night. Looking forward to seeing them on Jan. 6 with Generation of Vipers (from Knoxville) at the same venue. Read original post.

Mann's World Show at Dive Bar during Hopscotch
During this year's Hopscotch, I moved my day show to Dive Bar, and I can't thank Robby, Steven and Dave from Big Boss enough for all their hard work. Dive Bar has steadily become my favorite place in the Triangle to see metal shows, mainly because they truly love heavy music, support the local community, and in turn have earned the support and loyalty of the community itself. Lurch, Black Thai and Righteous Fool all put on killer performances. Unfortunately I didn't follow my own Hopscotch advice (no drinking during the day shows) and I ended up missing Krallice later that night.
Read post.

Guitartown Party at Sadlack's during Hopscotch
A great event kicked into legendary status when the cops shut it down for being too loud. This show is also where I saw Debonzo Brothers for the first (and so far only) time. They'll be at Tir na Nog this Thursday (Dec. 29).

Read original post.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This week's cool shows: Organos, Birds and Arrows, Rock and Shop Market and more!

I'm not sure what the above graphic has to do with Organos, but it was on their Facebook page, and it looks similar to the symbol of my ancestral homeland, so I'm posting it. Another thing I don't quite understand, but find strangely compelling, is the band's (which is actually just Maria Albani) new video, which features close ups of people (including quite a few area musicians) smiling. Weirdly this reminded me of Godley and Creme's "Cry" video, but when I went back and looked, that video really didn't feature a whole lot of people crying. North Elementary's John Harrison directed the video.

At the End of the Ride from Organos on Vimeo.
The band will be at White Collar Crime this Friday (Dec. 16) with The Big Picture and Boykiller (Ginger from Veelee).

On Thursday, Dec. 15, Birds and Arrows will hold their Christmas party at Casbah with Small Ponds. This is an early (8 p.m.) seated show. And if you're still looking for a holiday present for your art-loving friend, you can purchase the above artwork (among other works of art) by band member Pete Connelly. There's a link for his art, but the images are broken for me. Andrea Connelly also makes guitar straps available on that site, or at Carrboro Music.

Finally, Small Ponds will also play the Rock and Shop Market, Saturday, Dec. 17, at Motorco, where you can find the foxy headgear pictured above. The concept of this event is simple. You rock to good local music and shop for cool, locally made items. The shop part will take place from noon- 6 p.m. at Motorco, Fullsteam and the nearby Trotter building. A fashion show, sponsored by Spoonflower, will begin at Trotter at 3 p.m. Phil Cook & His Feat will also play, and and sponsor Merge Records will be on hand with its catalog of music. Merge will reward donations of canned food with $2 off your total music purchase and a free Merge music sampler, with all proceeds benefiting the North Carolina Food Bank. There will also be several food trucks, including Only Burger, Chirba Chirba, Klausie’s Pizza, Olde North State BBQ, Will & Pop’s, Slippin’ Sliders, Monuts Donuts, bikeCoffee, Pie Pushers and KoKyu BBQ!

Also this week:

Wednesday, Dec. 14: Whatever Brains PC Worship Mutilation Logic Problem at Slim's
Wednesday, Dec. 14: Hog with Midnight Ghost Train and Church of Wolves at Chapel Hill Underground
Wednesday, Dec. 14: Chatham County Line at Pour House
Saturday, Dec. 17: The New Raleigh Christmas Party with Dynamite Brothers and Shirlette at Kings
Sunday, Dec. 18: Double Negative with Bukkake Boys, Manic and Atrophix at Kings

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Photos and video of Inquisition, -/- and Old Painless

I don't think I'm alone in saying that Monday's show by legendary black metallers Inquisition at a cramped sports bar in North Raleigh will go down as one of the weirdest, and most awesome, shows I've ever seen. It was a last minute show. Word went round on Facebook late last week that the band had an open date and wanted to play in the area. Ira Rogers, who books a lot of punk house shows in the area and who ended up putting the show together, told me the story:

 "I got a call on Thursday night from my friends from Richmond, Mark Osborn and Andy Horn; they also book shows/tours. Inquisition was planning out a tour, and their old tour manager flaked out in the middle of booking it, so basically, they had about 7 open days without shows, and this was one of them. They needed something between Richmond or Asheville, and told me they would be down to play a DIY show on their day off. At first I didn't know exactly what to do, but then slowed down and figured that I've done plenty of last minute shows before, and that surely if I call some others to work out some tweaks, that it should be fine. I called "partner in crime" Alex Taylor, because I knew he really liked Inquisition, and he freaked. He got all the bands together to play the show. I called Tyson Dale, to see if he had any ideas, and he usually pulls some tricks out of the hat.

We emailed several all age venues, and if that were to flop, called a friend to ask if we could use his garage JUST IN CASE nothing was open. Tyson had Six Forks agree to do the show within minutes, and Alex had the bands already, so essentially, we booked this show in just a couple of hours. We put up some homemade flyers the next day, just so it wouldn't be exclusive to the internet, and then waited it out.

Some people talked a lot of shit about how the show should have been at DiveBar or Slim's in downtown Raleigh. I think those places are fun and the people running those places are great, but half the people at Monday's show were underage. I only do all-ages shows, and I'm sticking to that.

 From what I gathered, Inquisition seemed excited to play with some hardcore bands, because it's out of the element and more creative, with multiple crowds of people as one. They were very nice guys and told me they'd love to hit me up again next year for if they set up a DIY gig tour. I'd definitely book them again. All the bands were KILLER last night!"

I have to echo Ira's sentiment that the band seemed really excited to be playing the show. They were extremely gracious to me, and from what I understand, everyone who talked to them. Dagon thanked the audience profusely many times, and mentioned at one point that we were getting the most stripped-down version of Inquisition ever because they were using absolutely no effects on stage.

But there was a totally surreal element to the whole experience. Six Forks Pub really is a sports bar. If I lived up that way It would probably be my venue of choice for watching the game. The decor consists of beer signs and posters of classic rockers like Hendrix and The Who (though, to be fair, do does the decor of most bars). Bryan Reed summed up the atmosphere with this photo. But my friend Keith basically said it best while watching the band set up: "It's so weird to see a guy in corpse paint set up his drums while Ke$ha plays in the background." But I think that surrealism is part of what made this show so great. Everyone who was there will be talking about this one when we're all trading stories in the rest home.

I wasn't terribly happy with my photos, but if you know Tara, who goes to all the metal shows, she has a GREAT set on Facebook. I was pretty happy with the video, not because it looked like much, but because it sounded a lot better than I expected it to, especially since I was standing in front of a screaming guitar amp the whole time.

Double Negative (above) and Old Painless (below), opened the show. It was my first time seeing them in a good while -- certainly since singer Cameron Craig and drummer Bobby Michaud joined the band. Unfortunately this video is a little blown out. Double Negative were a lot louder than Inquisition! See more photos.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Trousers and Corvette Summer at Sadlack's

My love of The Trousers, The T's and Cartridge Family has been well-documented here. Of the three, I'd have to say my favorite has always been The Trousers simply because this band played late-60s British blues and truly knew what they were doing.

Unfortunately this past weekend was the last for all three bands because Stephen Gardner (above, drummer for The Trousers and Cartridge Family; singer/guitarist for The T's) is moving to Louisiana. Sadlack's basically had a mini festival for all three bands, with The Trousers playing their last show on Saturday, and Cartridge Family and The T's playing their final shows on Sunday.  These photos are from Saturday's show, but all three bands will be missed around here.

I hadn't seen Corvette Summer in a while. I don't usually write about cover bands, but I just love the selection of deep cuts they choose when they pay. Seriously, hearing Judas Priest's "Rocka Rolla" live has pretty much made my month. I suggested that they really need to cover Riot's "Hard Lovin' Man." If they don't then certainly someone does! We'll see if they listen to my suggestion.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

New music of the week: Bowerbirds and Thee Dirtybeats

Just got word today that Bowerbirds will release their third album, "The Clearing," on Dead Oceans March 6, and will open their tour at Cat's Cradle on March 17. Here's the full track listing:

01. Tuck the Darkness In
02. In the Yard
03. Walk the Furrows
04. Stitch the Hem
05. This Year
06. Brave World
07. Hush
08. Overcome with Light
09. Sweet Moment
10. Death Wish
11. Now We Hurry On

In the past couple of years the band has dealt with some seriously trying times. The press release pretty much sums it up:

The Clearing is more than a third record for the Bowerbirds. Between 2009’s Upper Air and this one, Beth nearly died after a mysterious illness that put her in the hospital. They rescued and adopted a dog that ran beneath their tour van’s tires. Beth and Phil even ended their long relationship but began it again after realizing that, despite their own shortcomings, they didn’t want to be with anyone else. Mostly, though, they returned to their cabin in the woods of North Carolina to nest—to make soup and walk dogs, to make art and write songs, to realize that this was their life and find contentment in it. For the Bowerbirds, The Clearing represents the perfect realization of a fresh, timely outlook. Here, there’s acceptance with ambition, patience with aspirations, understanding with intelligence. On The Clearing, Phil and Beth sing of the best and most important moments of their life and, in turn, create new ones.

I really can't top that. I'll just say that after hearing the hauntingly dramatic first track, I can't wait to hear the rest.

Bowerbirds - "Tuck the Darkness In"

Thee Dirtybeats have just released a debut album of fuzzy, Nuggets-style vintage rock, with equal references to The Yardbirds and The Plimsouls. They are taking a short break from playing for guitarist/vocalist Jamie McLendon and his wife, Maria Brubeck, to have a baby, but they should be playing again shortly afterward. EDIT: Jamie emailed me to let me know that Maria's band, Shipwrecker, will play Pinhook with Erie Choir and Wigg Report in early January.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This week's cool shows: American Aquarium, Stephen Gardner's last shows in town and more!

This Saturday is going to be a little troublesome for me logistics-wise. Against my better judgement, I am going to try and see American Aquarium's album-recording show at the Pour House -- and I say "against my better judgement" simply because I expect the venue to be slam-packed. Given this band's ever-growing popularity, I fully expect there to be way too many people at this show, which I'm sure is really going to amp up the energy for recording. Can't wait. Kenny Roby is one of the openers.

Unfortunately, The Trousers, one of my all-time favorite local bands, will play their final show ever at Sadlack's that same night. Drummer Stephen Gardner is moving to Louisiana, and Sadlack's is featuring a weekend of final shows by three of his bands: Trousers on Saturday and The T's and The Cartridge Family on Sunday. Since Sad's tends to hold early shows, I'm going to hit this up before going to the Pour House, and hope the PH show isn't sold out when I get there.

Backing up a bit, there are several good options for going out on Thursday. Kings will be showing "Karp Lives, "the new documentary about Karp, while Tir na Nog will host the Hopscotch kickoff party with The Music Tapes and Depressed Buttons. BTW, writstbands for Hopscotch go on sale tomorrow (12/1). I was lucky enough to get in on the pre-sale this morning, so I am set, though it this sale did kind of put a cramp in my December budget. If you're expecting a Christmas present from me, you might want to seriously diminish your expectations.

Also on Thursday, Backwoods Payback, Bitter Resolve, Akris and Church of Wolves will be at the Casbah in Durham. That's most likely where I'll be.

Other great shows this week:

Friday: Valient Thorr at Kings
Wednesday (Dec. 7): LA Guns (you read that right) at Pour House
Next Thursday-Saturday (Dec. 8-10): The Great Cover Up at Kings with proceeds partially benefitting The Beehive!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Photos of Chimaira and Skeletonwitch

I am heading out of town for Thanksgiving (and my birthday), but wanted to quickly add these photos of Chimiara and Skeletonwitch from last night's show at Lincoln Theatre. This was my first time shooting there (other than an aborted attempt to shoot The Sword a few years back), and I have to give major thanks to the club for being so accommodating. The Eric from the club was super nice, the lighting was good, and there was a barrier that I could get in front of to shoot - though it did feel weird to be up there all by myself. See more photos.

I was not very familiar with Chimaira before the show, but Skeletonwitch's latest, "Forever Abomination," is one of my favorite releases of the year. Both bands put on great shows, though Skeletonwitch's set was shorter than I would have liked. Hopefully I'll get to see them again soon on a headlining tour.

The only thing I didn't like was the fact that this show was so EARLY. Seriously, Skeletonwitch went on around 8 p.m. I know I'm constantly complaining about shows starting too late, but 8 p.m. is a little much.

Finally, as most of you know, I am involved in the Beehive, and am currently involved in a fundraising effort for the organization. In honor of my 45th birthday, which is Friday, I'm trying to get 45 people to donate $5 apiece to my page. I am thankful to everyone who has donated so far, but I need a lot more people to participate. Please click on the link and donate. The Beehive is going to do great things in Raleigh in 2012, and this is your chance to be involved.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This week's cool shows: Skeletonwitch, Hull, Debonzo Brothers and more!

Show of the week for yours truly is undoubtedly Chimaira/Unearth/Skeletonwitch on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at Lincoln Theatre. Skeletonwitch (above) is actually one of the opening bands on that bill, but their recent release, "Forever Abomination," is one of my favorites of the year, so they're the band I'm most excited about seeing. It's also an early show (doors at 6!) so don't miss it. I've created a Spotify playlist of the best heavy music of 2011, and Skeletonwitch is on there, so check it out. Username is mannsworld. 

The other big metal show this week is Caltrop, Hull and Ruscha on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Chapel Hill Underground. Check out the Invisible Oranges review of Hull's "Beyond the Lightless Sky," which was posted today. I am genuinely torn about this, because I also want to see The Debonzo Brothers with North Elementary and Revolutionary Sweethearts (a very non-metal show) on the same night at White Collar Crime here in Raleigh. Also on Saturday, The Bleeding Hearts (with Joe Yerry back in the band) and The T's (playing one of their last shows ever) will be at Dive Bar. I wrote a small blurb about that show for the Indy. 

Also coming up:

Sunday, Nov. 20: Chuck Johnson / Fan Modine (full band) / Mark Holland from Jennyanykind at Nightlight

Friday, Nov. 25: Smashfest Scrap Exchange benefit with Church of Wolves, feast upon thy brother and Systems

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cough, Black Skies and Church of Wolves at Kings

Cough headlined Wednesday's show at Kings, but it really was Black Skies' night. They celebrated the release of their excellent new album, "On the Wings of Time," and played a powerful set. The video is of my favorite song on the album, "Darkness and Disguise."

Cough (above) seem to get more bonecrushingly slow and sludgy each time I see them, but that didn't stop some dude from trying to mosh, and even jumping on stage. Michelle from Black Skies has major cojones for stopping him.

Church of Wolves (below), which included Bret from Lurch and Chris from The Mouth of the Ghost, played a superb first show. See more photos.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

.mp3 of the week: River City Ransom!

This week's .mp3 is from Raleigh's River City Ransom, who I have been raving about since they stole the show as Meat Loaf a few years back during Raleigh Undercover. Their original stuff is just as impressive as their Undercover set. Think earnest, energetic anthemic pop with nods to U2 and Bruce Springsteen. Fans of IWTDI, Red Collar and American Aquarium will definitely like River City Ransom. This is "Bitter," off their just released album "We've Got Fucking Wolves."


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

This week's cool shows: Black Skies and more!

This week’s show of the week is undoubtedly tonight’s Cough/Black Skies show at Kings. Tonight is a CD-release show for Black Skies’ excellent new release “On the Wings of Time.” Cough is on their way back to Richmond after playing the Forward to the Apocalypse fest in Savannah. I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle and Kevin of Black Skies last week, and was very proud to see the article in today’s Indy. Thanks to Michelle and Kevin for being gracious hosts, and thanks to Grayson for letting me write the article. Church of Wolves opens the show so get there early.

The other big show that everyone is talking about is Megafaun and Bowerbirds this Friday at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. I have not been to the Hall River Ballroom, but it sure does look like a gorgeous spot that would be ideal for seeing both bands. A little-known fact about yours truly: I lived in Saxapahaw for about three weeks back in 1993. If Saxapahaw had been as interesting back then as it seems to be now, I might not have broken my lease and lost a whole bunch of money in an effort to get the hell out of there.

Also, this Saturday offers a prime opportunity to hear some great regional bands and drink local brews at the N.C. Beer and Band Festival at the Lincoln Theatre.

Old Habits, Holy Ghost Tent Revival and Greensboro’s House of Fools are among the bands on the lineup. Mother Earth, Natty Greene’s, Lonerider and Roth are some of the brewers. The event starts at 3 p.m. and is sponsored by the N.C. Brewers Guild

Finally, if you’re not celebrating National Metal Day on 11/11/11, you should check out The Loners, the Infamous Sugar and Soundsystem 13 at Kings

Other shows of note this week:

Friday: Colossus with Swordmasters of Ganz at Nightlight

Saturday: Wooden Shjips and Bird of Avalon at Kings

Saturday: Small Ponds and Sarah Suskind at the Pour House

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This week's cook shows: Shit Horse, Scratch Acid and more!

I wrote about the Zen Frisbee Halloween show featuring Shit Horse for this week's Indy. In case you don't see it, here's the gist: Shit Horse put on a great show at Hopscotch despite technical difficulties, and you should go see them Monday night at Local 506

Here are some other shows you should check out this week (assuming, of course, that you're not going to be in Asheville for Moogfest this weekend). 

Thursday: RBT with Hessian at Dive Bar

Friday: HNMTF with Wesley Wolfe at Nightlight

Sunday: Boris at Cat's Cradle

Monday: Screaming Females at Nightlight

Wednesday: Scratch Acid (next week's show of the week!) at Cat's Cradle

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kenny Roby and Caroline Mamoulides at Sadlack's

Despite the somewhat somber tone of these photos, Friday's show with Kenny Roby and Caroline Mamoulides at Sadlack's was a virtual laugh riot. Kenny was nailing the one-liners left and right, and Ronnie Monroe livened things up (I guess that's really the only way to put it) with his interpertive dancing. Sorry, but no video from that night, which I really kind of regret in retrospect. Kenny also did something unusual in that he covered Elvis Costello's "Every Day I Write the Book."I had never thought about how much Kenny sounds like Elvis until right then, and the similarity was uncanny. 

I've known Caroline Mamoulides for a while now, but actually had no idea that she is a singer-songwriter in her own right. Friday's show was one of her first playing live. I liked her songs, even if they were pretty sad (her own description), and I'm looking forward to seeing her again. See more photos

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Come to the Doggie Fun Fest and Cherry Bomb Ball!

You know, I can give you 5,000 reasons why you should check out the Doggie Fun Show and Cherry Bomb Ball, a dual-event benefit for the Independent Animal Rescue. But the main thing is this: Look at that face! Seriously, look at that awesome sweet face! That, folks, is Miss Cherry, a sweet pup who is now able to walk again thanks to IAR. That's an organization that does great work and deserves some serious love. Sunday's Doggie Fun Show at Phydeaux and Oct. 21's Cherry Bomb Ball at Kings are both going to be awesome love fests for this very worthy organization.

If you know anything about local music, you know Caitlyn Cary and Skillet Gilmore. They were Cherry's foster parents/eventual adoptees. They live in my neighborhood, and I often saw them walking Cherry in a stroller, of all things, after her injury. And if you read this blog on a regular basis you know I lost my buddy, Mr. C, in March after 14 and 1/2 years together. I now have a new buddy, Sir Alex, who is doing well, and barking up a storm, in his new home. Thus I'm already partial to anything that helps dogs, but this benefit truly is going to be super amazing. Here are the details.

Doggie Fun Show: Sunday's event (Oct. 16) will take place from 4-6 p.m. at Phydeaux, a really cool, well-stocked pet supply store in Seaboard Station. I get most of my supplies from here so I can personally vouch for this place. Dog owners can enter their pups in a variety of contests, including Best Kisser, Best Costume, and Cutest Ugly dog. Yours truly will be there taking photos, so if you want to come out and tell me how badly my writing sucks, please do so! Just make sure you donate to IAR first. If you would like to enter your pooch, registration is $5 in advance, $7 day of event. And if that's not enough, Big Boss will be there too!

Cherry Bomb Ball Best in Show and Live Music: The winners from the Oct. 16 event will gather at 7 p.m. at Kings for the final judging and great live music from Schooner, The Tender Fruit, Birds & Arrows and Small Ponds. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 of show.

I truly hope to see everyone out at both of these events. Independent Animal Rescue does amazing work, not just for Cherry, but for animals in need throughout the Triangle. They're a great organization, and I'm very proud to be helping them in whatever way I can.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Photos and video of The Atlas Moth and KEN Mode

The Atlas Moth's "An Ache for the Distance" was one of my most-anticipated albums of the year, and it totally lived up to my expectations, so I was really looking forward to their show at Nightlight. The only other time I had seen them was during the disappointing Kings show with Nachtmystium and Zoroaster about a year ago. The difference between last year's show and this year's was like night and day. The band sounded good, the crowd was larger and more appreciative, and the photos were much better -- even with the band's psychedelic LED light show. 

I was certainly aware of KEN Mode, who have been getting a lot of press lately, but I'l admit their recorded music didn't really grab me. The aggressive and angular live show, however, was a whole 'nother story, and made me want to give them another listen. See more photos

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Photos from night three of Hopscotch!

(Danny Mason)

I hate to say it, but I kind of wussed out on day three of Hopscotch. I had good intentions of seeing Krallice at the Berkeley, but ended up going home around 11:30. But I had a great time up until that point. See more photos

The day was spent at my day party at Dive Bar. You never know how a day party is going to go, but I truly couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out. We had a good crowd, and all three bands (Lurch, Black Thai and Righteous Fool) all sounded killer. Thanks so much to Robby and the gang at the Dive Bar, and Dave and the gang at Big Boss, for making this happen.

I am so happy Black Thai made the drive down here from Boston. They seemed to have a great time, and I know they made some new fans. Maybe we can get them back down here again soon. 

The only official Hopscotch show I saw last night was Shit Horse at Slim's, and as far as I'm concerned, I got my money's worth for the whole weekend. Slim's had some problems with the PA, so the set got started a bit late. The band still managed to keep the crowd (and I do mean crowd) entertained in the mean time. Check out the videos below.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Photos from day 2 of Hopscotch!

I'm heading out soon for my day party at Dive Bar, sponsored by Big Boss. Here are some of my favorite shots from day two! See more photos. 

Transportation from Mann's World on Vimeo.

(Earth at Kings)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Photos from day 1 of Hopscotch 2011

Highlight of the night: Absolutely Oxbow, who are probably the most menacing band I've ever seen -- even during the acoustic part of their set. The freakiest thing for me was the duct tape over Eugene Robinson's ears.

I also got to see the Debonzo Brothers for the first time, and liked them a lot. They were one of the bands who played after the Sadlack's party was restarted at 5 p.m. In case you didn't hear, that party was shut down for noise around 1 p.m., and the organizers were told they could only begin again after 5. See photos from throughout the day.

The Debonzo Brothers from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Photos and video of Weedeater, Saviours and Bison BC


This one is going to be quick and dirty because I'm heading out soon for some Hopscotch day parties. Weedeater and Bison BC were both killer on Tuesday night at Kings, but I have to say Saviours pretty much owned the evening for me. I also bought their brand new CD, "Death's Procession," and have been listening to it non-stop. See more photos.

In the interest of saving time, I don't plan to shoot much video this weekend. Might get some from local acts I haven't seen before, but for the most part, you'll be seeing mainly photos from me for the next three days. I'll be tweeting my observations along the way.

Bison BC from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saviours from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Mine and others' recommendations for Hopscotch

Thanks so much to New Raleigh for letting me give my Hopscotch recommendations. They contacted a fairly diverse selection of people who offered up their recommendations as well. As others have said, don't try to see everything. Just pick the shows that you absolutely must see and stick to them.

New Raleigh also added a guide to dining/shopping/drinking downtown, but I honestly thought they left out a lot of the best places, so I added my own thoughts in the comments section.

There are lots of day parties going on, but I sure hope that you'll come to mine -- the Mann's World Day Party at Dive Bar on Saturday, sponsored by Big Boss. I have an awesome lineup: Righteous Fool, Black Thai and Lurch. It's free!

Finally, with all the talk of Hopscotch happening, it's easy to overlook Scumfest happening at Volume 11 on Saturday. I know these guys, and I've told them I think it's a bad idea to have their festival happening the same weekend as Hopscotch. But I truly admire the fact that they basically don't give a damn, and are going to do it anyway.

Also on Saturday, Lechuza Booking is sponsoring a metal night with Systems, Beneath Oblivion, Earthling and Sperm Count at Dive Bar.

This also points out one of my major concerns about Hopscotch, which is, you can't really hold a major Raleigh music festival and ignore at least two well known clubs (Volume 11 and Dive Bar). The argument that Dive Bar is not a downtown club just doesn't work with me. Dive Bar is about a five block walk from Kings, and the R-Line stops right in front of the club. It's true that Volume 11 is not downtown, but last year the festival ferried people around via a biodiesel bus. There's no reason why that bus can't also make a two-mile trek out to Volume 11.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This week's cool shows: Weedeater, Cough and more!

With Labor Day coming up, and Hopscotch happening next week, this weekend is somewhat light on shows. But the shows that are happening are definitely worth your time.

On Thursday, Sept. 1, Cough, MAKE  and Swordasters of Ginaz will be at Casbah. I don't know anything about the Swordmasters, but Cough and MAKE have consistently been two of my favorite doomy bands over the past year.

Over at Motorco on the same night, DejaFest will feature American Aquarium, the Love Language's Stu McLamb, Prison Book Club and Gray Young.

On Sunday, one of my all-time favorite North Carolina bands from way back in the day, The Bad Checks, will be at JawsFest at the Station in Carrboro. And on Labor Day itself, Black Skies, Vaz and Pygmy Shrews will be at Casbah.

But the show of the week in my opinion is Tuesday's Weedeater, Saviours, Bison BC and Fight Amp show at Kings. I will admit to having never seen Weedeater or Saviours, but Bison BC and Fight Amp both put on an amazing show.

Also, there are two very different festivals happening this weekend: the annual ProgDay international prog rock fest at Storybrook Farm, and Bull City Rumble, a celebration of rockabilly and classic car/motorcycle culture, at Casbah.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Photos and video of Holy Grail!

I've been kicking myself ever since missing Holy Grail at the Lincoln Theatre back in December. They were opening for someone (can't remember who now) and playing at 8:45 p.m. -- right around the time I had scheduled a long-overdue get-together with three of my closest girlfriends. I love the metal, but that night I decided to stick with my girls. I was very glad I did. Sort of.

Anyway, I was very glad to find out they were coming back to Kings. The band's Crisis in Utopia has been one of my favorite albums of the past year. You know I'm a fan of NWOBHM from back when that genre was actually brand new. It makes me happy to see a band whose members weren't even alive when "Number of the Beast" was released giving classic metal their own interpretation.

Holy Grail is the best of these old-school-inspired bands that I've heard. Eli Santana (above) is an incredible guitarist, James Luna has a phenomenal voice, and the band puts on a great show. It was even worth getting punched in the back and having some dude who was covered head-to-toe in spikes fall on me.

Holy Grail -- "Immortal Man" from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Video from OCOAI

This is bad to admit, but I rarely wear earplugs. I do have a pair that I normally carry with me, and if a band gets a little too loud, I will wear them. That actually doesn't happen very often for me -- maybe a result of the hearing loss I've already experienced?

Anyway, the point of all this is that last night I did not have my ear plugs with me, and regretted that because OCOAI were loud. Really, really loud.

I didn't know anything about OCOAI (pronounced oh-CO-eye) until I got a Facebook invite for last night's show at the Dive Bar. I read up on them and found out that they are from Johnson City, Tenn., they incorporate cello, they're friends with U.S. Christmas, and every description of them (including the invite itself) referenced Pink Floyd. Sure, there's a lot of Pink Floyd in what they're doing, but also a lot of Deep Purple and King Crimson. And even though it was loud, the volume didn't get in the way of the music. There's a lot of really great psychedelic space metal coming out of Appalachia right now, but I think OCOAI is currently my favorite.

OCOAI from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yob, Dark Castle and USX at Kings


I think I said it best on Facebook during the show: Yob blew my mind Monday at Kings. They also blew out my little Flip cam, so this video is simply for anyone who wants to take a few seconds remembering the dark, overwhelming power of the band's show. So far I've been very happy with what I've gotten from the new Nikon, but it truly isn't good for video. Instead of taking the Flip cam, which just clearly doesn't work in situations like this, I'm going to start taking the Canon G9 and the Nikon. The G9 wouldn't have gotten better video of this show, but it always did capture fairly good audio, even of super loud shows.

Yob at Kings from Mann's World on Vimeo.

A few folks remarked to me that they thought Dark Castle had improved significantly since their last show at Kings (with Nachtmystium in September). I don't think improved it the word because I thought they really good before, but they definitely put on a better show. 

U.S. Christmas were at almost full-strength, which is where I think they sound best.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Announcing: The Mann's World Day Party at Hopscotch!

Today The Independent released the list of day parties and other unofficial events taking place during Hopscotch. These are parties put on by local labels, websites, venues, etc., and not usually officially sponsored by Hopscotch itself. Like last year, there's going to be some good stuff happening during these parties.

And like last year, I'm throwing my own day party! This year's event will feature three of my current favorite heavy bands: Heavy local supergroup Righteous Fool, Boston's doomy Black Thai, and Durham's awesomely abrasive Lurch. This party, which will be sponsored by one of my favorite beers -- Big Boss, will take place during the day (I'll update the times later) on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Dive Bar, which, as you should know, is right on the R-Line. That's if you're too lazy to walk the four blocks from Hargett Street to get there.

I'm really excited about this show, and I hope to see you all out there!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This week's cool shows: Yob, Dark Castle and USX!

(Yob, photo courtesy of 12th Records)

Oregon doomsters Yob will play one of my most-anticipated shows of the summer on Monday, July 18 at Kings. Their latest Profound Lore album, "Atma," will be out on Aug. 16, but you can hear the opening track, "Prepare the Ground," on Haunting the Chapel. Check it out and see if you aren't as excited about this show as I am. According to the press info I got, the band will have copies of "Atma" available at shows "around the mid-point and onwards of the tour." Raleigh looks to be smack dab in the middle, so lets hope they have it available by then. 

But Yob isn't the only reason I'm really looking forward to this show. Dark Castle and U.S. Christmas are opening. Dark Castle has just released "Surrender to All Life Beyond Form," also on Profound Lore. Nate from USX sings on the song "Stare into Absence," so I'm hoping he'll come out and sing it during Dark Castle's set. 

To get you prepared for this show, here are some photos and video of the tour with Batillus in NYC, thanks to Brooklyn Vegan. 

Other shows this week that you should check out include:

Tonight (Wednesday): Abouretum with Free Electric State and Stag at Casbah. I haven't had a chance to check out Arbouretum yet, and won't be able to make this show, but I do like what I've heard so far. 

Thursday: The Beast at Local 506

Friday: Gollum and Make at Dive Bar and Yarn at the Pour House -- Be forewarned: Yarn is going to do three sets, with a set of Dead covers in the middle. That should be the perfect time to duck out and head down to the Landmark for a drink. 

Saturday: History Rocks fundraiser for the Museum of Durham History at Motorco with the Billtones, Shipwrecker, Lurch and Phil Cook & His Feat. That's a mighty eclectic lineup there!

Saturday: Hardcore Hank's Annual Birthday Bash with Bukkake Boys, Logic Problem and Asymetric Warfare

Sunday: Lynn Blakey with Ecki Hines at Sadlack's -- starts at 5 p.m.