Vicious Vacation




Virginia doom crew Salome have been busting eardrums and making waves across the Eastern half of the US on their latest tour, with stops at NYU (with Shrinebuilder/Wolves in the Throne Room) and at the SXSW madhouse, where they decimated showcases from Profound Lore/20 Buck Spin and BrooklynVegan alongside Coffinworm, Yakuza, The Atlas Moth, Zoroaster, Landmine Marathon, and tons more. The next leg of the tour is taking them through the Dirty South, and they’ve brought their buddy “Grim” Kim Kelly along for the ride to sling merch and document the whole thing, Almost Famous-style. You can read the first day’s report here and the second day’s report here… and now we re-join Kim and the band in Raleigh, NC…

Current time: 5:41pm
Current location: A Best Western in Raleigh, NC

So it’s almost 6pm, and we’ve just now woken up. Sounds like we must have been partying ridiculously hard last night, right? Not quite; after playing the show, loading out, and raging a respectable amount with Dark Castle, we decided to drive straight through the night from Atlanta to Raleigh. Aaron is a MACHINE,  and as soon as we got into the city and spotted a cheap-ish hotel, we were all down for the fucking count. With Domino’s ordered and much-needed showers showered, we’ve got a couple hours of downtime before heading down to Slim’s for the last show of the tour (with locals Gringo). Seinfeld marathon? Yes please.

Yesterday’s drive was short and uneventful. After saying goodbye to Jamie and maneuvering the van down out of his precarious back-alley driveway, it was only three or so hours before we got into Atlanta. The (closed) Soul Vegetarian restaurant foiled our initial plans for breakfast, but the Majestic Diner more than made up for it with their veggie delights and free-flowing sweet tea (extra points for the warm reception they gave to a quartet of bedraggled Yankee hooligans like us). As soon as we’d ordered, a familiar tall drink of water appeared – Rob Dark Castle and his partner in crime Stevie had just gotten into town, driving about twenty hours straight from Texas and looking just a bit worse for wear. After spending a couple hours at the diner shooting the shit and sucking down coffee, we headed over to the PS Warehouse to load in. Another DIY space in a shady area, plastered with stickers, three blocks down from a beer store and populated by sour-faced punks and good-natured doom kids –  I could’ve sworn I was back home in Philly. I didn’t catch the first band’s name; their Cult of Neur-Isisy post-metal was good, but nothing to write home about. Rob and Aaron were stoked on Doomed Youth, who dished out some high-energy, thrashy punk rock, and I was right up front for Sons of Tonatiuh, who I’d been dying to see. Sludgy, noisy, heavy, and loud, SOT are working on a new LP, and are definitely one of the cooler new bands I’ve seen in ages; check them out!

The close proximity of a beer store and chilly temperature inside the warehouse meant that Stevie and I had taken advantage of some liquid warmth before their set (seven bucks for a handle of whiskey? Thank you, Georgia) but even that, coupled with the twenty-hour drive, couldn’t bring that woman down. Dark Castle were electrifying as always – raw, visceral, and heavy as FUCK. Stevie’s down-tuned riff assault and guttural roars are propelled by Rob’s monolithic crashing drums and hoarse throat and illuminated by haunting reds and blues; if you haven’t seen this band yet, you’re been missing the fuck out. Salome ran into a couple technical difficulties (we’re cursed!) but brought that shit home as usual. Kids were definitely into them both. The merch area was packed after Salome’s set, and everyone left happy. Loading out two doom bands’ worth of gear takes awhile, but as soon as we were all packed and sorted, we collectively decided to go back to the Majestic Diner for round two. The lone server was bemused at our presence, to say the least, but every moment spent with the Dark Castle crew is pure fucking gold, and we made the most of it. Mike from Withered showed up to hang for awhile, and after saying goodbye to him and Dark Castle around 3am, we hit the road once again. Let’s make this last show a good one, North Carolina.


When Kim Kelly (or Grim Kim, if we’re being formal) isn’t upsetting gas station attendants and hauling gear, she writes for a number of sweet metal publications (Terrorizer, Hails & Horns, Metal Maniacs, Noisecreep, Metal Injection, and more), reps Amebix with Catharsis PR, and keeps it grim. Soak in her exploits and numerous band recommendations on Twitter.

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