HEAVY METAL ROAD TRIP, DAY 2: SCION ROCK FEST
With little to do in lame-o Columbus, OH, Kip and I sat around our hotel lobby with our shvantzes in our hands until 2pm when The Beast aka The SlayRV — the piece de resistance — arrived to pick us up… and so the party began. Anton OyVey, Rich Hallford, The Rev of Burger Conquest fame and Mark Lafay pulled that baby right into the parking lot, beers and whiskey in hand, and much rejoicing and drinking immediately ensued. The SlayRV is a classy fucking affair with enough room to sleep 8, a fridge, a front lounge, a toilet (but no pooping allowed on the bus!) and a shower. STYLE, bitches. Whichever bands end up taking this thing on tour are going to have a hell of a time.
From there it was off to the Thurman Cafe, the home of what is supposedly the best burger in Columbus.
I’m not going to go in depth about the burger at Thurman because Burger Conquest has that on lock down. But I will say this: the Thurman is exactly the kind of place you want to have a burger, small, cozy and old fashioned, and the burger itself was fucking fantastic.
After eating way too much (the burgers at Thurman are HUGE), we drove down to the Scion Rock Fest area and found a good parking spot that was easily accessible for between-set drink and smoke breaks (props to the dudes at Knuckles First for the latter). Onto the festival!
The general consensus among reviews I’ve read of this year’s Scion Rock Fest is that it didn’t match last year’s, and I definitely agree. The lineup, though solid, wasn’t as strong. The fact that there were 4 venues — two of which were about a mile away from the other two — made catching all the bands you wanted to see difficult as opposed to last year’s 4-stages-in-1-venue setup at The Masquerade. And Columbus doesn’t hold a candle to Atlanta when it comes to, well… pretty much anything.
We saw a lot of bands in a very short amount of time. My quick thoughts on each:
- Black Tusk: Standard fare crusty, stoney beard metal. I think only one dude actually had a beard, but despite facial hair genre classifications I wasn’t too impressed by this band. Lots of bands play in this style and lots of bands do it better.
- Saviours: Decent if unspectacular throwback trad metal. Great players that know how to write a good song and give a high energy performance. Wino joined them on stage for one song and the band members were visibly stoked. (see picture below)
- Accrassicauda: This was my first time seeing these Iraqi thrashers live. I’m sorry to say it, but this is the stone cold truth: no one would give one minute of attention to this band if they were just a bunch of thrash dudes from Brooklyn. Their story is compelling and I’m happy that they’ve been given a chance, but unfortunately their music is pretty standard and not interesting. They certainly ain’t bad, but they ain’t that good either.
- Trap Them: I don’t think I’ll ever get this band or understand why people like them so much. They’re a hardcore band. Great. Not for me. Next.
Wino with Saviours.
Wow, I sure sound like a sour nancy so far, don’t I? Fortunately things got better:
- Pelican: I was never into Pelican until last year (“hipster metal!”), but I really got into the Ephemeral EP and liked What We All Come to Need. Live, Pelican sounded HUGE; clear, crisp, tight and extremely powerful. Wish I’d caught the whole set.
- Ludicra: Best performance of the day. Cramped into a small stage in the corner of the dingy, dark basement of Bernie’s, the performance fit the mood of the room perfectly. Ludicra were engaging and on-point and had all in attendance enthralled.
- Absu: Suffered from a poor mix they seemed unable to really recover from. I was curious to see more of their set, but had to leave in time to see…
- Cannibal Fucking Corpse: You know exactly what you’re going to get at a Cannibal Corpse show… razor tight death metal chuggery brutalized to the max and a whole lot of synchronized windmills. Corpsegrinder wins the award for “thickest neck” in metal by a landslide. Always fun, even if the shtick grows old quickly.
Back to the party bus, where an air guitar session featuring a mix of ’80s and ’90s metal classics — plus the amazing new Ratt record which counts by association — was already in full swing.
A few beers and whiskeys down the hatch later an overzealous partier of the female persuasion had a ‘lil (and by a ‘lil’ I mean a LOT) too much to drink. As always seems to happen in these kinds of situations, arguing ensued over whether the right thing to do would be to call the paramedics. Tour manager Rich Hallford prevailed, ever the sober voice of reason, and the paramedics arrived in mere minutes. Said partier sobered up at the mention of the word “paramedics” and by the time they arrived she was coherent. All’s well that ends well and mostly we’re just glad she’s ok…. but seriously, that shit got SCARY for a few minutes there.
Not pictured: the damsel in distress.
The wind taken out of our sails by the sudden serious turn of events, we decided to call it a night and hit our bunks for the first time.
Tomorrow: Louisville Sluggers and Nashville Honky Tonks.