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SXSW 2012 MetalSucks Metal Recap

Oh man… there’s three days left of SXSW to go?? You’re probably feeling the same lethargy reading this series as I did living it in real-time, but once you shake off that hangover, venture out onto Red River and take that first sip of free Lone Star beer, all is groovy in the world. So kick back and let’s relive the ride that was Thursday, March 15th…

Number of bands seen: 9 (Early Graves, Gypsyhawk, Pilgrim, Primitive Weapons, The Interbeing, Shining [Norway], The Defiled, Impending Doom, Cromags)
Best band of the day: Shining (Norway)
Best deal worked out: Two-way pedicab ride from the same dude after getting stranded watching Impending Doom.
Most ridiculous activities of the day: Tucking and Folding, Wide-stances


A lot happened Thursday, but by far the best thing about the entire day — and the entire festival up until that point — was the performance by Norway’s Shining (the Blackjazz dudes, not the depression/suicide dudes by the same name from Sweden). Shining were so fucking impressive that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them here first, even though they played late and I usually do these writeups chronologically.

I guess Shining visited the U.S. in 2008, but I wasn’t aware of it, and I get the sense I’m not alone in that; the album that catapulted them into the U.S. media, Blackjazz, came out in 2010, and Thursday night’s show was undoubtedly the first time seeing Shining for all the Americans in the room. Shining filled a previously near-empty room almost immediately, and sounded incredible from the very first note; it’s amazing the difference a hired sound guy makes. All in attendance were in absolute awe of their precision, power, and industrio-jazz skronk. It’d be easy to write off the saxophone thing as a gimmick, except that Jørgen Munkeby is just so damn GOOD at it that even the staunchest of haters with their arms firmly crossed couldn’t help being drawn in and impressed. He’s a great frontman too, engaging with and goading on the crowd, grabbing the microphone and thrusting about. Simply put, Shining are true rockstars. They need to get their pasty Norwegian asses back to the U.S. immediately for a proper U.S. tour; I hereby pledge MetalSucks’ undevoted support of any such endeavor. Watch video footage I recorded of a brand new song:

Earlier in the day I saw Early Graves, new Metal Blade signees Gypsyhawk, and Pilgrim at the Metal Blade / ‘Stache Media / Indie Merch party. Early Graves were every bit as intense as I expected they would be, but playing that early in the day on a big stage in an open lot is always tough and I’m sure their energy level would’ve been higher in a proper metal show setting. Gypsyhawk were fantastic, and exactly what I needed at that hour of the day to get me going; high-energy, blues-influenced traditional heavy metal. Really looking forward to their Metal Blade debut later this year. I only had time to catch a couple songs by young doombringers Pilgrim, but I was mightily impressed by what I saw — they get a hearty two thumbs up from Vince!

Oh hey, I moderated a panel! Here’s all you need to know about it: it was called “None More Black: How Much More Extreme Can Metal Get?” and we actually displayed this very NSFW album cover on the projector screen to a room full of panel attendees. Yup, I’d say it was a good time.

After that it’s all a blur. Free margaritas were imbibed and silly longsleeves with papyrus font were given out, which resulted in myself, Corey Mitchell and the infamous Juggalo Bob “Tucking and Folding” for the rest of the night: tuck in t-shirt to pants (we’re bringin’ it back), wrap long-sleeve around your waste early ’90s style or around your neck Connecticut Anglo-style, don sunglasses, then strut around town like a bag of assholes whilst intentionally seriously offending people. (One girl on street: “Uhhh, guys? Do you KNOW it’s NIGHT out????”) Behold:


No idea who the dudes in the Mexican wrestler masks are… they were just there, and a photo seemed appropriate.

“Wide stance” photos were also a recurring theme of this night. Behold, with MS reader “Pickaxe Bobby”:


Thanks to the amazing @JenGuyre for the pictures!

We stopped into Barbarella once again to catch Primitive Weapons, and this was by far the best, tightest and most intense of the three performances I saw them play at SXSW this year. This band is SO good, and they’re going to absolutely decimate audiences nationwide as soon as they start touring a little more; they’re kind of band that makes you pay attention and can instantly win over any crowd. Frontman David Castillo is a big part of that — don’t get me wrong, every bandmember is great — but he’s just so much fun to watch… you can’t look away.

After Shining’s mindfuckery and The Defiled’s blaring pile of crap (sick green hair, brah!), we pedi-cabbed it over to the Scoot Inn on the east side, only to learn that 3 Inches of Blood had canceled and we were stuck with Impending Doom. Beer was chugged, deal was successfully worked out, and our pedicab driver took us right back into town. Headed over to Barbarella Patio for the Cro-Mags — not really my thing at all, but it was the only game in town and it was what it was. I found it interesting that everyone who works in the metal industry was there and LOVING it, even singing along. Why is it that so much of the metal industry actually grew up on hardcore, not metal? Something I think about sometimes and it was interesting to see it in action.

From there we Tucked and Folded back to the hotel and seriously offended some people in the elevator with our non-stop schoolgirl laughter. Deals might or might not have been worked out along the way. Game set match, goodnight.

Tomorrow: Vestiges, Audrey Horne, Nachtmystium (again), Andrew WK, Holy Grail (again), Primitive Weapons (again), Scale the Summit, and more!


The story so far:

Night 1

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