The MetalSucks SXSW 2013 Metal Recap: Thursday, March 14
For coverage of Wednesday, March 13, click here.
Number of bands seen: 6
Highlights: All the bands at South by South Death
Biggest surprise: Norma Jean
Number of tacos consumed: 3
Since Wednesday’s SXSW shenanigans suffered from a complete lack of tacos — and since Thursday afternoon’s scheduled didn’t include any notable metal shows — we decided to start things right on Thursday by venturing a little off the beaten track for some breakfast tacos. Some quick morning Yelping turned up Porfirio’s as a local favorite (any place that closes at 12:30pm has got to be serious about their breakfast tacos!) so we made the 1.5 mile walk through some of Austin’s older residential areas on a sunny, beautiful morning. The tacos were absolute A++++ WDBWA material. I ordered a chorizo and egg, a potato, egg and bacon, and a bean and egg taco, the most expensive of which clocked in at a raucous $1.65, and all were fantastic (the chorizo and egg was especially delicious).
After a chill afternoon and an early dinner with friends, it was time for the third annual South by South Death! All the bands showed up on time to load in, a first for any show I’ve ever run. By the time I arrived the SXSW and venue staff had things under full control and everything was humming along perfectly. Here’s a picture of the line outside to get in, before doors opened:
Gypsyhawk opened the show with their infectious take on ’70s hard rock. The banded started just as the doors opened, but by the time they were finished with their first song there was a solid crowd in front of the stage to watch them. Everyone seemed to really enjoy their set, even the kids in Cephalic Carnage t-shirts.
Howl followed with their recently re-jiggered lineup. Vincent Hausman proved that he was up the task of fronting the band without being anchored in one place, and the band’s new members more than capably brought the riffage. Howl probably left this gig as the greatest gainers; a ton of folks came up to me saying they’d never seen the band live before but came away quite impressed.
KEN Mode destroyed the fuck out of The Dirty Dog. Heaviest band of the night and the most frenzied moshpit to match. Their new album Entrench has garnered quite a bit of buzz, and it was evident from the way the crowd greeted them.
With all apologies to Royal Thunder for the horrible picture below, the band was positively mesmerizing. What’s most amazing to me is that Royal Thunder played multiple gigs per day throughout the duration of SXSW and that Mlny Parsonz’s voice not only held up, but sounded bright, clear and strong every single time (I saw them thrice). Her voice is a true thing of wonder, and the band, though down a member, is completely locked in right now and as tight as they’ve ever been.
The sleeper band of the night was without a doubt Norma Jean. This band has acquired something of a stigma over the past few years as a Christian metal band (even though they always were), or a “scene” metal band, or to be honest I’m not really quite sure — but some sort of stigma definitely exists. Their presence on this bill garnered more than a few quizzical looks. But make no mistake about it, Norma Jean are a legit metal band, and they are fucking HEAVY! I got the sense they were appreciative to be recognized as such by association with all the other bands on the bill. When they hit the stage everyone in the venue turned around, took notice and remained captivated throughout their entire set. Everyone I talked to after the show was spellbound by Norma Jean’s performance, almost surprised, as if they’d forgotten how fucking great this band is. I would love to see Norma Jean tour with more “real” (for lack of a better word) metal bands on their upcoming album cycle; they deserve it. The band brought it and they brought it hard! The moshpit was absolutely explosive for their set.
Ahhhh, Goatwhore! All you really need to know about Goatwhore’s steamroller set of southern-fried, satanic metal is that it inspired old fogies like me, Frank from Metal Injection, one employee from Relapse Records, a SXSW staffer and Howl’s Vincent Hausman all to mosh the fuck up for the entirety of the set. I hurt myself badly (lol what a pussy), but fuck, it was worth it, and that’s what I get for pretending I’m 18 years old. Goatwhore were the clear headliners of the night and we feel honored to have had them play our show. Thanks, dudes!