PitBlog 12/15/11: A Night of Shredding Metal

            One of the best things about living in the 21st century is the wide variety of new adjectives available to us as writers these days.  For example, back in the late 80s, early 90s, if I would have said that Black Tusk is sick, you would have presumed them to be under the weather, ill, not feeling well.  Similarly, if I said that Kyng, Monstro, or Burn the Boats were fly, dope, or crackin’, you would have had no idea what I was talking about.  Nowadays, though, these words make perfect sense, and are spot-on to describe an entire night of brutal headbanging put on by four bands who know how to get it done.

            Black Tusk hails from Savannah, GA, and brings unrelenting Georgia heat with them wherever they go.  ‘Loud’ is perhaps the best word to describe their set, but ‘fast’ “ripping” and ‘tight’ certainly also come to mind.  Their music is solid and heavy, as they shred through song after song of cranked-up thrash leaving no one with the chance to breathe between numbers.  They spend quite a lot of time here, it seems, and even took a moment to acknowledge the fans and give a nod to the Lone Star by admitting that Texas is like a second home to them.  Then it was right back into the headbanging and thrash, which the crowd, gathered tightly down at stage-front and banging their heads as one, responded to with even more frenzy.  Black Tusk are true professionals, dedicated to the music and the noise they love to make and they put on a hellacious live show to prove it.  My head hurt for days on account of them!

            Monstro and Kyng are two bands that I was unacquainted with, and still largely am, but both played hard and well!  Kyng is from California, originally, and seems to have something of a following here in amongst our Houston folks.  More than a few of their songs seemed familiar to the crowd.  Monstro might be Canadian, I think, (eh?) which puts them in very warm weather for this time of year!  Welcome to H-town, y’all!  Ain’t much in the way of scenery around these parts, but we sure do have some slammin’ music comin’ out of our town!

            Which brings us nicely around to Burn the Boats, the band I had originally come out to see.  Rivethead goes back a little while with this band, as I can remember seeing a very raw video for ‘Release the Kraken’ posted on our Facebook page like almost a year ago.  One time I did have the chance to visit them in the practice room at Francisco’s Studios (nice to go down there again, for sure.  Place ain’t changed a bit, and still smells the same too!) but that’s not the same as an actual gig.  It was nice to see them on it, though.  I don’t know who got them that slot or how, but for national touring bands to invite small, unknown local acts, not in any sort of pay-to-play setting but just to get them some exposure is refreshing to me.  Taking full advantage of the chance, BTB tore through a near-faultless set of their musical repertoire to include such terrific numbers as ‘Lost At Sea’ and ‘Boatman’, as well as ‘Second Smile’ and the soon-to-be classic hit ‘Kraken’.  Someday, if you were at Rudyard’s early enough last Saturday, you can tell your kids you saw them play back when they were still nobody!  That’s the beauty of covering very local music.  To watch Stevie and Floyd screaming into their mics, Floyd thumping away on the bass the whole time while behind him Brandon rhythmically beats the hell out of his drumkit, with Charles off on the side tearing through searing riffs or heavy chunks of metal grit, just because they love it and love to show it off, is to watch performance art in its purest form, free of commercial concern or ambition, just music for the sake of making it and sharing it with others.

            No mention at all will be made here of any slip-ups or small little mistakes the band may have made during their performance, as such mention is irrelevant and doesn’t matter to the overall analysis of the show.  Neither will any mention be made of Black Tusk’s mistakes, which makes everything even.  It’s only rock-n-roll, after all!  BTB put on a fine set of headbanging tunes and warmed the place up nicely for the acts to follow.  Someday soon other people will be warming up the crowds for them, and you can say that you read that here first!  That’s what Rivethead does.  We bring you what you like before you even know you like it!

            Before closing out this PitBlog I have to shout out to a couple of people who were also on-hand to see Rudyard’s get blown away last Saturday.  Tracy Huston, a longtime supporter of local music and longtime fan of live music in general, was there and took some great cellphone video of BTB doing ‘Kraken’.  Several other great videos of their set have been sent in to us and will be posted soon on our Facebook page, if not already by the time you read this, and if anyone else has pics or videos please shoot them our way!  Another longtime friend of Houston music is Chris Tatum, who found himself at the show too and who was kind enough to accept a couple of Rivethead shirts and a few stickers.  I did manage to get several shirts and stickers out, that was kind of neat; and hey, anything to spread the word helps!

            Some weeks ago I was asked why we bother covering small unknown local bands when we could reach a much larger market writing about bands that people already know and listen to.  This may or may not be true, but it is the pure passion in the local unknown music that attracts us.  We are not now nor have we ever been in this for popularity or to make a profit, we are here to give exposure to and shed light on local bands that would otherwise be playing largely in the dark.  Burn the Boats is one such band; another is Epic Death, who did a fine set at the Exposed Music Festival last month.  There are many others out there that we have yet to see but will, eventually.  We’re always looking for new music to cover.  If you’re in a band and want some free mention, hit us up.  I myself had the cool opportunity to guest-host the Throne of Metal radio show on the afternoon before the concert; Metallord and I were able to throw some good Texas thrash down on the worldwide internet listeners and talk up the paper and the Houston scene both on the air and in the chatroom.  That was pretty damned neat, I have to admit, and quite likely I’ll do it again sometime in the near future.  Why?  Because the Music matters, y’all!

            That’s sick.


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