Live Report: Midnight/Villains/Parasytic/Trenchgrinder

Spring took a break from Bushwick on this night, March 7; the temperature dropped with the sun, and soon enough cold blasts of wind were cutting through the side streets surrounding the Acheron in Brooklyn, New York. The chill was an occasional relief from the soggy heat of a hundred crusties, metalheads, and mohawked punks crammed into the recently expanded venue, which is still only slightly bigger than a school classroom. It was a great night for metal vest sightseeing (Kylesa and Hail!Hornet backpatches, who knew?) but an even better night for metal.

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Local upstarts Trenchgrinder kicked the show off on the right note. The band is new, but the players are scene vets and know the score. They thrash, groove and grind, but most importantly they have riffs and songs that stick. Crowd favorite “Waking Terror” recalled the better qualities of Slayer and Cannibal Corpse, especially with vocalist Owen Rundquist’s Corpsegrinder-like delivery and headbanging. Trenchgrinder doesn’t fit comfortably into any metal genre, and that could be the best thing they have going for them.

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Parasytic should be required listening (and viewing) for every snot-nosed kid in a Reebok hi-top band. Anchored by journeyman Erik Larson (see: every metal band from VA not named Municipal Waste) on drums, these crust thrashers unleashed a never-ending assault of speed metal riffs and crushing breakdowns. Solos were minimal, the emphasis being lockstep cadence and boundless energy. One stage diver found himself bear-hugged by vocalist Ethan Zell as they both went into the crowd. When Exodus came up with “Good Friendly Violent Fun”, they could have been talking about a Parasytic show.

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Villains are an angry band. The angular off-kilter riffs, the singer/guitarist being so pissed he grimaced his way through the set, the mood swing the show took the minute they started playing: this is not a band to fuck with. Even the hipster photographer girl with Muppet hair, who had been smiling and nodding along to every song so far, was pouty and upset during Villains’ set. Maybe she was offended by song titles like “Drinking Double, Acting Single”. Or “Land Hag”. Or even “Never Abandon The Slut Train”. That only elevated them in my eyes, as any band that can actively cause displeasure in the crowd is a band I support. Even the fans got obnoxious, with one tall blonde swaying(dancing?) completely out of time to the music. Noisy, unpredictable, polarizing: If Eyehategod were pill poppers instead of dope fiends, they might be Villains.

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And then, the madness. Two full-sized black crosses were tossed into the crowd. The masked menace emerged from the darkness. It was 12:15 am; the anti-Easter had begun. Where else but Cleveland could birth this trio of evil, Motörhead and Venom-worshipping, black/speed metal junkies? I almost grew a black hoodie and aviators just watching Midnight perform their first song. What was the setlist? Who cares? Every song is about fucking, Satan, or Satan fucking someone. Much like their peers in Speedwolf, Trench Hell, and Children Of Technology, the Midnight guys have fun first, ask questions never. We might have been in the irony capital of the world, but any trace of poseurdom was wiped out by “Lust Filth and Sleaze”. The crowd was an endless sea of headbanging and horns held high. When people inevitably asked, “Why do you listen to that stuff?” I never had a real answer. Midnight comes closer to an explanation than anything else.

— Chris Rowella

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Find more of Angela’s work at angelaboatwright.tumblr.com.