Dutchguts - New club for me and from what I hear, they may be trying to become a regular on the scene--more on that later. But now, a touring trio of hard thrash metallers take the stage with a scary set of Marshall stacks (or 'arshal' stacks for the bassist). They dwarf the portable PA, but the soundman does well by keeping things balanced. The bassist's vocals are infrequent guttural bursts, so that makes it a bit easier. The band does well with dynamic tempo shifts and plays strong and hard throughout their intense 26 minute set. A death metal roar is a good way to start out a Saturday night and for the assembled crowd, myself included, this set worked well. Personally, I could do without their joke name which wore off well before their set finished.
Murder Troy - Satori Trova has splintered into four bands or thereabouts (the math is fuzzy) and this is the first one I have caught up with. It features their guitarist Avi as well as their bass player who is temporary. They are joined with a drummer and lead guitarist who work with them in creating and intriguing set of instrumental prog-metal. These guys immediately create a lovely psychedelic landscape before they turn up the thunder. They remind of the great Swedish band, Spacious Mind, and there certainly are some Sunn O))) and Sleep elements in here as well. This was their first show ever and even if they never get any better, they are a powerful presence in the nu-metal scene. I particularly enjoyed the control on their pace as they shape their sound from ambient psychedelia to full out rock. The guitars sound great as the rhythm section lays out a thick backing. They finished with a nice twisted personal take on "Iron Man" which everyone here of course enjoyed. Normally I would like more vocals, but when you nail the instrumental part this well, like Mogwai, you can continue using the microphones only for stage patter. A band to watch? Obviously.
Caustic Casanova - This trio has long been a favorite of mine as they've graced many stages in the DC area for several years with creative prog-psyche nu-metal sounds. Their songwriting is more creative than most with intelligent lyrics and interesting vocal work. This is their second show with their new guitarist who now seamlessly fits in to their sound. His style is a little less startling, but his guitar sound has that heavy psyche vibe with great tonal control. I bet he doesn't know he was warming up with a riff of Roy Harper's "One Man Rock'n'Roll Band" (actually it was Jimmy Page playing that and this neither here nor there, but it was one of those lightning bolts in my brain) But back to the set, the sound worked out just well enough as the band's vocals all worked out well with Stefanie's backing vocals balanced perfectly as she manages to add a nice piercing presence in addition to her powerful drumming. There is a good crowd tonight that has discovered this band over the years. If you have not yet, the good news is that there is still time.
Ominous Black - Alas, I missed this band as I was having that horrible feeling of turning into a pumpkin, so that when the witching hour arrived, I headed home to rekindle the creative fires so that I may be fresh to mix metaphors another day.
New Club Review - The Pinch is an average looking bar in the Columbia Heights neighborhood near St. Stephens Church. The club is downstairs and it has the problem of loading equipment through the crowd like the Velvet Lounge or DC9. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the Velvet Lounge, were that club anything remotely like an actual lounge. There are comfy couches (probably aided to my sleepiness), stools with padding, a bar in the back, and room for more than 100, but not too much more depending on equipment loading space needed. The stage is like the Velvet Lounge, but not nearly as deep which could be a problem with larger bands. They will need a sound system. But, I will gladly return as this could become a welcome regular spot for both local shows and small to moderate touring bands.