Cryptodira - The crowd is still filing in, but those of us that here 'early' (9:20) were in for a treat. This twin guitar quartet from Long Island showed a lot of creative flair in their melding of death metal and progressive metal. There are Opeth moves in here and even the vocals have some of the same sharp switches that Mikael Akerfeldt employs. The opening and closing songs were utterly brilliant with a solid set in between. The lead runs in the opener were nearly Ubu like in their oddness and the bizarre double lead done quietly in the last cut was about as dramatic as you can concoct in heavy music. These guys have got some great ideas and have got enough chops to satisfy most core metal fans. If anything, they can try to work on some creative rhythms to match the lead breaks.
Technicians - I know I really enjoyed this local quartet previously, but I was insufficiently prepared for how good they were tonight. Their name is appropriate as a starting point as these guys all know their craft well and put together an intense and heavy sound with both precision and room for the sound to breathe. They remind me a lot of the prog-metal band Kattatonia, but with an infusion of a heavier modern psyche-rock band like Kinski perhaps. There are shoegaze moments, post punk intensity, metal moves, psyche vibes, and a lot of really great sounds that work into smoothly delivered and well constructed songs. I also liked the drumming on the last song, which employed some of the swing that the great hard rockers did back in the day that is sometimes a lost art now. This band are placed well on the bill as they are a perfect transition between their surrounding bands. Technicians? Yes, but with great vision to create a powerful and heavy brand of rock music not seen enough around these parts.
Tone - What more can I say about this local fixture? To no doubt repeat much of what I said in previous reviews, this intense shoegaze styled rock band employs three guitars and a rhythm section that you can not overlook to create a powerful instrumental set that flows by with great drama and majesty. Simply put, if you are a fan of Mono or Mogwai, you should already be a fan of Tone. But certainly make the effort to see a live show as they make an hour long set feel almost therapeutic by the finish. It was a rainy messy night, but there were enough people here at the big stage to make for a memorable occasion.
Wings Denied - We finish this exciting evening with a progressive metal band finishing up an eastern tour back in their home town. It is getting late and some of the energy is sapped due to having four bands with a fairly late start, adding the weather concerns for some of folks here. But the band did plenty to keep the levels in the red with a strong performance of some interesting metal music. I am going to need another show or two to fully pull together their sounds and influences, but that is to their credit as they manage to have some complex moves played in an almost drone fashion of some sort. There are plenty of breaks and the vocal work is clean and strong along the top of it all. This was quite a vibrant night of heavy music that varied along many genres and was just the fix I needed before heading back into my backlog of folk album reviews and lighter rock efforts.
Photo grab of the night: And what better way to finish off a night of heavy and creative music with a completely soft cliche photo which I am totally unapologetic for (as my cat is waiting patiently for me to finish this review)....