Wow. ATF III blew the doors off, exceeding expectations and emphatically setting itself apart from the swelling sea of heavy music fests. I am beyond swamped with photo editing from the Church of Misery tour and prep for this weekend’s Electric Funeral Fest, but I will be returning here with a more complete summary as soon as possible. Cheers. - mg
Ayo, made it to Austin. All signs indicate that ATF 2019 will be just as bonkers as predicted. Empire Control Room & Garage was packed last night, the smaller room difficult to enter without some shameless maneuvering. I caught more aggressive elbows trying to weasel up front for Primitive Man than any show in recent memory. I arrived too late for the earlier sets at Barracuda (all reports have Goatwhore destroying) but Integrity (who paid tribute to the late Austin icon Roky Erickson with a “Night of the Vampire” cover) , Full of Hell, Pig Destroyer, Unearthly Trance, Terminator 2 and Church of Misery all had huge, enthusiastic crowds at Empire. I am not feeling particularly pensive this morning, but you can follow along in visual form on the Ritual of Sin Instagram.
The first annual Monolith on the Mesa was a smash success. I can’t speak to specific details or success in a financial sense, but in terms of brand building, of overall impression left with attendees and bands, the team behind the festival crushed it. Some thoughts below lifted from my fest notes:
Most importantly, in my opinion, in an ever-broadening sea of festivals and various sorts of “live music events,” Monolith on the Mesa offered a unique experience. It’s a loose comparison, but with the camping, the desert setting, the psychedelics and the towering art installations, it had a slight “heavy-metal-burning-man” vibe, a remark I heard numerous people make. For sure, the architecture, the landscape, the arid earth, all felt distinctly Southwest.
(There was a “Bedouin tent” behind us in the band camp built half into the ground that turned into a bar at night, and a brightly outfitted “party bus” next to it, as well as a Geodome. Though these spaces didn’t get all that much use this year - some of that likely due to the colder temps that set in at night - I could see these gaining traction in subsequent years. The atmosphere was right.)
More exactly, Monolith brought together heavy music fans and festival enthusiasts of all varieties. And there were a lot of people there, certainly a lot for a first year fest. It was an interesting crowd. As Taos is pretty isolated, a majority of attendees had traveled in from the greater region. It was an unpretentious bunch - a bit trippy, a bit crusty, but definitely predominantly metal-oriented.
*It was a unique sight when Black Magic Flower Power brought in the funk to close out the Thursday night pre-party and many of these same metal heads were grooving right up front. And man, people were getting down. The mushrooms may have played a role. Gyrating, grinding, twisting as the band sung “lips, and hips and fingertips”… There were probably about 50 people up front for this, but the energy was through the hangar roof. Out in the middle of the desert, it felt like an sub-city disco.
The lineup was well-curated and offered up a diverse variety of heavy music. OM, paired with a Mad Alchemy liquid light show on a high desert backdrop was about as transcendental of a live music experience as one could hope to find. The event staff was helpful, friendly and patient - a notable exception at clubs and bars. A ramp was brought in, host to many stage-side skate sessions in the afternoons and early evenings.
For many bands, getting out of the city and into the desert expanse seemed to be a welcome reprieve. The artist hospitality was next level. Crucially, the sound in both venues was incredible, an often thorny point at all-day festivals. In short, it felt like a festival run by artists, who understood what sort of details make bands and attendees comfortable and did all they could to accommodate those desires.
Though the wind whipped during the days, it calmed in the nights, which were beautiful, albeit cold. Such was expected in the high desert. I suppose I’d take those conditions gain over blistering heat. Especially when in a tent for three days. Many attendees opted for a more domestic arrangement, renting rooms in town or shacking up in a trailer in the adjacent Hotel Luna Mystica.
I’d recommend this fest to curious bands and fans alike. No doubt about that. If you’re planning on camping for the entirety of the fest, make sure to come prepared. Our crew camped out for three days in the band camp and it was a blast, but towels, some wipes for the ever-present dirt and other outdoor supplies are a must.
I’d like to extend warm, heartfelt thank you to Dano, Roman, the Taos Brewing staff and the entire festival team. You extended an incredible welcome, and it hit home with so many of us. Here’s to round two. Below is a gallery of shots from the pre-party and both days of the fest. I’ve yet to have a chance to develop the film I shot, but I will get those up here once I get to it. Cheers. - mg
As we race within striking distance of the third annual Austin Terror Fest - coming up June 7-9 - we thought we’d take a look back through the haze at some choice shots from years one and two, on an event that’s grown exponentially into a national powerhouse.
In its inaugural year, the fest bunkered down within the trusted cavity of The Lost Well in March of 2017, using familiar turf cement its foundation in Bat City after the discontinuation of Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson the year prior. Year two saw a shift in venue, and timing - with the fest eschewing the melee of SXSW week in favor of a June date (great call), and splitting the now three-day event between The Lost Well and the two stages at Barracuda downtown on East 7th (on rotating days). Though The Lost Well lurks among my favorite establishments in the country, the decision to alternate the festival days between venues was a welcome shift, a notion that seemed to be widely shared amongst festival attendees. From a photography perspective, shooting different rooms, and particularly shooting outside at Barracuda, provided opportunity for some visual variance. To be brief, it can be an exhausting exercise in patience and creativity shooting three consecutive days in a scantly-lit venue.
Dusty, Dorian and company seriously upped the ante once again for year three, assembling a staggering lineup and moving the fest entirely into the Red River district to be held at Barracuda and Empire Control Room & Garage. My speculation here really isn’t worth shit, so I’ll let you draw your own assumptions about the quake readying to shake Austin in a few weeks. The ATF camp also just dropped the following teaser:
Sunday night will also feature a very special, intimate show at Beerland beginning at 7:00 p.m. Performing acts and additional details will not be released until day-of-show although fans can continue to expect a dynamic, curated lineup of top acts in today’s heavy metal scene. This secret show will only be $10, cash-only.
Directly below you’ll find the Austin Terror Fest 2019 lineup as well as daily schedules, followed by a collection of images from ATF 2017 and 2018. I shot the black and white photos, and the color shots from 2017 were taken by Jay Conlon. I’ll see ya up front. - mg
DAY 1 - FRIDAY, JUNE 7
6:30 - 7:30 PM: Goatwhore
5:30 - 6:15 PM: Pyrrhon
4:45 - 5:15 PM: Genocide Pact
4:00 PM: Doors
EMPIRE CONTROL ROOM
11:30 PM - 12:30 AM: Church of Misery
10:15 - 11:15 PM: Primitive Man
9:00 - 9:40 PM: Unearthly Trance
7:45 - 8:30 PM: Terminator 2
7:00 PM: Doors
12:30 - 1:30 AM: Pig Destroyer
11:00 PM - 12:00 AM: Integrity
9:30 - 10:15 PM: Full of Hell
8:30 - 9:15 PM: Taverner
7:00 PM: Doors
DAY 2 - SATURDAY, JUNE 8
5:30 - 6:30 PM: Panopticon (*Blaze Foley - Cover Set*)
4:30 - 5:15 PM: Dorthia Cottrell (*Townes Van Zandt - Cover Set*)
3:45 - 4:15 PM: Deep Cross
3:00 PM: Doors
EMPIRE CONTROL ROOM
11:30 PM - 12:30 AM: Indian
10:15 - 11:15 PM: Dalek
9:00 - 9:40 PM: Street Sects
7:45 - 8:30 PM: Crowhurst
7:00 PM: Doors
12:30 - 1:30 AM: Lightning Bolt
11:00 PM - 12:00 AM: TR/ST
9:30 - 10:15 PM: Daikaiju
8:30 - 9:15 PM: Machine Girl
7:00 PM: Doors
DAY 3 - SUNDAY, JUNE 9
6:30 - 7:30 PM: Bongzilla
5:30 - 6:15 PM: Thou
4:45 - 5:15 PM: Temple of Angels
4:00 PM: Doors
EMPIRE CONTROL ROOM
11:30 PM - 12:30 AM: Bongripper
10:15 - 11:15 PM: Black Cobra
9:00 - 9:40 PM: Dreadnought
7:45 - 8:30 PM: Mountain of Smoke
7:00 PM: Doors
12:30 - 1:30 AM: Alcest
11:00 PM - 12:00 AM: Panopticon
9:30 - 10:15 PM: Dark Castle
8:30 - 9:15 PM: Echo Beds
7:00 PM: Doors
BEERLAND (SECRET SHOW)
8:00 - 10:40 PM: TBD Special Guests
7:00 PM: Doors
Denver gutter thrashers Nekrofilth brought the chaos to Tooey’s this past Saturday night. The popular bar just off Colfax has become the hot spot for dive shows of late, but this one might have been the wildest I’ve been to. The mic stands were knocked to the ground so often, it’s quite possible that guitarist/vocalist Zack Rose screamed more lyrics into the crowd than into the mic. That didn’t matter in the least, to the band or to the fans, who whipped up a pit in front of, and onto, the stage throughout most of the set. At one point, a body was propelled straight into Zack, knocking him to the ground in front of his guitar cabinet.
The band ripped through their killer new release, Worm Ritual , in full, before slicing into some older material and a “Love Me Like A Reptile” cover. Through it all the trio remained loose and unfazed by the chaos pummeling the front of the stage (and their pedal boards), serving up a staunch reminder for any graveworms who’d forgotten why they reign supreme as the sleaziest, give-no-fucks shredders in town.
Local rock and rollers Love Gang served up the support, Tooey’s staff crushed it as they always do, and I tried my damnedest to navigate the maelstrom for the gallery below. - mg
Always a pleasure having our TOKE homies come through Denver. Their Thursday night show was the first I’d attended inside the redone Streets (formerly Streets of London) on Colfax. It was a promising visit, but I will hold off on commentary until I’ve tucked a few more dates there under the belt. For now, some snaps from the show. - mg
TOKE will be back on the road supporting Church of Misery in just a few weeks, a run that includes a return to Denver on May 29th. Dates below:
May 23 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live (as part of Maryland Deathfest) ! (tickets)
May 25 – Detroit, MI @ The Sanctuary $# (tickets)
May 26 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle $# (tickets)
May 27 – Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Company $# (tickets)
May 28 – Kansas City, KS @ Riot Room $# (tickets)
May 29 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge $# (tickets)
May 31 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon $# (tickets)
Jun. 01 – Portland, OR @ Dante’s $# (tickets)
Jun. 02 – Oakland, CA @ Oakland Opera House $# (tickets)
Jun. 03 – Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex $# (tickets)
Jun. 04 – Tempe, AZ @ Club Red $# (tickets)
Jun. 05 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister $# (tickets)
Jun. 06 – Oklahoma City, OK 8th Street $# (tickets)
Jun. 07 – Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room (Austin Terror Fest) ! (tickets)
Jun. 08 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall $# (tickets)
Jun. 09 – New Orléans, LA @ Santos $# (tickets)
Jun. 10 – Nashville, TN @ Little Harpeth Brewing $# (tickets)
Jun. 11 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl # (tickets)
Jun. 12 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 # (tickets)
Jun. 13 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo %# (tickets)
Jun. 15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus # (tickets)
Jun. 16 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East %# (tickets)
$ = w/ MONDO GENERATOR
% = w/ THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX
# = w/ TOKE
! = CHURCH OF MISERY Only
A new story I wrote for Westword hit the streets today. The piece features Donna Brown, co-founding member and keyboardist of the iconic ‘70s proto-metal band, Medusa, the band’s wildly unpredictable road to success and Donna’s recently released autobiography.
I shot these photos a few days before embarking on a tour, and just got around to sorting through them. I’d seen so many insane shots of Alexis Marshall and Nick Sadler from previous tour stops, some of the wind was already absent from my sails. But here is a first stab at some shots of Alexis.
The show was remarkable, both on a popular level, in that the Gothic Theater was packed with fans anxious to hear both tracks from Daughters new album “You Won’t Get What You Want” in addition to some older cuts; and on a personal level, in that it’d been ages since I’d wrestled with swarms of teenagers for position in front of the stage. I forgot how savage the youth can be. I respect the intensity; they really didn’t give a fuck if I was trying to shoot. I received the hard box out bolstered by a wall of Juul smoke. That’s not to say the band didn’t bring in a varied crowd. Presumably the more seasoned attendees occupied a space nearer the bar, and freer of hassle.
This was my first time seeing Daughters live. Admittedly, I was a bit lazy when it came to shooting, and just couldn’t be fucked jockeying for position this night. I simply wanted to watch the show. I assume the set wasn’t as chaotic as it might have been in a smaller, more intimate space, but they delivered one hell of a performance, as it looks like they’ve done throughout these recent North American and European tours.
I also spoke with Alexis for Westword around this time as well. You can read part of that discussion here.
The Uada/Wormwitch/Cloak tour rolled through Denver last night in all its hooded, black leather glory. The show was rounded out with local prog-metallers, Dreadnought, at one of the finest clubs in town, South Broadway’s Hi-Dive. Photos by Michael Goodwin
Had some good luck on the East Coast and caught Ruby the Hatchet and Sun Voyager at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey. A bit of the spoils below.
A handful of shots from Virginia-based rippers Satan’s Satyrs opening set at the Larimer Lounge in Denver during their recent tour with Windhand.
“We’re not fucking Gwar,” cracked Speedwolf frontman Reed Bruemmer, laughing as their Wolf mascot adorned in Broncos regalia poured another bucket of water on the heads of the front row. Not Gwar, or any other imitation, that’s for sure. This was Speedwolf through and through - raw power chomping at a packed house following a five-year hiatus. I don't think Gwar or any other band could have perched the crowd on the precipice of insanity the way Denver’s beloved did last Friday night. The crowd teemed at the stage’s edge the entirety of the show. This town has fiended for this reunion for years, and the fire was bright in their eyes. In the midst of the band’s “Denver666” finale, the charged-up mass overtook the stage entirely.
Now, following up Speedwolf on a festival headlining spot is not a position to covet. It takes a special group of maniacs to successfully deliver such a follow up. Had their been any lingering doubts that Saturday’s ender could would turn as loose the night previous - and I didn’t hear any - they were rapidly exhaled as Weedeater’s Dixie Dave growled out a quick sound check about crack rocks, fucking and whiskey. A few moments later, the 3 Kings stage was once again awash in sweat-soaked human.
Though Speedwolf and Weedeater closed out each night with a fury, the mania began early each day and rarely ceased. It was the relentlessness of the party, and the talent, that’s rendered it all such a blur. And by no means did 3 Kings have a monopoly on the hi-jinx. Not to get into too much detail, but R.I.P. incited a pair of brawls inside the Hi-Dive, Zeke sent the body-to-body room spinning into a speed-lusting frenzy, Malahierba joined last minute to stun once again, and the rap sheet rattles on… Apologies for being trite - but you simply have to be there.
The lineup for this third edition was built with Denver’s nation-leading heavy music scene as a cornerstone, with 15 or so Denver bands taking the stage alongside a smattering of Texas talent, as well as acts from both north and south of the border. In that regard, this was the most international the event’s been, both in terms bands and attendees. Continuing the trend from Year 1 into Year 2, the third iteration broadened in musical scope, including industrial crushers Echo Beds, Necropanther’s deaththrash, Zeke’s pedal-to-the-floor attack and so on.
This was also the first year to include a stage in the Mutiny Information Cafe, the famed South Broadway book/record shop. The third venue brought a slew of new angles to the table - staging for more acts, obviously, and an option for those eager yet under age, a change in venue aesthetic, life-saving cold brews, a new read or record for those taking back to the road, or just a comfortable place to rest and recover between sets.
In short, Electric Funeral III tore through Denver like a barroom brawl. Bodies were launched, soaked and bruised, rooms strewn with various items of clothing and beer cans, the floor mapped with puddles. Too long a drag on your IPA and you’d have missed it, left ogling scattered wreckage and wondering why you feel like the world’s largest pile of shit. But ease up, a good party will disorient even the most seasoned reveler. If you missed it, you can live vicariously through the Almighty Internet and vow to never do so again. If you were fortunate enough to be there, this rambling missive should jog your mush brain. Following is a selection of shots from the weekend. - MG
Photos by: Michael Goodwin, Sam Giles, Mitch Kline, Kate Streber
*More photos to be added to the gallery next week.