In terms of money spent to amazing music, this was far and away the best show I've ever been to.
The Scion Lab is tacked on to the back of Crossroads (outdoor venue where I've seen GWAR and Ben Folds before) and is pretty much a garage with a bar. There is no stage, there are no monitors. This place was made for shows like the one I just saw.
The first band was pretty much a local favorite. The Tards have been around for a while, and it's easy to see why they haven't faded into obscurity: they thrash. Pretty much your old school Metallica or Megadeth and the guys were spot on tonight. They blazed through three or four songs at a time, barely giving the audience a chance to rest their headbanging. They definitely set the tone for the night.
I think I have a new favorite local band. It astounds me that Vanlade isn't huge by now. They are one of the few bands that sound straight out of the 80's but are completely relevant now and make amazing metal. They sound like an old-school speed/heavy/power/thrash band. Think Running Wild, Grave Digger, Overkill and Helloween all rolled into one with a "KILL ALL POSERS!" attitude. Amazing. The entire crowd was headbanging and moshing and a lot of them were singing along with the vocalist as he wailed over them all. And ending a set with an Iron Maiden cover, especially "Invaders", is amazing on its own, but Vanlade nailed it. Spot on. Can't wait to see them again.
The only let-down of the night was The Sacred Have Fallen. Completely stuck out like a sore thumb. They were brutal death metal/deathcore and while at times they weren't completely unlistenable, they definitely did not bring anything to the show that no one had seen before. Definitely forgettable.
The first of the California bands was next. Unlike most of the bill last night, Witchaven was not just thrash, but also a healthy dose of black metal. And despite having a tiny hitch in the sound department which was fixed pretty quickly, the band completely shredded every single living soul in Kansas City. They played with unrelenting speed and threw down insane solos like they weren't even trying. It was truly one of the best thrash performances I've ever seen. Lots of moshing and tons of headbanging.
The thrashing didn't stop after Witchaven. Hatchet kept it going. Apparently, the guitarist and bassist were KC locals filling in for the actual band members. It didn't make a difference, though. Solo's were shredded, heads were banged, and faces were melted. Lots of dual-guitar solo's and the speed was topped out for the entire performance. They did a great job, and I really want them to come back.
Although the show was headlined by the two Bay Area bands, the last performer of the night was probably Kansas City's most unique local band. Stonehaven was the last band of the night, and they play viking/black metal. From Kansas City. And the thing is...they're good. Real good. They sound not all unlike Kampfar, Thyrfing, even early Gorgoroth. And it really showed. They wore the corpsepaint and they wore the animal pelts, and they made epic black metal. From Kansas. Now I've seen everything. Can't wait to hear them on disc.
This show cost $5. That's all. And it was one of the best and craziest shows I've ever had the pleasure of attending. I can only hope more crazy thrash shows go to the Scion Lab. It was made for thrash.
05/23-05/26 - Em Dee Eff
05/30 - Torche
06/04 - Baroness
09/07 - 'arry and The Boys