The venue, Vibes Event Center, is located on East Houston Street in a downtown warehouse district. It shares the building with a haunted house called the Psycho Asylum. Party. We entered through a psychedelic hallway with black light posters on the wall. The lobby and concession area had a long row of bathroom stalls facing the bar. Very strange.
I made it into the main room just in time to watch Charlotte, North Carolina’s Magnitude, a bunch of young dudes. The guitars kicked things off with a Kirk Hammett-ish melodic riff. As the first song built, the double kick turned into an unrelenting blast. The vocals were too muddy for me to discern, but some of the crowd up front knew the lyrics. One guy flailed onto the stage to sing part of a song. I love when that happens.
Magnitude's songs were all over the place — a little groovy, a little emotional and all of them full of earnest shrieking. The crowd dug the breakdowns, of course. In between songs the lead vocalist talked about positive shit. Again, gotta love it.
Next up was Gatecreeper from Phoenix. The band I wanted to see. After walking onstage to the Chicago Bulls' theme song, they brought on a brand of old school death metal-esque hardcore that's become all the rage these days — thank you Power Trip, and R.I.P. Riley.
The band's guitar tone and overall sound were on point. The guttural vocals and thrashy chug captivated some members of the mostly younger crowd. Others even attempted to slam dance. But, in the end, nothing really clicked between them and the audience. Either way, I was stoked to see them. I love old school death metal a la Obituary.
Knocked Loose hail from Oldham County, Kentucky, and they won points by warming up the crowd by blasting the entire Willie Nelson song “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” through the sound system. Good. Spooky sound effects come on, and the band hit the stage. Slam dancing immediately ensued. Screeching, high-pitched vocals pummelled through one glorious breakdown after another.
Knocked Loose's songs are brutally anthemic, and the crowd knew the lyrical hooks well. The singer said the F word a lot between tunes. Edgy. I heard musical hints of Deftones and Glassjaw from time to time. Now, that’s a concoction tailor-made for San Antone. A good energy filled the room.
I learned that the tour didn’t stop in Austin, so it seemed like a decent amount of out of towners had driven in for the show. I love when that happens. Viva SA. Viva heavy metal.
Want to see more photos from the show? Check out the Current's slideshow from the concert by local photographer Oscar Moreno.