In an iTunes era, where we consumers pick and choose our playlists from a virtual buffet of musical offerings, a day full of local metal ought to inspire even the most casual of fans to sample a exhibition of live local music. Savage Fest was not only a stage featuring a perpetual onslaught of metal, hardcore, progressive, melodic and a whole host of other -core local artists, The Camas Courthouse served as a theater showcasing the finest of Washington and Oregon skull melting rock. As hurdcore.com continues to team with local artists, agents and venues to promote what is happening in your neck of the enchanted musical forest, we hope to inspire an army of fans who don’t just observe but who participate in the best of what music has to offer. We are fans supporting local music and it was our great pleasure to get our metal on with the bands who performed Saturday, April 24th, 2010 for Savage Fest at The Camas Courthouse (hopefully the first of many).
Local acoustic favorites Jack Devore and Andy Hokanson (drummer for If All Else Fails) opened Savage Fest with back-to-back intimate sets. Both utilized the emotional tone of the acoustic with great skill and each had a commanding presence of their voices, Jack the quieter of the two would hit higher notes in stride without straining whereas Andy’s sound had a distinct pop-edge. Mourning For Memories was first up to bring out the brutal, operating with a youth and energy that make it clear that these dudes are developing a chemistry in their sound that won’t soon be forgotten. Mourning for Memories brought with them a significant segment of the local crowd and introduced the savage throngs to what will heretofore be distinguished as hello-kitty-core (note pic). On a day full of metal, scheduled for nearly 10 hours of back to back riffs, shreds and breakdowns, the diversity of what blossoms under the “metal” umbrella was already a feature note. Transitioning from thrash to popcore with Portland based Chin Up Rocky, mixing elements of pop, screamo, punk and what many are calling post-hardcore. Chin Up Rocky carries a positive if not happy tone that still has enough bite to induce you to get low.
The first and only band of the night to have two members dedicated exclusively to vocals was local hardcore/death metal quintet Edessa, sharing duties with guttural and serpentine screams. Edessa taps into the sound of old school hardcore bands such as Point of Recogniton with a proper mix of current dynamics to have already attracted for themselves a devoted local following. The band that perhaps traveled the farthest, hailing from Maple Valley, Washington also introduced the Savage Fest crowd to an apt use of simple props by backlighting their set with floodlights to create an ambiance that brought the band seemingly in full 3D into the crowd. We Move Mountains turned the mayhem dial up to 11 with a forceful combination of energy, creativity and dark mystery enough to be the backdrop for any number of Burton-esque films, inciting the crowd with cryptic incantations such as, “I’m normal. I’m normal. I swear to God, I’m normal.” While we at hurdcore.com may be slightly prejudice being that We Move Mountains was one of our first interviews (see WMM Interview), an experience with self described “catchy melodic McDonald’s-core” will be enough to get any bi-pedal creature fiending for more of their fierce riffs and spaztastic live performances. Look for more of We Move Mountains as they just wrapped shooting their video for popular song “Dan Nettekoven Snakes the Win” and a full length album to drop later this year.
Portland, Oregon doomsday death metal brought its local rep in Daematta who is in a period of transformation to break from a self-perceived pigeoning in the bland “name-your-core” mix of local artists and into a more distinct blackening of their metal roots. Savage Fest continued to showcase the best of heavy local music introducing the crowd to a band that was so dialed in as a professional act that perhaps the only pieces missing from this Portland thrash/metal band was a tour bus and personal roadies. Almost Is Nothing has the presence of master, gear legitimate enough to make even the casual fan salivate and a sound so shred-tastic that the only question remaining is whether your face or the dueling fret boards will last long enough to complete an entire set of this audio assault. Even the casual fan can see that Almost Is Nothing is on the brink of greatness, those who have the opportunity to witness them live while they remain at this level of public recognition should realize that it won’t be long before rocking with AIN won’t come at such a bargain.
Bring Me Solace is fairly new to launch upon the Portland area melodic/progressive metal scene, yet it doesn’t take long to notice a care to their sound the reaches far beyond a fashionable title. In the span of a 30 minute set, the bassist for Bring Me Solace walked, jogged and ran through every inch of his six-stringed fretboard multiple times, part symphonic Jedi mixed mixed with the shear brutality of Paul Bunyan dropping his behemoth axe through a withering forest. Longview, Washington based Upon Departure is another band that we at hurdcore.com had a previous interaction with, interviewing them in late 2009 as they began working on their latest release (still in the works – see UD Interview). Live, the riffs of Upon Departure oozed with some of the heaviest breakdowns of a day full of metal madness. Firmly grounded in their hardcore/metal roots, the young men of Upon Departure continue to challenged themselves to expand the experimental aspects of their music venture.
With an impressive local following and a willingness to experiment with intriguing harmonic concepts, as Focus On The Skyline continues to hone their craft and perform together they will acquire the synchronicity needed to produce a crisper edge to their sound. And The Sirens Sang appears to be on the fast track with live performance laced with a blue collar creativity that both imprints their set into the recesses of your memory as well as begs the question what they might be able to assemble with a larger budget. The largest band of Savage Fest by numberic standards, rocked double axes with bass, rapid drums, thoroughbred keys and a team approach to vocal responsibilities in addition to the designated throat. And The Sirens Sang literally filled the comfortable stage of The Camas Courthouse while flooding the crowd with an impressively polished sound that brandished a full-time commitment to exploring the potential of Key-core (or as my good friend aptly remarked, “It’s like Anberlin on a massive dose of steroids”). Combining skill, creativity and an unparalleled work ethic with most members holding responsibilities in multiple music related ventures without losing a step in the progression of And The Sirens Sang.
To my own dismay, I awoke the morning of the long awaited Savage Fest with a throbbing headache and bronchitis-esque cough. I held out as long as possible but illness and responsibilities at home lured me away from witnessing the combined brutality of local favorites Aleen, Settle’s Idols and the pit-masters of Portland, Proven. On a day full of metal at its purest, hardcore at the grassroots ever accelerating through the local atmosphere, and yet still “fans” balk at the opportunity to experience the music with abandon. Every major band started somewhere and whether you are a fan of a particular band or genre, the thrill of a live performance is a display of those who have dared to put their dreams in motion. Keep rockin’ local and when I see you next, let’s get moving!
GET DOWNZ TOUR to kick off at The Camas Courthouse (89 C Street, Washougal, WA) June 19, 2010 featuring And The Sirens Sang, We Move Mountains and Upon Departure – Tour runs North and East through Washington and then South from Eugene, Oregon (June 28th – rock with hurdcore.com!)
Check out the bands from Savage Fest:
Jack Devore (Blues, Camas, WA)
Mourning For Memories (Thrash – Washougal, WA)
Chin Up Rocky (Happy Hardcore, Portland)
Edessa (Hardcore – Camas, WA)
We Move Mountains (Metal – Maple Valley, WA)
Daematta (Death Metal, Portland)
Almost Is Nothing (Thrash, Portland)
Bring Me Solace (Progressive, Portland)
Upon Departure (Metal – Longview, WA)
Focus On The Skyline (Post-hardcore, Camas, WA)
And The Sirens Sang (Screamo, OR)
Aleen (Screamo, WA)
Idols (Death Metal, Seattle)
Proven (Metal, Portland)