It’s Friday of SXSW. Day 2 for Jibbies, Day 3 for Loond. After roughly 24 hours of Small Stone immersion, its time for….well, more rock and metal! We stroll up on Dirty Dog’s Bar and are instantly deflated. The line goes into the street and nearly out of sight. Fortunately, all the good mojo built up from a lifetime of devotion to metal once again comes to bear as a voice booms from nowhere in particular: “Chris Smith!” It comes from Brother-of-Metal and current Austinite C. Dawson He is about 8 people from the door with fellow BoM (and FOGG) J. Franklin. They welcome us to join them, no-one else seems to mind, and that’s that.
Dirty Dog’s is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside. Dirty Dog’s is, well, dirty. Dirty Dog’s bathrooms have shit in the stalls where dudes go in two at a time and come out with seeming nasal problems. The Atlas Moth’s grimey brand of abrassive-yet-polished psychedelic metal opened proceedings perfectly given the environment. Just when they were starting to truly take flight, however, the set was over.
Red Fang adds a good dose of claustrophic metal to their version of stoner, the roof seemingly closing in and the air growing heavier. Riffs find you. Then crush you. And all this from a band running on fumes while its van expired.
Ha! Weedeater is up next and to have considered Red Fang claustrophic was clearly overstating the case. I’m not sure it would be possible to play anymore more crawlingly and still swing. This band knows how to roll, fat and dank. And Dixie Dave looks amazingly spry given his falling down obliterated performance the night before at Small Stone, storming the stage, taking the mic, and scatting and howling his way through a Dixie Witch number before getting escorted from the room.
Kylesa were the out-of-leftfield never-heard-them-before surprise of the conference for Jibbies. Mixing a healthy dose of art punk with their metal, the band seduces as much as it pummels and could have played for twice as long without wearing thin. [Note: the band doesn’t start playing ’til about halfway through the vid…sorry.]
Kirk Windstein is a lifer in this business — he’ll still be doing some version of it when he’s 65, mark our words — and Crowbar delivered the crushing the gathered masses sought, pounding in a way no-one else had yet done and leaving the crowd ready for more.
Unfortunately, the ‘more’ in this case was a newly reconstituted Helmet. Both J&L love this band. Both have significant memories of its music. (A pre-Interscope Helmet at the old 9:30 Club in D.C. was Jibbies first review ever for Kerrang!) Both, however, were disappointed with the band’s performance. It was solid enough musically. But Jibbies likened it to a Helmet cover band or Page Hamilton solo act, Page being the only member the performance showcased. Loond reminisced about how much better a show the Frank Bello + John Tempesta line-up had put on.
Sometime during the energy vacuum Helmet was creating Dawson and Franklin headed for the doors. After their set the room emptied by half, hipster curiosity seekers having taken flight. J&L decided it was their metal obligation to stick around and at least witness the first few songs of St. Vitus. Wino needs no introduction and to see him out front of this seminal outfit really was a treat. The band seemed to be carved from rock itself and produced wave after wave of proto-stoner weight. Eventually crushing our intrepid duo. Another night of metal came to an end.