Metal lineup rocks the Rose

Are You...?, Bonestorm, and Municipal Waste
at Tokyo Rose
Friday, January 24


True metal was born in '70s Britain, when Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Co. took the sludge of Black Sabbath and the Stooges and boiled off the blues.

With less groove and more speed, the sound evolved into anxiety-attack tempos, brittle guitar leads, and fantastical imagery. Further explorations over the succeeding years forked the horde; some bands became baroque instrumentalists, like Slayer, while others, such as Megadeth, focused more on explosive gear-shifting rhythms. Currently, the scene continues to thrive in a soup of adjectival specialties– hair, stoner, Scandinavian, black, goth, industrial, doom, thrash, etc...

At Tokyo Rose on Friday, January 24, it appeared as if influences could be twisting back to the taproot of old-school metal. And even though it was hard to surmise if the bands were for kitsch or keeps, the stage presence was a welcome return.

The first group, Richmond's Are You F*cking Serious?, was led by a horn-rimmed singer who belted his vocals into a homemade scythe... er, microphone. Unfortunately, the set was brief (10 minute set?), and the vocalist refused to turn and face the audience. However, it was a nice change to see a girl bassist play with such moxie.

Bonestorm followed for their final show. A lineup of Tokyo Rose all-stars, featuring members from the Elderly and the Hillbilly Werewolf, they're calling it quits after only a handful of dates (vocalist Joel Alford is moving to Chicago). And if their name sounds tongue-in-cheek, it should; remember the video game Bart swipes in "Marge Be Not Proud," Simpsons episode # 3F07? What they delivered Friday night was the best local antidote to snooze since Nerve No Pain. Others agreed; pinky-pointer horns popped from every fist.

Municipal Waste smoked the stage with unrelenting speed, thanks to their new drummer, a 17-year-old with Popeye biceps. Although the rest of the guys don't squeeze spinach cans, they still tore brakeless over breakneck riffs. Since their introductory appearance at the Pudhouse last year, "The Waste" has cultivated a loyal following in the hoods of our state capital... many of whom drove to see the show.

According to their lyrics, they enjoy both wizardry and the consumption of beverages, choice hobbies for any bona fide metalhead.

Let's keep rokken like Dokken.