Banned From The D.C.? Okay. Ramming Speed & Iron Reagan @ The Democracy Center

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This is the biggest I could find, honest. 

It’s good-natured small gigs liek these that make one remember how alike punks and Thrashers (and to a point, all Metalheads) are when you get them together. Think on it: Both wear black a lot, both are societal outcasts with atypical haircuts, they both wear patches and ripped clothing, etc. To say nothing of the music itself. Thrash Metal is essentially Iron Maiden and Judas Priest fans mainlining punk rhythms and throwing the resulting brew into a pressure cooker to ferment and sweeten. And now onto the show review before I turn this into an essay on how Thrash and Hardcore fans should hang out more.

Opening this festival ofthe damned was Meth Valley, a gang of talented local thrashers fronted by some crazy guy I’ve seen at mad shows, MDF included. Thrash is a hard genre to innovate in without turning it into something else by accident, so these longhairs played it safe and by the book, albeit without inducing yawns. If you like Razormaze, check ’em.

Next up were Boston Hardcore guys Draize, alternating between the slow and punishing and the fast and punishing extremes with equal skill.

Everyone’s favourite bespectacled baldie decided to go at this gig barefoot, which is a ballsy as fuck move considering how much punks usually love to wear boots or something. Nary a toe was injured, luckily, as the walls churned with heat, leather, and fist while the dance floor surged with pent-up anger and good times.

Oh how I missed my poetic verve.

It’s not very often one gets to see Draize, much less hear them, since a certain amount of mystery prevents them from posting tracks online, despite the many available avenues with which a band may do so today. If you don’t know the songs, you don’t know them, and you never will unless you buy their stuff, so there’s that. It’s all good and dark, and makes you want to kill, so it hardly matters in the end, as long as you don’t act a fool.

Highlights of the set: A huge fat guy herkie-ing like nobody’s business, and getting full-body lifted and placed back down by a guy half my height while I was in the middle of a graceless two-step.

Iron Reagan, featuring Tony Foresta from Municipal Waste and some other guys because fuck it, it’s Tony Foresta and that basically makes it Municipal Waste by proxy, followed to bring some groovin’ Thrash served in a radioactive barrel. Or something.

This being their first tour as a band, it’s amazing how quickly they’ve all settled into the whole live dealie. Granted, they are seasoned musicians, and probably all hang out, but my word, you’d think they’ve been doing this as Iron Reagan for years already. Tony’s charismatic control of the crowd’s friendly violent fun, the vivious axe attack of fellow ‘Waster Landphil, bass duties gregariously filled by a certain guy named paul, and drum noise made by Darkest Hour’s own Ryan Parrish. You’ve got yourself a crew that’s ready to rock, and has a Cro-Mags cover to lay on you troglodytic fucks. It’s pretty rad. The circlepit isn’t a frequent sight at the D.C., so get educated and run around.

Headlining were local heroes Ramming Speed, who have been bestowed the honour of being a possible gay porno title by The A.V. Club for their year-in review of band names. I’m sure they gained about 54 new fans as a result.

Imagine you took the Party Hard attitude of Andrew W.K. but turned party rock into party thrash, with a good helping of pizza and perhaps carrots, and proclamations of Shane Embury being the Brad Pitt of grindcore. It’s true, go listen. While Ramming Speed do everything they do in good fun, there’s some serious talent bubbling under the comedic skin. Major shreddage, vocals that vary from Thrash shouts to Death Growls and even some well-done highs, drumming that can go from standard speed-metal to extreme blasting, and not to mention the fact that they can keep up with themselves and not fuck up. It’s a recipe that’s best drunk in large quantities and with friends around.

You know, this marks a rare occurrence; I’ve reviewed a show the day after it happened. Golly, I’m making my comeback. This is the year of the gutter rat, and I’m doing well everywhere except mothafuckin’ school. Kill pigs, have fun.

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