Did you feel the ground rumble Saturday night? It wasn't the Arsenal. No worries though, it was just me and a whole lotta friends hitting it hard for "Mayhem in Madison" at 11th Frame. Thom Hazaert, Director of Business Operation and A&R for EMP label group was the special guest for the evening. Five bands representing Birmingham to Decatur were there to show what's new in North Central Alabama.
FireWater Revival kicked off the night with their first show of 2017. FWR is a 4 piece out of Birmingham in a similar vein as Pantera, but influenced heavier by their southern roots. Frontman, Bolee, can legitimately wail on that guitar and accompanied his wide range vocals perfectly. Hard hitting, driving rhythms from 'Wormdirt' kept you fully engaged despite his relaxed demeanour during his performance. Go checkout Captressofrock on Instagram for that perfectly captured cymbal warp. FWR finished out their set with "Ganja Voodoo", their most loosened up song of the set. Knocking out killer vocals like it's effortless was special guest vocalist, Passenger: A Tribute's , frontman and resident 11th Frame crewmember. Make sure to check out FireWater Revival's EP "Funeral for Sorrows" set to release late Spring.
Second guests out the gate for the night are another group out of bham, but this one is not like the first. Noir, a self proclaimed Post-Hardcore/ Metalcore band, these guys got the whole venue buzzing! Vocalist Byron Barmore wasn't afraid to step off the stage and walk amongst the crowd at one point even kneeling to summon everything from the depths. Noir is a head banging, horn raising, bar smacking (yep, I might of startled a merch girl), jumping good time. Several of those around me wanted to know where these guys have been hiding including members from the other bands of the night. Their EP "Paper Hearts & Plastic Crowns" is set to release this Spring. I'll personally be hitting up that presale! Intense vocals with music that can pack a punch just as fiercely, high energy movement from the members make Noir a must see.
Dark Before Dawn, hit the stage 3rd. DbD, a previous ' Band of the Week' through BhamRocks is a 4 piece hard rock set up out of Cullman who has undergone a serious change up. Go check out Don Newman's January 23rd interview for further details. Justin York, has recently stepped into the role of lead vocalist and "Mayhem in Madison" was roughly his 3rd stage performance with the group. York, was a well chosen replacement bringing charisma and superb facial expressions to the show but he wasn't the only mesmerizing member. Jake Gable, propelled the band forward all whilst twirling and flipping away with his drumsticks. For this uncoordinated girl, it's always an impressive bit of showmanship to watch, if done right. Their EP, aptly named "Chapter 2" is set to be released this Spring. The crowd lent the band "Better support than my mom's bra" per York. The boys even threw down their own spin on the ever popular, highly recognizable crowd pleaser, "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac.
House of Curses was up 4th, and is another 'Band of the Week' through BhamRocks, check out Jessica Wallace's February 13th write up. HoC is a 5 piece out of the Arab to Decatur area and have undergone a few line up changes themselves this past year. Vocalist Daniel Stockfisch frequently gets likened to Deftones lead Chino Moreno. Despite this comparison, House of Curses has its own home in the music world. A gritty, emotional set up with intricate lyrics and harmonies; along with stand out bass solos, make HoC one to watch. The boys are busy in the studio recording their upcoming project. HoC made it a family affair Saturday night with guest vocalist, Danielle Stockfisch, wife to Daniel, on their song S&G. Their children stood front row to cheer them on. The band was in no short supply of talented friends. York of Dark Before Dawn and Brian Stadden of Ikabod Krayne also threw down.
Vaalbara was the closer for the evening. This 5 piece metalcore band out of Huntsville had the crowd jumping before their first song was over. Let's face it, it's not really a metal show until a drummer loses his shirt and another band-mate gets a bloody nose. Vaalbara did not disappoint with its powerful, hard hitting songs. "Dying Soul" focused on the concept of death while their charismatic lead Eddie, cited "Dirt Path" as a wedding gift written for his guitarist. They even threw in a cover of Killswitch Engage's, "My Last Serenade" much to the delight of the crowd. Helping bring down the house for the night, House of Curses member J2 lent his striking vocals for a stunning accompaniment with Eddie.
The common theme for the night was definitely core line-up changes, Spring set releases and guest vocals. It was a brutally beautiful thing to watch musicians supporting their fellow bands. Spring 2017 has great potential to be a dynamic turning point for our local music scene. We wish nothing but the best for these bands on the next progression of their journey. BhamRocks looks forward to saying, we knew you when...Shout out to 200Proof Entertainment for helping make 'Mayhem in Madison" a reality.