Five Bolt Main Report From The Monkey Bar in Huntington, WV
On Friday the 12th of August I arrived at the Monkey Bar in Huntington, WV. I was a little late for my 7:30pm interview with the guys of Five Bolt Main. I came in the back door of the club, after finding the front door locked. I found a long haired guy with glasses and asked for Ivan, who had set up the interview. Then recognizing the long haired guy from a photo on the Five Bolt Main website, I introduced myself and he in turn introduced himself as Ben, the bass player. Ben hailed Ivan who was on stage taking care of covering up instruments and microphones before the opening acts came on. Ivan came down and introduced himself, he is a large guy with a long goatee, which was tied off and dyed bright green at the tip. I apologized for being late but he shrugged it off informing me they had just finished sound check so I would have been waiting anyway.
Ivan gathered the rest of the band as they finished up, they were looking for Chris. Chris Volz, the lead singer, came in from the front of the club, spoke with Ivan then he introduced himself to me. The guys expressed an interest in eating before the show started; Chris wanted to meet up with members of the street team before the doors opened. Someone asked about the Indian place directly across 4th Avenue, I spoke up stating I had eaten there and the food was excellent. It seemed to be decided; I followed the band through the club, out the door, across the street and into the Nawab.
There were eight of us; the Five Bolts, Clay the tech, Chris’s girlfriend, and myself. We sat at a large table almost directly in the middle of the restaurant. Everyone ordered Chicken Curry except Ivan who had some kind of platter and Ben had mysteriously disappeared from the table. As we waited for our dishes they talked and joked around. They made me laugh; the guys were really laid back. They talked about sleeping in the van after with farts, eating horrible food and staying at bad hotels and the fourteen hour drives home. They talked about writing and listening to music like it was it was a Wall Street job, a job they loved. This was a great experience, one I wasn’t expecting, one not on my agenda. After waiting almost 45 minutes for our food everyone was starving and dug right in, time was getting short if we were to make it back to the club before doors.
After paying out our collective tabs we left, missing doors open by about ten minutes, we were all too full and tired to move fast. We all got tagged with wrist bands by the club manager as we came in; I followed the band upstairs to the VIP room. Everyone started to get settled, they had almost three hours before they played. On the bar Ivan started hooking up a printer and a laptop, which they had grabbed from the van on the way in and where we found Ben playing video games. Everyone else was getting beer or lying on the couch or preparing things for the show. They all gathered around for the interview phase of the evening. The interview went well, though it did get kind of loud downstairs as people started to come into the club, the guys took it in stride and passed the voice recorder around. They seemed to let Chris do most of the talking, with Ivan and Chandler, the guitar player, picking up the slack and the rest of the guys hovering. We finished and the band went straight into relax mode, preparing themselves to sit and watch the opening acts.
The first band of the evening was Sleep is Dead, who came on about ten-ish. The lead singer came out in a white collar shirt and tie, thrashing about. The singer’s approach was not to sing at all, he pretty much talked firmly into the mic or yelled his lungs out on the stage. During the song 21 Guns the singer jumped off stage to crowd surf. The music was very riff based and kind of punk-thrash in some instants. The band had a sound which was unpolished but accessible, energetic and upbeat, they got the crowd warmed up for sure. The second act, Hillbilly Deathride, took stage about an hour later. Their sound was defiantly upbeat with pounding rhythmic drums and old school thrash style guitars. The singer simply professed every lyric in a hardcore screaming format, no questions asked. He stated as they left the stage, “We are trash.” They did not hold a bad show for trash and the audience seemed to think the same, cheering them off stage. Next up was Five Bolt Main, the headlining act of the night.
Unfortunate to say by about midnight, when Five Bolt Main took the stage, much of the club had emptied. There were less than a hundred people there, though they were all in front of the stage awaiting the next act. These people were here to see Five Bolt Main, to hell with the opening acts. You could tell from the first bar of the first song these guys had been practicing the material and had played it in front of live audiences before. I could tell from spending just a short with them, they all had different styles, had different agendas for being musicians and music served as a way of individual expression in each.
Their individual styles showed through on stage, each one different, each one fitting into place at just the right moment. Aaron stood on the left of the stage picking at his guitar, with harmonies and short leads, almost never moving from his spot, swaying with the rhythm. Chandler was on the far right, jamming out the whole time playing leads and rhythms, banging his head to the rock. Ben was to the left and a little behind of Chandler, hair down in his face, banging his hand laying down the bass, playing his guitar vertically. Ivan, behind the kit, rocked out the big beats, kicking the bass drum and utilizing toms like no one else. Chris was all over the place stopping here and there to belt out a chorus or scream out at a break. He has great range too, singing slower almost ballad style and then breaking into guttral yells, making the switch-ups sound natural.
Everyone in the band has a driving quality in their personal attitudes which gives a great stage presence. All the pieces come together with these guys, every song changing up often, ever shifting gears, even the down tempo songs kept the audience’s attention. The music took from a lot of influences, at times Chris reminded me of Maynard of Tool and at other times the music reminded me of crunchy Pantera riffs. Every song was different, I didn’t know what to expect next; a slow breakdown or an edgy riff put to strobe lights. The crowd loved the single “Pathetic,” many of them singing along, girls in summer tank-tops rocking out. Five Bolt Main played all the material on their first album, Venting. When they finished up the audience gave them a big cheer, they wanted more, most of them waited around cheering for an encore. Instead the band came down from stage and starting talking with fans. They did a meet and greet at the merch booth and the people loved it, the girls especially. Five Bolt Main is an all American rock and roll band, playing their own brand of music, blending the best of many styles into a unique sound. These guys are tight musicians, laid back people and put on a hell of a good show. Grab a couple of brews and check them out when they come around.
You can check out some photos from the show in the photo gallery.
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