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Archive: Pit Stories Columns

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Pit Stories: An All Around Cluster F*#k

Gather round old uncle xFiruath kiddos, he's got another heavy metal Pit Story for you!

In recent weeks we've had bizarre hair-burning black metal bands and even some full on-stage coitus, but today we spin around to the technical side, or rather the lack of.

Vocalist James Todd from Abandoned Souls shared this tale of a tour date gone wrong with a no-show promoter and sound guy:

This happened back in 2010 I believe. It pretty much was an all around cluster fuck of a gig. We were to be headlining a show in Ottawa with a local support band. The promoter was responsible for getting the sound tech, opening band and p.a. We arrive at the venue to find that it is a really good size and cool looking venue with a pretty nice stage. However, what we found out very quickly is that the promoter had us playing in a side room of the venue. So, we go there to see that it is about 3 times smaller the size of the bigger room and the stage was too.

OK no big deal, still a decent sized room and we are ready to rock. But wait, what is this? p.a. gear piled in the corner waiting to be set up. But by who? I get a call from the promoter to say the sound tech is sick and won’t be able to make it and asked if we knew how to set up the p.a. Fortunately (I guess), I did live sound in the past and knew how to set up a p.a. In this case I use the term p.a. very loosely. At best it was a not bad practice p.a. with at least some subs that were almost adequate for the size of the room.

Hooking it up was no easy task as the cables were a mess and not all there. We eventually got it all set up by borrowing some cables from the d.j. on the big half of the club. Then we find we are very lacking in the number of microphones and cables. OK, so we just put vocals and kick drum in the p.a. and turn up our amps. The soundboard was mostly working but nothing to write home about.

Luckily the opening band showed and I was able to fine tune the sound a bit during their set. So when we eventually went on the sound was about as good as it could be with that p.a. We still gave it our all as we always do and had a great set. It wasn’t very busy due to a lack of promotion by the “promoter.” Isn’t that what they are suppose to do, promote? We got paid a partial amount that night and were to receive the balance in the morning before we left the hotel. So we went back to the hotel after the show and drank heavily of course. The next day, the promoter never showed to give us the rest of the money and we were unsuccessful trying to reach him. Shocking, I know. Off into the sunset we went.

Abandoned Souls released latest EP "Make It Last" this past April via indie label Fiend Records. Check out a track off that release below. For more info on the band, head over to Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Under The Stench Of Burning Hair

Another week has reached its Tuesday, and that means its time for yet another Pit Story!

This week we've got guitarist J. Bennett from the formidable and enigmatic Ides Of Gemini, sharing a story of a very strange show indeed.

In the tale below, you'll find everything from a black metal band's odd performance art (goats blood is old hat now - they had to try something different!) to a group experiencing a sudden on-stage breakup that would make Five Finger Death Punch proud!

We don’t see many mosh pits at our shows, but I do have a good story from a few years back. In 2013, we did a month-long North American tour with Ghost, which ended in Pittsburgh. From there, we did a handful of club shows on our way home to Los Angeles. The first three were in Cleveland, Chicago and Lincoln, Nebraska, opening for a band that shall remain nameless because some of the members are still friends of ours.

On the final day of the three-day stint we arrived in Lincoln to discover that we’d be playing at an old blues bar that our singer Sera’s dad had played 30 years earlier. Not only that, but the promoter had used a huge close-up of Sera’s face for the flyer, even though we weren’t headlining - or as we like to call it, “playing last.” This may or may not have caused some tension within the other band, but it was definitely good for a few laughs within our band because it was just so patently ridiculous.

The local opener that night was a three-piece black metal band. During their set, the singer produced a giant Ziploc bag full of human hair that he proceeded to burn in handfuls while the band played. The smell was so fucking horrible that everyone in the club - even the bartenders - left the venue and stood outside for the duration of their set. We set up our gear while the place was airing out and played an uneventful set to an audience that consisted of the other bands, the bartenders, and maybe eight other people.

While the last band (the one that shall remain nameless) set up, we made friends with the openers, who turned out to be super nice people. Their vocalist even gave Sera a Tibetan singing bowl as a gift. Then the band-that-cannot-be-named played about half a song before one of their guitar players walked offstage and left the venue. They spent the next hour or so looking for him, but by the time they found him we had already split. We later found out that they had just broken up onstage - under the lingering stench of burning hair.

Ides Of Gemini released latest album "Women" via Rise Above Records in late April - check out a song off the album below, and you can pick up your copy of the album here. More...

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Pit Stories: The Devil And The Dirty Deed

Tuesday again already? That means we've got more hilarious Pit Stories for you culled straight from the minds of the musicians themselves!

In recent weeks we've seen a show get tanked by a pretty smile and a very interesting way of expressing anger during a battle of the bands being judged by nuns.

Today we've got two stories from Annamaria Pinna and Dave Sussman of the New York based rock / gypsy metal Band Vajra. Both got a lot more than they bargained for at shows - but one of these endings is more enjoyable than the other!

First up is Annamaria, offering a story of a very unexpected encounter while waiting for the bathroom:

This actually just happened on our To The Ends Of The Earth tour. We were in Ohio. We had just played and I was waiting for the bathroom. I didn’t have my phone on me because it was charging so I basically looked around trying to waste time. The walls became so very interesting at that point.

I must have been waiting 5 minutes when all of a sudden, a woman sitting at the booth next to me leaps up, points in my direction and says “Either she goes, or I go!” And I looked at her intrigued by the drama unfolding before my eyes. It was like a juicy soap opera taking place right before my eyes. I looked behind me to see who she must have been referring to, but there was no one else there. The thought crossed my mind; was she talking about me? At that point, she glares at me and said “She’s the devil! Look at her, she’s evil!” So, naturally, I started laughing, which of course, freaked her out even more.

Her husband then jumps up, approaches me, apologizes and says she is really drunk. The whole situation amused me, so I smiled, looked at her, and told her husband not to worry and that this is clearly her issue. As I continued to smile and look at her, she continued to unravel and freak out more. I thought to myself that this experience paralleled a few chapters in The Master and Margarita.

Not sure why she thought I was the Devil, but I take it as a compliment. Bahahahhaha!

Dave meanwhile had this story to share about really "performing" well on stage: More...

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Pit Stories: Balls Out For The Nuns

Another week, another Pit Story, this time coming from an absolutely furious thrash / death metal hybrid that grabs by the jugular and never lets go!

Today we've got a twosome of tales taking place in Rio de Janeiro, one set in a classic Motorhead pit, the other featuring a rather more odd location with a crowd who probably wasn't ready for what Siriun has to offer.

It’s all about the pit! I was once at a Motorhead gig in Rio de Janeiro and things got out of hand fast... it was extremely intense and loud! I believe they were hammering "Overkill" and I found myself, drunk, right in the middle of the pit and suddenly a friend that I hadn’t seen in ages went on a frenzy and tried to put me up on his shoulders, but the fact that I’m 6’1 and weigh 200lbs didn’t make things easy for him… we skidded from one side to another and ended up striking a whole bunch of people and eventually hitting the ground! Luckily no one got hurt (from what I can remember) but I managed to lose my house keys. The show was amazing and I will always miss how great Motorhead was. RIP.

Another funny story, happened to the band that would end up becoming Siriun. At that time, I was not the lead singer, the former bassist was. We were kids and we were going to play on a band contest. When we got there, the place was packed and the singer got stage fright.  The only way to get him to sing was getting him drunk! So we went to a skeevy bar and he drank several shots of Brazilian Cachaça! We came back, played the show, head banged a lot and in the middle of the songs the singer cursed at the crowd... only problem was that the contest was taking place in the auditorium of a college of nuns.

Then one of the judges came to tell him that he could not have said that. Instead of apologizing, he said OK, waited for the judge to turn his back and hang his balls towards him in front of the whole audience and the other judges! Long story short, it was pretty rock 'n' roll.. we were disqualified!

Brazilian outfit Siriun formed in 2014 and has already shared the stage with acts such as Black Dhalia Muder and Krisiun. At the end of the month, Siriun will introduce the world to first record, "In Chaos We Trust," with pre-orders online here.

The album was recorded by vocalist / guitarist Alexandre Castellan, his longtime friend Hugo Machado on bass, and renowned drummer Kevin Talley (Chimaira, Suffocation, Six Feet Under). Niklas Sundin from Dark Tranquillity helped the band produce artwork and also directed Siriun's first music video for the track "Transmutation." More...

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Pit Stories: Tanked By A Smile

The ranks of our Tuesday Pit Stories ever grows longer, with another foray into the dank depths of metal shows arriving today.

This week we've got vocalist / bassist Joshua Cayer from doom metal trio Longhouse, sharing his memory of the band's first show, which didn't quite go off as expected.

Our musician readers can probably identify with Cayer's nervousness, which featured one song tanked by nothing less than the smile from a pretty lady in a sea of sweaty, beer drinking dudes:

I don't think we have played enough to have any extravagant tales from the pit, but I can share a story about our very first show. I want to firstly fess up by stating that I get extremely nervous before each and every show. Not puke-nervous, but definitely queasy and tense-nervous.

So, we decided to start our set with one of our more complex songs, "Earth from Water." For us, "more complex" isn't saying a lot, but because I was so tense my fingers didn't want to work the way they're supposed to, so a simple root-fifth-seventh arpeggio felt like I was trying to play an Animals As Leaders tune! Now, let's add in poor stage lighting, and a drummer who was likely equally as nervous and kicked in at an extra 20-30 bpm's higher than we should've been. I'll say that I'm glad not too many people were there to see it. Luckily we managed to settle in to the next song, and had the growing crowd headbanging along with us by the end.

There was also another stand-out moment from that show: during one of our favourites, "Gehenna Gate," my eye caught glimpse of an exceptionally pretty lady in the crowd. She kind of really stood out in a room full of bearded, beer-slogging dudes. Now, don't tell my wife this, but just as I was about to deliver another line of hellish doom screams I saw her smile, and it actually caused me to forget the lyric, and almost stop playing my bass! It's a good thing that you can't typically understand what the heck U'm saying anyways, and I managed to recover. All in all, our first was a pretty fun show and we were pretty happy with getting that under our belt.

Below you can check out the track "No Name, No Marker" from Longhouse's sophomore album, "II: Vanishing," which was released via Bandcamp on April 14th, 2017. You can follow the latest on this Ottawa-based doom outfit via Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Three Day Ear Ringing

Happy Tuesday my fellow heavy music lovers!

Today we've got a Pit Story that many of our regulars can relate to: getting older but still wanting to throw down at the front of the pit. What used to involve a couple of shots to rally and then going to work at 6 AM now involves days of recovery.

This week's Pit Story comes courtesy of guitarist and vocalist Tyson Wiebe of Lethbridge noise rock / punk duo Cope, who recalls the tale like this:

As I get older I somehow forget that my body/ears are not built for the pit anymore. The punishment I shrugged off as a teen and drank away in my early twenties now lingers well past what should be normal. I know better, yet I can still be found where the bodies are tightest and the music is loudest.

The most recent one came from a trip to Missoula to see my personal guitar hero Dean Ween. People always seem to write off Ween as a joke band, but they’ve always been dead serious to me. Mickey Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween, aka Deaner, aka Mickey Moist, etc.) is a shredder and I couldn’t wait to watch him and maybe steal some of his essence, so when we pulled into town for the show there was no doubt where we were going to stand: front stage, stage left. Where he has stood for the past 33 years as the other half of Ween.

We held our ground in that spot through the Meat Puppets (who still shred) and waited and waited. When the band came out and the first notes from his guitar rang out we realized we had made a huge, huge mistake. I have heard loud before, but this was deafening. His Fender Super-Sonic stack was cranked and pointing right at us. Plus, we were jammed up right by a monitor that was flipped to face the crowd for some reason. We knew we had to do something, so we started pushing the monitor further right. Security instantly came back and pushed it to its original position.

Then a cat-and-mouse game started.

When they would look away, we’d inch it further right, hoping they wouldn’t notice. They would notice eventually and push it back. We’d wait and move it over by inches again. We left the show with our ears ringing for three days afterward.

Worth it.

You can check out Cope's self-titled 7" release at Bandcamp here or stream the track "Mother Russia" below. For more info on this Alberta group, head over to the Cope Facebook profile. More...

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Pit Stories: Curse Of The Soundboard

Alright metal heads, its Tuesday once more and that means its time for some new Pit Stories!

There's no crazy fan throw downs or quadruple conga lines this time around, and instead we're focusing on behind-the-scenes problems that cause bands grief, like malfunctioning (or non-existent) sound equipmment.

Guitarist Justin Krick of U.S. group Ascentia shared this tale of working under less than ideal sound conditions:

We opened a show in a small venue one night with touring bands Godmaker and Moon Tooth. The promoter was said to arrive soon with PA and speakers, but what he finally brought was a heap of gremlins! Finally, we decided to plug two mics into one of the powered speakers, for a hint of vocals, and start the show.

We kicked it off and gave it all we had, and by the end of our set, that speaker was pretty much shot. Nonetheless, Godmaker stepped up on stage and delivered an amazing set, though further crushing this poor speaker into oblivion. Pressing on, and eager to perform, Moon Tooth came to the stage and delivered one of the craziest and energetically mind blowing performances I'd ever seen at a venue like this. That speaker was cracking, clipping, distorting, and crapping itself, but Moon Tooth rolled with it, and raised the whole place to a new level of intensity.

Months later, Moon Tooth came back around to the same place, so we jumped on the bill. Determined to make the most of this one, we prepared to bring a backup PA system. However, days before the show, the venue went through some changes and had to cancel. So bummed, we scrambled to find a venue to make it happen, and on the day of, fortune smiled upon us with a bigger and better venue. All seemed to be looking up! The night was going great, and with pro sound and lighting amping the performances, we all anticipated our new touring friend's presence on stage. The moment was here, and the stage was set. Moon Tooth came out guns blazing and tearing up the stage! Until........... blackness. Lighting and soundboard went out. It seemed the gods were against us.

After an hour or so, the board was fixed. The band members were great sports about it, and performed a phenomenal short set to close out the night. Sound issues happen, but twice with the same band in this manner was crazy. We hope they'll return again soon though, and wreck the stage like they always do.

Founded in 2008, Ascentia is a five piece group based out of Greensboro, NC. You can check out the band's most recent EP "Pathways" below or follow the latest on Ascentia at Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Earth Hour SNAFU

Tuesday's regularly scheduled Pit Story time has returned!

Last week we had the craziness of ladder two-stepping on tables and a spontaneously forming quadruple conga line, while this week things don't go quite as well for the performing band, with an unscheduled holiday observance throwing a wrench in the works.

Russian alt rock band Remark shared this tale of a show gone dark without warning:

One of the most memorable stories that's firstly come to mind is about our first solo show. The club was small and old, that's why we brought a lot of additional lighting and sound rig. So much stuff, that we could hardly turn everything on.

During soundcheck and most of the show everything was OK, but suddenly the lights turned off. We have just finished a song, perhaps someone thought that it was planned. But we knew that it wasn't, cause the sound turned off too. People switched their phone lights, and our drummer, Timi, started playing some grove. Several minutes we were dancing and singing, trying to rock the crowd, while people were fixing the problems.

Then it turned out, that our show coincided with the Earth hour, and when everybody switched on the lights, the electric system of the club was overloaded.

You can follow the latest on Remark over at Facebook here or pick up the band's self-titled album via iTunes. Check out the band's music video for "Falling" below. More...

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Pit Stories: Ladder Two Stepping

We're going to keep up the recent trend of dual Pit Stories every Tuesday, so after Trollfest's quadruple conga line earlier, now we've got a tale from the U.S. deep south.

Chase Davis of Terminal Nation recalls a show from last year when the crowd went absolutely nuts in the most unlikely of places: a middle-of-nowhere location in Alabama.

Davis tells the story like this:

This was last summer when we did a short week run with New Heart. Our second show was in Athens, Alabama at a place called El Opry and no one knew what to expect. We eventually arrived and were a little concerned to see that it was a big metal building in the middle of a field. Inside there was a stage, tables everywhere, and a lot of chairs lined up in rows. It felt like it was frequently used for a service or meeting of some sort. On the floor between the stage and chairs there was a space surrounded by tables for us to play in and for people to mosh.

This awesome local punk band Slam Brigade just finished playing and New Heart was getting ready to set up. We weren’t really sure what the reaction was going to be but figured it would be good just from seeing how they reacted to the other bands. Once New Heart started playing everyone really got into it by moshing and singing along. Everything was going great and then New Heart started their final song.

Right before they started playing their last song people started looking around and grabbing whatever was closest to them. People were picking up chairs, pool sticks, and trashcans while we were all looking around wondering what was about to happen. As soon as they started this place went fucking crazy. People were hitting each other with chairs, breaking pool cues and throwing them everywhere, there was even a guy two stepping on top of a table and with a ladder.

While everyone in the pit was going crazy the guy with the ladder set it up in the middle of the pit. At the bottom of the ladder lay a guy who was moshing but soon got hit with a chair and ended up on the ground. The guy who set up the ladder was now at the top but not for long. He jumped off the top of the ladder and gave the guy on the ground a flying elbow to the stomach. After that everyone got even crazier and started flipping and throwing tables and chairs. It was an awesome, crazy, and unexpected show in Alabama.

Terminal Nation will release new album "Absolute Control" via Deep Six Records on June 9th, 2017. You can follow the latest on the band at Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Quadruple Conga Line

Tuesday has arrived and its time for another bout of heavy metal Pit Stories!

This time around we're going to hit the high seas for a tale from infamous floating festival 70,000 Tons Of Metal. Anyone who was at this show should give us a shout-out in the comments below.

The Norwegian folk metal maestros from Trollfest offer up our first Pit Story this week, with Dr. Leif recalling this tale of a quadruple conga line spontaneously forming across the ship:

Trollfest has had some pretty unorthodox pit action going. In addition to the classic wall of death and circle pit we have induced wall of hugs, circle of eight pit etc. The best story so far is what we experienced on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise this year. We played two shows, and we have the tradition of a conga line for the song "Solskinnsmedisin." During the second show, in the filled-to-the brim ice rink, four separate conga lines formed, all independent from each other.

The idea of a conga line is that you walk around, and eventually all these lines of people found in each. We were amazed as we witnessed this congregation of happy party people joining forces! The combined conga line went upstairs, downstairs, to the balconies, everywhere! Best conga line ever. Period. It will definitely go down in history, both with Trollfest and 70000 Tons Of Metal. Cheers.

Trollfest released latest album "Helluva" earlier this year, and you can check out two videos from the release below. More...

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Pit Stories: Scrotum To Scrotum Stapling

We're doing two Pit Stories today because some incompetent moron by the name of xFiruath couldn't get his shit together and post one up when it was supposed to go live yesterday.

This is part two of those stories, and oh guys, oh, oh guys, have we got a tale for you today. It's got everything: bat wing action, stapled scrotums, and a whole different, hairy kind of moshing than you'd ever imagine to see.

Canadian group Slagduster offered up the following baffling description of a show that will never, ever be forgotten by anyone who attended:

So, a few years back we were touring with Expain, and they brought themselves a camera along to record any ridiculous footage they could capture. After a show in Edmonton, they convinced at least two guys to staple gun their scrotums not only to bar stools and tables, but also apexing on each other’s legs and finally scrotum to scrotum stapling action. Side note, possibly inspired by the band intermission blood-soaked gorelesque performers.

Flash forward one year, we return to the same venue with Expain again. Our between song banter often gets out of hand, and obviously it was hard not to bring up the previous year’s events… long story short, during the next song, a group of guys had been unintentionally persuaded to pull out their man bags in a circle scrotum pulling mosh pit. We’re talking a half dozen burly grown males minimum, stretching their bat wings through their jean holes at each other. All the while headbanging like their lives depended on it. Cheers, Edmonton.

Slagduster's new album "Deadweight" is coming out on May 5th, 2017 - check out two tracks from the album below, and follow the latest on the 'duster at Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Circle Pit For The Rock Band

Which dumb ass didn't get a Pit Story up yesterday during its normal Tuesday slot? That would be this dumb ass, right here. Sorry everyone, and to make it up to you, we're doing double Pit Story duty today!

First up we have a tale from Brandon Saller of rock group Hell Or Highwater, and who just happens to handle drum duties for a little band called Atreyu.

Saller had this tale to share of getting the metal fans into a less heavy group on tour:

Years back Atreyu where on a headlining tour with a band called Endless Hallway. They where a rock band on a metal tour so the crowd took some time to receive them. They where friends of ours so I wanted to do what I could to make the set great. Every night they would cover Nirvana's "Breed" and I would go in the crowd and start a circle pit. From that point on the set would go off. The funny part was when people realized it was me starting a pit. It was a fun face to face hang with our fans. I could only hope someone would do that for Hell Or Highwater if we got put in that situation.

Hell Or Hightwater's new album "Vista" will be released on May 19th, 2017. Check out advance song "Walk Out In The Rain" below, followed by a complete list of upcoming tour dates. More...

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Pit Stories: Gross Green Mucus

Sometimes you fight to get to the front of the crowd and see your favorite band up close and personal. Other times, it's not worth the effort.

That was the case for one unlucky lady who had the misfortune to be at the front of the pit when Dawn Of Ashes was playing... and one member was battling a truly wicked case of phlegm.

For this week's spectacularly gross Pit Story, Dawn Of Ashes shared the following mucus-laden tale:

I can't recall what state this happened in but on our tour with Dimmu Borgir, I came down with a nasty cold from being in below zero weather in Canada. From the illness, I was coughing up really gross green mucus.

While on stage at whatever venue we were playing at, I coughed up this gnarly mucus ball and spit it directly into the crowd. All of this happen in slow motion like in a movie. I looked down and right in front row I see a girl pulling this mucus out of her hair all in slow motion. It was fucking disgusting and I was trying not to die laughing while singing. Definitely a funny ass experience.

Third Dawn Of Ashes full-length album "Daemonolatry Gnosis" will be released June 9th through Metropolis Records. Check out a lyric video for the track "Guardians" below and get full album details over here. More...

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Pit Stories: Italian Temperment

Last week you all got spoiled with double Pit Stories so today we're returning to business as usual with just one tale of the ups and downs of touring.

For today's entry, we've got Magnus Henriksson of Swedish hard rocking crew Eclipse, who explains a bit about the uncertainties of traveling to another country for a festival gig.

Will there be someone to pick you up? Where are you staying? Will someone randomly hit you and then give you a big sloppy kiss? All these questions and more are answered with Magnus' tale:

Most of our funny or tragic tour stories always occur when we play in Italy for some reason. First time we played there with Eclipse, the promoter picked us up 2 hours late after our arrival. Being sleep deprived for having not slept for 24 hours he drove us to a rock pub where we’re forced to be introduced to his friends and watch one of "his" bands ’til 4 o clock in the morning. We just wanted to sleep.

We finally get to our "hotel" in the middle of nowhere. The day after (gig day) we wake up realizing we’re stranded in the middle of nowhere in a roach infested motel without food, water (you don’t wanna drink tap water in Italy) or possibilities to commute downtown. We just have to wait it out ’til something happens.

The promoter is nowhere to be found cuz his phone is shut off. We can’t reach anyone who works for the festival we’re about to play at.

We’re supposed to go on at 20.00.
We’re waiting. The clock is now 19.15.
We assume that there isn't gonna be a gig.

All of sudden a drunk driver in Motörhead t-shirt park his car outside our motel.
Turns out it's our shuttle. We reach the venue 30 min prior to the gig and we still haven't sound checked. The monitor tech (a hot tempered little Italian woman) is waiting for us onstage, shouting ”ECLIPSE!!!!! Where the hell have you been???”

I try to explain: ”Well, we waited for hours but…..” and then WHACK!!!! All of a sudden she hits our singer in the head with a rolled up newspaper! ”You bastards, showing up late!”
More...

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Pit Stories: Crippling Vomit Anxiety

Rejoice metal fans: it's a surprise double Pit Story day!

After a beer-chucking tale from The Riven earlier today, we return with a bonus Pit Story from Jake Dreyer of Witherfall who, as it turns out, is not a fan of the pit.

Jake recounts these harrowing pit memories, from one very angry lady sending him scrambling for safety to cheap beer and hot dog vomit heralding his guitar solo:

Ah, pit stories. These are always fun. Truth be told I actually don’t like mosh pits and try to avoid them at all cost when I am attending a show. Yes, I am the guy who hangs out by front of house where I know it is safe and sound. On one rare occasion I tried to venture away into the uncharted waters of the standing room only area to see the show up close. All was good until a very angry 4 foot 9 female who looked like a cross between Sid Vicious and the dog from the Muppets got so motivated by the music of the show I was attending that randomly she decided to shove me into the stage. Afterwards I cowered in fear like a scolded dog and went to watch the show back at the soundboard far away from the chaos. I still have no idea why she was so upset….

Anyways, I do love watching pits from onstage all the energy just gets fed back and forth between the band and the crowd and for a second it takes you away from the reality that you are just a circus monkey turning tricks for peanuts. These are fun, until they turn ugly. Like on a recent tour playing in Budapest (I think) I watched someone get hit so hard they passed out and the crowd just picked them up and threw them over the security barrier like tossing a wet towel in a bin. Watching a limp body just fall hard to the ground of the pit while security dragged them away was a little dark. Fights can be difficult to watch too, they do not happen regularly but I have seen a couple break out in a pit where guys were beating the hell out of each other blood and other bodily fluids squirting uncontrollably through the air.

Though out of all of this, my worst story has to deal with my crippling anxiety of watching people throw up. I am not kidding. It scares the shit out of me to watch myself or someone around me vomit. This does not work playing in a metal band where to let loose men love to pound fistful of cheap beer and run around until their stomachs turn on themselves expelling their partially digested pre-show hot dog. This happened to me once, as someone in the front row on my side of the stage puked over the barrier after I finished a guitar solo. Perhaps maybe that was their way of showing me what they felt of my playing. If so then I commend them.

Witherfall released latest album "Nocturnes And Requiems" back in February - check out a track from the release below, and a previous pit story from Witherfall all about mob justice can be read over here. More...

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Pit Stories: Saviours Of The Gig

Spilled beer is a universal tragedy - unless its spilled in the name of saving a show!

We've had a quite a few Pit Stories covering the suds spilling to detrimental effects, and this week's tale features a full Guinness getting pitched directly into one unruly fan's unsuspecting face.

After we premiered new song "Killer On The Loose" last week, bassist Max Ternebring of The Riven checked in with us to offer up this tale from the pit:

I’ve been to quite a few gigs in my life, and I’ve played some pretty cool ones as well. This thing that happened though was when I was in London at The High Voltage festival, the second edition in Victoria Park. A really good festival that was, but unfortunately they don’t run it anymore. But fear not – it has morphed into Stone Free Festival and as well Ramlin’ Man Fair.

Anyways, I was watching the legendary Judas Priest doing their supposedly "last gig ever," they were gonna stop touring after that one and KK had already called it quits. The show was late in the afternoon/early evening. The sun had been shining all through the day and the beer had obviously been flowing as it does at a hard rock festival!

I was standing with my crew, enjoying Halford's epicness whilst the sun was setting and I was just having the best time! Unfortunately there was this big dude, the biggest I’ve ever seen, arms like logs and he was drunk out of his mind. At first I didn’t notice it, but after a while I saw that this guy got into a fight with a much smaller dude, over what I can only assume had something to do with him being an awful person and trying to ruin everyone else’s experience.

It was at that point that I found myself with a nice full Guinness in my hand, that my girlfriend had just bought and asked me to hold. I obviously had to give it my best shot at throwing it on this dude, given the situation. So of course I threw that Guinness and of course I hit him right in the face.

At that point he looked at me and I thought to myself - he’s definitely gonna kill me. He rushed towards me like a big angry bull and started waving his logs of arms to hit the crap out of me. I ducked and moved like a cobra and fortunately for me, my black belt karate drummer friend managed to do some karate kid moves and knocked this guy out in perfect time for the security to arrive. They managed to get that guy out of there and we were celebrated as the saviours of the gig. After that, the beers did flow and the best part of it – Judas Priest is still touring!

London-based group The Riven will drop debut EP "Blackbird" on April 14th, with five tracks bringing to mind the glory of the '70s. Check out EP track "One Last Time" below. More...

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Pit Stories: The Most Energy (And Beer Spillage)

In recent weeks we've had bands pranking their own front men, shows abruptly ended with slam poetry, and an on-stage coronation.

For this week's Pit Story, we're getting into the high octane energy of a pit during a killer live show with a too-small stage where the band and fans get unceremoniously smashed together.

Vocalist Pete Mercer from Medicine Hat, Alberta-based group Nuclear Oath tells the story like this:

I'm not really sure of the date but this was a local show and the first time we played at this pub, it was Olys ale house in Medicine Hat, i think it was our 2nd show, it was put on by a former band mate of mine, things originally didn’t end so well, so there was definitely some tension still in the atmosphere on both ends. We were ready to make an impression and show everybody that we were ready to destroy no matter what previous things had occurred.

So with that being said we was one of the opening acts and we were ready to fuck this place up and show everyone that we are here to drop bombs. The beers were flowing good and the energy was unstoppable. When we played TGTN, I called everybody to move in closer and get crazy with us, this was a small enough stage as is, so both guitars and bass were already playing on the floor, an i was doing my thing on the stage. Then the bomb dropped we all jumped on the floor, except for drummer obviously haha, sorry Brandon stay at your throne. Hair was flying everywhere, cables were getting tangled, but we still stayed on point.

It got so crazy that myself got jabbed with the base headstock, tangled with guitar player Zack (we always get tangled haha) and even the long hair caught on some tuning nobs, but again still keep the energy, kept getting in peoples faces and screaming and pushing them. With them also pushing back an grabbing the mic and screaming also, love that shit, beers spilt with tangled wires, oh an I even got knocked down and sang some of the chorus on the ground and helped back up just to get knocked around again, I love the energy this band gives off.

With that being said we had the most energy of the night and probably most beer spillage of the night, haha.

Nuclear Oath will release new album "Toxic Playground" this coming June 9th to follow debut EP "Ashes of the Unborn." Check out some teaser clips and info on upcoming live appearances at Facebook, and you can hear the "Razor Blade Regrets" single below. More...

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Pit Stories: Pissing Off The Lead Man

Hello again metal world - it's Tuesday and time for another heavy metal Pit Story!

This week's tale arrives courtesy of Canadian trio Absinthe From Society, with a story of on-stage tomfoolery that left the crowd confused and the front man plotting revenge.

Absinthe From Society's drummer Adam "The Caveman" Roberts had this to say:

I can remember one particular gig that I decided to mess around a little bit, have fun and make people laugh. It all started around 7:00 pm when we were loading in the music equipment for a full night of just Absinthe From Society (AFS) on stage at this venue. It was our first all night gig. Prior to this gig I hadn't written any of the songs or played any other instruments besides drums. Wow, was Ian (Saint Absinthe) Harper in for a surprise.

I immediately told the door lady, after being stamped on the back of my hand for the night, that I had written all the songs for AFS and that the band was mine. She laughed and smiled saying that she was interested in seeing us because she had heard good things about the band.

Two days before the gig we found out that we needed to supply ALL of our own sound gear as well as a sound man. Luckily I owned all my own sound gear and just by a hint of luck was able to find a sound man for the night (off to a good start). We setup our gear, did sound check and were all ready to go around 9:30.

Little did we know at the time what was to come. We had two newly strung guitars but we didn't have extra strings. Ian blew a string after the first song (off to a better start). Okay, we got this. Halfway through the first set Lexi Graham and I switched our instruments so
that she was playing drums and I was playing bass guitar. Ian had no idea we where practicing this on the side and had planned on doing this the whole time. Ohhh the freedom! To be in front! I thought, how could I piss off the lead man in a way that he can't get back at me?

The first thing I did as I started the song was to take the bass, and hit the mic stand so then the mic hit Ian on his lips. I laughed and proceeded to scurry into the crowd because I was wireless and I knew Ian wasn't. Lexi saw what had happened the whole time and was laughing her ass off. We finished the remaining sets with one guitar, there was no feedback because the sound man was awesome and at the end of our last set, I had the whole bar convinced that it was my band and got crazy recognition for playing bass guitar on stage. What a ride!

Oh and the first gig we did as a band, the venue cut us one song short at the end of our forty-five minute set because....WE WERE TOO METAL... That's another story...

Comprised of founder Ian "Saint Absinthe" Harper and Adam "The Caveman" Roberts (drums & percussion), along with Lexi "Shitkicker 9000" Graham (bass & vocals), the trio released latest EP "The Angels Ignored Us" last month. Listen in below or pick up your copy at Bandcamp here. More...

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Pit Stories: Dollarama Weapons And Slam Poetry

Happy Tuesday metal fans! Ready for another bout of Pit Stories?

Most of our tales involve out of control pits, drunk fans, and unexpected violence, but sometimes the pit is less a bloody place and more a gathering for silly fun.

That's the sort of tale we've got this week from Marc Bourgon of Cancelled / Greber / Fuck the Facts, who shares these stories of several memorable gigs:

Years ago, while I was playing in a now defunct band called tugnut, we would regularly play the sleepy industrial border town of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. There must have been something in the water of the St. Clair river that seeped its way into the veins of the average Sarnian underground metal concert-goer because every show was perpetually more crazy than the last. Not in a “wall of death” or “crowd punishing” manner but something far sillier.

Early on in my years with tugnut we befriended a band by the name of Sarnia. We knew this band was a true titan of soul when they let loose the infectiously anthemic song entitled: “Sarnia.” The song's lone lyric was the word "Sarnia" and the pre-chorus included it being spelled one letter at a time in a gang vocal. They were the ones who put Sarnia (the city) on the map for us and soon invited us to come play there.

The first show we did was at the Eagles hall if I remember correctly. It all started like any other show but once in full swing the show was like a miniaturized version of Obscene Extreme. Costumes. Toy weapons. Acrobatics. Not to mention that when any riff slower than 85bpm was played by any band, someone would yell out: “BIIIIIG STEP!!” and everyone would just start taking giant steps to the music. It was off the fucking chart.

Anyhoo, the show that comes to mind for me was Sarnia (the band)’s CD release. Prior to them playing was all the insanity that we had come to love and expect from a show there but it wasn’t until they took the stage (floor) that it got completely out of hand. A contractor grade garbage bag full of Dollarama weaponry was dumped into the middle of the pit, everyone eyed up their choice of arms and poised themselves for battle. Sarnia started and chaos erupted. Everyone was fighting everyone else and whoever was left was moshing. At one point a shopping cart that had been turned into a tank plowed into the pit and started attacking anyone who dare step into it’s path. Their set ended with a 13 musician rendition of Sarnia (the song).

Now I realize this all seems juvenile and silly but it was one of the rare times in life that everyone was on the same page with each other and having a great time at a show. Can’t figure out why this is what came to mind when I read “Pit Stories” but it did. Thanks for reading.

Epilogue: There was a dude who called himself Shmagnet who became a good friend over the years. I recall some generic metalcore band bombing and him forcefully grabbing the mic from the singer and doing some slam-poetry. That uninvited yet crucial move ended up getting the whole crowd chuffed into a frenzy and saving the rest of the band from their already half-over set. By the looks of it the band was into it as well. The singer, not so much. That dude was a fucking hero.

Cancelled is the experimental recording project of Marc Bourgon that just released three song EP "Tenebrific." You can stream all the songs below or grab your own copy at Bandcamp here. More...

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Pit Stories: Crowned On Stage

Is it March already? Here we are with our 10th Pit Story of the year kicking off the start of the month!

This week we've got U.S. prog metal band Vangough on board for a tale of touring bands messing with each other on stage.

Clay Withrow recalls the following story of being unceremoniously crowned while still performing during the set:

While we were on our North American tour in support of Pain of Salvation in 2014, there was one particularly unique occurrence that I’m sure very few bands or even fans have experienced. Our very last show on the tour was booked in a performance arts theater, which was kind of different but also very cool. The stage was extremely deep to account for set changes and such, so it was by far the biggest stage we had played so far.

Anyways, as we’re tearing into the final chorus of our song “Separation,” I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder and something being placed on my head. The guys from Pain of Salvation were trying to seat me in a king’s throne, while also placing a crown on my head. What made the whole exercise even more difficult was the fact that my explorer-style guitar just wasn’t playing nice with the chair they were trying to squeeze me into, so I’m sure witnessing this event was pretty awkward but also hilarious.

So thank you Daniel Gildenlow and Gustaf Hielm for a very memorable end to our already memorable tour! I’m so glad that wasn’t the night we had to record for our Kickstarter live CD. Though I did get them back when I dressed up in a pink rabbit suit and hopped out on stage during one of their songs.

Vangough's upcoming new album "Warpaint" is due out this coming March 17th, 2017 (read our full review here). Check out advance song "Morphine" in the player below.

Spending over a year in production, this album represents the delicate inculcation of restraint, self-doubt and introspection that was afforded as a result of recent touring efforts. More...

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