Warbringer @ Cafe 611 10/15/2011

I feel pretty lucky living in the D.C./Baltimore area because we get a lot of metal bands that come through town. Many parts of the country (or even the world) have to travel for hours to get to a town that hosts metal shows, and even then maybe they don’t get all that many. So I can’t really complain too much when I have to travel 45 minutes to an hour into the city to catch a show, but it’s all relative so I still do. I don’t much like getting around in the city; it can be such a hassle. I prefer driving instead of public transportation and that’s just never easy in the city.

So I was pleasantly surprised, and a bit skeptical, when I found out that my current hometown of Frederick, Maryland would be graced with the presence of Warbringer, Lazarus A.D., Landmine Marathon and Diamond Plate. We had Motley Crue and Poison here a few months ago at the fairgrounds, but that place is always a draw for national country artists so a little hair metal wasn’t that unusual for the crowds you see around here. Thrash metal though, well I just never thought to see artists of this caliber roll through Frederick. I confirmed the show with Century Media and got hooked up to interview John Kevill of Warbringer as well. It just kept getting better.

Getting to the show was a ten minute cakewalk. Buke drove as usual and we parked around the corner from the venue, Café 611 on Market Street. I’ve been up and down Market Street (the main drag in downtown Frederick) but I had never noticed the place before. We sat for a few minutes taking in the area. There were several trailers being unloaded and gear was being humped into the building.

We didn’t see anyone we recognized so I called up the number for my contact, who happened to be John Kevill himself. We weren’t scheduled until 6:30 and it was only around 6, but I wanted to find out if we could start setting up the camera gear so we’d be ready for him on time. John said he was out and about but that he would meet us out front in 15 minutes. We grabbed the gear and waited out front and before long a tall familiar looking guy with long hair and a camo jacket walked up to meet us and we made introductions.

I wasn’t sure whether we would be doing the interview inside or outside so I brought a couple different setups to make sure we were covered. We ended up walking around to the back of the building where there was a patch of grass and a brick wall for a background. It was a little windy back there, so I was glad that on the way out the door I had grabbed a Rode Dead Kitten windscreen for the mic. Like I said I had hoped to be set up by the time John came around, so I worked quickly trying to get the tripod, camera, mic and lighting all set up in a hurry. I figured John had better things to do than wait around on us, you know? We got everything set up and I hoped in our haste we didn’t forget a setting or any other fatal error.

Personally, I thought the interview went great. John was very easy to talk to and gave thoughtful and interesting answers. Check out the interview video in the next post. Afterwards John and Buke geeked out a bit talking about Starcraft and then Buke and I went back to the vehicle to drop off some of the gear we wouldn’t be taking in to the show.

We headed inside Café 611 and I was impressed by the setup (for Frederick anyway). I know from pictures that normally there are dining tables on the floor, but it was all cleared out giving a reasonable amount of standing room and there was a bar in the back. I tipped back a couple Heineken and took some practice shots on the local opening bands. My apologies to them, I did not catch their names, but they sounded pretty good.

The first of the touring bands to hit the stage was Diamond Plate. I did a review of their debut album a few months ago and knew heading into the show that I was going to like them. I felt really old because they looked really young, but they sounded great. I should note that was another thing I liked about Café 611, the sound was perfect and all the bands sounded good on their sound system. I wandered around taking pictures until the band finished their set and then Buke and I went outside to talk while waiting for Landmine Marathon to set up. (It was pretty cool that we could walk out the front door and hang and then go back in. Most places won’t let you do that.) While we were out there we ran into Adam from Warbringer and chatted with him for a few minutes and took a couple pictures.

We went back inside when Landmine Marathon started playing. Singer Grace Perry is just as smoking hot in person as she is in the photos, and she can sing like a demon. She will give any guy a run for their money when belting out harsh brutal vocals, and you could tell she was in this place where she was just really living in the song. It was pretty intense. The rest of the band was crushing as well. Drummer Andy had a pretty amazing chest-piece tattoo as well. It was cool to see them play so recently after reviewing their latest album, “Gallows.” It reinforced my opinion that I wrote the right review. This band is one to watch. After their set we went back outside and ended up talking with Andy and Dylan for awhile (this was the second time now that I should have turned on the camera to film, but they just got finished playing and it didn’t feel right so I left it alone.) We talked with them so long we ended up missing the beginning of Lazarus A.D. It was good talking with them though, best of luck to them on the rest of the tour and in the future.

Lazarus A.D. was actually the only band on the tour I had not recently reviewed. But I really like both their albums already, so I knew they would sound good, and they did. Sadly the entire show did not generate as much of a crowd as I would have expected, maybe it’s the Frederick thing and no one knew they were here. Or maybe everyone went to the Sonar show in Baltimore the night before. Whatever the reason, the people that were there got really whipped into a frenzy by Lazarus A.D. This was another good set.

Finally, Warbringer took the stage and they owned the crowd. John Kevill is a really good front man and he really gets into the songs. He repeatedly jumped down off the small stage and moshed it up with the fans, at one point bloodying his nose and shrugging it off. The crowd may have been small but it was an intense and good natured set. They ripped out some killer thrash tunes, but rather than looking grim and unapproachable like some bands who might take themselves a little too seriously, they had more of an Anthrax approach, like “we are here to rock you, we are going to enjoy ourselves doing it, and we are all going to have a good time.” It’s a good vibe.

After the show we saw John again outside with Grace. We did the starry-eyed fan thing and said how great the show was and got our pictures taken with them. Then we packed up and headed back to Buke’s place to watch the Caps game on the DVR. It was a great show, a great night and even the Caps won.

I’d like to thank John Kevill for taking the time to interview with us as well as all the other band members who took the time to hang out and talk. Thanks to Nikki at Century Media for setting it up. It looks like this show will be on the road for at least a couple more weeks, so if you have the opportunity to check it out I highly recommend it. You don’t see many touring shows that are packed with this many great bands, so don’t miss out.