Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm a Thorrier !!!!

Last weekend I was home again on the Red River side of downtown Austin,Texas. The Red River music venues, with the exception of Stubb’s outdoor and Emo’s outside, are where Austin’s lesser known or up and coming bands can be found. Bands range from metal, punk rock, indie, psychedelic, and garage rock. Saturday I made the trip to Red 7 for one of the better metal touring acts right now, Valient Thorr.

(Valient himself with Austin's own Deanna Marie of Velvet Brick)

I discovered Valient Thorr a little differently than I usually discover bands. Typically I find a band on myspace, a music magazine, or though word of mouth. None of the above applied here. As odd as this may sound, I discovered Valient Thorr on a t-shirt Kyle Shutt of The Sword was wearing at The Sword’s January show at Emo’s. Now do you believe in product placement? Shortly after The Sword show, I befriended Valient Thorr on myspace as a reminder to check them out later. I honestly didn’t listen to them at that point on time.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was listening to something online, can’t remember what exactly now. Whatever it was, there was a bumper or sound bite of Fat Mike from punk rock mega stars NoFX. Fat Mike said the following on that bumper: “I fucking hate metal, but I love these guys”. I didn’t catch who he was talking about and I was online and curious. So, I “Googled” the quote. As it turns out, he was referring to Valient Thorr. I immediately opened another tab and pulled up Valient Thorr’s myspace. This time I listened to their music, I mean really listened.

After listening to what was on their myspace, I couldn’t believe I didn’t own their CDs already. Looking back at the page again, I saw that they were touring and coming to Austin to play at Red 7. Honestly, I was surprised they were playing there and not at a bigger venue. Red 7 certainly was a good venue for them none the less. Red 7 (also the black t-shirt capital of Austin) is one of the last of Austin’s hard rock venues. Metal, punk, and anything intense or underground gets pushed to the back burner now. It didn’t used to be this way, but with the death of venues like The Back Room, The Metro,Rock City Ice House and Liberty Lunch being long gone there isn’t a lot of options. Oh well, Red 7 it was Saturday.

I got there at Red 7 and was astonished to see that it wasn’t more packed than it was. However, many of Austin’s metal heads were probably in Dallas for Ozzfest. It was no big deal for me as I couldn’t have been happier to be where I was at. I even got to chat with “Valient himself” as he was walking amongst the crowd. He was very approachable and quite the humble guy. As I watched people come up to him all night, he seemed to be the same way with everyone else. That is really cool and speaks well of him.

After listening to two decent bands before Valient Thorr, I was glad they finally took the stage. By that time there were more people in the crowd and Red 7 looked packed. The mosh pitters in the crowd were warmed up and ready to get going again "Thorrier" style.

Once Valient Thorr started, they immediately started kicking ass and taking names. They have such intensity, crazy energy and can play the hell out of their instruments. Plus I haven't seen beards that sweet since ZZ Top. The ZZ comparison stops there as Valient Thorr's music is more political, intense and maybe even controversial to some.

Their political consciousness and fearlessness to say whatever they feel is what I love about them. Not since Rage Against the Machine, NoFX or Public Enemy have I heard such conscious rock done right. Hear it for yourself on "Exit Strategy" and "Goveruptcy", both of which they performed Saturday. Another song I liked they played was "Heatseeker". Don't go through Valient's mail. That is all I have to say about that. Listen to their album "Legend of The World" album and you will see what I mean.

After about an hour of a crazy hot set, after all the sweat and mosh pits I could handle I had to go home. I forgot how good and bad a metal show feels. On my way out I bought a t-shirt as Valient Thorr has some of the coolest and most artistic shirts around. Their album covers are just as well done.

If you want to see a clip of the show from Red 7, check out my You Tube channel. Before you do, check out their video for "Man Behind the Curtain" to get a feel for Valient Thorr in case you are unfamiliar. Once you do, join me and the rest of the "Thorriers" as we rock to Valient Thorr. I only wish I were on the West Coast right now as they are playing with The Misfits and Motorhead. I bet my body would seriously ache after that show.

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