Friday Night: Bury the Crown, Skeleton Dick and More at Fitzgerald's
Gathering the tribes of Houston's local punk, metal and hardcore fans together for one wild night is no easy task, particularly on a busy weekend of live music. Throwing a free extravaganza of loud, aggressive sounds at Fitzgerald's is a good way to start, however.
Photos By Nathan Smith Bury The Crown's Mikey Seals
Ten bands unleashed a wide variety of styles Friday across both stages of the old club, bringing crusties, 'heads and other assorted creeps out of the woodwork for what may go down for many as the ear-splitting party of the summer.
At the top of the lineup was Bury the Crown, the new project from the ex-A dream Asleep boys, who were celebrating the release of their debut EP. Bands up and down the bill brought their own support--with no cover charge, there wasn't much excuse to skip this show. The diverse crowds meshed nicely, and alcohol sales appeared brisk.
The first group out of the gate was Defending the Kingdom, who pounded the early birds with stoney, dino-sized riffs that instantly reminded of Red Sea-era ISIS. Drummer Steve Smith burned more than a few carbs behind the skins, bashing out driving rhythms that propelled the band's doom riffs forward into oblivion. The trio sounded tight, evidence of many a smogged-out practice session.
Much like the When We Ruled H-Town showcase a few weeks back, Friday's show forced concertgoers to get a little exercise if they wanted to see everything. When Defending the Kingdom wrapped up, I charged past the staggering smokers up the stairs to catch some of All Dead Here's distorted, grungy sludge. Then it was right back downstairs again for the noisy shrieking of Burn the Boats.
By this time, the club was beginning to fill up a bit as fans straggled in off the street. Heads commenced to banging as they were greeted with the crushing, tidal-force riffs of BTB songs like "Blood of the Titan" and "Release the Kraken."
Upstairs, Omotai doubled down on the racket, delivering what may have been the night's most eardrum-shattering set. The volume up front was excruciating as drummer Anthony Vallejo screamed bloody murder into his mike that was lost somewhere beneath the band's massive waves of distortion. His floor tom fell casualty to a whipping punk beat at one point, but a helpful guy from the crowd rushed onstage to right it almost immediately.
Back on ground level, vicious death-punks Hell City Kings instigated the first mosh pit of the night with their hard 'n snotty tunes. Fans swung each other around in front of the stage as if training for the Olympic hammer toss. That familiar Fitz stench of dank sweat began to creep into the air as the humidity level in the club rose.
The moshing (and stage diving) only intensified when War Master plugged in upstairs. The buzz for these guys was palpable in the room even before they ripped the lid off a brutal batch of crusty death metal, and to my eyes it appeared that they might have played to the largest audience of the night.
Some of that probably had to do with their favorable set time, but War Master made the most of it, inspiring enthusiastic slamming and mondo headbanging with songs like "Ritualistic Carnage." It was big, brutal fun that certainly seemed to win them some new fans, myself included.