- Skeletonwitch frontman Chance Garnette - just one of countless Persistent Angry Young Man Syndrome (PAYMS) sufferers. Awareness heals: Skeletonwitch frontman Chance Garnette - just one of countless Persistent Angry Young Man Syndrome (PAYMS) sufferers. Awareness heals.
So said one of three spiky young punk rock girls making their way out of Saturday's all ages show at the Domino Room, just as Sound Check was heading in the front door. It was a good sign.
Inside the storied venue, the omen came immediately to fruition. Inky black, thrashing death metal was on blast, courtesy of Athens, Ohio-based Skeletonwitch. Two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and a nicely crazed mic-jockey with a forearm full of spikes all tossed hair and musical evilness around the stage like demons on healthy doses of beer and/or crack. The place was packed full of youngsters in various shades of headbanger, with a small contingent of over-21s lurking in the upstairs bar area. A small fight-pit had formed in front of the stage, by and by sending freshly bashed teens hurtling into those brave enough to stand around the edge.
Other than such outbursts and the appreciative efforts of a handful of horns-flying head-nodders in the front row, the crowd was mostly idle - incongruously so, considering the auditory brutality coming from the sound system. Lightning quick guitar-fingers, primordial roaring, Satanic tattoos, decorative deer skulls, and an overall watertight presentation of artful violence made Skeletonwitch an unquestionably righteous warm-up band for coming acts The Red Chord and Job for a Cowboy, even if the crowd was slow to boil.
In any case, by the end of their set, Skeletonwitch's no-BS talent for terror - plus frontman Chance Garnette's general charisma and helpful public service announcements (he'd often revert to his human voice between songs to announce things like "Smoke weed." or "Eat some f_____n' p___y!") had charmed the place into being unquestionably impressed, if not totally riled up.
Not that we felt the need to switch from "rawrrrrr" mode, but after Skeletonwitch called it a night, we headed across town to the 541 Lounge for variety's sake. The mood on the eastern frontier was decidedly and jarringly mellower. Bend's own soft-spoken dancehall/freestyle king MC Mystic was at the console riffing on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", working hard to lift a mellow room full of well-dressed diner-drinkers into some semblance of boogiefied.
Mystic and his magical mixer shook the chandelier in the high-ceilinged, low-lit 541 for several more familiar tracks, including a thumpy "California Dreamin'" (The Mamas and the Papas version). A few brave ones cut loose on the dancefloor, and the DJ picked up the mic to let us all know things were "just warmin' up," but we couldn't wait any longer.
Back westward a piece, we caught a glimpse of a full parking lot and lettered-up reader board at the Pilot Butte Event Center, frequent playhouse for the ravey-gravy Slipmat Science crew.
Sure enough, the shindig was shaking inside the churchy/community center-y joint. Big, psychedelic video projections 4 zoners, lighting effects galore, glow sticks and more were out in force. Resident DJs Lyfe, Harlo and Arok had their gear in full techno/house/jungle effect at the front of the dancehall, pushing the hellacious sound system to near disco nirvana tagteam-style. A crosslegged artist painted small canvases in a glowstick-cordoned area near stage right.
The youthful love was thick. We spotted hometown superstar SPL awaiting a midnight set, observed white-suited dreadlock trippers on personal dance journeys, spotted black-lit hotties in tiny glowing miniskirts, and longed for our youth.
Next time: Sound Check goes back to boring acoustic guitar shows, where we belong. In the meantime, catch video and pics from this adventure in the Blender blog at TSWeekly.com.