heavy metal

Skins and Bangers Joining Mosh as One: D.R.I. Makes Their First Appearance at Red Flag

At Red Flag in April 2022 April 10, 2022 was the night that my two-year COVID concert hiatus finally ended. That does put me a little behind compared to some of you, as live music was already beginning to make a comeback around the second half of 2021. During our time away from virtually all in-person social activities, I had been missing my family a lot more than attending concerts. Nevertheless, I knew I had to get back to this important pastime, and when I did, it just felt wonderful! Ironically, that long dry spell ended up being released in a new concert venue, St. Louis’s Red Flag.

Defcon - Having seen them a couple of times in the late-2010s, Defcon seem to be making a name for themselves as the household opening act to watch at future St. Louis metal shows. These young local thrashers received the seal of approval from the mosh pit crowd, a mesh of punks and thrashers, exactly as the headliners intended. Vocals aren’t quite this band’s strength, but they deliver a nice assortment of riffs in song after song.

Intent - When Defcon left the stage, vocalist Hank Hoey insisted that Intent would “thrash your faces off”, a bold declaration which proved to be accurate. I didn’t expect a whole lot, but these Mesa, Arizona boys tore their way through a set that possessed a lively level of brutality and creativity that is often missing in today’s thrash bands. Guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Lambert has a viciously aggressive vocal style and shines nicely on the fretboard as well. The rest of the band and audience brought plenty of energy to the table, and to the pit, of course. In fact, bassist Patrick Murphy even hopped into the circle pit himself while performing at one point. They are better live than on record, though.

D.R.I. - After a few songs, vocalist Kurt Brecht declared that for their 40th Anniversary tour, they would be doing a comprehensive set with songs from each album. Guitarist Spike Cassidy is now barely recognizable, having grown a huge pandemic beard. While there is still a lot of lively aggression in his performance, it doesn’t show just from watching him. Their current rhythm section, consisting of Attitude Adjustment bassist Greg Orr and Denial Fiend/The Power of Pain drummer Rob Rampy, seems like it will last a long time. I believe during “Violent Pacification”, one mosher even ate some pizza, then threw the box into the audience before rushing back to the pit. At another point, an unlucky female stage diver fell right onto the floor. Brecht acknowledged that it was a brutal hit, but insisted that, “I’ve seen worse. I’ve done worse.” It was a refreshing return to the world of live music. I went home feeling very happy that I attended. I also really appreciate the fact that D.R.I. devotes their energy and career to touring, rather than recording new music and touring. It allows them to perform in more cities and more frequently. While there are a few bands that I always look forward to new music from, there are others that I think should take this approach. My recollection of the setlist goes something like this:

I’d Rather Be Sleeping
Yes Ma’am
Dry Heaves
How to Act
Equal People
Acid Rain
Argument Then War
The Explorer
Against Me
Violent Pacification
Dead in a Ditch
Suit and Tie Guy
Mad Man
Couch Slouch
Syringes in the Sandbox
Manifest Destiny
Who Am I?
I Don’t Need Society
Beneath the Wheel
The Five Year Plan

As those of you in or near Missouri may have heard, Red Flag is owned by the same person behind the city’s previous underground music epicenter, Fubar. Red Flag is just up the street and is a mid-sized venue with two stories, although there were only a few people on the second floor at this gig. As you may have guessed from the venue’s name or past visits to Fubar, it shows its city spirit with a Cardinals flag and a city flag on the wall, as well as a bar full of local craft beers and sodas. Being at a somewhat larger destination made me miss the intimacy of its predecessor, but it seemed like it helped with the show’s ticket sales. I was happy that the bands were playing for more than 50 or 60 people, and that they were performing for a musically diverse audience. It’s not at every metal concert when you can spot people wearing grunge, metal, punk, and even rap shirts. Ultmately, it was just nice to be somewhere where there were more people wearing battle vests than face masks.

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Tags:  D.R.I.IntentDefconThrash MetalCrossover

    April 27, 2022

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