Top 5 Los Angeles Metal Shows of 2011
In the world of heavy metal, the most critical component for long-term success is a killer live show. Even back in the era before the record industry imploded, the bands that got the most devoted fan bases were the ones that could fucking bring it live. All of the shows below featured bands that did exactly that in 2011.
Audio Visual Photography Agalloch
5. Weedeater, Zoroastor, Kvelertak
Echoplex, March 13th
Feedback, low-end rumble, and just plain heaviness epitomized the crushing set delivered by psychedelic doom-rockers Zoroastor. All of the above (filtered through a marijuana-fueled haze) was also delivered by abrasive Sabbath-stoners Weedeater. But we knew going into the show that those two would deliver the goods. The real revelation of the night came from Norwegian punk-metallers Kvelertak. Best described musically as a more death-metal version of Turbonegro, the sextet made a huge impression on their first visit to Los Angeles. In an era where some bands struggle to have one charismatic stage presence among their numbers, all six members of Kvelertak carry themselves like fucking rock stars. (NOTE: Kvelertak rocked so hard no one thought to capture video of their Echoplex set, so the above is from a performance in Finland last month.)
4. Gridlink, Phobia, Maruta
Jon Chang of Gridlink
The Roxy, August 14th
The August edition of the always-free Scion Metal Show series was a nonstop three-ring grindcore circus. Maruta opened the show by impressing a mostly unfamiliar audience in what may turn out to be their last visit to the West Coast. Phobia's twenty-plus years in the SoCal underground inspired the local faithful into wall-to-wall moshing to the point where no one in The Roxy was safe. The strategy of hanging out by the bar wasn't saving anyone on this day. Gridlink closed out the afternoon with a frenetic display of stage karate and insanely tight musicianship. The stage teetered precariously on the verge of collapsing from under the weight of their manic grind.