Black Tusk, Holy Grail, Cokegoat @ Reggies, Chicago, ILL (USA) – 5th March 2016

Things are definitely looking up. If we can all find a way to properly follow the rules, this ascent can only be memorable.

There is no doubt in my mind that ‘the scene’ is growing. I see it in the number of shows available and fans in attendance. However, now that more people are getting out there I think it’s time we discussed the rules.

This is a revamped metal scene. Gone are the days when a band hides out on a tour bus.  Artists are more visible and accessible today than they’ve ever been before. Social media networks have leveled the playing field for the fan. This is a new scene and we’ve got to be conscious about how we choose to invade someone’s space.

Don’t approach a band while they are eating. The last thing somebody wants when having a meal is to be eye-level with some dude’s junk. No matter what an artist says, this is not time to ask questions or request autographs. The group is refueling. They don’t want you breathing/spitting over their food.  The proper time, if you must approach, is after the plates have been cleared away.

The same rule applies to an artist headed for the bathroom. They are probably going to take a piss. Unless you want to help them. It would be wise to let them take care of business then approach on the rebound when they are not so hurried. Artists have bodily functions just like you and me.

Common sense must be applied when members of the opposite sex are present. If a fan and an artist are engaged, wait your turn. Though it’s likely this fan will be around long after you are gone, it is not your place to interrupt their conversation, show respect. Don’t trounce on somebody else’s game.

The final and most important rule is not bothering those who don’t want to be bothered. You’re not an idiot. You can tell when somebody is having a bad day, artists are no different. If somebody is trying to prepare mentally to perform, let them. Realize what you are seeing on stage is a performance and not necessarily a reflection of a person’s state of mind. If they don’t want to talk to you after a set, congratulate them and move on. Life on the road is tough, not every day is fun-filled. Believe it.

Black Tusk Holy Grail USA 2016

Saturday, March 5th was a fun-filled event. Aside from a few fans who need to ‘learn the rules’ this concert experience was better than expected. I went to this event with MetalRecusants cameraman Roger Schultz and longtime friend JD Peterson.

Although, we made it in time to catch the first act, a Chicago power/thrash outfit called Scars of Armageddon, they were unable to perform due to an illness. This delay gave us time to drink a few beers and check out the scene.

Cokegoat is a stoner/doom metal act from Chicago. The group has been around since 2011 but this was the first time I’ve seen or heard of the band. With six members in the group it’s easy to say this band has a complete sound. The vocals are deviously evil accompanying a sound that can only be described as a Sabbath on LSD. Cokegoat’s gloom and doom sound was uniquely memorable and I await the follow-up to the group’s 2013 debut, Vessel.

Holy Grail is a group I have followed and supported for a few years now.  They are students of metal who seemingly embrace all styles of music without exception. Acceptance is what they crave as they have unconsciously conquered multiple ‘micro-scenes’ within this massive genre. The live show had the crowd moving. Holy Grail is intent on making a name and the excitement of the crowd is their true reward. Hair was flying and horns were thrown as Holy Grail blazed through a revamped set that included new material off The Times of Pride and Peril, the best of Ride the Void and a bit of Crisis in Utopia. It was a wicked offering that makes you wonder when these guys will return as a headliner.

Black Tusk was kick ass. Their style of sludge metal is described as a ‘dirty southern’ interpretation of hardcore but it was so much more. I was surprised to witness a three-piece act where every member sang! This music is fast and mean, like stripped-down crossover thrash laced with hardcore. There was a large crowd on hand to witness this vulgar display of power and it’s easy to see why. The ‘between-the-songs’ music the band engaged in was like Slayer’s Hell Awaits meets House of 1000 Corpses. I wished I was more familiar with this music and made a mental note to look more into Black Tusk and their unique style.

I left that night feeling better and better about metal and its future. Things are definitely looking up. If we can all find a way to properly follow the rules, this ascent can only be memorable. \m/

David Halbe
About David Halbe (287 Articles)
I live in the USA and I'm a fan of all types of metal: Black, Death, Hair, Thrash, Nu, Core, Sleeze, Stoner, Groove, etc... I have a huge collection of heavy metal CDs and I have been attending shows since 1986. Nothing is too extreme or poserish for me, if it rocks it rocks. Metal is the music we all have in common, it is our lifeblood. \m/

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