December 17 McGuffy’s House of Rock cleared the seats and tables for a standing room only sell-out crowd of 500+ gathered to watch 8 bands play the one and only of its kind annual metal showcase spotlighting local talent and a few state bordering and elsewhere local friends. Seconds Fall, Nightbeast, Chambers of Chaos, Amongst Villains, The Action Blast, Avenue Sky, My Name in Vain and In The Cut played a nightlong showcase plowing through tunes and pummeling heads, brain cells and earlobes.
Seconds Fall/In The Cut singer Daniel DeDoncker was the mastermind behind the nights event. The goal was to sell out McGuffys with a local show and he accomplished it with lots of old school hard work dedication, heart and a true passion for music. He wanted to book a show with his favorite local/regional bands breaking the traditional 3-4 band bill with an entire evening of talent playing music across the spectrum. Bands both similar and completely different of each other are part of DeDonckers vision. Another future goal is to organize 3-4 like events a year while opening for national bands. To sweeten the deal if DeDoncker and Co sold out Dayton’s House of Rock they’d earn a signed guitar on the coveted wall of fame. 2 ½ months of advertising went into the show using all social media outlets also employing grassroots methods of word of mouth and multiple flier copies. The show focuses on all types of rock, and eventually he wants to do an outdoor event, a local X-Fest of sorts.
After three years apart DeDonckers first band Seconds Fall played an acoustic reunion set opening festivities. The band played the first two Moshpits & Lighters shows at Badda Bings in Kettering breaking bar attendance and sales records that night, and surpassing that number the year after. Past show alumni includes Fluwid, Occams Razor, Orange Williard, Chapter of Progress, Inept and Negative Process among others.
For the shows third year they enlisted the help of local ink masters Truth n Triumph Tattoo and model talents of Megyn, Jeni, Jenn, Courtney and Tonya the bewitching tattooed beauties of the Michigan Twisted Angels.
The cranium crunching began with Chambers of Chaos. Max Headroom yellow Mohawk sporting, slick sunglasses wearing Shaun Clark dared everyone to Enter My Ring growling out an aggressive pounding sound borrowing vox from Dez Fafara mixed with some dirty evil sounding Godsmack with a punk attack from somewhere beneath the earth. There’s definite chaos in the guitars bringing out a mass riot of a sound. They look like a nice friendly bunch of metal blokes, until they’re Pushed to Stand Against something with a deep rooted melody. We’re all Faceless in the crowd enjoying the heavy hype on stage. They leave us hungry for more with the darkly melodious long Kiss of Goodnight. Clark yells his lyrical agenda to the gathering with the fury of a dictator at the podium who wasn’t shy about flashing the bird, letting it soar for all to see. (Metal’s one of the very few genre’s where the middle finger can be used as a sign of camaraderie and respect).
Straight up north from the cold depths of Flint Michigan come Avenue Sky with a chilled string intro launching into Day of the Intruder. They Breathe one part metal, one part coffee house rock and one part indie aura. Formed in 2008, their influences are as diverse and unique as their onstage show. Dragonflies rings out with a jingling, jangling coffee house ballad feel, the strings almost having a piano like effect. According to Kevin Swisher, you ’can’ make babies to this song. A Storm That Burns is sung with an almost Michael Sweet (Stryper) delivery between the growling. There are some nice doses of sporadic /spastic fast footed dancing fury. Swisher and Co play homage to Killswitch Engage and King X’s Doug Pinnick.
McGuffy’s regulars Amongst Villains return hot off their set supporting Psychostick a few weeks back. Hardcore sweater wearer Josh Marshall rocked the holy living Huxtable out of his wholly holiday gear, sporting a killer ’stash. He can make any fabric look angry as he screams himself flannel red, throwing himself into everything he does. AV are a band that just can’t stop moving. They play their patented blend of hard, rough but southern strong proofed metal on Heavy is the Crown and a trip down the darkened bayou on Black River Ruin. They take us To The Grave Dragging Hell along the way.
Suddenly a fan took the stage grabbed the mic and unleashed a hypnotic fury of beats, blasts, human throat noises uttering danceable delicacies to the crowd while Nightbeast prepared to roar. Security and staff were too in awe watching him take his vocal chords to almost indescribable heights in a Bobby McFerrin on steroids performance to stop him.
My Name in Vain took the stage with towering skyscraper Josh ’slinky’ Miller at the helm celebrating their first year as a band playing heavy artillerist paced music with a thick shovel in steamy blacktop in maximum security grit feel. We took a trip back to the river bathhouse in all our shame because we’re all Poor People. Santa came out to spread some holiday cheer before he Departed. (Writers note: MNIV was the first local and mainstream band I’ve reviewed for the website (Static X show) so seeing them again and being there was extra special for me)