Maryland Death Fest – a photo retrospective.

EYEHATEGOD crowd @ MDF2010

For the last near-decade, Maryland Death Fest has been a Baltimore Institution, bringing the best current and historic extreme metal bands to Sonar in Baltimore to play for thousands of fans. It’s literally the best and most interesting metal related event in the US. Spanning over several days (4 this year), dozens of bands play to a crowd of thousands, who travel from all over the world to be there. Because of it’s prominence, many bands choose to reunite to play it, or have their last show there, or play for the first/last/only time in the US there. Basically, it’s an amazing event. And this year’s, the Ninth Annual, starts today and last til sunday. For a list of bands and set times, click here. Chris from DC HeavyMetal posted a great Death Fest Survival Guide here.

Below are some of the favorite photos I have taken at previous Death Fests:

Pentagram @ MDF2010
Bobby Liebling of a reunited Pentagram.

bolt thrower @ maryland death fest 2009
Bolt Thrower, who played two sets in 2009, one a surprise.

maryland death fest 2009

pig destroyer @ maryland death fest 2009
Pig Destroyer.

maryland death fest 2009

Autopsy @ MDF2010
Dan Lillker playing with Autopsy.

wolves in the throne room @ maryland death fest 2009
Wolves In The Throne Room.

Entombed @ MDF2010

maryland death fest 2009

Converge @ MDF2010

napalm death @ maryland death fest 2009
Napalm Death.

Deceased @ MDF2010

Jimmy Bowers of EYEHATEGOD.

maryland death fest 2009

MARYLAND DEATH FEST 2010 roof view

Steve Ignorant’s CRASS Songs Tour @ Sonar

Steve Ignorant / Crass Songs @ Sonar
Steve Ignorant / Crass Songs @ Sonar   Steve Ignorant / Crass Songs @ Sonar
Steve Ignorant / Crass Songs @ Sonar

First show back at the newly reopened (thank god!) Sonar, and, minus booze, it was still a great time. I will admit to being extremely skeptical of the idea of Steve Ignorant doing a “reunion” tour of Crass, but after seeing it and experiencing how genuine Steve seemed about the whole thing, my opinion softened. While I don’t think it was the same as actually seeing Crass play (how could it be), it was still a cool show, the band was extremely tight (perhaps too pro at times), and the crowd was extremely into it. My one issue was that it was weird that they even attempted to do the Eve Libertine and Joy De Vivre songs, since they were not on the tour. The singer who did them NAILED it, and was very good, but it was just odd to me (no reflection on her performance at all). I would have felt more “okay” about it had they just done Steve’s songs, since it’s ostensibly his tour.

That said, glad I went, and glad it managed to happen in Baltimore… and very glad Sonar is back!

Integrity + Haymaker @ Sonar (+ Pizza crowdsurfing)

Integrity - pizza crowdsurfing!
Haymaker.   Haymaker.

The other day I was able to see Integrity, a band I have loved for years, play at Sonar with Haymaker, a Canadian band I’ve liked for years, and who apparently have never before played in the States, which seems crazy to me! I also caught the above photo of a gentleman crowdsurfing WHILE eating pizza. Amazing.

Wu-Tang Clan @ Sonar

Ghostface Killah - Wu-Tang Clan @ Sonar
Method Man crowd-surfing - Wu-Tang Clan @ Sonar    Method Man crowd-surfing - Wu-Tang Clan @ Sonar
GZA, Cappadonna, Method Man, Ghostface Killah - Wu-Tang Clan @ Sonar
GZA - Wu-Tang Clan @ Sonar

Sunday I shot the Wu-Tang Clan show at Sonar… awesome time. I wrote a little mini-post for BYT, I’ll update this when that is posted (today, hopefully!) Til then…

Check out the whole Wu-Tang Clan at Sonar photo set

UPDATE: here’s the BYT story

HARD Tour f/ Rusko, Crystal Castles.

rusko @ hard tour
rusko crowd @ hard tour    cullen stalin, sinden, rye rye, dave nada, matt nordstrom (nadastrom)
crystal castles @ hard tour    crystal castles @ hard tour

Last week, after seeing Will Oldham play, I decided to go to the complete OPPOSITE side of the spectrum and dropped in at HARD Tour at Sonar to check out Crystal Castles, Rusko, and Sinden. I got there just in time to see (well, mostly hear) Rye Rye closing out the set with Sinden, which sounded great… After some hanging out with old bros, I shot Rusko, who is always fun and then did my best to shoot Crystal Castles… they had the photographer’s pit blocked off for their set because the crowd was CRAZY. Who knew that Crystal Castles’ fans were so wild? I remember them being a band that only appealed to a few in the know people but I guess they have blown up to major proportions since the last time I checked. Anyway, I got a few shots of them from the sidestage/a distance and in general marvelled at the crowdsurfing ways of the youth. Fun night.

Check out all my Rusko / Crystal Castles shots here

Maryland Death Fest 2010

Pentagram @ MDF2010
Pentagram crowd @ MDF2010    Dan Lilker / Autopsy @ MDF2010

This year was the eight Maryland Death Fest, a annual music festival at Sonar in Baltimore that is, without a doubt, the best metal/extreme music festival in the US/North America. It is always a great time and has been getting bigger and more well-organized with each successive year. This time around there were TWO outdoor stages, an indoor stage, a merch room, and dozens of vendors… not to mention thousands of devoted metalheads deposited right into downtown baltimore.

It’s hard for me to go to the WHOLE thing, it’s just overwhelming, but luckily it’s located centrally and close to my house so I usually just dip in to check out the bands I want to see. This year that included EYEHATEGOD, Autopsy, Obituary, Entombed, Pentagram, Deceased, and Converge. I also checked out a few new (to me) bands, my favorite being Captain Cleanoff from Australia. For me, the standout shows of the weekend (besides Captain Cleanoff) were Autopsy and Pentagram…

If you like metal, try to make it to this fest next year!!!

Click here to see more Maryland Death Fest pictures!

See also: My post about Maryland Death Fest 2009

the Jesus Lizard @ Sonar, Baltimore.

jesus lizard.
jesus lizard crowd.
jesus lizard. jesus lizard.

This was one of the best shows I went to all year – I was nervous, I sort of generally expect reunions to be underwhelming, but this was way more than I could have expected. David Yow was frenetic, full of energy, jumping into the crowd constantly, whipping his dick out (see above), yelling at the lighting crew to turn the lights up all the way. The band was incredibly tight, the sound was great – all in all, a great show.

click here to see all the Jesus Lizard shots

Maryland Death Fest 2009

maryland death fest 2009
bolt thrower @ maryland death fest 2009   bolt thrower @ maryland death fest 2009
maryland death fest 2009   maryland death fest 2009
pig destroyer @ maryland death fest 2009
bolt thrower @ maryland death fest 2009   bolt thrower @ maryland death fest 2009
wolves in the throne room @ maryland death fest 2009   pig destroyer @ maryland death fest 2009
maryland death fest 2009

Maryland Death Fest 2009 was amazing. I only was there for one day, but it was incredible! So many bands… I never expected to see Bolt Thrower, ever! Much less with Pig Destroyer, Napalm Death and Wolves In The Throne Room! Not to mention Misery Index, Birdflesh… too many bands to name, really. Also the festival was very well run, which was impressive for just how big the scope of it all was. So many metalheads in one place and there were not really any major problems, at least not that I heard about… congratulations to everyone involved at MDF and Sonar!

Click here to see the rest of my Maryland Death Fest 2009 photos. Or, click here to to see a Slideshow from Maryland Death Fest 2009.

lady sovereign, hollywood holt, chester french @ sonar.

lady sovereign @ sonar.
lady sovereign @ sonar.   hollywood holt @ sonar.
chester french @ sonar.   hollywood holt @ sonar.

The other day, I checked out Lady Sovereign’s show at Sonar with Hollywood Holt and Chester French. It was pretty fun, I actually though the standout of the night was actually Hollywood Holt… that dude seems like he is gonna break soon, at least judging by his stage persona.

Check out the full set here!

Wu Tang Clan @ Sonar, Baltimore

the RZA    method man.
wu tang clan.    the GZA

They started late, but they seemed in good spirits and like they were having a good time. I was worried that, with all the rumors of strife inside the group, this would be a somber affair, but they were all joking and smiling, Method Man stage dove several times, all in all it was a pretty great New Years present for me!

And, in the Club and VIP Lounge, Taxlo was holding it down as well… Adam Gonzo, Cullen Stalin, Blaqstarr, Sri Aurobindo and more…pictures of all that in the set as well.

Full Wu Tang Clan/Wu Year’s Eve set here