Who says the NC scene is dead?
Photos by: Kevin McGee
It’s safe to say that Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the most popular areas in the state for both local and national touring acts. With countless venues, including The Fillmore, PNC Music Pavilion, and The Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, countless genres of music, artists, and performers grace the Queen City with their presence year after year. But just like the people who grace those beloved stages every night, venues also have to start somewhere. What venue am I talking about? Why only the Fillmore’s newest extension, The Underground. With emphasis on local artists, and up and coming bands on tour, the Fillmore Underground has a ton of shows in the books this summer, Queen City Metal Fest being one of the most anticipated.
The evening started at 6pm when the first band of the evening took the stage. Annabel Lee, a metal/hardcore group from Charlotte, opened the event with their track “Revolution” followed by “From Within.” Much to their fans delight, Annabel Lee finished out their set with their track “False Profit.” Vocalist Joshua Dean generously thanked the crowd for coming out and showing everyone that the local music scene is indeed not dead.
A Light Divided from Winston Salem was the second band to take the stage for the night. The five piece band is fronted by vocalist Jaycee Clark. “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” from A Light Divided’s last album Mirrors, which was released in 2015. “Cheerleader” was quickly followed by another hit from Mirrors entitled “I’m Not Bad, I’m Just Drawn That Way.”
The ever growing crowd at The Underground got a special treat with A Light Divided’s set as they debuted a new song off of their upcoming album, “Long Live the Champ,” which was received well by the audience. Queen City Metal Fest was the first show for A Light Divided’s “Scream Out Loud Tour” which will be making stop in Georgia, Florida, as well as North and South Carolina.
Charlotte natives Vices and Vessels hit the stage next opening with “Demons” from their album The Evil Inside which was made available on Spotify and various other streaming sites on August 26th 2016. Fans showed their enthusiasm for the group by crowd surfing toward the front of the stage and into the arms of the waiting security guards. Nothing is better than showing homage to a band who inspired you to be a musician. Vices and Vessels showed their love for Florida natives A Day to Remember with a cover of “Mr. Highway is Thinking About The End”. Their set concluded with the track “Rot” which is pretty fast paced and guaranteed to get the crowd moving. V&V is also gearing up for a ten day tour starting July 6th at Ground Zero in Spartanburg South Carolina. The Overthrown Tour will be taking place in several states including Texas, Tennessee, Florida, and Mississippi with the band Navajo.
Blackwater Drowning, the second group of the evening with a female vocalist quickly took the stage after Vices and Vessels tear down. Vocalist Morgan Riley definitely isn’t afraid to show the boys in the music scene that they aren’t the only ones who can scream and growl. Riley’s vocals can only be described as well rounded. She can go from sounding like she’s about to rip your heart out of your chest, to clean, crisp vocals that would make Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil proud.
Unfortunately with all good bands we sometimes have to go through the loss of members. It was announced last night that Queen City Metal Fest would be the last show with Chris Peavey as their drummer. Peavey is taking a break from music to recharge his batteries.
The fifth band of the evening AuxiliA, a metalcore band who also call Charlotte home, opened their seven song set with “Hidden Embrace” followed by “Lost and Bound.” The sixth song of their set entitled “Raise Your Glass” was the focus of one of the band’s music videos seven months ago. With footage from various shows making the piece, we even catch a glimpse of Blackwater Drowning’s own Morgan Riley with her bright blue hair headbaniging in the front row. The video has an impressive eleven hundred views on YouTube. With dreadlocks and beards flying everywhere, AuxiliA finished their set with their track “Cannonball.”
Black Ritual a five piece metal band made up of Chuck Calebro on vocals, Eddie Cousins on bass, Gary Rackley on guitar, Brad Sellers on drums, and Jody Gibson on guitar took the stage next with an ever growing crowd of fans in front of them. The venue at this time had well over five hundred fans in the crowd, the majority of which were headbanging and crowd surfing to Black Rituals songs “Blood in the Water,” “ Inception,” and “Spitting Teeth” which ended their fast paced set.
Remember that A Day to Remember band I mentioned earlier? Well Vices and Vessels aren’t the only local band who they have influenced. Something Clever, another group who calls the Queen City home, paid tribute to the Florida based group by playing “All Signs Point to Lauderdale.” If this wasn’t an amazing enough treat, A Light Divided vocalist Jaycee Clark along with Blaine Fernandez from Vices and Vessels, joined Something Clever on stage for the cover. “Freaks Like You” ended Something Clever’s set.
After a long evening of mosh pits, walls of death, and screaming fans, the headliner of the third annual Queen City Metal Fest took the stage. SkinKage from Mooresville, North Carolina is a metal band who has been on the scene since 2005 when they formed. What kind of Metal Fest would it be if there wasn’t at least one casualty? In this case it was SKinKage vocalist Frank Brown who earlier in the evening had a nasty fight with the floor resulting in a hurt ankle. In the true spirit of metal, Frank still took the stage like a champ and rocked out along with the rest of the guys in SkinKage.
The Third annual Queen City Metal Fest had an astounding 598 fans, 8 local bands, and created countless memories that will be talked about for years to come. One thing i for sure, the turnout and atmosphere for the show, shows just how alive the local music scene is in North Carolina, regardless of what some individuals think, our scene is strong and isn’t going anywhere.