This three-band Sunday bill started early. Opening act, BarnBurner, struck their first chords into a sparsely populated room. The Montreal quartet played an attention grabbing set of spastic rock n’ roll. A high point was the guitarist taking advantage of wireless and spending some time in the mosh pit. The aptly name Barnburner brought the smokers inside and left the stage on fire.
Dead Meadow was direct support. I’ve always enjoyed this band’s records, but I wasn’t sure if it would translate well live. The Exchange’s sound man (John Bidochka) did not disappoint. During the Washington D.C power-trio’s time on stage the audio was clear, warm and consuming. Dead Meadow brings a slow-handed and soulful blend of psychedelic trance-rock along the same vein as Black Mountain and a live-show that feels like an opiate inspired dream.
FInally and fresh from Sled Island, Austin Texas’ The Sword, hit the stage. Lars Ullrich’s favourite band rocked an enthusiastic crowd of one hundred and ten. These underground darlings are starting to gather steam in the mainstream. An appearance on the Guitar Hero game soundtrack and endorsement from the richest and most hated drummer in heavy metal has placed The Sword at the top of the heap. Thankfully, they continue to be credible. Their ripped jeans and riff-rich brand of “Valhalla” metal was loud, smokey and as heavy as Odin’s mustache.