Four years back, I showed up for my first ever photo pass at the NorVa to cover Gwar -- armed with three-decade old film cameras that cost me a five spot a piece, as I wasn't about to risk my serious gear to the slings, arrows, fake blood and other bodily fluids of dubious origin that the band regularly sprays all over the front row. Opening that night was an at-the-time, newish group, pushing out a sort of rap-core kind of vibe that depending on my mood I can take or leave.
No idea whether Jack Ledger is still a band now, but I was mightily impressed with one of the members -- Jason Huard, whom I described as "a blistering guitarist who looks like a young, Viking warrior version of Alan Moore." These days Huard can be found as one half of the husband/wife team, Lori Creek. They make fine music, but their edgy, acoustic sound maybe doesn't fully showcase all of his talent as a guitarist. It's great to watch him really let it rip with The New Mutiny.
I know they've been around for at least a few years and have had some line-up changes, not really sure how long Jason has been fronting the group. I seem to recall someone else on lead vocals once upon a time, but I've sacrificed more than a few brain cells to the cause and my memory could be faulty. Regardless of how long he's been there, the band allows a great showcase for his ridiculous shredding skills. The group is tight, capable of stopping on a dime. The rhythm section is fantastic, as is the second guitarist. All in all, a solid fucking band that recalls very early Alice in Chains to my ear, or maybe even shades of something like Filter, but less structured. They've got some sneaky hooks that grow quickly on you. I can't call out the individual members as I don't have access to a list with their names, but if you're a fan of grindy, grimy, heavy rock that occasionally steps a toe on the path to full-on heavy metal? You should check this band out.
. . .
Rising, post-hardcore stars -- Raleigh Lights, have been rampantly racking up gig after gig for a bit now. There's been some changes since I last reviewed them, this is a band on a journey and you don't always finish what you started with the same crew. Jeremy Zehr brings a new energy to the mic with a nice sense of showmanship. Drummer, Brendan Turner and bassist, Zoe Walters are rock solid. Curtis Allison is still holding down guitar duties, but they've added a second player in Kyle Bauer, who brings a bit of flash to counter-balance founding member Curtis Allison's blue collar, substantive, meat and potatoes approach to his instrument. Line-up changes like this are never easy, but the group has soldiered on, building a solid fan base and doing what all bands must do to take it to the next level. A little bit of 90s hard alt meets post-hardcore with new wave sprinklings.
Just last month, they put out a well produced single that reboots their sound some, employing an arrhythmic stop/start structure at the beginning before settling into an epic no holds barred mosh fest. Their live show is beyond solid and every player holds it down. This is a band that's on a journey, and they've done everything they needed to do for me to want to listen to the next piece of output. My understanding is that an EP is on the way soon. Look out for that. I expect it'll be a worthy offering to the Gods of Rock. I like this band. I like the perseverance. I like how hard they work. Mad respect.
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Speaking of liking, I have to say that I quite like I Like Loathing. They're a baby band and this was their first show so I'm not throwing anything serious out about them (they're still figuring out what they are, and I'm not that kind of asshole.) Lead singer Nick Bunker brings an impressive stage presence to the mic, Graeme Benson, Jeremy Crear, and Les Fleming bring dueling guitar styles to the forefront, building a contrast in sounds that works well. And Jesse Phillips (also of Pain in the Yeahs, if I recall correctly) is a straight beast behind the kit. This band has a great energy, and I can see them doing well in an opening slot for Demons down the line.
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The New Mutiny
Virginia Beach. Hard Rock.
Norfolk. Post-Hardcore/Alt Rock.
I Like Loathing