Every day for the past five days I have sat down to tell you all about my weekend spent experiencing 15 hours of live, genuine metal from the hearts and souls of 19 bands. But how do you put into words one of the most unbelievable musical experiences of your life? I don’t think the mere words that I am about to put down will ever truly do it justice, but I will try my best.
The last weekend of April, 2012 had been a day I had been anxiously awaiting for months. Day 2 of the Gilead Media Music Festival had arrived and I was about to re-immerse myself into the 2 days, 19 bands, 15 hours of live metal in its many varied forms. Adam Bartlett, the mastermind behind Gilead Media, has been busting his ass off for countless months to bring this unbelievable event to a small, relatively conservative community nestled in the bosom of the Midwest. This weekend was all and more than I ever expected.
And in case you missed, the Day 1 overview is here.
I awoke for Day 2 of the festival groggy, hungry, and dehydrated. On my way to the venue I took a little trip to Oshkosh’s downtown area and stopped by the New Moon Cafe for some much needed caffeine and browsed through one of the most kick-ass comic shops, House of Heroes. After about half-an-hour of attempting to decide what to pick up I left empty-handed, I was too tired to make such an important decision as to what comic to pick up (again, my cash reserves were pretty depleted by this point).
So, I headed over to the Electric Lounge to get ready for Day 2′s opener, black metaller Mania. This single-man outfit, a lone drummer, was assisted by a guy on a computer controlling the prerecorded audio tracks. This weekend continued to demonstrate the incredible drummers that are out there.
More hardcore/punk metal was to be had on Day 2 with Baby Boy. The band’s drummer was unable to make the event so the band’s original bass player had to play drums and Thou’s bass player helped out (Thou’s guitar player is also a member of Baby Boy). This festival was shining proof of the abilities and musicianship that is spread through the states. I’ve never heard of these guys but one of my favorite bands, Beyond The Sixth Seal, came to mind as I watched and listened.
Members of Day 1 bands Fell Voices and Ash Borer took the stage once more as Sleepwalker. The frenzy drummer of Fell Voices was now on guitar, proving my statement above about the musical abilities being demonstrated this weekend. Sleepwalker provided a straight forward and well executed American black metal set.
Minnesota’s A Scanner Darkly was another act I anxiously anticipating all weekend as Adam, the weekend’s host, was providing guest vocals (a “sort of fanboy dream come true”). I can only describe ASD as heavy, spastic, nerdcore – the band is inspired by and sings about the writings of Philip K. Dick – an American novelist whose stories are responsible for and the inspiration for films such as Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report. I’ve only known Adam for about a year and I’ve never seen this side of him before. He was pacing the stage like a caged animal between verses and songs and sang with a passion and fury that was truly stunning to witness. I desperately want to see this line-up become something more permanent in the hopes of seeing them live once again.
The mid-section of Day 2 continued to be my most anticipated part of the festival because I was finally getting to see Milwaukee’s Northless play their thick, consuming doom style of metal in person. I wasn’t disappointed. I can only describe the experience as such: better, thicker, and crunchier than a jar of Jiffy.
Mutilation Rites has quickly risen to the top of my black metal list. Once again, Unfuckingbelievable! These guys play monsterously epic black metal that will crush you. Listen to it. See it. Experience it. That is all.
This past fall, The Body & Braveyoung promo, Nothing Passes, arrived in my inbox. I honestly forgot about it. Now after seeing The Body live I can’t stop listening to it and I’m incredibly angry with myself for not paying attention. This at moments minimalist and at times doomish screeching black metal duo is truly a thing to behold. They made the earth quake and my bones tremble. It was glorious.
Throughout the festival I had seen this young, petite, blonde haired woman hanging out with various band members of the festival – making the entity that manifested itself on stage and scream that emanated from her mouth when False took the stage all the more hauntingly beautiful and mesmerizing. This six-piece band from Minnesota plays ritualistic black metal unlike any other. It’s Hellishly delicious.
I’m pissed. I’m pissed and disappointed in myself. By this point in the weekend I was completely exhausted and wasn’t taking care of myself like I should have. I am ashamed to admit that I missed the Barghest performance which after talking to some friends was a damn fine performance. Why did I miss it you ask? Well, I fell asleep in my car. Lack of sleep and dehydration will do that to you apparently.
But I was fortunate enough to run from my car to not miss the Thou set. These doom/sludge/drone metallers from Louisiana got the crowd into a complete frenzy, myself included. Remember that little blonde front-woman from False I mentioned just a minute ago? Well, she politely pushed her way pass me, got up on stage, and did one hell of stage dive into the crowd. Awesome. Much like Adam during his ASD performance, Thou’s vocalist, Bryan, Funck, took on a completely different persona for the stage. Thou provides it’s listeners a powerful and devastating show that is: suffocating, crushing. methodically brutal, fucking beautiful.
This Gilead Media Music Festival provided a weekend that I didn’t want to end and one that I will never forget. Thank you Mr. Bartlett. I look forward another such festival and hopefully many more that are to come.