Kings of the Northwest metal scene, Red Fang are an act to watch in 2011. Their new album, Murder the Mountains, is coming out via Relapse Records on April 12th, and they’re getting ready to head out on a massive national tour. They’ll be on the Metalliance tour this spring as well as the Rockstar Mayhem Festival this summer. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Murder the Mountains – it’s hard, brutal, and I love it. I jumped at the chance to see them when they stopped by a tiny tavern in my hometown of Olympia.
The venue, The Eastside Tavern, is a small bar that’s known for security-less rock shows and the fact that it has over 30 beers on tap. Immediately upon entering, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get very good photos — the lights shining down on the stage were red, and it was dark as hell in there. Perfect for a metal show, but not perfect for taking photos of carnage to share with the masses.
For the low, low price of six dollars, music fans were able to watch four bands (Iron Goat, Hungry Ghost, C Average, and Red Fang) play a short set on the Eastside’s teensy stage. The show started about a half-hour late, and the sound during Iron Goat’s set was pretty atrocious. The second band, Hungry Ghost sounded much better. Sarah Lund, Lorca Wood, and Andrew Price laughed at the feedback that was created when they moved around the tiny stage, seemingly blaming the problems on themselves. As she fiddled with her bass, Lorca said with a chuckle, “This is why you don’t go drinking next door before the show.” I made a note to go check them out again soon, I look forward to seeing them play a full set!
The crowd continued to guzzle down craft brews and their excitement was obvious when legendary Olympia rockers C Average came onstage. The band began the set with a lovely Carol Channing impression, and proved that a guitar and a drum set are all you really need to drive a crowd wild. A young curly-haired girl in the front of the crowd thrashed around like she had something to prove, and basically incited a little pit. The banter in-between songs was comical, and as always, C Average didn’t disappoint.
Next up was Red Fang. I did my best to worm my way through the crowd that had assembled and popped out up front, to the right of Bryan and Aaron, nearly bumping into David, the guitarist. The only person on the stage at the time was John, the drummer. Everyone else was on the floor, and the monitors were the only thing separating them from the wild, drunken crowd that threatened to overtake them. Right off the bat it was obvious that they’ve been rehearsing for a big-ass tour — they sounded amazing. They had a focused, professional demeanor, playing with perfect precision and power. By the end of their set, the entire back part of the bar was a huge pit — it’s been a while since I’ve seen an Oly crowd get so crazy (crowds in Oly are usually the foot tapping, head nodding hipster variety).
Halfway through their set, Bryan and Aaron stepped up onto the stage with the drum kit to avoid the psychos who kept encroaching on their space. By their final song, “Prehistoric Dog,” the little crowd had reached frenzy-stage. We cheered for an encore, but none came, and it left me aching for more. I can’t wait to see them again! I highly recommend you check out Red Fang when they come through your town — you won’t regret it.