Live Show Review
Luckey’s, Friday,September 2nd, 2011The Dead Americans
Guest Contributor: William Kennedy
Out of a city known for brainy and literate indie rock, comes the metal band Red Fang from Portland. Red Fang is a band of Northwest slackers who play sludgy riff-laden hard rock that has a lot more to with Black Sabbath or the Melvins than with the Portland darlings du jour, The Decemberists. Red Fang released their sophomore album Murder the Mountains earlier this year on Relapse Records. Gaining heat in hard-rock circles, this band is quickly becoming one of the most talked about new bands in the metal renaissance.
On this trip through town, Red Fang were joined at Luckey’s by local indie rockers Testface and the insurgent punks The Dead Americans. Last Friday was a perfect night to see the show; the night was warm and Luckey’s was packed wall-to-wall with seriously excited metal-heads.
The Dead Americans, a tight and aggressive veteran punk-rock group, that recall the glory days of CBGBs (think Patti Smith, Ramones, or Johnny Thunders) opened the night. Testface, fronted by, Dave Snider, came on next. Changing musically from a whispery indie/alt-country outfit to a sludgy metal band rooted firmly in the `70s, Testface has the expected fuzzed-out bass-lines mixed with psychedelic keyboards and shredding guitar lines. This band is a “roll-a-joint, light some incense, and watch the lava lamp” metal. Unlike Red Fang, Testface owes more of a shout out to Pink Floyd than to Black Sabbath.
Red Fang isn’t hair metal, or prog-metal, or metal hyphenated with whatever the f@%k– this is old school boozed up heavy metal (think Motorhead produced by Dave Grohl with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme sitting in on vocals). Yet, Murder the Mountains track “Prehistoric Dog” proves these guys aren’t afraid to be catchy, to get a chorus, verse, or even a riff, stuck in your head.
Local rocker, Shane Thornton was spotted in the crowd and told me “pure head bangers delight! These guys are TIGHT. I love the old Sabbath sound. Great fricken’ show!
In the end, it doesn’t make much difference where Red Fang call home. What counts is that this band puts on one hell of a high energy metal show. Live, Red Fang propel themselves along with the older Sabbath-esque riffs that make it impossible not to throw up the “devil horns.” After all, they are from Portland; the city of ironic pop-culture anachronism.