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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Live: Watch Grohg welcome Darkness to Raleigh

Posted by and on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 7:46 AM

Grohg, SOON, Revolving Beast
The Pour House, Raleigh
Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014

When the Raleigh metal band Grohg took the stage Saturday night, the atmosphere in the Pour House was appropriately celebratory. Frontman Will Goodyear had spent the preceding hours grinning and hugging friends who’d come to welcome the band’s new EP, Darkness and the Freedom it Breathes. While the vinyl hadn’t arrived in time for the show, it didn’t dampen the mood.

Instead, the half-full room condensed at the front of the stage, hoisting pint glasses and metal horn hand gestures to greet the band. Grohg played a succinct half-hour set, covering tracks from 2012’s Culture of Petty Thieves and previewing Darkness in the glow of blue stage lights and candles. They gilded black metal bursts with melodic guitar solos on Darkness’ “Obsession With Disease” and bludgeoned with a hardcore shout-along for the set-ending “Capital,” from Petty Thieves. Grohg’s omnivorous approach to heavy music served it well. Cajoling his receptive audience to clap and shout-along at the onset of “The Artist’s Divine Inspiration,” Goodyear declared, “Nobody cares about your fucking inhibitions. That’s what this song’s about. Fuck that shit.”

Indeed, that could serve as a mission statement for Grohg, whose music disrupts heavy-metal nomenclature and borrows liberally from its many subdivisions, and whose lyrics have become increasingly candid. Where Petty Thieves traded largely in broad-stroked grievances—save for the brooding “Four Vials,” which remains Grohg’s only song to feature clean vocals—Darkness takes a more introspective approach, touching on real-life stories of addiction, divorce, death and chronic illness. The catharsis of these songs was evident in the band’s on-stage conviction: The carefully composed show, complete with floodlights triggered by drummer Joel Willis, still carried a sense of urgency and spontaneity that proved captivating.

The new ensemble SOON, co-fronted by The Love Language’s Stu McLamb and Bitter Resolve’s Rob Walsh, offered an intriguing approach by casting of indie-rock’s texture and sway against doom’s deliberate pacing and low-end rumble. And openers Revolving Beast delivered a strong half-hour-long proto-metal guitar showcase. But, as the surge in population density near the front of the stage proved, the night belonged to Grohg. 

You can watch Grohg's entire set, captured by Dan Schram, below.

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