By Mike Ritchie
October 4th and 5th Club Panama hosted the annual For Love of Sonny tribute fundraiser to help raise funds and awareness for Juvenile Diabetes treatment and research.
This year’s local supporters included Simply Delicious, Schaeffers Amusements Co, Janeen and Joel Naugle for bringing the sweet stuff, Rudy’s Smoke House BBQ, Keg & Cork and Letters to the Blind for CD donation. Other area sponsors included Fazolis, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Roosters, O’Charleys, Frickers, Chucky Cheese, Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral with all proceeds going to the JDRF. Not only was this the ninth year for love of Sonny but it was also the 25th year anniversary of Panama bringing metal through the door. In ’89 Susie Maynard put her foot down and welcomed the headbangers.
Friday’s show included Mike Defendant, Fletcher Munson, From Silence to Violence, Abrade the Regal and The Reefer Hut.
Columbus transplant Mike Defendant brought the acoustic acolytes back to Springfield opening the ninth annual weekend fresh off a tour with Dead Kennedy’s and TBH. Like last year he brought the hardcore punk and acoustic fury out of his six strings. Plus drinking since 10am helped the creative improvisation flow better. He warned or depending on your POV guaranteed this would be the best or worst thing you’ll ever hear, at least for that night anyway.
Acoustic tunes with speed metal plucking include religion, imaginary friends (his are better than yours and better connected) and a tune about the joys of radio friendly smash hits that never get played. If there’s anything the road’s taught him it’s that there was absolutely no nutritional value in early morning alcohol. He continued with the off the cuff, chaotic, falling off the limb with slight irreverence stepping forward backwards, pacing between the left and right hand paths performance only he could do. Bringing the electricity out of the acoustic he sung a pretty song about having phone sex with your mother. The question was who hangs up first? His music obviously inspired by SOD and Napalm Death run the length of a few of their old school tunes.
Fletcher Munson was next playing a set of originals with a few varied covers. Not many bands played GWAR and Neil Young in the same show. With a blend of blues, rock and metal inspired with a jam groove they opened with a tribute to the late Oderus Urungus, as we traveled on the Road Behind. They get original on the Vicious Cycle and Crystal. It was a time warp protest trip back to 1970 and Kent Ohio, courtesy of the Crazy Horse. There’s some sort of Mental Delay, in the music they love to play, could be due to the love of ‘the drop’, Raging Alcoholic’s fuel their stomp. It was no secret they came off sounding a bit Wooden but it’s all for the love of those Butthole Surfers. There’s a certain Hypnotic element to Fletch, maybe it’s the punk rock blue grass attitude of Growing Marijuana.
Troy’s From Silence to Violence started Halloween early with Phil Rindler opening the show in animated ninja attire. The first of the weekend ‘heavies’ busted open an early can of screamin’ hardcore, metalcore with a few sung verses of reality based tunes about partying and the positive/negative aspects of life. Don’t go trick or treating with them, you don’t know What’s in the Bag. Started in late 2012, they’ve opened for Dead by Wednesday and Bobaflex and a video for What’s in the Bag is upcoming.
Abrade the Regal always brings the infectious groove and the ‘table top’ musicianship. Finding that happy balance between rock and metal without being in mosh territory but heavy enough for a ‘good head bang dance’. Like any band that’s ever played a loud riff they scream at the World and everything that pisses them off.
The Reefer Hut finished the evening metaphorically putting blood on the wall with a full frontal thrash party and a small but dedicated pit. Mosh pit stompers included the tattooed, metal and proud Inner Pride. Don’t judge a man with a guitar, a black t-shirt and a mic unless you’ve read his lyrics or carried his gear. It’s a Pantera pummeling and there’s No Turning Back from the eardrum Abuse as the guitar chords of Sleep Dred did more damage than Freddy’s glove. They concluded night one with an inspirational neck wrecker about Moving Forward from bad situations and negative sh#@. A politely yelled, screamed encore was requested.
Saturday Oct 4th
The second evening gave us Blackout Method, National Headcase, Chronic Aggression, Legbone and Letters to the Blind, and as the evening progressed everyone in the Springfield metal scene came. It was a claustrophobic but friendly crowd, with beer and shots flowing with a long sometime short list of raffle ticket winners growing with several earning ‘repeat offender’ status. Saturday could also be the first time someone won a Chuck E Cheese prize in a bar. Winner was subject to height check.
Blackout Method covered the early evening with a set ranging from early Sabbath/Manson to modern day heavy metal Elvis. No better way to start then with some Dumb Luck, Red Line Chemistry style. If only Alice in Chains and Scott Weiland had joined forces. We all went Down (under) with the Sick Puppies, Face to the Floor courtesy of Chevelle. We heard the face painted Warriors Call and got ready to rumble with Volbeat. Rage poured with the Bulls on Parade. We got Sap and we liked it courtesy of Got Me Wrong. They went as old-school as metal goes to the original ‘nativity’ then went a few years forward paying respect to the holy ‘horned one’, on and on, it’s Heaven and Hell. Sadly a crash course in brain surgery had to be postponed but they ended on a trippy note and the death of the 60’s, it’s coming down fast, it’s Helter Skelter.
If you took snake bit blood from Down, COC and Crowbar, spliced it together just right then had something go horribly wrong at the last minute, you’d get the loud, striking serpents tongue in the ear of National Headcase. Playing with two turbine steel ripping guitars, they’re kinda like a metalheads Rush, with a few prog face smacks.
They sliced the crowd open with the razor sharp swamp water riffs of Welcome to the Fallout. The well Worked Over walls of Panama shook with the good heavy vibrations of Brother’s Keeper. The fast galloping drums and guitars on This Sacrifice Endures played the tale of any and all sacrifices made in life.
They played the prophecy of the Oracle, with its early-priest-like opening. Digging riffs down deep into the lower depths of long buried darkness. Don’t dig up what’s not meant to be found. It was a seven and a half minute plus monster chugger fueled by that special made swamp gas. Vultures ended with a tool kit of instrumentalization, thrash vocals with a Chrome Division shine and COC non-conformity.
Springfield’s had a chronic case of loud aggression since December 1999 driven by the raspy vocals of Joe Stafford and the Accept meets Overkill sounds of Chronic Aggression. The thrash of the New Jersey stomp was brought forth and hither with the Neighborhood Dispatch. They brought the crowd to the front including house security for the crowd pleaser sing along Balls to the Wall, Udo would be proud.
The Legbone’s been hit, popped, cracked and knocked out of socket a few times since the early 90’s but the Dayton based punk veterans keep on playing bringing the crowds up front surrounding the stage in an old-school punk gathering. Watching the group of fans boxing in the stage, getting uber close you couldn’t help but remember the days predating mosh pits when punks and kids just came to a show and bounced up and down with spikes (on the wrist, hand, hair or elsewhere) in the air.
They’ve played with hardcore legends DRI, Gang Green and the Casualties. They played tunes about beer, partying and of course, more beer that have kept them going. They’re newest CD It Leads to Poverty is available now.
The Ninth Annual weekend closed with Letters to the Blind, the only band to bring electric drums. Playing their fourth show ever they began with “Once”, painting a progressively heavy picture with power and death metal elements. Though they have a short scene history their members date back to the Biogenesis days. Throughout the set guitarist Blaine Gordon showed of Satriani like skills, As Color Fades casted a Dream Theater like quality over the club. They talked about the drones in line following the status quo indulging the late night stayers in a few more new tunes. Their five track EP is available at shows and online.
Club Panama thanks everyone involved in this year’s benefit, all the bands who played and everyone who came and rocked out for Sonny.
From Silence to Violence, Abrade the Regal, Letters to the Blind, Chronic Aggression and Legbone images courtesy of Joel Naugle .
All others by Mike Ritchie
Read more from the pit articles and reviews by Mike Ritchie on his web site www.coveringthescene.com