The Sword Fitzgerald's January 1, 2010
Aftermath wasn't even nursing a hangover after New Year's Eve, but the Sword's headlining show Saturday night melted down whatever residual toxins we were floating in and washed them away across 90 minutes at Fitzgeralds upstairs.
This show was in a sense a treat for us after getting over the NYE hump, with The Sword, Venomous Maximus, Black Congress, Eagle Claw and a few others for a decent price of admission. Coming after NYE's indie throwdown at Fitz, we all needed something a little stiff and wooly to temper the sweetness of the previous 24 hours.
Venomous Maximus and Black Congress enjoyed healthy upstairs crowds, with BC doing a handful of newer songs and VM coming up behind with a set that seemed to firmly implant their status in the scene. Since their debut show back in the early summer, the band has been evolving every so surely into one of our favorite sludgy metal bands in town. Lead singer Gregg Higgins seems more at home behind the mike and strapped to a guitar than he did when the band opened for Dead Meadow in June.
The Sword are now old salts at the metal game, entering almost a decade of work, three albums and an appearance on Guitar Hero II, which at the height of it' popularity was more valuable than a video on MTV.
The Austin boogie-metal band went through a lineup change back in October, with drummer Trivett Wingo exiting the group due to mental exhaustion. Wingo's replacement, Kevin Fender from Employer, Employee, has installed himself nicely in the fold.
The band's newest album, Warp Riders, was a big part of Saturday's set, although work from debut Age of Winters still made up most of the set list. The Riders material is different from the band's other two albums in two ways: JD Cronise's vocals are more defined this time around, and the lyrical content isn't so steeped in myth.
We keep throwing out Thin Lizzy references when we talk about new Sword jams, and it was still true Saturday night. Each Sword show reaches a point where the crowd is head-bobbing in unison and everyone raises a metal fist at the same time. The front is a mass of headbanging hair, mostly from the crowd but a good deal from the band.
It's rare for Aftermath to leave a show riff-drunk and numb from what we have just heard. In the world of The Sword, it's just another night on the road. After being a fan for going on six years, that's no small feat.
Personal Bias: The fuck is your problem?
The Crowd: Dirty, sweaty trucker hats, beards, denim jackets, hand and neck tattoos, and young metal geeks, which we mean in the most sincere form of the word. We noticed some kids we have literally seen grow up at each Sword show since 2005.
Overheard in the Crowd: "She said if I shave my beard she will leave me."
Random Notebook Dump: We must learn how to play one of these floor Moogs. MOOG.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.