Magrudergrind, Young and in the Way, Torch Runner, No Power
Sept. 19, 2011
Magrudergrind has been a staple in many of my friends' music collection since we all discovered them several years back. They certainly grew on me over the years and I became enveloped by their ferocious talent and intrigued that they come from my hometown, Washington, D.C. Nonetheless, Charlotte had never been graced with their presence, for whatever reason, and none of us had the opportunity to witness their brutality live and before our eyes. Therefore, when I found out they were booked at the Milestone for September 19, with two local bands and one regional band: No Power, Young and in the Way and Torch Runner, I was on it. There was absolutely no way I was going to miss this show.
As Rob Davis fervently animated his screams across the stage and in the audiences' faces, No Power opened up the night with grindy, punk-hinted jams new to my ears. While I was a bit skeptical of whether or not they would be worth listening to because I was never a big fan of the Charlotte band Grids (Davis was the frontman), I've got to admit, I liked it. The bass was just heavy enough, the drums at a not-so-overwhelming speed and the guitar, just shrill and complicated enough to keep my attention. Although their set was only 15 minutes, pits of hyperactive spectators broke out occasionally and most prominently, just as their set was ending. Being that this is a newer band in town, I am interested to see its evolution.
Into the first of Greensboro, N.C.'s Torch Runner's songs, the crowd became a sea of frenzied metal heads propelling themselves into each breakdown and flying across the floor in release of angst. With the heavy drops of a Looney Toons anvil, the screech of singing guitars led the way for perfectly-layered, shrill screams and crashing cymbals. As the room became packed to an almost overwhelming degree, all you could see were banging heads amidst the beautifully-heavy metal jams. Toward the conclusion of their set, the vocalist explained the theory behind their next song, it was a compilation reflecting the negativity one encounters in life on a day-to-day basis. “Although there's not a positive word in this song, I do think it's a really positive thing to have an outlet for negative energy,” he claimed. I couldn't help but agree and the crowd continued their passionate release, encouraged by their approval.
With the tinge of incense burning my nostrils and all the lights cut-off by request, Young and in the Way took the stage to project more brutality our way. With the lack of light, I became entranced by their sound of seemingly black-metal-influenced hard-hitting drums, groaning guitar and heavy bass that drove the floor into complete chaos. People began to literally fly over each other as they powerfully continued the release they had begun at the beginning of the night, but progressing, pumped from the adrenaline they were building up. Their vocalist prowled across the stage in between alluring and recognizable screamed words. He caused even more of a frenzy as he spit water onto the crowd while his whirlwind of hair told the story of his being lost in his message as well. Fans screamed lyrics back at him as they watched their head for flying enthusiasts. It was the perfect build up for what was to come.
As soon as Magrudergrind's first notes were played, a gnarly pit broke out in the middle of the room. Their mathy, grindy goodness filled the room and spread love to every cold, black heart surrounding them. Their songs, while short, are as intense as they come and keep the rage fresh and the pit flailing. Their scores are as technical as mechanical engineering and perfectly executed at that. They are sincerely composed of lungs as powerful as I have ever seen over drums as fast and pounding as John Henry and guitar so mathematical, I wouldn't doubt it could solve pi. At one point, their vocalist, Avi, attempted a stage dive and brought the energy so high, the entire room broke out into a pit with everyone unfortunate enough to be off guard tossed in one direction or another. The Milestone's Dustin “King Doob” Outen stood guard in a fierce stance in the middle of the room, preventing anyone from getting seriously injured as it was complete bedlam in every corner. People swarmed toward one another like a disturbed beehive until the end of the set when Avi fell to his knees, Russell put down his guitar and Chris sat stagnant at his drum kit. However, people were not gonna let that fly. They begged for more and seeing it was their first time in Charlotte and they were appreciative of the large turnout and Milestone itself, the request was granted under the agreement that we brought it up a notch. People immediately started getting kicked in the mouth and a fight broke out until employees could provide damage control.
After countless bruises, a complete cathartic release and a broken nose that provided a trail of blood — and got re-set in the bathroom to boot — many of us had been waiting for this show for a long time and I believe we all got exactly what we wanted and more. Although Magrudergrind had always skipped over us on every tour, I believe that after this night, they will be returning to Charlotte. If not, I would almost be willing to travel to experience them again.