Coelacanth Brewing Company celebrated their 1-year anniversary in style by hosting an early free-to-the-public concert on a Saturday afternoon.
It was my first time visiting this venue, which was located in a nice tucked away corner at the edge of Ghent. The welcoming brightly-lit façade of the building coupled with the inviting aroma of freshly grilled burgers from the ‘Poor Boys Burgers’ food truck beckoned me closer to the muffled thump of furious drums and bass echoing from inside. Upon setting foot inside of the venue, it was clear that The Brothers Grizz already commanded the rapt attention of the full crowd in front of them.
Making a name for themselves in the area partly due to their artist work space and event management company Electroganic, Jesse and Bobby Phillips were joined by their drummer of 10 years, Matt Robinson, to kick the event off with their instrumental melodic rock. The connection between the brothers on stage was apparent — subtle nods and quick looks were almost unneeded as they dove into a collection of well-cultured and rehearsed material. Each groove was concisely built from well thought out trade-offs between Bobby’s spiraling guitar patterns and Jesse’s meticulous low end breakdowns, all held together by one of the best double kick pedal players I have ever seen. The Brothers Grizz delivers a furious rage that brings together fans of metal and rock alike with the emotional writing power that’s difficult to find with instrumental acts.
After a well-played opening set, HŸDRA a quickly took the stage to deliver 30 minutes of pure mayhem. Drawing from the ethos of rock gods like Judas Priest and Motorhead, HŸDRA plugged in with something to prove as they tore through a blistering 7 song set featuring exciting and well-written originals as well as some memorable, genre-defining covers. Donned in a light up button-encrusted punk jacket with leopard print studded gloves, frontwoman Narissa Wolke passionately led the quartet with a confident and infectious charm. From emotional ballads to arena-rock anthems, Narissa navigated the heavy metal genre with ease as her voice cut through the avalanche of attack coming from the band behind her. With long black hair and zebra-skin pants, Hydra guitarist Flash Saturn’s aggressive and meticulous shredding kept jaws dropped and hands in the air, effortlessly keeping up with Bobby Lust Jr.’s bass bombs and the savage attack coming from Derek the Destroyer’s drum kit. If I had to sum up the HŸDRA a experience in one sentence, it would be “Break everything around you into pieces and start chugging” because this metal monster stops for no man.
Headlining was Norfolk rock staples The Gloom. I have been seeing them on lineups and posters since I started getting into the music scene and it’s always a pleasure to see these gentlemen at work. Bryan Lewis’s endlessly addictive guitar patterns are quickly held together by Adam Markle’s rocksteady confident drumming, Addie Richardson’s assuring and emotional guitar/vocals and Phil Strattons unwaveringly danceable basslines. It’s like if you took the angsty garage punk genre and twisted it with accessible and downright poppy grooves featuring quirky and identifiable lyrics. The band reflects off of many mirrors but you can see their true selves in each lense.
It was a great show with delicious beer, friends, and memories! Be sure to catch HŸDRA in Norfolk on December 17th at FM Backstage with my band, Galaxy Dynamite, Electric Love Machine and DJ NiNi.