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The Short List

By Jess Harvell | Posted 5/23/2007

WEDNESDAY: Metal fans, political punk kids, and wussy indie-rockers can all get to know each other a little better at Sonar when Mastodon, Against Me!, and Cursive bridge marketing gaps in the name of fun and profit. And a name like Cold as Life should tell you that this hardcore band won't be leading any group hugs at the Sidebar with Wisdom in Chains, H8 Inc., Spit on Your Grave, and Show No Mercy.

THURSDAY: Local cinematic indie rock band Pontiak spins vivid, countrified tales of love and loss at the Current Gallery with Monarch and Tropics. Georgia boy/girl duo Jucifer squeezes out some sour noise rock and sweet punk and metal at the Ottobar with Darsombra, Dactyl, and Chowder.

FRIDAY: Kick off Maryland Deathfest weekend with the pre-party at Sonar featuring the genuinely terrifying hyperfast grindcore shred and whomp of Pig Destroyer along with Insect Warfare, Pisschrist, Putrid Pile, and Defeatist. If you're more indie rock and less goregrind, the Payola Reserve plays for all the power poppers at the Ottobar with Blonde Hair Blue Eyes, Thomas Lunch, and the Treading Lemmings. Entertainment System's crazed video-game covers and Nintendo-core kinda sounds like metal if you squint hard at the Sidebar with Davey G and the Keyboard, Broken Consort, and Eric Crapton. And Mid-Atlantic R&B smoothie Raheem DeVaughn headlines a night of slow-burn soul and Beltway boogie at Washington's 9:30 Club.

SATURDAY: Deathfest weekend kicks off in earnest at Sonar around noon with legendary extreme-metal headliners Brutal Truth and Extreme Noise Terror, plus an assload of bands including the best-named group of the whole festival, Nunwhore Commando 666, plus Saprogenic, Foetopsy, Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation, Gorod, Skitsystem, CBT, Rotten Sound, Gorerotted, General Surgery, Regurgitate, and Vomitory. Typography-happy postpunk trio Double Dagger unleashes its snazzily designed new CD at Current Gallery with help from what has to be the loudest band to ever play the gallery, the New Flesh, plus Thank You and Smart Growth. Charm City Space has got hooks aplenty when it presents pop punk from Baltimore and around the globe with Dead Mechanical, Road Rage, Elm Street, the Cult Classics, and Active Sac. Saxophonist Jack Wright squawks his way through the nouns and verbs of a new musical language at the Red Room at Normals Books and Records with Evan Lipson and Toshi Makihara. If Deathfest wasn't enough, the Sidebar has booked a special afternoon matinée headlined by crusty California grindcore titan Phobia plus Total Fucking Destruction, XXX Maniacs, Mouth Sewn Shut, and Strong Intention. And the Supreme Imperial boots up an electronic music bash with live performances from Aligning Minds, the Beat Shaman, and Project 301, plus DJ sets from dubstep soldier Joe Nice, the Cannon Boys, Actual Fact, Dan Gee, and John ASL.

SUNDAY: And we close out Deathfest weekend at Sonar with Charm City death-metal standard-bearer Misery Index, 20-year-old Italian grindcore titans Cripple Bastards, and 12 more bands including Putrescence, Exhale, Fuck the Facts, Jigsore Terror, Odious Mortem, Retaliation, Ghoul, Birdflesh, Gut, Dead Infection, Malevolent Creation, and Zyklon. The 8X10 wants your money for a very good cause, a benefit for the medical bills for Landis Expandis of the All Mighty Senators, featuring a full night of jammy funk from friends of the Senators like Jimmie's Chicken Shack, Lake Trout, Kelly Bell Band, and Dingleberry Dynasty. The Ottobar is advertising a rock 'n' roll clash with the Headwounds “versus” the Expotentials, hopefully steel cage-style, plus Jaws, the Squaaks, and Gary B and the Notions, none of whom appears to be part of the battle royal. Hopefully Bloodspattered Satisfaction delivers on the name when the hardcore band starts flingin' guts and gore at Charm City Space with Hollywood, the Homefront, Counting the Days, and Near Defeat.

MONDAY: Detroit hip-hop duo Slum Village pays tribute to their fallen former member, much beloved and recently deceased producer/rapper J-Dilla, at Sonar with Dilla disciple Phat Kat and Dilla's brother Illa J. And caffeine-crazed Wild and Crazy Kids bounce off the walls at Charm City Space along with fellow pop punks For Science, Young Hearts, White York, and South Carey.

Tuesday: Formerly local indie-pop duo Judd and Maggie stops home to say hi at the Ottobar with Baltimore pals Romania, Steve Hefter and Friends and Friends of Friends, and Stephen Delopoulos.

WEDNESDAY: Face-painted idols to a whole generation of angry white dudes, Insane Clown Posse and the juggalo army get real ugly at Sonar with Twiztid. And for a completely different kind of white-dude rap, emo diarist Sage Francis gets a little too personal at the Ottobar with Buck 65, Buddy Wakefield, and Alias.

IN THE WINGS: If Deathfest didn't completely fill you up, you can get another daylong metal fix in a few months when Summer Slaughter 2007 sprays Sonar on July 7 with Necrophagist, Decapitated, Cephalic Carnage, Cattle Decapitation, the Faceless, As Blood Runs Black, Arsis, Ion Dissonance, Beneath the Massacre, and more. (For more information call [410] 327-8333 or visit www.sonarbaltimore.com.) And for more show previews, reviews, and any other local music info fit to print online, check out City Paper's music blog Noise.

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