MDF XII: Saturday, May 24, 2014
I woke up on Saturday to the sound of my own voice asking someone if they’d rather walk or bike. We have managed to cover a fair bit of ground in Baltimore on this visit, but so far walking has been our only ped-powered option. I’m not sure where I thought I was going, but I might have been anticipating our planned trip to vegan restaurant Land of Kush… Whatever my imagination was planning, the wake up was well timed for getting the day going so our Maryland Deathfest 2014 shenanigans could continue.
By the time we made it back down to the Edison lot there was still a short-ish line-up for re-entry. After acquiring a hot pink wrist band loose enough to wear well up my arm I wandered toward the stage with Wills in time to catch a little of Diocletian, which was a pleasure. (Team WWW/Triple-Dub had split up sometime after breakfast since Walschots was ready to get her metal on before my ass was fully in gear.)
My top priority for the afternoon was Entrails and, happily, we arrived in plenty of time. Good old fashioned Swedish death metal will always be the best kind of death metal there is from my perspective (it was the first kind of death metal I learned to love and remains my first choice to this day). Entrails do good old Swedish death metal exceedingly well. I was already sold on the songs – the energy and execution did not disappoint.
I witnessed enough Machetazo and God Macabre to show my appreciation, but in between these full on metal moments I was busily spending the rest of my cash on records. A dude named Daniel convinced me his work on the 10″ vinyl reissue of Wolverine Blues was worth the selling price, plus I picked up Trouble’s The Skull on vinyl (while narrowly missing buying Morgion’s Cloaked by Ages, Crowned by Earth on vinyl for the second time. (I need to carry my own inventory database because my memory is clearly unreliable.) I also expanded the vinyl version of my My Dying Bride collection. (As you can likely tell, vinyl is currently my format of choice.) My favourite vendor was located near the official band merch table – they had all their records clearly labelled plus, and most significantly, they had things organized by subgenre as well as alphabetically, which allowed me to focus my browsing on the boxes of records I was most interested in.
I also managed to get in some chatting with friends and produce a butt-load of sweat under the warm afternoon sun before Wills and I decided it was time for a break.
After dropping off our purchases back at the hotel Wills and I took a stroll away from the MDF venues in search of some recommended vegan dining – an all vegan restaurant called Land of Kush. The atmosphere and decor was a little more casual than I had expected, but I liked the vaguely Afrofuturist elements scattered about, the staff was friendly, and the speed of service was perfect to get us fed and back on our way. Adam went for the combo: an entrée (lentil patties with mushroom gravy), two sides (mac’n’cheese and candied yams) and a drink (lemonade). I went for the same breakdown with different options: drummies (breaded soy drumsticks), potato salad, collard greens and an iced tea. The vegan mac’n’cheese and potato salad won for the most delicious items on our plates, but the whole deal was satisfying and reasonably priced and well worth the short hike out of our way.
Back to the metal
Carrying some extra dinner weight we walked back to the Edison Lot (thankfully we hadn’t eaten enough to be waddling), and arrived in time for a couple of moments of Nocturnus AD before Tankard took to the stage. The beer-loving German thrashers were tons of fun to experience live. Frontman Andreas “Gerre” Geremia was particularly entertaining, showing off lots of beer belly (which he sometimes drummed on with the mic), dancing in circles or with gals invited on stage, and treating us to an ongoing stream of humorous commentary. After he briefly stowed his mic down the back of his pants I was prepared to challenge him to a butt-sweat-off, but I opted to instead simply join him in raising a beer.
Sacrifice was up next and I was especially pleased to have another chance to see them after missing most of their set when they performed at Noctis last September. I don’t think the sound mix served them as well here at MDF, but I still enjoyed their performance. After Tankard’s escapades their more earnest Canadian politeness felt a little strange at first, but the guys looked like they were enjoying themselves onstage, and I’m always amazed at how tight and fresh their live delivery continues to sound even though it manifests so seldomly.
Up next were Sarke. I have no real complaints – this was an opportunity I was glad not to have missed – but performance-wise Wills and I were underwhelmed. So we stayed for a bit before deciding it was time for another break to store up some energy for Dark Angel’s headlining set later on. (Don’t judge me – when I report on Day 4 you’ll see that MDF XII is really only about one band for me.)
Day 3: the (semi-)final chapter
So I found this absolutely delicious red grapefruit snack at Eddie’s the other day and it turns out this stuff makes the ideal recharging fuel. With a little of that and a short burst of Star Trek: TNG we were ready to return to the Edison Lot in time for a bit of Unleashed before taking advantage of the rare chance to see Dark Angel together on an American stage. Sadly we arrived a bit too late to save Walschots from creepy guy harassment but could at least provide some more reassuring company for the rest of the evening.
We’d seen a very svelte looking Gene Hoglan wandering around during Sacrifice’s set, and his drumming was as stunning as ever (though the overwhelming presence of his snare hits in the mix meant you had to work a bit harder to notice what else was going on). I enjoyed Dark Angel’s performance and we only left a bit before they ended to avoid the end-of-night mass exodus to come. My appreciation was a bit on the lively and (lovingly) sarcastic side though, and Adam seemed to think I was annoying the dude next to me who was trying to enjoy the show with more serious attention. (But how could I resist singing along to Ron Rinehart’s yodelling howl?).
Calling it a night
Wills vetoed the choice ‘Man Eating Squid’ for late night viewing so Team Triple-Dub, aka the Old Curmudgeons, opted for a little music and one more early night.
And one more day
Today began with a side trip to another section of Baltimore’s picturesque harbour areas for a visit to acclaimed local record store Sound Garden, where Adam did most of his Baltimore record buying. Our plans to brunch at Jack & Zach’s were foiled by a line-up of potential diners, so we opted for cheap in-our-hotel eating instead. Then Wills and Walschots headed off to catch Windhand’s early afternoon performance. As much as I would have liked to join them, today I’m conserving my energy. But now I think I’m ready to head down, check out some more afternoon metal, and start making the most of this last day in Baltimore and at MDF 2014.