Saturday August 24th marked the third annual local showcase of unsigned talent. Bands from around the state trekked to Columbus to play the coveted Slutfest stage. Though the morality of a musician can be called into question at any time, the local event is promiscuous only in title. Supporting Local Unsigned Talent is the brainchild of Oldschool Promotions’ Aaron Snyder. A current member of Five Finger Donkey Punch and former member of Severed, Snyder organized the all-evening, 12 band, nine and a half hour music fest bringing several genres together under one roof: hard rock, rap/hip-hop and various forms of metal. There was also a charity raffle, won by Oliver Chainsaw Gemmel, for an electric acoustic signed by the bands, a SLUT sign and other memorabilia held for O’Shecky’s staff member David Sheets to help cover medical bills for a kidney transplant.
Tonight was the last show in the venue’s history as Screamin Willies, ending its long 38 years of bringing the best local/regional acts and national artists in rock, metal, country and blues. The building will continue under a new name and management continuing to bring Columbus the best entertainment, including stand-up comedy, rap and hip-hop.
Main sponsors Lost or Forgotten Photography brought their unique art and images to help the show, including stylistic group shots for all performing talent. Bands from Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, Canton, North Lewisburg and Newark earned their spot after being voted onto the show by fans out of over 200 Ohio bands that entered. This year’s hot SLUTS included Five Finger Donkey Punch, Second Sight, The Factor Project, Destracore, Padded Room, FHSP, Killing Khaos, Infidel, The New Black Jesus, Impending Lies, Cross Solder and Error 504.
To make sure everyone got their money’s worth, as soon as doors opened FFDP started playing a set of cool acoustic covers of the catchiest, recognizable rock tunes and radio friendly hits of today.
Columbus’ Second Sight started the early evening noise at 5:45pm, dinner time for normal folk, early breakfast call for the all-night partying rockstar. Starting with some serial crunchy guitar riffs, guitarist/vocalist Ben Robinson delivers a sincere Scott Stapp sound without the annoying ‘wharling’ but with a little gnarly snarl. Come Whatever May opens Slutfest. Heaven can’t save them and hell won’t take them but with the gift of the second sight they already knew that. Second Sight play with the ingredients of grunge, employing the darkness of Alice in Chains with angry/aggravated breakdowns and that gritty sound and hunger that takes bands from the basement to the arena.
Newark’s The Factor Project handled the sophomore set with their own self-made brand of rock-poetry fusion blending elements of punk, rock, blues and countless other inspirations. They start Buried Alive in their sound going from the garage rock noise of what Nirvana might’ve sounded like in the beginning to the sunshine punk vibe of a tattooed surfer riding the waves in and coming out a half-eaten brain-dead zombie. The mid-tempo blues burner Ten Thousand Voices messes with the brain. The Factor Project captures the angst of Cobain, the melancholy moodiness of Tool and the sun drenched water spray of a beach hazard.
Destracore represents for the Dayton scene, bringing their screeching thrash and heavy groove up north to the capitol. The fury of The Beast is unleashed in the Hatebreed yell of belter Mr. Potter. Next the thick stringed, heavy bass groove, melodic Armageddon tale of the Final Act, followed by their loud, fast Reprise. What humbly started in a New Carlisle kitchen has come to the Columbus stage tonight.
From Canton comes the Padded Room, a band with enough hard, heavy groove and energy for an all-night one person mosh pit, slam dancing into the lining of a private cell. Padd Room is made up of five dedicated musicians who found a formula that works for their brand of stage rage, like the Chili Peppers on ‘roids with Fred Durst at the helm. Performing cuts from the Time Tells disc, they play with the soft sentiment of being wrapped in barb wire on the tracks with the train speeding at your face on Cry, Cry, Cry. Steve Chaney creates a unique mixture of growled words and soft spoken sighing with searing inner turmoil. F’n Sick starts with a POD riff and an impressive vocal range between Serj Talkin and Mushroomhead. Then comes the hard crunching meaty guitar/vocal hook of Natural Disasters. The rap, hip hop groovy mosh-friendly Room 3 is a well-organized cathartic blend of rapid revolving influences hitting you hard like a stage-flung body into the pit. They’re new school enough to keep the hip kids coming back and play old school showing respect to their forefathers. Their sound is best described as an unclassifiable guitar chug keg party which may be the best label a band can have.
The tag team rapid fire rapping lyricists F.H.S.P. took over the space, hitting club goers with danceable beats and a different kind of hardcore style showcasing the diversity that Slutfest is known for. They delivered a high energy, sweaty, tattooed performance rivaling the surrounding metal adrenaline around them. Winners of multiple local talent showcases, they open up with H.Y.F.R. Kaine and Regal start the insane amount of rhymes they’re able to spit out before inhaling. They can flow as fast as any ferocious blast beat. The dark cape crusader comes out Eminen style on I’m the Batman. They slow down the vocal speed and make most words audible and get modified, ending with some fast guitar on Power up. They gave respect to the US armed forces welcoming guest mic master J-Rush returning from a tour in Korea adding some extra energy to the ultra-sped up words.
North Lewisburg’s, Killing Khaos bring out the War Inside Your Head. High pitched, high octane yelling connecting like a chilled ice pick to the head, Joe Everhart has some Schuldiner inspired death screeching vocals. Drummer Ben Holtsberry has listened to a few Skipknot records a few times. They get out all the nasty anger and stress the healthy way in the Fight Song. With music played this loud and heavy some emotions are best left unspoken, channeled through the music and released on stage. A fan was quoted as saying “one small step for a band and one huge step for heavy metal.”
Battle for ROTR alumni Infidel took stage next bringing some of the tunes that got them there including Hanging By a Thread and the dyslexia murder anthem Redrum. They got the first pit of the night but since it was an all ages show, everyone had to play nice. Larry Coake’s pit fighter yell threw him into the crowd, rubbing elbows and banging heads (not literary) with the gang. Playing everywhere they can, their star’s on the rise.
The New Black Jesus, the sound of urban noise, brought the hard living spirit of the street to the stage. Lazaar Williams brought the sleazy, mean and dirty riffs bringing the spirit of Jimmy with him playing tunes from 2012’s Ghetto Democracy. Think Suicidal Tendencies with Burton C Bell/Chad Gray on vocals. Over My Dead Body opened its military march pace with guitar battle siren riffs about living the life of access and paying the price. The hungry undead creatures of the night come out for a shotgun blast Dance of the Dead. They bring out the goddamn electric on God Damn Its frenzy filled riffs that make you want to run the other way. The Gangster Soups poured into the dirty bowl, seasoned with meaty guitar gristle and tasty rusty chord crackers. They’ve put in five years playing (H.A.M) Hard as A Mother…and the meat just gets tougher, harder and tastier.
Straight from Cleveland Impending Lies bring a hard rock, melodic sound balancing a sound reminiscent of Disturbed adding background hints and winks of atmospheric industrial Fear Factory noise. James Skrtich’s vocals are a stained mixture of Dramain and Lewis. Earlier this year When the Lights Burn Out was released, and with a new lineup they’ve hit the road ready to go wherever the gig takes them. Starting with the lead mic sung/background vocals yelled Scream to Whisper. They make beautiful noise out of the Chaos they bring. Their sound shares musical influence and echoes with Linkin Park and Godsmack. Bringing the only songs truly song, showing that pain, anger, grief, sorrow can be translated through soft spoken lungs as much as guttural growls and screams. The melodic hooks of In Time take you to an almost spiritual place of salvation. It’s no accident their sound is unforgettable. They also gave a big 80’s shout out to Journey performing Separate Ways; the loudest and heaviest it’s probably been performed in Columbus.
Lancaster Battle for ROTR alumni Cross Soldier played next with top gun looking Chadd Lunn ready to Light Up the Sky with some old school Megadeth meets Metallica vocals and guitar work. Lunn carries the youth and aggression of Mustaine and Hetfield with a hard rock energetic bluesy formula. Playing their own metallic symphony, they bring out new tune Devil’s Eyes then What I believe from their first EP. They played Shameless and the new accompanying video can be seen on Facebook/Reverbnation.
Battle for ROTR winners and ROTR openers Error 504 came on stage around 2am ready to kick ass and show why they earned the coveted Jager spot at Crew Stadium, playing mid-tempo thumper Give it Away, the deep growler Little Red and Devil’s Angel. Unfortunately this wasn’t an all-nighter and the word/long arm of the law came down with last call, making the band’s set unexpectedly short. Though everyone who’s seen them play knows what the 504 can deliver when the spotlights on, the show had to end at the scheduled time but Snyder announced that next year’s Slutfest would be 2 days of performing bands. Check the Slutfest 2014 message board for more info and updates.
Five Finger Donkey Punch and Second Sight photos courtesy of Metal Splinter Promotions.