Locate | Navigate

Lots going on lately, I’ll start with the oldest news and work my way forward.

First, I was recently honored with a 2008 Charlotte Street Award, which is an award given to Kansas City area artists for artistic excellence. This is a great honor, which helps to raise my profile in the artistic community, and gives more exposure to The History of Metal project. It also comes with a monetary award, which will be used in part to implement the next part of T.H.O.M., which is discussed in detail below. The Charlotte Street Foundation, and the Urban Culture Project (part of Charlotte Street) have been supportive of my artwork ever since I moved to KC from NY four years ago. They’ve given me shows, studio space, professional development skills, and now this. I’m very grateful for their generosity and faith in my work.

Second, the group show I’m currently a part of – locate | navigate part II – had its opening a couple of weeks ago. It was a huge success, and I received lots of good feedback on my drawings (map and timeline study). Thanks to everyone who came. The show itself is impressive – many excellent examples of artists who use different systems to translate information into art. If you’re in the area and haven’t seen it yet, the gallery is open on Saturdays. There will be a couple of reviews from local press coming down the line soon, I’ll link to those as soon as I find them.

I came up with a new idea for The History of Metal project, based on the feedback from the locate | navigate show. People who checked out the Timeline Study were fascinated by the many different subgenres within heavy metal. Most people told me they had no idea that so many different types of metal existed, and they wanted to know what they sounded like. This gave birth to the idea that I would create a series of drawings (horizontally oriented, probably around 3 x 1.5′ or so) that gave detailed descriptions of each metal subgenre – including history, images, bands included in that subgenre, etc.). Also, I’m going to create an interactive display where a viewer can navigate through and hear song clips that are typical examples of each metal subgenre. I’ll need to purchase a touchscreen LCD monitor and develop a flash piece that will serve as the interface program for this concept.

Last week I was in Vieques, a small island off of Puerto Rico. My fiancee Sarah and I had this trip planned for a while, and we had a great time. The day before we left I managed to catch The Black Dahlia Murder, who played in Lawrence, KS. Originally, it was supposed to be B.D.M., 3 Inches of Blood, Hate Eternal, and Decrepit Birth, which is a pretty amazing lineup. Unfortunately, 3 Inches of Blood and Decrepit Birth didn’t show up. They were replaced by two local bands, who’s names I can’t recall. They opened up, obviously. The first band was from Wichita, and they were downright awful. They had no idea what kind of music they wanted to play. Some songs were metalcore, some death, some just a mess of noise. They were getting booed throughout the set. Now, rarely do I condone booing a band, and I don’t in this case. But the lead singer kept egging on the crowd, telling everyone to mosh and “fuck shit up”. Dude, if you’re an opening act that no one came to see, shut up and play your set. Plus, he had a haircut that made him look like he fell off the My Chemical Romance tour bus. Not good.

The second band was much, much, better. Very tight, very heavy. A few too many breakdowns, but they were no-nonsense enough that I was just happy that they weren’t the previous band.

Hate Eternal was, as I expected, technical and brutal. I’ve never seen a brutal/technical death metal band live before, and I was not disappointed. I don’t think Erik Rutan said two words to the crowd between songs. He was only interested in delivering the most punishing metal possible. Brutal/technical isn’t really my cup of tea, I like some melody sprinkled into my metal, but it’s impossible not to appreciate the skill of musicians such as Erik Rutan and the rest of his band. Impressive.

Finally, The Black Dahlia Murder were the perfect foil to Hate Eternal. Where Hate Eternal was unmoving, driving, and serious to the point of scary, B.D.M. was dynamic, fun, and catchy. Just as talented and locked in, though. B.D.M. has the feeling of a thrash band gone death. They’re young, they like to party, and they’re having fun. They run around the stage, interacting with the fans, and headbang in unison when playing their power-metal (or, as some would say, At The Gates) inspired melodies. At the same time, B.D.M. is relentless and flawless in their playing. I was really impressed with how clean and tight their live performance was. I’ve been into B.D.M. for about four years now, but I’ve been listening to so many new bands lately that I forgot how good they were. I was happy to be reminded.

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~ by mikehill25 on February 19, 2008.

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