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Live Report: High On Fire at Webster Hall, New York, October 24

Chris Krovatin is the author of the young-adult novels Heavy Metal & You and Venomous, as well as's “Final Six” blog. The latter book was the inspiration for Deadlocke, a one-shot published by Dark Horse Comics.

On Sunday, I went to see High On Fire, who played with Torche and Kylesa in New York. Here's what happened:

General aroma of Webster Hall:
Resin-soaked beard.

Number of beards present at Webster Hall: 4,237.

Number of flannel shirts present: 1,482.

Number of dudes wearing the same bootleg Slayer shirt as me: Four. One of us is going to have to change.

Favorite piece of merch available: High On Fire’s ashtrays. The bottom features the logo and a skull-faced Indian chief.

First on the docket: Kylesa from Savannah, Georgia.

Chosen genre: Melodic and melancholy stoner metal.

Actual genre: The sound of Edgar Allen Poe being beaten down with a plank of wood.

Song of the set: “Unknown Awareness.”

Coolest effect of the night: Kylesa’s Spiral Shadow cover art projected into a whirling spiral behind them.

Best thing about “hipster” metal kids: The chicks are all…wow, the chicks are all hot as balls.

Even the reporters: Especially the reporters! Damn!

Best part about being a reporter: Getting to go upstairs to the balcony area and take a load off between sets.

Worst part about going to the balcony and taking a load off between sets: It reminds you how much of an old fuck you are.

Favorite T-shirt in attendance: The skinny kid in the Those Poor Bastards shirt.

Favorite thing about Webster Hall: It looks like an old bombed-out theater. Other venues could learn a lesson from this place.

Next, we have: Torche from Miami, Florida.

Wait a second: Torche are from Florida? Huh!

Sounds like: Super-happy smash rock. Southern sludge meets weird Japanese shoegaze with a touch of T. Rex. The band calls it “thunder pop.”

Favorite member of Torche: Bassist Jon Nuñez, who looks like he’s about to take four shits and die the entire set.

Claim to fame: Torche’s Meanderthal was hailed by critics everywhere when it came out in 2008.

Least favorite mosher type: The chick—it’s usually a chick—who writhes around with her arms clasped over her face, then barrels blindly into one side of the pit, expecting people to hold her up in her reverie. Also used by totally wasted dudes as well.

Fuck those people: I’m all for acting as a buffer for the occasional thrasher, but the whole run-from-one-edge-to-another-slumping-on-people thing is just obnoxious. Fuck off, die slow.

Notable line-up fact: The set is three solid bands, no hidden list of local openers and performance acts.

And finally: High On Fire from Oakland, CA.

Sounds like: Stone clubs, hard liquor, weed smoke, and the Devil.

Hammers: Arise.

Matt Pike in a few words: A leering demon, forcing his guitar to puke gravel, inviting listeners into a crashing abyss of hard-edged decadence, with his plumber’s crack showing.

Notable difference: Matt Pike acts so much scarier in High on Fire than he did when I saw him in Sleep a few weeks back. Guess this band just gets the fire going in him.

Number of bowls, joints, and one-hitters lit: Huh? Sorry, dude, I’m just so fucking hungry all of a sudden…

Best track of the night: “Turk” was just insane.

Weird track of the night: “Blessed Black Wings,” which appeared to be plagued by technical difficulties.

Listen up, sound guys: There’s no reason for a band like High on Fire to be getting this many feedback problems during their set. There was some of this when I saw Black Label Society the other night. Come on.

Scariest bastard of the night: High on Fire drummer Des Kensel. Jesus, look at him go.

Favorite way to end the night: Warm molten chocolate cake from the dessert truck on 4th Ave.

High On Fire and chocolate cake: In some countries, they’d probably arrest you for this combination.

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