This past weekend I had the pleasure of being invited to Denver Black Sky III as a guest of the super rad local thrash band, Axeslasher. It was a kick ass experience hanging with bands, brewers and metalheads all night at one of the better alternative music venues in the Denver area the Gothic Theater.

How’d I get there?  I got a message from Professor Pizza, the Axeslasher vocalist, asking if I would dress up as Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th and come hang around during their set. I’ve interacted with the band on social media platforms so we had some familiarity and Justin, the professor, knew of my costumes. I told him get me in the show, and if you wanna kick in some free beers or merch, I’ll do it.

Say no more.

Hanging with Professor Pizza of Axeslasher, my host at Black Sky III.
Hanging with Professor Pizza of Axeslasher, my host at Black Sky III.

Justin brought me in the back door and gave me an overview of what he wanted me to do during their set, playing second after Casket Huffer, who were doing sound check when I got to the Gothic Theater. I went and checked out the green room, which was the only good spot for changing. The green room is right below the stage and it smelled like distinctly of freedom and democracy. The wafting smell of legalized cheeba was thick as a couple bands were down there blazing it up when I popped in.

I got my stuff and chilled in the green room, talking to a couple people from bands I really like while partaking in some of Black Sky Brewery’s Caveman Kolsch. Which was delicious. 20 minutes to showtime I got dressed out in my Friday the 13th best. The bands backstage liked my gear and I took a few pictures before wading into the light crowd.

Being one of the early bands on a loaded bill has to be a bit of a downer because far too often fans show up later for the later bands.

I’ll say this once now and I’ll say it again in the future: GO EARLY AND SUPPORT EVERY FUCKING BAND!

Seriously, some great stuff happens early in the bill too and if you’re not there you’re going to miss decapitated heads, blood cannons spraying blood, ski mask wearing nuts shredding your face and eardrums. That’s what Axeslasher did and on top of that they had a six-foot four inch Jason Voorhees stalking through the crowd, machete in the air for Axeslasher.

Slashing at the merch table.
Slashing at the merch table.

I took pictures with some people who wanted them and luckily didn’t trip over one damn thing. That’s a tall order to ask with only one eye in that mask and limited visibility with it.

After the stalk and merch table time, I went backstage and got dressed back into my regular concert attire: jeans, boots, battle vest, Metal Blade hoodie and my Winterfylleth shirt. Justin was nice enough to save me a couple shirts in my size as well as some other cool swag. I spent the rest of the evening checking out some of my favorite local acts: Khemmis, Havok and In the Company of Serpents.

This was a bill I didn’t want to miss just because of the local lineup. The rest of the bill (Nekrofilth, Skinless, Pig Destroyer) was awesome, though not all the bands were really acts I listen to, but I wanted to see my local metal and see them I did. None of them disappointed and I was impressed with all of their sets, especially Havok who has been touring this year and was in full tour mode: loose and interactive.

What was even cooler was getting to hang around and talk to the guys from the bands I came to see. Nobody treated me like an interloper and nobody blew me off either. I also learned a bunch of stuff by taking the time to chat and ask questions. How some of them feel about Bandcamp, a service I am a huge fan of (everyone I talked to likes it a lot). Why Black Sky Brewery didn’t do a tap takeover (contractual issue, but they did have two Black Sky beers on tap) or how supportive the local metal community is of each other (Maruta, a grindcore act, got stranded in Colorado while on tour so they were fit onto the bill at the last minute to help get their vehicle repaired).

It was a truly awesome experience having that access to not only the venue but the bands as well.

Thanks again to Professor Pizza, and everyone who took the time to chat and let me drink a beer with them. I had a blast and Denver Black Sky III was a heavy show that kicked ass.

Khemmis dooming it up for the crowd.
Khemmis dooming it up for the crowd.
Havok unleashed the thrash.
Havok unleashed the thrash.
In the Company of Serpents.
In the Company of Serpents.
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