Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer games for headbangers

Screw London. The real games are happening in Northampton, Florence, and Turners Falls. Those are the sites of the semi-final and final rounds of the 2012 Metalympics.

A field of 32 unsigned, regionally based metal bands has been winnowed to eight, and two bands from each night of semi-finals will advance to the four-way finals happening Sept 29 at Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls.

Graham Russin from GARDAR Entertainment launched Metalympics three years ago, creating a showcase in Western Mass for metal bands. The competition’s original home in Greenfield, Easy Street, changed hands, so Russin has bounced around this year and locked down a new network of clubs supportive of the games.

Metalympics features a two-pronged voting method that determines how bands advance. In the early goings, a panel of judges chooses one winner and a popular vote from the audience chooses another band to advance. There are no judges for the final round, with audience-cast ballots responsible for the ultimate outcome. And believe me, Russin has concocted a system that would require way too much effort to allow shenanigans into Metalympics.

The logic behind Metalympics’ method is pretty sound. Good bands can still advance with judges’ help, but true competitors must eventually build a real following if they hope to win the whole thing

The first round of semi-finals is happening Saturday, Aug. 4 at The Elevens, 140 Pleasant St.,  Northampton. Asystole, Left Hand Backwards, Heal the Destroyer, and Seven Minute Stagger are featured that night.

The second semis happen Aug. 17 at Silk City, 99 Main St.,  Florence. She Walks Without Legs, A Wanted Awakening, Spoken Like a True Hero, and Zombie Fighter duke it out that night.

Whatever money is collected from the $3 door admission to each event goes toward the final prizes. The top winner gets half of the pot, and the three other bands split the remaining spoils.

While it’s cool that Western Massacre got bragging rights last year, and Dead Man’s Dossier (D.M.D.), captured the top spot in 2010, it’s far more interesting to consider the way Metalympics showcases dozens of bands, strengthens the local heavy scene and creates new connections among the metal herd.

Metalympics Facebook home is here www.facebook.com/pages/Metalympics/218170382563

Other heavy notes: Krakatoa, Vaporizer, Crypter, and Seren are at Ralph’s Diner, 148 Grove St., Worcester, for this week’s Metal Thursday event.

On Friday, Aug. 3 Mayhem rolls into the Comcast Center in Mansfield. The action starts at 1:30p.m.,  and the festival features Slipknot, Slayer,  Motorhead, Anthrax, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying, Asking Alexandria, Whitechapel, and High on Fire.

Randy Blythe’s continued, bizarre incarceration in Prague has forced Lamb of God to pull the plug on its upcoming U.S. tour with Dethklok_ including an Aug. 30 concert in Lowell_ while the singer’s legal fate gets sorted out. Gojra, who was set to tour with LoG, is heading out on its own and will play in The Palladium’s upstairs room on Aug. 13.

Bane and Terror are in the Palladium’s club room on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

And tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3  for Coheed and Cambria’s Sept. 28 date in the Palladium. The Deer Hunter and Three are also on the bill. Tix are $27.50 through tickets.com.

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