Housecore Horror Film Festival was quite the success last year. This Phil Anselmo curated event immediately garnered special attention from the metal world. This was to be the festivals second edition, and it was poised to be bigger than ever. Four days of metal thrashing fun, Housecore proved to be quite the success. However I hope we never forget the man behind this incredible and almost mythical event, Corey Mitchell, sadly deceased mere hours after the festival wrapped up. The only redemption being that he drew his last breaths in the throes of a truly great triumph.
My plane was set to take off just before noon, which meant that given Philadelphia’s shitty public transport I would need to be in the train by eight in the morning. Groggy and bleary I hopped on board, desperately hoping that I wouldn’t miss my flight and that I wouldn’t forget my bag, or do something else generally stupid. It may sound silly, but regular readers may have noticed, I’m not a particularly bright individual, and for a dumb college student these make up many of my early morning concerns.
I get to the airport and things seem to go off without incident. I hop on my flight and laugh, I’m going to fucking Texas! This promised to be a great weekend ahead, some of my favorite bands would be playing, I had a ton of friends going to the festival, a lot of people I wanted to meet, and dozens of bands I desperately wanted to see. Simply put, it seemed like nothing could go wrong. As I landed in Dallas for the change-over things got amped up another level, I bumped into another festival goer, Kerch from Washington DC. His three foot long beard and shaven head immediately told me he must be on his way to worship at the same altar as I, we quickly bonded, both excited for the magic to come.
We all piled into my buddy Mike’s truck and made our way over to the Dirty Dog Bar where the festivities were set to begin. After a great Mexican dinner (I think I ate only Mexican food for the entire weekend) we walked into the bar, started slamming brews and bumping into old friends. On stage Critical Assembly raged, their unique brand of hardcore tinged modern metal getting the crowd into a tizzy. I didn’t see enough of their set to properly cover it, but I can definitely say that they have some cool ideas and are definitely a band I’m going to want to check out more in the future.
In between sets I turned around and bumped into Chuck Loesch, one of the dudes behind the Metalsucks podcast. This was just the first of many big time metal names who the festival attracted. I bumped into important media people from all over the country, and even a photographer for Canada. For someone like me this was almost as exciting as the bands, here we all were at the heart of the action, preparing to watch some of the best bands in the world get up and prove that they deserve a spot in one of America’s fastest rising festivals.
The first band whose full set I got to watch was the almighty Witchburn, a stoner metal band from Seattle. With crushing riffs and a glorious stage persence these guys are a lot of fun to watch. JC and Misha, bassist and guitarist respectively have long dreadlocks that swing all over the stage, adding to the chaos. Meanwhile, the bands vocalist is, in a word, a badass. Emphasizing the biker image her voice is powerful and soars over top of the sound. She does a wonderful job of executing anthemic lines and keeping the fans excited and into the music. A special highlight of the band was their Rainbow/Judas Priest matchup which left me with my jaw on the floor. These guys know what they want to do and how to do it, there is no stopping them anytime soon.
After Witchburns set, I went out back to hang out with my buddy Marzi Montazeri who plays both with Phil Anselmo & The Illegals as well as his band Heavy As Texas. As always, the Iranian’s infectious personality got me smiling and ready to rage. By this point drinks were being passed out more heavily and more and more musicians started showing up. I managed to bump into Steve Taylor (Also from The Illegals as well as the current iteration of Superjoint) and some other good metal folk. I could already tell this was going to be a great weekend, the mix of friends old and new led to a congenial atmosphere that I think few would soon forget. This is what heavy metal should be all about, good times with good people, and as we got ready for Heavy As Texas to go on, this reflected what we all felt.
Heavy As Texas came on, and played some very fun hard rock that featured a heavy 70’s psych rock vibe. Asides from a personal highlight when Marzi gave me a shout out, I think that the moments that the band got heaviest they were best. At times I might even go so far as to say that they reminded me of Pantera. Yet, that being said, there were a few more ‘jam’ oriented moments where we saw Marzi showing off some of his finest guitar playing. One particular highlight was a jam on the Led Zeppelin classic Dazed and Confused which saw Marzi delivering an exciting and fun solo that proved this song still has a lot to be taken out of it. This show was a highlight of the weekend for me and suggested great things to come. Marzi gets it and I think this band will go far.
The night started to wind down after Hobbs Angel of Death came on and played an extended set. Frankly, they’re not really my cup of tea, and I don’t know what they are on about. Yet I still had a good time hanging out with different media folks and musicians. I started to form a group of friends who I would see around the festival grounds for the rest of the weekend. As we drove to my buddy’s place where I would be staying that night I could only think to myself that things were only going to get better. After all, this is what festivals are all about!