It was only fitting that Dawnbringer's first NYC show was at Saint Vitus. After all, the middle stop of a three-day stint that was "the closest thing to a Dawnbringer tour that has ever happened" brought a band whose last two outstanding records have given it some well deserved recognition to a joint that has helped raise the, um, bar for metal shows in the area. Unsure when I'd ever get a chance to see Chris Black and company up close and personal again, the decision to head out to Brooklyn was a no-brainer.
The band's set kicked off with "So Much For Sleep", the leadoff track from 2010's Nucleus. Given that Dawnbringer is basically a studio project, albeit a long-running one, the band--whose live show features Scott Hoffman and Matt Altieri on guitar, Ian Sugierski on drums and Black on bass/vocals--wasted no time finding its footing in a live setting. Sure, they'd played the night before, but this was also a group that until two years ago hadn't played a show in over a decade (not to mention, unlike Hoffman, Sugierski and Altieri aren't even in the "studio" lineup). My ears noticed no hiccups, just tight playing.
The show wasn't sold out, but for a Friday night in NYC, the Chicagoans got a pretty decent crowd whose rabidity made up for the lack of sheer numbers. The hour-plus set was a mix of old and new, leaning a little heavier on more recent material early on when Black announced that they were about to play some songs from last year's Into the Lair of the Sun God before playing "older songs you've likely never heard." While "My Destiny Is Death" briefly got a pit going, "To Murder The Sun" was the highlight of the show for yours truly. One non-musical observation: from certain angles (none of which are reflected in my poor quality iPhone pictures), Chris Black can easily pass for Albert Mudrian, right down to certain facial gestures...now you know.
Unfortunately, I completely missed openers Crypter and Polygamyst, but did manage to catch the last few songs of Kings Destroy's set, who set the tone with the massive riffs and grooves that emanated from guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski. To make up for my unprofessionalism, I'd point out that I saw a Black Sabbath 1984 Born Again tour shirt, which was made even more remarkable by the fact that owners of two of the best patch jackets I've seen happened to be standing nearby. It was only fitting that the owners of said denim treasures appeared to have the time of their lives rocking out to a band that, even though may not play the live circuit anywhere close to regularly, aspires to uphold the musical tradition those jackets proudly display.
Here's some video footage from a 2011 Dawnbringer show, which at the time happened to be the band's first in 13 years:
Pick up a copy of Into the Lair of the Sun God over at Profound Lore.
Also, be sure to check out Brandon Stosuy's in-depth piece on Saint Vitus over at Pitchfork here. You can also check out Chris Black's Decbrity playlist from last year as well as Saint Vitus co-founder Arthur Shepherd's after hours playlist.