June 15, Neumos, Seattle, WA. We received the message through the usual channels, but this time the priority was urgent. "We're coming to Seattle," said Witte, "and I need to go to Brouwer's." As the local beer ambassador to the extremely extreme set, we felt compelled to honor this request, so upon Municipal Waste's arrival in Seattle, a meeting was set up and arrangements were made to deliver drummer to drinking establishment.
Bellied up to the bar at Brouwer's, we both started with a saison. Witte went with a local (whose name escapes us) and we chose a Great Divide Collette from Denver. Next round, we went dark, both keying in on stouts. Mine was a Snoqualmie Louie Quatorze 14th Anniversary Imperial Stout, while he went with a soured stout called Featherleggy Bulrusher from Anderson Valley Brewing in NoCal.
Brouwer's operations manager Matt Bonney intervened just prior to round three and treated us (and himself) to a very special bottle of Imagination Ale—a sour brown Brouwer's collaboration with Port Brewing that Bonney himself had a hand in creating. This bad boy was aged in both bourbon and wine barrels with raisins, rosemary and honey. And, damn, was it amazing. Unfortunately, beery fun time was temporarily put on hold so we could return Witte to Neumo's (somewhat tardily, we're afraid) to attend to his pre-show band obligations.
Our own pre-show obligations lay two blocks up the street at the Elysian, where we and our brothers in thrash drank pints of the Bunsen Experimental Pale Ale (made with a new experimental hop variety) and ate poutine. Though this caused us to to miss both local opening acts, we did arrive in time to get bludgeoned by Black Tusk's throbbing metallic ugliness.
Before 3 Inches of Blood delivered a killing blow of old-school battle metal, we plunged into the guts of Neumo's to look for Witte and instead found MW guitarist Ryan Waste sitting on a couch with his Witchfinder General "stage shirt" hung out and ready for action. Cue extended discussion of the NWOBHM and before we knew it 3 Inches of Blood had nearly finished pillaging Neumos before we made it back upstairs. We caught their last two songs and were amazed at the strength of Cam Pipes voice. Dude is an old-school wailer.
If it's indeed true that bands feed off of crowds, then Municipal Waste had a (fatal) feast in Seattle. A few hundred manic thrash fans lost their flippin' minds for the nearly hour-long set as the band ripped through one song after another. Tracks from The Fatal Feast showed off Ryan Waste's predilection for NWOBHM riffing and the crowd was as stoked to hear the title track of that album, as they were to chant along during "Born to Party" and "Sadistic Magician." It was mayhem in the best possible way.
A continuous flow of stage divers launched themselves from the stage while vocalist Tony Foresta did his best Blaine Cook (The Accused) crouch, spitting out lyrics into the raised fists at the front. If there's a better, faster, funnier, more entertaining metal band out there, we haven't seen 'em. Ten-plus years into their career, the Waste are unstoppable. Their dedication to relentless touring has honed them into an unstoppable, beer-fueled machine.
Due to the nearly 12-hour, high-gravity beer odyssey detailed above, we must admit that the end of the set became something of a blur. We know that the frequency of stage divers increased, as did the action in the pit. There was also a well-deserved encore at the end, the details of which escape us. If this seems like we neglected our journalistic duties in favor of consuming beers, then we plead guilty. In our defense, however, we did at least accomplish one mission by getting Dave Witte front and center at Brouwer's.