Heavy Metal (November) Mayhem
By: James Titford
Headbangers in the city, mark your calendars for November 9-10 – November Mayhem 2 is arguably the biggest weekend of metal in the capital city – no, province – in 2018.
The Rock House will be hosting two full nights of metal madness, featuring a mix of touring bands from across Canada and some of the best the local scene has to offer. With a variety of styles ranging from heavy rock n’ roll to crushing death metal, it’s a set of shows to satisfy all fans of heavy metal.
What makes this metal show so significant? The impressive number of touring bands excited to be heading this way. Rock Eden Magazine spoke with the acts about the highs and lows of life on the road, touring to Newfoundland, and whether or not they would have been able to independently cover the high costs associated with an NL tour.
Hitting the road is a must for any band who wants to make it out of the garage and into the ears of metalheads province, nation, and worldwide. For Halifax’s Outlyrs, touring has been “good to us so far,” they told Rock Eden via email. “We’ve had some great times in Toronto, and our hometown shows in Cape Breton and Halifax have been very fun! [We] always look forward to playing for our fans that have been there with us from the beginning.”
Hailing from New Brunswick, Lionsault said touring satisfies their cravings for two of their favourite things – “playing music and travelling,” noting that “touring has been a great way to scratch both those itches.” They romanticized life on the road, explaining that “the friends you meet along the way, the lessons you learn, and the stories you’re left with,” inspire the band to keep on pushing.
At home and on the road, Montreal’s Crosstitution bring the same level of intensity to every show. For Crosstitution guitarist Lee Whiskey, touring is “chewing each and every stage to splinters, from dive bars to the now legendary Piranha Bar, to festivals such as Obscene Extreme.” But life on the road isn’t just shredding guitars, pounding beers, and barely surviving hangover after hangover. Touring comes with its highs and lows – for every moment of greatness comes a time of struggle.
For Outlyr, touring has been kind. The band felt especially encouraged by the positive reception they received in Toronto during Canadian Music Week. “Another highlight would be sharing the stage with some of my best friends and feeling the band grow tight from life on the road, becoming a force to be reckoned with. Some lows would be being broke and missing closing time at the liquor store,” they said, partially in jest.
Lionsault, whose members hail from small communities, say “the highs greatly outweigh the lows”; the biggest highlight, they revealed, is being introduced to new music and bands. The lows? Regular cramped rides and vehicle problems, but Lionsault realizes these hardships are part of the gig. “Just in case you get up shit creek, you’ll at least have a paddle,” the band joked.
When asked the same question, Lee Whiskey said that touring “has taken me around the world through hell to the heavens in the past 18 years, by working with countless musicians and projects.” He declined to offer any negatives to life on the road – downsides aside, the life of a touring band sounds like a hell of a good time that can bring you to all kinds of new and different places.
For some of bands featured in the November Mayhem 2 double show, this will mark their first time visiting St. John’s, and Newfoundland.
For Outlyrs, the excitement varies, coming from both returning and first-time visitors. “We are very excited to be coming to Newfoundland. This will be our first time over as the Outlyrs,” the band shared. “A couple of us have been over before with other touring bands (Blackmoor, Orchid’s Curse), but it’ll be guitarist/singer Kyrk Dodd’s first time visiting.” Dodd can join all members of Lionsault for a Screech-in. “We’ve heard nothing but good things about Newfoundland, and can’t wait to explore what it has to offer,” they said, presumably not knowing anything about the tradition of kissing cod and drinking shitty rum, which they will likely have to endure.
Touring to NL is a mix of terrorizing new territory and the old comforts of home for Crosstitution’s Lee Whiskey. “To bring a disgustingly underrated and overlooked group of the most vile, ultra bizarrely talented, and dementedly badass gentlemen called Crosstitution to my old stomping grounds – the infamously devoted, powerful, and untouchable metal scene of the east is – to answer your question, pretty fucked up to say that I am just ‘excited.’" He went on to spout one of the greatest hype lines ever: “We’ll show up bloody, and if I know my hometown well, the audience is gonna leave bloody too. I have no doubt about it.” Consider yourself warned.
Though the bands are excited to hit the island, touring in Newfoundland and Labrador has its own set of challenges. Long travel times and unpredictable weather aside, the cost of coming here is astronomical. Even for more established acts, the cost is a huge deterrent. In discussing this, Outlyrs were straight up: “[We] definitely could not afford to come here without support.” The band recently finished recording their first full-length album, a process that was both mentally and financially taxing, they said. Putting things into perspective, Lionsault elaborated, “Touring as a smaller band outside our home market is tough financially draining, so when you have to add a ferry trip or flight, it becomes even harder.”
Thankfully, for the 10 acts on the double bill, Make It So Productions’ Justin Dean is footing the bill. “As with booking any great act from outside of Newfoundland, the cost of bringing them here is always the biggest hurdle,” he shared. Instead of focusing on that process, and the numbers, Dean instead showed his excitement for the show. Though he is in the role of promoter for this event, he is above all, a diehard metalhead. “The touring bands are ecstatic for November Mayhem 2 so they can come and blow the roof off that place.” Two nights, 10 bands, and only $40 to see ‘em all – what fuckin’ more can an islander ask for?!