Saturday, April 4, 2020

Northwest Terror Fest: 2020 Edition Postponed | Tour Cancellations & The Washington Nightlife Music Association: A Call for Support

In a season of rapid cancellations and postponements too numerous to count, a set of highlights from this spring, summer and now fall, have dropped from the calendar. Much anticipated among these were the A Winged Victory For The Sullen at Saint Marks Cathedral, the rare return of early 4AD label world music from Dead Can Dance at The Paramount, and postmetal dirgers True Widow at Substation. The month of May would have seen blistering noiserockers Deafheaven at Neumos, the unprecedented return of 1990s dreamrockers House of Love, and minimalist composer and analog tape artist, William Basinski at Columbia City Theater. Also scheduled for June was the annual Mechanismus Festival, subtitled Resistance this year, with an intended lineup including Clan of Xymox, Boy Harsher, and a surprise guest of interest. Straight from England, the hypermodern jazz sounds of Kokoroko, and Shabaka Hutchings and The Ancestors at The Sunset and Neumos respectively, were also expected in the month of June. Lastly, and possibly of most note, neither postpunk, noiserock, and industrial stalwarts SWANS or Einstürzende Neubauten will be appearing at The Neptune as scheduled. These only touching on the surface of the localized fallout from the larger overriding cultural and economic consequences of the global pandemic. Regionally, the cultural institutions that will be most harmed and have the least on offer in the way of state and federal infrastructure, loans and grants will be the theaters, clubs and live music forums themselves. In response to this, a coalition of venues have come together to petition the public for support. The Washington Nightlife Music Association has established a set of necessary subsidies, rent, and tax relief guidelines. They are asking registered Washington voters to write the King County Executive Office and appropriate King County Councilmember, and advocate the necessity of these guidelines if the wider Seattle area music culture is to survive through the pandemic and its aftermath.

Another great loss to the early summer lineup is this year's iteration of Northwest Terror Fest. In a statement to their followers, the festival announced their regret at the necessity of the festival's postponement, and established that many of the artists have already committed to a future 2021 date. The festival was planned to take place over the course of three nights at Neumos, Barboza, and The Highline, on the final weekend in May. This fourth installment after its successful first set of years, showcasing some of the most potent sounds from the heavier end of the 21st century have been heard issuing from the mutating offshoots of black metal. The related global scene's ongoing and burgeoning development have encompassed melodicism and atmospheres lifted from shoegaze and spacerock, eruptions of heavy psych rock, industrial drumming, electronic atmospheres, and pure experimental noise. The expansiveness of this sound detailed in Brad Sanders' overview, "Untrue And International: Living in a Post-Black Metal World". Further showcased in the past half-decade of excellent curation in The Quietus' Columnus Metallicus column, covering releases dominantly sourced from labels like, Hydrahead, Ipecac, Deathwish, 20 Buck Spin, Sargent House, Profound Lore, Season of Mist, Roadburn, Flenser, Neurot and Relapse. An all-things-metal festival with a previous Southwest iteration, Terror Fest's three days host a lineup featuring no small quantity of metal issuing from this particular low-lit landscape of black and doom metal mutations. Initially launched under the opportunity to, "Bring Warning to America: An Interview with Terrorfest founder David Rodgers", Rodger's wider curatorial vision for the festival, was detailed in Decibel's, "It's Good to Have Goals and Dreams Can Come True", and in a 2019 interview, the festival's co-organizer Joseph Schafer describing how "The Third Time (Is Still) the Charm". The 2020 edition lineup as it was initially conceived encompassed everything from gloaming atmospheric ambiance and doom riffs, blistering thrash and hardcore, and heavy psych rock, dark pagan and neofolk explorations. Making for a cross-genre spectrum of metal sounds and weighty atmospheres that was to be heard in sets from, Blood Incantation, Sandrider, Cloak, Windhand, Mizmor, Suffocation, Midnight, Repulsion, Visigoth, Obsequiae, and Xibalba.