Metal bands shred Cheyenne Saloon


“Can I get more guitar up here?” asked the shaggy haired dude in the fringe shirt who looked like an extra from “Almost Famous.”

More guitar?

It didn’t seem possible.

And yet there was Radio Moscow singer-six-stringer Parker Griggs asking the soundman for as much during the band’s set at The Cheyenne Saloon on Wednesday, trying to get more volume in the stage monitors.

Easy there, guy, lest your Strat burst into flames.

With Griggs soloing for days, the Iowa power trio inspired carpal tunnel syndrome-inducing levels of air guitar in the crowd. The band’s cosmic, hardened, blues boogie was evocative of the early ’70s as Griggs wardrobe.

When the band played, it was like standing on a suddenly awakened fault line, such was the rumble they created.

Speaking of sounds rooted in decades past, there was the show’s headliner, doom forebears Pentagram, who have been around in various incarnations for more than four decades, but who have only emerged from the furthest recesses of the American heavy metal underground in recent years as frontman Bobby Liebling has finally come to grips with his substance abuse issues.

Liebling may have been the visual focal point of the band’s set, wagging his tongue at the small group of 20-something girls at the foot of the stange, twisting his rubbery features into a mask of exaggerated perturbance and ecstasy, his eyes bulging from his head like overinflated balloons, but the center of Pentagram’s sound was guitarist Victor Griffin’s dense, yet tensile riffing, by turns foreboding and forceful.

It sounds kind of like the blues dipped in cement, with songs that accelerate from a deliberate trudge, notes left to hang in midair, to a wild gallop.

“You live in my world, gotta heed me,” Liebling sang during “Forever My Queen.”

He was speaking to a would-be lover in the song, but he may as well have been addressing any of the many doom bands that have followed in Pentagram’s wake.

Speaking of which, this show also featured New York City’s Kings Destroy, whose brusque, melodic stoner rock was powered by dual guitar acrobatics and a frontman who sang so hard he frequently became red in the face, and Vegas’ Demon Lung, who were down a guitarist due to a broken collarbone, but who still proved adept at conjuring a chill in the air with their alternately haunted and haunting Ouija board metal.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.